Thank you for joining me here at The New Frugal Mom. I blog about deals, frugal living, and gaining your financial freedom one day at a time.

If you're not already a new frugal mom, get started on your frugal journey today!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Going Frugal: Summer Fun with Kids


It's hard to believe summer is almost here; May is always a very busy month filled with school, sports, and family events. It flies by quickly and then...BOOM! School is out for the summer and I have three busy kids (almost 7, 5, and 2 1/2) with me all...day...long.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm thankful that the financial choices my husband and I made long ago (we met after our first year of college and have been together almost sixteen years) about spending, investing, and living a life filled with family, friends, and people rather than with stuff, allow us the freedom to have one dedicated parent at home with our children. I know many people do not have that freedom of choice and/or are working hard to create that freedom for their family. I do not take it lightly.

But I won't lie to you, either; mothering is tough duty. And when you have three children at such different ages and stages with you every day for weeks on end through the hot summer months, it's a good idea to have a few plans in place.

I'm not advocating for creating a jam-packed schedule for your summer where every day is filled with yet another fantastical activity. One, summer break should be just that, a break from the regular routine. And two, fantastical activities are generally pretty spendy. Summer break shouldn't break the bank.

But it does help to loosely schedule your week. One morning a week can be Park & Lunch day. Another day is Trip to the Library Day. Yet another is set aside for Moms Group/Play Group/Friends Come Over Day.

You follow my drift - a flexible schedule of weekly events to keep everyone a little busy, a lot happy, and in a simple routine.

Summer break also allows you extra time to do some fun things that are hard to fit in during the regular school year; the list below is a starting point to spark your imagination as you begin making your own summer plans.

1. Zoos and Museums

These are not always the most frugal choice; admissions are spendy and everyone clamors for a trinket from the gift shop.

Your best bet is to research the museums and zoos in your area and make a list of the ones you'd actually like to visit more than once during the year. Then check the lists of zoos here and children's museums here that offer reciprocity benefits for members.

If you know you'll use a membership to your favorite children's museum or zoo a number of times over the course of a year, it can be a wise investment, especially if it that membership will allow you free or discounted entrance into other zoos or museums you might want to visit.

Memberships usually come with nominal gift shop discounts, too.

If investing in a membership isn't for you, check your Entertainment Book for coupons to local museums and zoos. And ask at your local grocery store; where I live in greater Cincinnati, Kroger often offers discounts on tickets to local venues when purchased at their customer service desk.

You might even be lucky enough to live near a zoo with free admission; check the AZA's list of free zoos here.

2. Free Attractions

A week or so ago, iMommies posted about Free Attractions, a website dedicated to free fun events around the USA. It's worth a look to see what free fun might be happening in your zip code.

3. The Library

I love the written word, so libraries are a second home to me. They're also a great place for summer fun; most libraries have summer reading programs with small rewards for children who read (or have read to them) the required amount of books. There's usually a weekly story time for the little ones. And if you're lucky, you might live near a bigger library that offers great summer programs for kids of all ages.

Find your local library here and check out their website to see what they've got cooking for the summer. And while you're there, find the community bulletin board; you might stumble onto some more frugal fun!

4. Swim Lessons

Summer is the perfect time to schedule swim lessons for your children, from Mommy and Me classes for your youngest all the way up to specialized classes for your older children to learn a new stroke, boating safety, or lifeguard training.

Swimming isn't just fun, it's a survival skill that everyone should learn while they're young. Check the Red Cross and the YMCA for swim lessons near you. And if cost is a factor, ask about scholarships or sliding-scale payment based on your income; both the Red Cross and the Y want children to master this important skill and will help you find a way to pay.

5. Farmer's Markets and CSA Farms

Visit your local farmers market; call your local Chamber of Commerce to find the the location of the ones in your community.

You can also contact your local CSA Farm (Community Supported Agriculture) and ask if they'd allow you to visit with your children at their convenience.

6. Pick Your Own Fruits and Veggies Farms

This is a great way to get fresh fruits and veggies throughout the summer months and is fun for everyone! Check here for local U-Pick Farms near you.

7. State Parks

Summer offers a great time to explore the state parks near you. Click here to find links to state parks in your area.

8. Festivals

Find local festivals of all kinds around the USA at Festivals.com.

9. Give Back

Volunteering can offer your kids a great way to help their community during the summer. Start small; Zoom! at PBS.org has a great list of ideas and links here for kids who want to help others.

10. Camp Week

A week of summer camp may already be on your child's schedule through Scouts, sports, the Y, or other organizations.

You can also make up your own camp week: pick a week where you have little going on and create a themed week of fun for your kids. Maybe it's Bugs and Butterflies or Halloween in July or even something silly like Circus Week. Ask your kids now what kind of things they'd like to do if they were in charge of planning camp activities for a week, then plan for one themed activity a day that week.

Make it even bigger by painting t-shirts with your kids to match your theme. Plan a silly menu of lunches to match your camp theme. If you're lucky enough to have a good friend with children close in age to yours, ask if they'd like to join forces in planning a fun camp week.

Other ideas to spark your imagination when making your summer plans:

*Call your local government or Chamber of Commerce and ask about Fourth of July events and parades in your town.

*Growing container plants like tomatoes and peppers; if you're brave enough to tackle dedicating a corner of your yard to a garden, go for it!

*Plant a row of sunflowers - they're hardy and happy and make great hide-and-seek spots!

*If your children are old enough to work safely under your supervision in the kitchen, let them plan and make dinner a few nights. Give them a budget to spend and tell them they'll need to plan the menu, make a shopping list, set the table, and cook the dinner. You'll be on hand to supervise, but they're in charge. A fun teamwork event for siblings or best friends. Take pictures and be proud of their efforts!

*Bubbles and sidewalk chalk, those two summer mainstays. Sidewalk chalk is a fun way to work on handwriting, letters, numbers, art, coloring, etc, during the summer months.

Remember to take it easy the last two weeks of summer; a new school year is on the horizon with the schedule that comes with it.

Enjoy that last little bit of freedom from The Schedule but don't forget to prepare your child for a back-to-school schedule during those last two weeks of summer. Read here for tips on how to do that with children aged preschool through high school.

And don't forget to give yourself some downtime, too, time away from your children. Whether you join a book club, go for a walk alone, or just take a visit to your local coffee shop without your children, be sure to find time each week to revive, reflect, and rejuvenate.

Happy Summer!

Shortcuts.com: Coupons Loaded to Your Shopper Card

Reader Erin, who is employed by Shortcuts * sent this information about the current General Mills cereal offer at Kroger, 2/$4.00:

If you’re not familiar with Shortcuts, definitely check it out at www.shortcuts.com. Right now we’re teamed up with Kroger (owns Ralph’s, Fry’s, King Soopers, etc.) and have or will have coupons on the site from General Mills, Kimberly-Clark & Kraft.

I just wanted to point out to you the sales on General Mills cereals this week that can be paired with the coupons you can find on Shortcuts.com. Just add them to your Kroger card and the coupons will be redeemed when you swipe your card at checkout. Quick note that while Shortcuts.com is from AOL, you do not need to be an AOL or AIM user to use Shortcuts for free.

Kroger, Ralph’s & King Soopers: General Mills cereals (11.3-14 oz) are on sale 2 for $4.

Fry’s: General Mills cereals (11.3-14 oz) are on sale for $1.99 each.

On Shortcuts.com you’ll find coupons for these GM cereals:

* Save $0.75 on one Multigrain Cheerios cereal

* Save $0.55 on one Cocoa Puffs cereal

* Save $0.75 on one Strawberry Chex cereal

* Save $1.00 on one Whole Grain Total, Total Raisin Bran or Total Honey Clusters, Total Cranberry Crunch or Total Cinnamon Crunch

I've registered my Kroger card with Shortcuts but have not yet tried it. There are also many other coupons available to be loaded to your card besides the GM cereal coupons.

Whether or not Shortcuts coupons are doubled like a traditional paper coupon is one question I do have regarding this program. Does anyone have any experience with Shortcuts and doubling? Please comment and share the knowledge!

Happy Savings!

*I want my readers to know that I will always tell you when a printable coupon or potential deal has been emailed to me by a sales rep or PR agent. I receive no compensation for posting these. I do so solely to inform you of better deals with the hopes that you'll benefit from the knowledge.

Stamp Out Hunger, Saturday, May 10

For those of you who have overflowing pantries and stockpiles from your deals, here's a fabulous idea from kind reader Jawan:

I am a subscriber to your blogs and thought you might want to post this as the time approaches. I'm going to post about it on my blog. With all the savings and stockpiling we do weekly on our trips to CVS and Walgreens, most readers probably have a bunch of items they could donate. I've done it for the past three years and it's very fulfilling to give away some of the items I've been saving (mac-n-cheese boxes, canned goods, granola bars, bags of chips, etc).


Click here for the information:

This is an easy way to give back locally to your community foodbank.

I'm going to post about this on Friday, May 9, 2008, with a Mr. Linky box for everyone. I urge you to post about what you're donating with photos to share and inspire others.

I hope you'll participate!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

$1.00/1 Gallon Little Einstein's Milk

I received this coupon link/offer via email (in red) from Newhouse PR representatitve, Sharon:

Stremicks Heritage Foods would like to offer your readers a coupon of $1.00 off a gallon of milk.

They can go to the following link to print out the coupon:

http://www.stremicksheritagefoods.com/littleeinsteins_0508.asp

Stremicks Heritage Foods announced a new omega-3 DHA fortified milk beverage created and branded with Disney called Little Einsteins Milk.

The rBST hormone-free milk enriched with omega-3 DHA is the first Disney-branded refrigerated dairy beverage to launch since Disney announced its food guidelines earlier this year.

*Product is in U.S. grocery stores now

* 64-oz. product is available in low fat and reduced fat — both with omega-3 DHA

*One 8 oz. serving provides 32mg of DHA

*Helps parents give their children the calcium they need plus omega-3 DHA for development

*********************

I know I've seen printables for $1/2 half-gallons of Disney's Little Einsteins Milk; click here to print it from Coupons.com.

I've not yet seen this product in my Kroger; has anyone seen this in any grocery stores yet? Leave a comment if you have and let us know where you've found this product.

Happy Savings!

Guest Post by Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping

Once again, it's Tuesday and Kyle, the mastermind behind the coupon code treasure trove that is Rather-Be-Shopping has a great guest post with current coupon codes to share with you, the Frugal Faithful.

As always, remember this before you point-click-buy: it's only a good deal if you actually need it!

++++++++++++++++++

Never wear white after Labor Day, or was it Memorial Day? My gosh, who cares! I never understood those kind of fashion tips. How about we wear what we like and what we feel comfortable in. Maybe stuff like that just doesn't matter to me because I am guy. I consider myself more of a frugal fashion connoisseur. I have put together a decent business and casual wardrobe by following these two frugal fashion principles.

~ Go Basic First. When buying shirts, blouses, skirts, and pants, go for your basic black, blue, white, and grays first. They provide the most mix-and-match possibilities. You can very easily match these colors together, as well as with accessories like jackets, ties, and shoes.

~ Stick With Classic Cuts. - Stay away from the newest fad in clothing and go for the classic styles. This way your clothes will stay fashionable longer. This is especially true if you spend money for high quality clothing. This is a case where spending a little extra can actually save you some money in the long run. If you are in need of some new threads for summer, or work, or whatever else, these online coupons may be able to save you some money.

Lane Bryant.com
Save 20% OFF your ENTIRE Online Order
Coupon Code: SAVE-8PCF
Expiration: 6/01/08
See All Coupons For: Lane Bryant.com

JCPenney.com
Save 15% OFF your $75+ Online Order
Coupon Code: MGP79
Expiration: 4/30/08
See All Coupons For: JCPenney.com

Fashion Bug.com
Save 15% Off your Entire Online Order
Coupon Code: 776214603
Expiration: 6/18/08
See All Coupons For: Fashion Bug

Jessica London.com
Save $15 Off your $75+ order, $25 Off $100+, or Save $30 Off your $150+ order
Coupon Code: JLA5903
Expiration: 4/30/08
See All Coupons For: Jessica London

Chadwick's.com
Save 40% OFF your item when you buy 2 or More
Coupon Code: CH4APR
Expiration: 4/30/08
See All Coupons For: Chadwick's of Boston

Classic Closeouts.com
Save $10 Off your $40 or more Online Order
Coupon Code: SUNSHINE
Expiration: 4/30/08
See All Coupons For: Classic Closeouts

Roaman's.com
Save 20% Off your $100 or more Online Order
Coupon Code: RD12321
Expiration: 6/30/08
See All Coupons For: Roaman's

Catherines' Plus Sizes.com
Save 20% Off your Entire Online Order
Coupon Code: 776886400
Expiration: 5/01/08
See All Coupons For: Catherines

Monday, April 28, 2008

One Last Gasp: The $3/$15 CVS Coupon

Sarah over at Sarah's Savings sent me an uplifting and informative email regarding my stance on the $3/$15 CVS coupon:

I must say I really appreciated your honesty and willingness to stand behind your convictions. I, too, was very uncomfortable with the $3/$15 coupon… it did not feel right. I was confused reading so many blogs that were so excited about it and was very glad when I found someone who saw the other side of the issue.

But as the commenter on your blog, I wanted the coupon! But not enough to go against my convictions. So I wrote to CVS and asked. Is it ok? Is it legal? Or should it only be clipped from a physical paper.

You can read my (CVS) response on my blog, www.sarahssavings.blogspot.com.

If you're on the fence about this coupon, visit Sarah's blog and read what CVS said in response to her query.

I still will pass on this *great* deal; I don't want to carry any guilt (hey, I'm Catholic; I come pre-packaged with enough guilt for a lifetime!) over using it and, as I emailed Sarah, I have a GREAT relationship with the very nice staff at my local CVS. I'd hate to risk ruining it over a few $$.

Thanks, Sarah, for your kind email and for doing what needed to be done: asking CVS if it would be ok to use this coupon. You're one smart Frugal Chick!

Happy Savings!

Kroger Deals, 4/28/08-5/4/08

I'm a bit late in posting my Kroger deals for this week; thanks for your understanding. Life always comes before blogging!

Be sure to check out the store list at BeCentsAble's Monday and Thursday Grocery Gathering; it's a great starting point for planning your shopping.

These deals are good for Kroger, Greater Cincinnati area. Your Kroger weekly ad may also match up; I urge you to check your weekly ad here. Click on "Weekly Ad" and enter your zip code.

My Kroger doubles coupons up to $0.50 (doubling to $1.00); my final price reflects doubling.

Here goes!


********************

May 2- July 31, buy $300, $600, or $1200 worth of Kroger gift cards, get an additional 10% added to the value (additional $30, $60, or $120).

~Kroger is trying to grab those tax rebate/economic stimulus dollars which began rolling out from the IRS today. I think this is a great idea for dedicated Kroger shoppers who:

1) have the money in cash available to purchase the gift card; and,

2) have the discipline to use the card according to their budget planning.

If Kroger wants to give me free money, I'm certainly going to take it!

Now for the sale items and matchups:

Coke 12 pks, 4/$12.00

Instant $1.00/4.

Get (2) Cheezits free with (4) 12 pks Coke products.

Final Price: Coke, 4/$11.00; (2) Cheezits, FREE

Bounty Basic 8pk, $4.37

$0.25/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $3.87

Charmin Basic 12 Roll, $4.37

$0.25/1, PG 4/6



Final Price: $3.87

Tyson Oven Bag Creations, 20% off Shelf Price

$1/1, SS 4/27

$1/1 Chicken, SS 2/24

$2/1 Pork or Beef, SS 2/24


Final Price: varies

Buy $20.00 of Horizon Organic Products, Receive a coupon for $5.00 off your next order! (This deal good through 05/24/08!)

Click here to register and print coupons for Lactose-Free Milk and Milk + Omega-3 DHA.

Final Price: varies

Pepperidge Farm Frozen Desserts or Breads, 50% off Shelf Price

$1/2 Pepperidge Farm Desserts, SS 2/24

$1/2 Pepperidge Farm Breads, SS 2/24

Final Price: varies

Jose Ole Taquitos, 2/$6.00

$1/1, SS 4/20

Final Price: 2/$5.00 or 2/$4.00 with (2) coupons

General Mills Cereal, assorted varieties, 2/$4.00

$1/3, SS 4/20

$1/2, SS 4/13

Final Price: varies

Dole Juice, 64 oz, $2.19

$0.50/1, RP 3/30

Final Price: $1.19

Cheer, 96 loads, $15.99

$0.35/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $15.29

Bounce 105-120 ct, $5.99

$0.25/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $5.49

Pedigree Dog Food, 15.9-20 lbs, $9.99

$1/1, RP 4/20

Final Price: $8.99

Whiskas Cat Food, 17.6 lbs, $9.99

$1/1, RP 4/20

Final Price $8.99

Ortega Taco Sauce, 16 oz, 1.99

$0.75/2, SS 4/20

Final Price: 2/$2.98

Mazola Corn Oil, 48 oz, $3.49

$1/1, SS 4/20

Final Price: $2.49

Prilosec OTC, $9.99

$1/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $8.99

Colgate Premium Toothpaste, 2/$4.00

$1/1, SS 4/27 and SS 4/13

Final Price: 2/$2.00 with (2) coupons

Irish Spring Soap 8 pk and Body Wash, 18 oz, 3/$10

$0.50/1 Body Wash, SS 4/27

Final price: 3/$7.00 with (3) coupons

Pampers Diapers or Training Pants, $9.49

$2/1 any Pampers, PG 4/6

Final Price: $7.49

Maybelline, 50% off Full Line

$2/1 any face product, RP 4/27 and RP 2/10

$3/2 face products, RP 2/10

$1/1 mascara, RP 4/27

Final Price: varies

L'oreal Excellence Hair Color, $6.99

$2/1, RP 2/24 and RP 3/16 and RP 4/27

$5/2, RP 4/27

Final Price: $4.99 for 1 or $8.98 for 2

L'oreal Vive Hair Care, B1G1Free

$1/1, RP 4/27 and SS 3/16 and SS 2/10

Final Price: varies; use (2) coupons for maximum savings

L'oreal Skin Genesis, B1G1Free

$3/2 L'oreal moisturizers, RP 4/27

$1/1 L'oreal moisturizer, RP 4/27 and RP 2/24

$3/1 L'oreal moisturizer, RP 2/10

Final Price: varies; use (2) coupons for maximum savings

Gerber Baby Foods

Buy $15-$20, get $2 off next order

Buy $20-$25, get $3 off next order

Buy over $25, get $5 off next order

Other good deals:

Kroger Tendertwist bread and buns, $1.00

Kroger Chicken Breasts, 3 lbs frozen, $5.99

Ground Chuck, $1.79/lb

Pork Chops, $1.79/lb

Vidalia onions, $0.58/lb

Navel Oranges, $3.99/8lb bag (about $0.50/lb)

Mangoes, 2/$1

Watermelon halves and quarters, $0.39/lb

Kroger Coffee, 11.5-13 oz, $1.99

Kroger Sugar, 10 lbs, $3.98 (less than $0.40/lb)

********************

I think I got most of them; please comment and let me know if I've missed anything on sale or any coupons.

Happy Savings!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm Sure Many Die-Hard CVSers Will Disagree

But I have to follow my conscience and post accordingly here at The New Frugal Mom. To do otherwise would be dishonest of me.

I'm going to come right out and tell you that I won't be using the $3/$15 coupon that has been discussed on many blogs and discovered by me at MoneySavingMom.

Why?

The legalese on the coupon states this:

"CVS/pharmacy will not honor any photocopy, facsimile, or any other reproduction of this coupon."

The coupon first appeared in a print edition of the Washington Post, a newspaper which requires a paid subscription or payment at a retail outlet which carries this newspaper.

The coupon was intended for the subscriber and/or purchaser of said newspaper and is meant to be clipped from the printed newspaper.

And, finally, the coupon clearly states that CVS will not honor any other reproduction of said coupon. Point-click-save-printing is - in my book - a reproduction of the original printed coupon.

Again, my deep apologies for posting the link without thoroughly investigating it; I will be removing the link from my original post. I will also be more diligent in the future when a *great* deal arises in the blogosphere and will fully investigate it before posting.

I'm not standing in judgement of anyone out there who may differently interpret the intent, spirit, or legalese of this coupon.

I simply wanted to be honest with all of you as to how I interpret the legalese, why I won't use it, and why I'm removing the link.

I'm closing this post to comments because my personal ethics are just that, personal, and not open to debate.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

NEW!! $3/$15 CVS COUPONS! Thanks, MSM!

If you haven't heard the good news, there's a new $3/$15 CVS coupon available!

This is legitimate, and available to everyone who follows the registration steps.

Click here to read how to get this great coupon.
*Link removed 04/27/08, 10:42 EST*

Best part of this coupon? It doesn't expire until June 6, 2008, and, the fine print reads that it can be used once per transaction one per customer. (Revised 4/24/08, 10:42 EST)

Fire up your printers, Frugal Faithful!

CVS, we adore thee!

**Revised, Sunday, 4/27/08 9:51 EST**

A commenter below wisely questioned to whom this coupon is intended: by anyone; or only for subscribers to this newspaper.

I have not had the chance to fully investigate this coupon as I've been gone all day with my Girl Scout Troop at a planned event.

I posted the link after seeing it at MoneySavingMom because I trust Crystal's judgement implicitly when it comes to ethical coupon use. She is one of the most honest bloggers with whom I've ever had the pleasure of corresponding; she is also a devout Christian.

I apologize for posting the link without fully investigating it; I will do so now. And I want you to know I do take my blogging seriously. I blog with the intent to help and enlighten and because I love to share what I've learned.

Please, if you feel using this coupon violates your sense of ethics and/or your own religious beliefs - whatever they may be - don't let the $3.00 you might possibly save become a burden on your conscience.

And please comment and share with everyone your particular take on this coupon: fair for all to use or clearly meant for a specific consumer/audience?

Please keep the dialogue respectful, kind, and courteous.

*Closed to comments as of 4/27/08, 10:42 pm EST after further investigation by me; read my explanation here.*

Shopping Scenario Sunday: April 27, 2008

It's SUNDAY! Time to praise, time to relax, and time to scour the weekly ads for the best deals out there!

Let's all join together, Frugal Faithful, and share our best, most hopeful shopping scenarios for the week!


New to Shopping Scenario Sunday? Check out the rules here.

*******************

I haven't used my $4/$20 Beauty purchase I received by email earlier this week from CVS. It's time to put that coupon to work!

My most hopeful Shopping Scenario at CVS:

Buy (1) Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Lotion, Get (1) Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage Lotion Free!

* I know I have some excellent coupons for these products; I need to check my stash.

* AND, the April ECB deal is still in effect - Buy $15 Garnier Nutritioniste, earn $5.00 ECBs.

To round out my order to $20 of Beauty items, I'll pick up another (3) EOB Facial Buffers for $1.49 ea or the EOB Makeup Applicators for $1.99 ea.

*ALL EOB Cosmetic Accessories are B1G1 50% off. Again, these are still good for the April ECB deal of buy (3) EOB, earn $5.00.

I'm hoping to pay nothing OOP with my current $7.00 in ECBs, the $4/$20 CVS Beauty Coupon and the coupons I have stashed for the Garnier Nutritioniste.

I should earn back $10 in new ECBs on this purchase. I might even end up with overage on the transaction, meaning I can add a gallon of milk on this transaction for nearly nothing.

I'll report back and revise this post when I've made the purchase!

*****************

Now it's your turn! Post about your most hopeful deals this week. List prices and coupons if you have them.

Then drop your permalink in the Mr. Linky box.

After you've made your purchase, you can come back and let us know how it went: did your coupons work? Were they out of stock? Was it a score or a bust?

Let's all join together and help each other out so we can be frugal with both our time and money!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Super Savings Saturday at MSM: CVS and Walgreens


It's been a few weeks since I've participated in Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday.

I'm also linking this post over at Denise's blogjoint, The Centstible Sawyer, for her CVS Superstars fun. Take a second and click over to visit her, would ya?

I'm back on track and happy to share my best finds this week with you, the Frugal Faithful!

****************
My best scenario for CVS this week, as posted here at my Shopping Scenario Sunday carnival, didn't work out as I'd planned. My CVS has been cleaned out of the Spa Radiant Bodywash for a few weeks.

I still did well on that trip, buying (2) gallons of milk, $3.29 ea; (2) EOB Lip Butters, 2/$5.00; (1) EOB Dual Sharpener, $1.99; and (1) Mens 24/7 SpeedStick, $3.99.

Total Before Coupons and tax: $17.56

*used $1.00/1 SpeedStick

Final Total: $16.56

ECBs used: $14.99

Cash OOP: $1.55

New ECBs Earned: $5.oo on the (3) EOB products; $3.99 on the SpeedStick

Even though my most hopeful scenario didn't work, I was still able to get milk for nearly nothing and earn $8.99 in new ECBs.

*******************

Now, onto the goodies in the photo!

On the left are my Walgreens purchases. I finally got my EasySaver Rebate Gift Card credited from my March Rebates. Walgreens has a great sale on Skippy Peanut Butter and Maxwell House Coffee through Saturday, 4/26. For those deals, you'll need the coupons available in their weekly ad.

My Walgreens purchase:

(2) Maxwell House Coffees

*used weekly ad coupon, 2/$5.00

*used (1) Sunday insert coupon $1.00/1

(3) Skippy Peanut Butter

*used weekly ad coupon, 3/$5.00

(1) Colgate 360 Toothbrush, $3.99

*used $1.00/1 Sunday insert coupon

(1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean Toothpaste, $3.49

*used $1.00/1 Sunday insert coupon

(1) Jane Be Pure Mineral Blush, $4.99

*used $2.00/1 printable

Total before coupons: $33.70

Total after coupons: $18.28

Cash OOP: $0.00 (used my Walgreens Easy Saver Rebate Gift Card $$)

April Rebates earned on the Colgate 360, Aquafresh, and Jane: $13.71 (includes 10% for applying balance to my Gift Card)

Thanks, Walgreens, for paying me to shop in your store!

Finally, on the right are my CVS purchases:

(3) Zone Bars, $1.58 ea

*used (2) $1.00/1 Sunday insert coupons

(4) Kleenex, $1.29 ea

*on sale, B1G1Free

*used (1) $0.50/3 Sunday insert coupon

(2) Clairol Herbal Essence (1 shampoo, 1 conditioner), $4.29 ea

*on sale, B1G1Free

*used $3.00/2 Sunday insert coupon

(3) EOB Textured Facial Buffers, $1.49 ea ($4.47 total)

***EOB MONEY MAKER!***EARNS $5.00 ECBs!***

Total before sales and coupons: $22.98

Total after sales and coupons: $10.61

ECBs used: $8.99

Cash OOP: $1.78

New ECBs earned: $2.00 on (3) Zone bars and $5.00 on (3) EOB products

*******************

My final tally for the two quick stops at CVS and Walgreens: $56.68 worth of goodies.

I paid only $1.78 OOP, a savings of 97%.

And, the best part: I earned $13.71 in rebates at Walgreens and $7.00 in ECBs at CVS.

My net profit/gain for my shopping endeavors: $18.93!

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Be sure to visit the linkage at Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday for more deals from around the blogosphere, deals that are sure to inspire your frugal heart!

And visit the Centsible Sawyer to get your fix of CVS deals at her CVS Superstars!


And if you're a CVSer, be sure to visit my guest post over at BeCentsAble's Weekend Show and Tell Giveaway - one lucky winner will get a $10 CVS Gift Card courtesy of The New Frugal Mom!

Go! Click here now and comment for your chance to win!

Happy Savings!

BeCentsAble's Show and Tell Giveaway...It's Me!

I'm the featured blog over at BeCentsAble's Weekend Show & Tell Giveaway!

My giveaway? A $10 CVS Gift Card!

Click here to follow me over there. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabulous Freebie: GE Caulk Singles

Request a free sample of GE Caulk Singles. Click here, then under "Request a Free Sample," click on, "Sign me up," for the freebie form.

But wait - there's more! Click on the graphic at the top of this post and you'll be directed to GE's site for a printable coupon to use toward the purchase of a GE Caulk Singles.

Happy Home Improvement...and Happy Savings!

Best of the Week, 04/25/08

Here's the best of what I found in the blogosphere this week:

Grocery Gathering at BeCentsAble

>>If you haven't visited the Grocery Gathering yet, I urge you to click there and see if your local grocery destination is listed. In a nutshell, Kristin and Chrissy have several bloggers (myself included) around the country posting the best deals on sales/coupons at local grocery stores. Grocery Gathering is a great starting point for planning your shopping.

CVS Deals

>>Read Money Saving Mom's scenarios here.

>>Read The Centsible Sawyer's scenarios here.

Walgreens Deals

>>Click here to read this weeks deals at the Centsible Shopper.

Rite Aid Deals

>>Courtesy of Be Thrifty Like Us; click here.

Meijer Deals

>>Courtesy of Mommy Snacks; click here.

Kroger Deals

>>Courtesy of me, The New Frugal Mom; click here.

Fabulous Freebies:

>>Two big lists of freebie links from Denise over at The Centsible Sawyer; click here and here

>>Free sample of L'Oreal Skin Genesis here

>>Free sample of Ultra XCID Antacid here

>>Free sample of SweatBlock Antiperspirant here

>>Have some time of your own to search for freebies? Visit Twisted Branches and click around!

Frugal Blogs I Stumbled:

Be Thrifty Like Us

>>If you haven't checked this blog out, click over and read about this young hubby and wife who provide lots of quality deals, links, and downright inspiration for 20-somethings trying to Go Frugal.

Mommy Snacks

>>It's always fun to find a fellow frugal blogger in my backyard (the big Jesus on I-75 separates our towns)! Andrea's blog is a great place to find deals ("snacks") and she also has a very comprehensive list of paying survey sites on her left sidebar. Check her out!

Feel free to drop a comment with links to good deals you found this week or suggestions!

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Reminder:

I'm guest posting at BeCentsAble's Show and Tell Giveaway today! I'll post the live link once it's up.

Be sure to comment and be automatically entered into my $10 CVS Gift Card giveaway!

Happy Savings!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chuck E. Cheese Coupons & New CVS Coupon


If you like to treat your kids to a trip to Chuck E. Cheese every once in a while, there are some great coupons packaged around Hi-C juice box 10 pks.

They include:

*10 Free Game Tokens with Any Food Purchase (no dollar minimum listed on the food purchase)

*Save $10: 1 Lg Pizza (1-2 topping or Super Combo), 4 regular sized soft drinks, and 30 game tokens, for only $18.99

*Save $10: Buy 40 Game Tokens for $10, get 40 more FREE.

All coupons state One coupon per visit per family/child.

All expire 10/31/08.

And if you're looking for more coupons for Chuck E. Cheese, register for the Chuck E-Club here and you'll be sent links/emails with printables.

Chuck E. Cheese's also rewards for good grades; bring your child's most recent report card and get FREE tokens (they don't state how many tokens on their site).

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CVSer's! It's Thursday, the day CVS sends us their latest emailed coupons! Go check your inbox and hopefully you'll find what I did:

$4/$20 Beauty Purchase, exp 5/3/08.

CVS is tightening up on how they release their coupons; I'd share this with you, but the legal fine print states: Offer Valid Only For Intended Recipient.

There's a bunch more legalese at the bottom, too.

I'd just like to pop in my two cents on ethical couponing: you can get lots of great deals honestly and aboveboard. No deal is worth doing something fraudulent, like using coupons not intended for you, or .pdfs of scanned coupons.

If you haven't received this coupon, be sure you've registered your Extra Care Card at CVS.com and signed up for email alerts and promotions from them.

There are many great beauty deals at CVS to be had; check here for Slick Deals listing of April's Monthly ECB deals.

And click here for the upcoming May Monthly ECB deals. Don't we all just love to plan ahead!

Happy Savings!

Time Managment: Blogging Schedule

I've had some little bits of time this week to actually sit still and think about how best to organize my time as SuperMommy to include a weekly blogging schedule.

I not only blog here, but I also have a personal blog here. Writing for both, along with all the usual blogging maintenance issues, is a big endeavor. I have deep appreciation for bloggers like Crystal over at MoneySavingMom, who update their blogs several times a day. It is no small task.

I also appreciate that you have to manage your time, too. So with an eye on frugal time management, here's what I've come up with for my weekly posting schedule here at The New Frugal Mom.

********************
Monday

My Weekly Kroger Deals, with linkage to BeCentsAble's Monday Grocery Gathering

Tuesday

Guest Post by Kyle from Rather-Be-Shopping with links to current online coupon codes.

Wednesday

Going Frugal, a weekly feature about ways to reduce costs in everyday life. Look for topics like Children's Birthday Parties, Summer Adventures, Home Decor, and Back To School Shopping.

Thursday

I'm leaving this day open on the schedule; it's always good to give yourself a bit of freedom in scheduling anything, freedom to grow, to evolve, and to sometimes just catch up when you're behind! I'll also use this free day to post about how I'm doing on my own Frugal Journey.

Friday

Best of the Week. I'll post links to some of the best freebies, printables, and deals that I've seen during the week. I'm hoping this will help many of you who do your shopping on Saturdays to better plan your trips.

Saturday

I'll participate in Money Savings Mom's Super Savings Saturday carnival and talk about the deals I found this week. Crystal was the blogger who helped me to regain my frugal state of mind last fall after I got our family well-established in our new home and new town. Her blog is a phenomenal clearing house of deals and information. I urge you to visit her!

Sunday

Shopping Scenario Sunday. I'll post my most hopeful scenario for the upcoming week and leave the Mr. Linky box for all of you Frugal Faithful to add the deals you've come up with for the week. Be part of what makes the blogosphere so amazing by sharing your knowledge!

********************

Join me over at BeCentsAble tomorrow, Friday, April 26. I'm guest posting as the feature blog for their weekly Weekend Centsable Shopper Show and Tell Giveaway.

My giveaway.....drumroll, please.... a $10 CVS Gift Card to one lucky member of the Frugal Faithful!

Be sure to read my post over at BeCentsAble and drop a comment there. Kristin and Chrissy, the SuperMommies behind the genius of BeCentsAble, will enter all comments into a drawing to pick the winner.

I'll post a link here to the Show and Tell Giveaway as soon as it goes live.

********************

And, because it's just the right thing to do, I want to say THANK YOU to each of you for coming by The New Frugal Mom every day. I hope that you find help and inspiration here and also through the links I post. I started this blog because I truly believe in the power of information and in helping others.

I welcome, appreciate, and love to hear your ideas on how to make this blog better. Feel free to email me or comment with your thoughts. I try my best to check my email a few times a day, but LIFE with three kids and two dogs often gets in the way!


As always, Happy Savings!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Frugal Journey Meme

Ahhhhh, memes! Those fun and easy games of tag that give us busy bloggers an easy post.

And after surviving this day (!), an easy post sounds FABULOUS to me!

Andrea over at MommySnacks tagged me for the latest "Share Seven Random and Weird Things About Yourself" meme that's making it's way through the blogosphere.

I'm going to change it a bit and try to make it in tune with the whole purpose of this blog: encouraging others to go frugal no matter where they are in their own financial journey!

So here goes!

My Frugal Journey Meme
(Seven Reasons Why I'm Frugal)

1. My husband and I have some debts to pay off, debt we accrued not by jetting off to Disneyland or shopping sprees at the mall. No, our debt is mostly due to moving six times in eleven years (military and corporate moves).

Moving is not only expensive, but the instability that comes with constantly moving is extremely trying, too. And on moves #5 and #6, we took losses on the homes that we sold. Ouch. I'm sure many of you out there who are faced with the necessity of selling a home in this tight market understand that pain.

2. We live on one income (I've currently raked in a whopping $1.84 on my Google Adsense; while that can go a long way at CVS, it doesn't put much of a dent in the overall budget).

3. While the one income we live on is a good one, we also have a financial plan in place. Currently, 15% of our gross income goes to investments, life insurance, 401k and savings.

4. We send our children to our local Catholic school . Tuition, even for active members of the parish like ourselves, is spendy.

5. I was raised by money-smart parents who taught me early on to budget, to save and invest, and to stretch a dollar. My dad was green and recycling long before it was cool!

6. As a parent, I want to teach the same lessons to my children. It's amazing to see my first-grade daughter cost-comparing at Kroger. Good girl!

7. As the CFO of our family, I take my responsibilities very seriously. We're a team, my awesome hubby and I. I have so much respect for how hard he works to support our family of five; his work ethic inspires me to be the best steward of our finances as I can.

********************

So there you go! My Frugal Journey, in a nutshell.

This meme just begs to be shared, so I'll drop a Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. If you want to post this meme at your blogjoint, please do! I'm always so inspired when I read how other people go frugal, live on less, and discover somewhere along the way that they're more content, more satisfied with life, and just plain happier.

Please use your very best bloggity manners by linking back to this post in your post. I appreciate it!

And check back soon to read the Frugal Journeys of others in the blogosphere! I'll hard link this in my sidebar and *hopefully* create a button you can grab for your blog, too. I say hopefully because I do occasionally need to sleep!

Get posting, Frugal Faithful, and get linking!

Guest Post by Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping

First of all, a huge thanks to Marianne for giving me the opportunity to do an ongoing guest feature on her terrific blog. I hope I can bring a unique perspective to the Frugal Faithful!

A little bit about me, I reside in northern California with my wife (a stay-at-home mom) and our 3 young kids (6y, 3y, 11months). I own and operate a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in online coupons for over 500 stores, organized in 23 shopping categories. I also have a blog, where I write about frugal living, saving money tips, and other musings. I stay very busy but I would not want it any other way!

As I mentioned I live in northern California in the Sacramento Valley, where it gets HOT! By hot, I mean 110 degree days are fairly common come mid-July. The weather currently is starting to get pretty warm and thoughts of 110 degree days are creeping out of the crevices of my mind like a rattlesnake in Death Valley. This has got me thinking of some frugal ways of lowering your cooling bill this summer. I wanted to share some tips that I have used in the past with great success.

~ Invest In A Whole House Fan - We put one in our home a few years ago and it is great. They are typically installed in the hallway ceiling of the home. When turned on, it works by pulling in the cool air from the outside and bringing it in the house and sending the hot air into your attic and out the exterior vents. I open up the windows and sliding doors and turn it on around 9 pm and then again at about 6:00 am all summer long and it cools off the house at least 5-10 degrees. If you live in an area of the country that is very humid the house fan may not be as affective.

~ Plant A Tree - Two years ago we planted a couple Crepe Myrtle trees in front of our living room and bedroom window and this summer they will be big enough to shade the window all afternoon. Not only do they add to the landscape but they provide valuable shade. A great investment!

~ Curtain Call - Keep shades and curtains closed when direct sunlight is hitting the windows. This is a great way to keep the cool air in and the hot sunlight out.

~ Programmable Thermostat - If you don't have one, get one! They are not very expensive. You can pick up a quality one for around $50. We have a White-Rodgers brand thermostat and have been very happy with it. The cool thing about them (no pun intended) is that you can program them to have your A/C unit turned down when you are not home and then have it click back to your desired temperature shortly before you arrive. I don't recommend having your A/C set to off when you are not home because in the long run you will end up using more power getting your home back to your desired temperature.

~ Make Use Of Ceiling Fans - Run them counter-clockwise to disperse the air. This will force the air down towards the floor which creates a nice breeze. Stagnant air is much less comfortable than feeling a breeze across your face from a fan. By doing this, you may be able to stand have your A/C set at 78 degrees or higher.

~ Replace Air Filters - Dirty filters restrict air flow and make your entire cooling system less efficient. Replace them monthly during the summer months. Again, not very expensive and well worth it.

So other than living in your swimming pool, how do you keep your cooling bill as low as possible? I know this is only a partial list so I look forward to more ideas. Finally, here are some online coupons that may be able to help you save some additional money getting your house ready for summer.

Smith + Noble Blinds.com
Save 15% OFF your ENTIRE order (New Customers Only)
Coupon Code: SAVE-8PCF
Expiration: 5/28/08
See All Coupons For: Smith + Noble.com

Ace Hardware.com
Save $20 OFF your $125+ order thru this Link Only (Discount appears at checkout)
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 4/30/08
See All Coupons For: Ace Hardware.com

Gardener's Supply Company.com
Save 10% Off your $75 or more Online Order thru this Link Only
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 5/29/08
See All Coupons For: Gardeners Supply Co.

Blinds.com
Save $10 OFF your $150+ order + Free Shipping
Coupon Code: 10200509
Expiration: 4/24/08
See All Coupons For: Blinds.com

Home Annex.com
Save 5% Off your Entire Online Order + Free Shipping
Coupon Code: HARBS06
Expiration: 12/31/08
See All Coupons For: Home Annex.com

Better Homes and Gardens Store.com
Save $15 Off your $100 or more Online Order
Coupon Code: SAVE15
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All Coupons For: Better Homes and Gardens Store

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Thanks for the great ideas, Kyle, on how to lower our cooling bills this summer. I'd like to add my two cents by noting that the IRS offers Tax Credits to individuals who make home improvements that increase the energy efficiency of their homes.

Read the IRS article here which details what types of home improvements are eligible for the credits then be sure to save your receipts for next year's filing.

You'll also see at the bottom of the IRS article that purchasing a hybrid vehicle may make you eligible for a tax credit. If filling up at the gas station lately is causing you to hyperventilate- like me! - read how the tax credit could help you should you decide to go hybrid.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Get to Know Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping

As promised, today is my Q&A with Kyle, the mastermind behind Rather-Be-Shopping. If you do any online shopping at all, bookmark his site; if you need an online coupon code, he's got it!

Without further ado, here's our email interview!


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How did you discover The New Frugal Mom?

I am a recovering (not really) blog hopper and am always amazed at the vast knowledge and information that is shared in the blogosphere. I just happened to stumble upon The New Frugal Mom from the BeCentsable blog where I am also participating in the Grocery Gathering, providing the online coupons section.

Can you tell me a little about your website and your blog? How did you get started online? Did you plan on making a go of it as a full-time venture or did that just happen as the site grew and evolved?

I started the online coupon section of my website way back in 2001. I was shopping online at Christmas back in 2000, and I saw a box that said, "Enter Your Coupon Code Here", I had never heard of a coupon code before, so I did some research on putting together a site that would categorize these coupons and the idea was born! I started out doing it part-time, and as my site grew in popularity, I realized that I might be able to make a go of it full-time. So in 2003 I switched over to full-time and haven't looked back. I earn a commission on sales generated through my site and links. But you can only talk about coupons for a certain amount of time before you get kinda bored, so last summer I started the Rather-Be-Shopping.com blog and it gave me a great outlet for my creativity. I do blog about coupons from time to time, but I mainly write about frugal living and making your money go as far as possible in everyday life.

How can Rather-Be-Shopping help the Frugal Faithful? I mean, we're the Frugal Faithful, not the Shopping Faithful, right?

Yeah, I am a guy who would “rather be shopping” (insert joke here), but my site is all about saving money when not only shopping but in everyday living. As a father of 3 small kids and living on a tight budget, I know a lot about frugal living and making your paycheck go as far as possible. The bottom-line is we need clothes and other basic necessities and there are ways to get the best deal possible on this stuff. This is why I blog about real ways to save money by putting frugality in practice, along with how to make extra income, and to keep things fun, I write about the adventures and mis-adventures of raising 3 active kids!

Are you and your family on your own Frugal Journey - trying to do more with less? What's been your biggest frugal/savings success?

My wife is a stay-at-home Mom and I would not want it any other way. For us, this means frugal living started as more of a necessity than a choice. But along the way, a neat thing happened, we actually found a more meaningful life by enjoying the things and blessing that we do have, and stopped focusing on the things that we "wanted" or didn't have. Saving success for my family started when we were able to take an honest look at where our money was going every month. By doing this, we were able to cut out the "stuff" that just didn't add to happiness. Expensive meals out, rarely used gym membership, and cable TV to name a few.

What kind of information do you plan on sharing here at The New Frugal Mom each week? What can we expect?

First of, I try to not take myself to seriously. So this means my posts are light hearted and may even make you laugh out loud from time to time. Hopefully, the laughs will be intended! But I am all about keeping it real. I plan on choosing a topic each week and exploring that topics and offering tips and advice that you can use in your life. That is my goal, to share information that can actually be used. No pie in the sky ideas. Then, since I am a coupon fanatic, I will offer some coupons related to the topic at hand that may be helpful. But as Marianne pointed out to me in a recent email, and advice that I agree with 100%, just because a coupon can save you 30% off the regular price, it is only a great deal if you can actually afford it and need it.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Looking forward to getting to know your blog readers and offering some tips and coupons that can help them out a bit!

********************

Thanks for the interview, Kyle; it's always nice to know the people behind the blogs and websites we visit everyday. And I agree with you 100% - the blogosphere is an amazing place, filled with people who genuinely want to help others by sharing information. I'm glad to be a part of it!

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4/22, Kyle will guest post here at The New Frugal Mom. I encourage all of you to check here then and also visit his site and blog, too.

Happy Savings!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kroger Deals, 4/21-4/27

I'm participating in the Monday Grocery Gathering over at BeCentsAble. If you're looking for breakdowns on weekly deals at stores around the country, click here and check for your store.

As always, I'm covering Kroger in the greater Cincinnati area. Our sales start on Monday; you may find many of these deals match up to your local Kroger. I do advise you to check Kroger's online weekly ad for your zip code.

Also, my Kroger doubles coupons up to $1.00; the final price I list reflects doubling.

There are many repeats from last week as well as some other good deals this week. Here goes!

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Have you designed a reusable shopping bag for Kroger yet? Click here, design your own bag (you'll need to register at Kroger.com), and a credit for a FREE $0.99 reusable shopping bag will added to your card.

Click here to see my design!

Best deal this week:

General Mills Cereals, 9-14oz
Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks, 4.5-9 oz
Nature Valley, Fiber One, and Milk & Cereal Bars, 5.3-8.4 oz

4/$10.00, mix and match.

Buy any 4, get an instant $4.00 off at checkout, making them 4/$6.00.

Add on any of these coupons to bring your price down even lower:

$1.00/3 General Mills Cereals (SS 4/20)

$0.50/1 Nature Valley Granola Bar (SS 4/20)

$0.75/2 Nature Valley Granola Bars (SS 3/9)

$1.00/2 General Mills Cereals (SS 4/13, SS 4/6)

$0.50/2 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks (SS 3/9)

Final Price: Varies by coupon; potentially as low as 4/$2.00 using (4) $0.50/1 NV Granola Bar Coups!

Carryovers from last week:

Boston Market Dinners, 9-16 oz and Smart One Entrees, 4.9-10.25 oz, 5/$10.00

Buy 5, get instant $3.00 off at checkout.

Final Price: $5/$7.00 or $1.40 ea

Bertolli Skillet Meals, $4.99

$1.50/1 (RP 3/2)

$2.50/1 printable here

Final Price: $3.49 or $2.49

Freshetta Pizza, 9.4-29.6 oz, 2/$9.00

$1.50/2, SS 2/10

Final Price: 2/$7.50

New deals this week:

Purex Liquid, 14-32 loads, 2/$5.00

$1.00/2, SS 3/16

Final Price: 2/$4.00

Brawny 6 Big Rolls or 8 Regular Rolls, $6.49

$1.00/2 ct or larger package, RP 4/20

Final Price: $5.49

Quilted Northern Bath Assorted 12 Double Rolls, $5.99

$1.00/1 6 ct Double Roll pack or larger, RP 4/20

Final Price: $4.99

Sun Chips, Assorted Varieties, 11-11.5 oz, $2.48 ea

Buy 2, get an instant $1.00 off at checkout.

$0.55/1, SS 4/20

Final Price: 2/$2.96

Garnier Fructis Shampoo and/or Conditioner, 2/$5.00

many, many $1.00/1 coupons out for these; check your inserts

Final Price with (2) coupons: 2/$3.00

Physician's Formula Cosmetics, 40% off Full Line

$1.00/1, SS 4/20

Final Price: varies

Zyrtec Pediatric Tablets, 10 mg, 12 ct, $9.99

$2.00/1, SS 3/30

Final Price: $7.99

Ensure 6 pks, $6.99

$1.00/1, SS 2/10 and SS 3/30

Final Price: $5.99

Shick Disposable Razors (men's and women's), 3-10 ct, $5.00

B1G1Free, SS 4/20

Final Price: 2/$5.00

Other good deals this week:

Kroger is celebrating Earth Day, April 22, by offering great sales on their Private Selection Organics line, including produce, milk, beans, cereal, and frozen veggies. Check it out if you eat organic!

Kroger is also offering some great deals on these Kroger brand items:

Hotdog/hamburger buns and Tendertwist bread: $1.00 ea

1/2 Gallon milk, $1.25 ea

1 Gallon Orange Juice, $2.88 ea

16 oz Bar or Shred cheese, $2.99 ea

1 Doz Lg or XLg Eggs, $1.25 ea

16 oz Sour Cream or Dips, $1.00 ea

26 oz Pasta Sauce, $1.17

2.5-3 lbs Frozen Chicken breasts, tenders, thighs or cutlets, $5.99 ea

8 lb Jumbo Russet Potatoes, $2.48

Watermelon halves or quarters, $0.39/lb

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That's the best I see at Kroger this week; if I missed a deal, drop me a comment or an email and let me know so I can revise this post.

On a personal note, it's looking to be an uber-busy week for me:lunch duty, Girl Scouts, various sports, the usual day-to-day mommying and canine wrangling, along with bloggity biz of all sorts.

So I'm ever so thankful that my blogging buddy Kyle over at Rather Be Shopping is guest posting on Tuesday! If you haven't checked out his monster online coupon code site, go here now. Right now! Oh no...don't tell me you've gone shopping online recently and didn't look for a coupon code - I'll swoon into a heap of frugal-fizz!

Seriously, Kyle's site is a great resource if you're a busy mom who online shops to save time, gas money, and most of all, the stress of dragging your darlings from store to store. Online shopping makes so much sense for all those reasons; why not save some extra $$ by using a coupon code to get a sweeter deal?

I'll post a Q&A interview I did with Kyle here tomorrow (4/21). He's a great guy and a true member of the Frugal Faithful.

Until then, Happy Savings!

Shopping Scenario Sunday, 04/20/08

It's SUNDAY! Time to praise, time to relax, and time to scour the weekly ads for the best deals out there!

Let's all join together, Frugal Faithful, and share our best, most hopeful shopping scenarios for the week!

New to Shopping Scenario Sunday? Check out the rules here.

My CVS Scenario, 4/20-4/26:

Buy (2) SoftSoap Spa Radiant, $4.99 ea

*use (2) $1.50/1 coupons (not sure which Sunday insert)

Buy (1) Speed Stick 24/7 for Men, $3.99

*use (1) $1.00/1 coupon (RP, 3/30)

Buy (2) Gallons Milk, $3.29 ea

Total cost after coupons: $16.55 + tax

ECBs to use: $14.99

OOP cash paid: $1.56 + tax

New ECBs earned: $13.97 ($4.99 on each SoftSoap; $3.99 on 24/7)

While I'll lose about $1.00 in ECBs on this transaction, I'll still come out ahead with new ECBs for next week, some great stockpile items (we all like to be clean and smell good, right?), and (2) gallons of milk for only $1.56 + tax oop cash.

There are still lots of great monthly ECB deals at CVS and many other B1G1Free deals this week. Check out Slick Deals CVS deals list for this week here or Slick Deals monthly list for April here.

Put together your best, most hopeful scenario - whether it's CVS, Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart, or your local grocery store - post it at your blog, then come back here and share it with the Frugal Faithful.

Then after you've made your deal, come back and comment to let us know if it went as planned or not.

Let's share information and help each other so we can be frugal with both our money and our time!




Friday, April 18, 2008

Quick Link: Little Debbie Printable Coupon

Kind reader Gail sent me this link (and a e-smile!) to a $0.25/1 Little Debbie Family Pack, any variety.

These are currently on sale at Kroger for $0.88 ea; if your Kroger doubles coupons, you can get them for $0.38!

Thanks for sending the link, Gail! Much appreciated!

And for those of you who haven't checked out Coupon Bar for printable coupons, or who don't use their site because you don't want to install their bar in your browser, you can view their web edition with a full list of their current printable coupons here. This format makes it very easy to skim, click, and print; I recommend it.

Enjoy your weekend! I'm off to Camp tomorrow morning for volunteer training; my Brownie Girl Scout troop will spend their first week at Day Camp this summer and I promised them I'd be there for at least the first day. While volunteering might not be the most "frugal" use of my time, I believe firmly in lending a helping hand to make good things happen for others.

To those of you Frugal Faithful who've lifted my spirits this week with your kind comments or emails, thank you for lending me that helping hand of goodness. It matters!

I'll be back later tomorrow with Coupons, Part 2: Getting and Organizing.

**Revised, 04/19/08, 7:59 EST:

Many apologies; it's been a day of Camp Training and T-Ball and blowing oceans of bubbles in the backyard. I'm afraid Coupons, Part 2 isn't finished yet.

Tomorrow, I'll post Kroger's Deals for the Week of 4/21-4/27, Sunday Shopping Scenarios, and hopefully, Coupons, Part 2.


Thanks for understanding that LIFE comes before blogging!

Surplus/Salvage Merchandise Stores

Kind reader and member of the Frugal Faithful, Sheila, sent me this great frugal hint by email:

One money saving idea I've not seen mentioned anywhere as of yet is checking out the "Surplus/salvage Merchandise" listings in your area. In Louisville, we have a Salvage Store (it has 3 locations) and I frequently shop there. You never know what you will find there. I often buy Starbucks coffee, name brand cereals, even hair dye and makeup. Some items there are date expired, so I am careful to check that out - however, most items are dented cereal boxes (or perhaps the top flap on the box has come unglued but the inner bag is intact). I do not buy dented cans - they scare me. Often a Pamper bag is slightly torn. Great deals on detergent, soaps, etc.

I realize all areas do not have these stores, but a quick check in the yellow pages might save you big bucks!

I don't have any personal experience with Surplus/Salvage Merchandise stores but I am really intrigued.

Is there anyone else out there that has experience with such stores? Please share via comment, and let us know how successful you are in finding good deals. If you'd like to add locations and names of stores, that would be fabulous!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going Frugal: Time Management

I've said this many times in my posts: I seek to not only be frugal with our money (my husband's and mine) but with my time.

This means if there's a potentially great deal out there that will cost me a great deal of time - usually time needed to travel out of my small town to find this great deal - I usually decide to focus my efforts elsewhere.

Between the daily driving I do to take my two oldest children back and forth to their two different schools, to run the necessary errands, and to appointments and meetings, I spend a great deal of time racing against the clock and sitting behind the steering wheel. As this costs me not only time but also gas money, I happily opt out of the endless In Search Of Savings mania. I do well enough saving money at the Kroger, CVS, and Walgreens in my own zipcode.

I also try to be disciplined in my time at home by using a monthly calendar to keep me on track of household chores, blogging, paying bills and financial planning, and carving out some much needed free time for myself or with my husband.

Household chores I organize as Weekly, Bi-Weekly, or Monthly. Weekly Chores include things like cleaning bathrooms, laundry (with three kids, this is a twice a week chore!), vacuuming, dusting (ugh - how I hate this chore; oh, let's be honest, I pretty much hate all housework!), and menu planning. Bi-Weekly Chores include things like washing the windows (three pairs of kiddo hands + two wet doggie noses = smudge city!) and bill paying. Monthly Chores include things like steam cleaning our downstairs carpets (three kids + two dogs + spring mud = mess!), and reviewing the monthly budget.

But here again, I have to be honest all of you: I usually falter on keeping up with this schedule.

Why? Well, there is this thing called LIFE that gets in the way. People get sick. Events and meetings and volunteering at school and church coincide on one week and eat through my and my husband's extra time. Holidays and birthdays and just-because days bring the chance to celebrate with family and friends. Seasons change and bring new sports for the kids and new around-the-house and yard tasks.

No matter how well I try to execute my plan, there is always something that comes up and sets the schedule on it's side. And what I've learned is this: that's perfectly ok. Life in a family, and for me, life as a mother of three children 6, 4, and 2 years old, is filled with all sorts of surprises that require quick thinking, flexibility, and, in the end, a willingness to chose people over tasks.

My ToDo list and schedule are simply tools that help me stay on track; if they become my masters instead, then I've failed to use them wisely.

All that being said, one of my current ToDo's is to create a general schedule for blogging. I'd like to make it easier for visitors here at The New Frugal Mom and over at my personal blog, Writer-Mommy, to keep up with what I'm publishing each week.

This is a work in progress; I'll keep you updated. My question to you is this: is there anything you'd like to see highlighted on a weekly basis here at The New Frugal Mom? Feel free to chime in with a comment.

Thanks for dropping in today and spending some of your valuable time here. I appreciate it!

And if you're struggling for a little help in managing your time as a busy mom, I recommend checking out FlyLady (this is an unpaid endorsement - the truth from me to you). Her methods will spark your imagination and help you in finding what best works for you.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

RME: Referral Program Extended Until 05/15/08

If you still haven't jumped on the chance to get $25 for FREE and potentially earn up to $500 in referrals, click the button and get started!

Learn more about RME here.

Want the short skinny? RME is a new player in the online banking/transaction biz, trying to directly compete with PayPal. The FREE $25 is their way of getting as many people onboard with active accounts at RME.

I've earned $80 so far with my sign-up and referrals in case you need a bit of convincing. It's worth your time, especially if you already use PayPal when you shop online.

If you don't have a blog, you can still refer your family and friends by email.

Check it out, and as always, make your best, most informed decision!

**Revised 4/17/08:

I can't believe I forgot my good manners! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who have opened accounts at RME through my referral link. I certainly hope you earn some extra money through referrals, too!

Extreme Savers Story: Yahoo!, Try Again

As I speed-surfed this morning, I saw a link to a story on Yahoo! about Extreme Savers; read the full story here.

Of course, I had to click over and read it out of curiosity (maybe a new idea to share?) and to see just what the editors at Yahoo! had to say - are they truly in touch with the Frugal Faithful?

Um, no.

I'm sorry, but mentioning how one couple decided to forgo the "traditional" vacation at Beaches in Jamaica because it cost $8,000 - $10,000 and instead shared a house for the week (in Jamaica) with another family for a mere $5,000 is a wee bit off base.

The article mentions Craigslist and Freecycle and PaperbackSwap - all good ideas that many of us already use. It also talks about using a grocery co-op and getting your meat from local farmers (you can also do this by bidding on 4-H raised steers or hogs at your local county fair), but only mentions couponing once and not in any detail.

And there's really no mention at all of the simple idea of wanting less, of just deciding that life is about more than the stuff you accumulate.

No matter what you believe, you can't take it with you when you're gone; why let the Pursuit of Stuff become a living burden for you during the short time you spend here on Earth?

That's my two cents; read the article and comment with what you think, or, if you don't have time to read the article, what do you think about the mainstream media: are they in touch at all with us average Americans trying to live on less, pay off debt, and save for our financial goals?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Morton Loyalty Rewards Program

If this bag looks all-too familiar to you (we lug ours down to the basement where our water softener is located), be sure to clip the Proof of Purchase Points from the empty bag and save them for the Morton Loyalty Rewards Program.

Save 300 points and request a coupon for a free 40 lb bag of Morton Pellets (our 4o lb bags have Proof Of Purchase 25 Points; multiply by 12 and you've got your free bag).

Morton also offers other items with the infamous Morton Girl image on them; for those, you'll pay S&H charges.

Make it easy to save the Points: tape a Ziploc bag near or on your water softener to collect the points every time you refill it.

Happy Savings!

Fabulous Freebies: Free Ben & Jerry's Cone, 4/29!

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream will be giving away FREE cones on Tuesday, April 29, 2008. Click here to find the closest Scoop Shop.

More Fabulous Freebies:

If you're planning to grab one of the free reusable shopping bags being given out at Wal-Mart on April 19, 2008, 8:00 AM local time as part of their 1 Million Reusable Bag Giveaway, you'll want to be on the lookout for this freebie for kids, too:

FREE For Kids: Nickelodeon’s Wildflower Seed Card The Wal-Mart LiveBetter Program helps make sure you have the most Earth-friendly options for all the stuff you need, in one store!Stop by your local Wal-Mart on April 19 at 8AM Local Time, and you can pick up a free, Nickelodeon's The Big Green Help seed card, that you can plant and watch grow into a beautiful wildflower.*These wildflowers help promote biodiversity and create great environments for honey bees and birds.


Take a short quiz here and register to receive a free Earthbound Farm reusable shopping tote! (Offer expires April 30, 2008; totes sent June 2008)

Get ready for summer bugs: take this short survey and receive a free 3 month supply of Bio Spot Spot On Flea and Tick Control for dogs here.

For Christian HomeSchoolers, Pre-School teachers, VBS Leaders and all other Christian teachers: meet Boz the Bear, the Green Bear Next Door who helps you in teaching your young students about the importance of taking care of God's world.

Click here to request more information about Boz and,

"...a free special customized ministry kit which might include a BOZ watching party DVD, stickers, posters, and BOZ growth charts. This kit will help enhance the BOZ DVDs and books by creating a more comprehensive experience for your students."

(From the sign-up form site; you'll need to check the box on the form which reads, "Send me a free ministry kit.")

Happy Freebies!

Monday, April 14, 2008

CVS ECBs - How Many to Rollover Each Week?

Reader and kind commenter Rhonda (I'd link to her blog but she's not blogging...yet!) asked this very good question via comment:

Do you ever use your ECB's for things that don't generate ECB's? I got the monitor deal and I have several ECB's from last week. I could use a couple of other things with those from the monitor deal. How many ECB's do you keep from week to week?

Thanks for the question and the comment, Rhonda; it's a good discussion-starter.

How many ECBs I keep week-to-week varies; if I can, I try to keep a minimum of $10.00. But there have been some weeks, especially at the end of last year when there were so many CVS coupons available (the handy $2/10 that expired Jan 08 and many other great deal-building dollar-off coupons), where I've used all my ECBs.

One, I needed to use them, particularly around Christmas when they helped to buy stocking stuffers for the kids and all sorts of odds and ends for the Christmas season. Two, with the amazing dollar-off coupons that CVS offered at the end of 2008, I knew that even if I had zero ECBs, I could start from scratch with a small deal that would rollover into bigger and better ECB-earning deals and pay only $1.00 or $2.00 oop overall.

Now that CVS has tightened up on their coupons - and the dollars off coupons in particular - I'm a bit more conservative. As I said, I try to keep $10.00 minimum to use the next week.

But here again is a point to consider: I usually only make one trip to CVS per week and do a maximum of two transactions. I don't try to max out every possible ECB deal, nor do I do deals for things I either don't need to stockpile for myself or don't know someone who could benefit by my giving it to them for free.

Why? Mostly because I have very little time in the course of my busy days to swing through our CVS and because I usually have two or three children with me. My children, to be specific, and while they are wonderful and amazing and always happy and thankful to get a roll of blue Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum Tape, they are still only children. They have their shopping limits, and so do I.

Because I do shop with my children, I pre-plan my scenarios and my back-up scenarios very carefully by calculating the numbers, organizing the coupons, and finding possible fillers. This too takes time and while I adore a great deal, there is a point where being frugal with your time and being frugal with your money intersects and then starts to tip downhill. If I spend too much time "wheeling and dealing," I'm trading that time I could be better focused elsewhere away for good. And unlike money, once time is gone, it's gone. You can't earn more.

That being said, there are weeks like this week where a stellar deal such as the Contour Meter presents itself; getting $15.00 ECBs for FREE doesn't come along very often at all.

This is just the kind of week where I'll make it a point to plan and execute that one extra trip to CVS where I can stock up on some household items or get milk for free by just "spending" some ECBs without worrying about "earning" more on the transaction.

How many ECBs to keep from week to week is really a personal decision, as is just how many trips you're willing to make to CVS each week and how many items you're willing to buy for the sake of earning ECBs. And this is what makes CVS such a great help to budget-conscious frugal folk; after you've used CVS for a month or two, you'll start to find your own personal comfort zone where the deals you're willing to make match up to the time you're willing to put into the endeavor.

I'd love to hear from other CVSers - how many ECBs do you try to rollover each week, and how frequently do you visit CVS? And, equally importantly, do you ever feel like you might be spending too much time planning, seeking, and finding deals at CVS and/or elsewhere? What's your personal balancing point? Comment and join the discussion.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kroger Deals, 4/14 - 4/20

I'm participating in my first Grocery Gathering over at BeCentsAble; I'll be posting this week's deals at Kroger. I'll also link this to my Shopping Scenario Sunday for this week and kill two birds with one stone - as always, I try to be frugal with my time as well as my money!

I'm in the Cincinnati area so these deals are good for my region and are most likely good at all Krogers; I urge you to check your weekly ad for match-ups.

AND, very important, my Kroger DOUBLES coupons up to $1.00; my final prices reflect doubling if it applies.

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KROGER DEALS 4/14-4/20

Design a reusable shopping bag online here and receive a credit on your Kroger's Shopper Card for a FREE bag!

(See my design here!)

Buy (3) Pepsi product 12 pk cans for $9.00, get an instant $1.00 off.

Final price, 3/$8.00

Buy (3) any combination Pepsi product 12 pks (priced 3/$9.00) or Doritos (price $1.88), get (1) FREE reusable shopping bag.

NO LIMIT; great deal to combine with the instant $1.00/(3) 12 pks!

Buy any Everyday Living or GE CFL Lightbulb, get (1) FREE reusable shopping bag. (Limit 1 per household)

GE CFL Lightbulbs sale priced 2/$6.00

Tennesee Pride 16 oz Pork Sausage Roll, B1g1 Free, $3.69

($1.00/1 RP 4/13; $1.00/1 RP 3/16)

Final Price: $1.69 for 2 Rolls with 2 coupons.

Bob Evans Side Dishes or Sausage Gravy, $2.50

($0.35/1 Side Dish, 3/9 SS)

Final Price: $1.80

Yoplait Yogurts, 4-6 oz, $0.55

(Buy 4 Whips, Get 1 Free, SS 4/13; $0.40/6, SS 3/30 and SS 2/24)

Final Price: $2.20/5; $2.50/6

Charmin Big Pack, 9 Mega Rolls or 18 Big Rolls, $10.00

$0.25/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $9.50

Bounty 8pk Giant Rolls, $10.00

$0.25/1, PG 4/6

Final Price: $9.50

Post Cereal, Assorted Varieties, 13-25 oz, $2.50

$1.00/1 SS 3/2

Final Price: $1.50

General Mills Cereal, Assorted Varieties, 12.2-18.25 oz, $2.50

$1.00/3, SS 3/9; $1.00/2, SS 4/13, SS 4/6, SS 3/16

Final Price: 3/$6.50 or 2/$4.00

Freschetta Pizza, 9.4-29.6 oz, 2/$9.00

$1.50/2, SS 2/10

Final Price: 2/$7.50

Bertolli Skillet Meals, 24 oz, $4.99

$1.50/1 Mediterranean Style, SS 3/2; printable $2.50/1 here

Final price: $3.49 or $2.49

Pampers Diapers, Jumbo Pks, $9.49

$2.00/2 PG 4/6

Final price: 2/$16.98

Sundown Vitamins, B1G1Free, 30-250 ct., No Price Listed

$2.00/1 RP 4/13, RP 3/16, RP 2/24

Final price: not sure; use 2 coupons for maximum savings

Revlon Cosmetics and Nail Care, Full Line, 50% OFF

$1.00/1 Revlon Beauty Tool, SS 4/13

$1.00/1 Revlon Cosmetics, SS 1/13

Final price: varies

Almay Cosmetics, Full Line, 50% off

$1.oo/1 SS 3/9, SS 1/13

Final price: varies

Shick Quattro Titanium Razor or Titanium with Trimmer, $8.99

Free Razor Refill with One Razor or Trimmer, RP 4/13

Final price: FREE REFILL

Tylenol Extra Strength, 100 ct, $7.49

$1.00/1 SS 4/16

Final price: $6.49

Other Great Deals This Week

Eggs, 1 Doz Grade A Lg or XLg, $1.00

Little Debbie Snack Cakes, 6-12 ct, $0.88

Kroger Buttercrust Bread, 24 oz, $1.00

Kroger Can Vegetables, 11-15.25 oz, 3/$1.00 or $0.33 ea

Kroger Cheese, Bar/Shred, 8 oz, Slices, 6 oz, Singles, 12 oz, $1.50

Sweet Corn, 8/$2.00 or $0.25 ea

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Please drop a comment if I missed any great deals! Let's share the knowledge and be frugal with our time and our money!



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Shopping Scenario Sunday: CVS Looks VERY Hopeful!

It's SUNDAY! Time to praise, time to relax, and time to scour the weekly ads for the best deals out there!


Let's all join together, frugal faithful, and share our best, most hopeful shopping scenarios for the week!

Are you new to Shopping Scenario Sunday? Check out the rules here.

CVS looks very hopeful this week, Frugal Faithful!

This is what I see:

Buy (1) Ascensia Contour Blood Glucose Monitoring System, on sale for $14.99.

Earn $14.99 in ECBs (Limit 1 per card)

*use $30/1 Breeze2 or Contour Meter coupon from 03/16 SmartSource Sunday insert.

Get it for FREE with the coupon, earn back $14.99 in ECBs!

The last time CVS offered ECBs on meters that matched up to a coupon that made them free was in January of this year (if I'm remembering correctly). It was a monthly deal with a limit of (5) per card and they were priced at $19.99 earning $19.99 in ECBs.

I bought (4) - when I could find them as they flew off the shelves - and used CVS $50/1 coupons that were in a CVS Pharmacy publication (it pays to look around in stores). The first one I purchased with the coupon did gain me overage of $30 to use; the last three did not - the coupon was adjusted down to the purchase price.

This is an incredible deal either way and I'm sure the meters will disappear quickly again.

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My Shopping Scenario:

Buy (1) meter, use $30/1 coupon in anticipation that it will be adjusted down to $14.99.

Buy $14.99 worth of other CVS goodies in the same transaction using current ECBs since I know that I'll earn $14.99 new ECBs on the meter!

Items I'm a-hunting for:

CVS Training Pants, B1G1 Free, $8.99 (Sir Screamsalot still needs these at night and this is a SUPER price!)

Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent, 32 loads, B1G1 Free, ($5.99)

*printable $1.00/1 here

Milk, 1 Gallon, $2.99

CoverGirl Clean or TruBlend Foundation (excludes whipped), Concealer, Powder, Bronzer or Blush, B1G1Free, $4.99 - $9.49

*use B1G1 Free coupon from P&G insert 4/6 and get them BOTH FREE!

*I'll revise this post later to let you know how I did!*

**REVISED, 4/14/08, 11:00 AM EST**

WOW! I found the meter at CVS yesterday which meant I could work my best deal and not move onto Plan B.

Here's what I bought:

Transaction #1:

(1) Ascensia Contour Meter, $14.99

(2) Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent, $5.99 ea, on sale B1G1FREE

(1) Gallon Milk, $2.99

(2) Benefiber Chewables, $6.99 ea

Coupons used:

$30/1 Meter, adjusted down to $14.99

$1.00/1 Arm & Hammer

(2) $2.00/Benefiber Chewables

Total Cost after sales and coupons: $17.96

ECBs used: $5.00

Gift Card Balance Used: $9.49

OOP Cash Paid: $4.45

ECBs Earned: $24.99

Transaction #2:

(2) CVS Training Pants, $8.49 ea, on sale B1G1Free

(1) Gallon Milk, $2.99

Total Cost: $11.48

ECBs used: $10.00 (earned in Transaction #1 on {2} Benefibers)

OOP Cash Paid: $1.98

I bought some much needed things for my family, paid only $6.43 OOP cash, and still have the $14.99 ECBs earned on the meter to rollover into another great deal!

AND, if you're wondering what I'll do with the meter, I'll do what I did with the meters I bought during the January ECB deal: donate it to Goodwill. I urge you to donate yours locally, too.

FYI: I did attempt to buy (2) CoverGirls (on sale B1G1Free) with the B1G1 Free coupon from the P&G insert 4/6 to get BOTH for FREE: IT DID NOT WORK.

You could still swing a great deal on the CG B1G1Free sale by using (2) of the $2.00/1 CG coupons availabe in the CVS Reinventing Beauty Coupon book.

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Now it's your turn! Cook up your best, most hopeful Shopping Scenario and share it here with the Frugal Faithful.


Come back and comment after you've shopped your deal and let us know if it worked, if the store was out of stock, or if any of your coupons didn't work.

Let's share our knowledge and help each other out so that we can be frugal with both our money and our time!


Super Savings Saturday: Walgreens Beat CVS This Week!



I'm late to the linkage over at Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday, so here goes!

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As all you frugal faithful out there know, Walgreens released one of it's rare $5/$20 coupons for one day only, Friday, April 11, 2007. I didn't have much time to cook up a Super Deal and I'm still waiting for my current rebate from March to credit to my Easy Saver Rebate gift card which meant no free money to play with at Walgreens.

Instead of using the $5/$20 coupon to increase my Easy Saver Rebates or Register Rewards, I used it to buy some much needed, easy-to-clean (our yard is a sea of mud right now), springtime footwear for myself and two of my three sweetiepies!

For $16.50, I bought:

(2) boxes of Fla-Vor-Ice (and instant SuperAwesomeMommy status with The Royal Monkeys), $1.00 ea = $2.00

(1) pr flip-flops for my daughter, $1.99

(1) pr fake Crocs for myself -they're a child's size 5 but fit my woman's 7.5 feet perfectly, $6.99

(1) bag M&Ms (filler to reach the $20 before tax so the coupon would work; also an incentive to persuade The Royal Monkeys that getting along in the back seat of the van can be a rewarding experience), $0.69

and these:

(1) pr fake Crocs (with Velcro straps! Safer!) for my wee Prince Tatertot who has worn them round-the-clock since I pulled the tags off in the van, $8.99.

Could I have done more with that super $5/$20 coupon? I'm sure I could have! But again, I aim to be frugal with my time as well as my money. I simply didn't have the time to calculate a super deal and hunt down the coupons, nor did I have any extra time on Friday where I could squeeze in a solo-shopping trip without my three kids.

I'm still very happy to have gotten some great mud shoes for Prince Tatertot and myself (Princess Pinky already has a pair) for a great price; too bad they didn't have toddler sizes for Sir Screamsalot!

********************

I hit Walgreens again this afternoon on my way to the Y for a little mental downtime and exercise.

For $2.48, I bought all this:

(3) boxes of Kleenex; (2) cube boxes priced at $1.99 ea and (1) long box priced at $0.99 ea

*used weekly ad coupon, $0.89/box

*used Sunday insert coupon, $0.50/3 boxes

(3) packs Extra Gum, $1.19 ea

*used weekly ad coupon, 3/$2.00

*used Easy Saver (April Book) coupon, $0.99/3 packs

*used Sunday insert coupon, B1G1Free coupon

(1) Zantac 150 Cool Mint 8 pk, $4.99

*used printable $5.00/any 1 Zantac Cool Mint; find it here.

Alas, if only my Easy Saver Rebate bucks had already been credited to my card!

Walgreens offered some great opportunities to cook up deals this week. But it's so important to remember that it's not a great deal if you don't need it and/or you have to bust your budget to buy it.

*******************

I did swing through my CVS a couple of times this week, mostly for the chance to earn some ECBs while buying free milk.

This transaction:
(2) CoverGirl TruBlend Whipped Foundations, $9.49 ea

*used Sunday P&G insert coupon, B1G1Free

*used CVS Beauty coupon, $2.00/1 CoverGirl

(1) Chef Boyardee 4 pack (these are in the upcoming week ad; my CVS had them on the shelf already), $4.99

(1) Gallon of milk, $3.29


I paid with $14.97 in ECBs and also paid $1.07 cash oop. I earned back $12.oo in ECBs on the CoverGirl TruBlend Whipped (an April ECB deal, good all month) and $1.00 in ECBs on the Chef Boyardee.

I lost $2.00 in ECBs overall on the deal. I'm fine with that as I still have about $15.oo in ECBs to work with next week (which looks very promising!).

This is the great thing about mastering how to rollover your ECBs at CVS - even in weeks where you don't really need much other than basics like milk or household items, you can usually find a deal that will earn you new ECBs and get what you need for free or nearly free.

********************

My final tally:

Retail Cost (with tax) of all the goodies above: $65.44

What I Paid in Cash (with tax): $21.46

Total Savings: $43.98 or 67%

ECBs earned at CVS: $13.00

I hope you saved even more than I did this week on your shopping trips! Check out the linkage at Money Saving Mom's Super Savings Saturday for more great deals from the frugal faithful!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Going Green: Reusable Shopping Bags

Click here to design a reusable Kroger grocery bag (you'll need to register with Kroger.com).

Once you've submitted your design, your Kroger Shopper Card will be loaded with a credit for a FREE reusable shopping bag - just add one to your pile of goodies the next time you're in the check out lane!

And, if you're really handy with graphics, your design might just be the winning bag! Contest winner will receive $500 and will see their bag in stores - not too shabby!

You can see my design here!

Thanks to Denise over at The "Cents"ible Sawyer for posting this freebie; be sure to click over and check out the rest of the fabulous freebies she found today! She's a peach!

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Inspired by the idea of getting reusable shopping bags for FREE, I went a-hunting online.

If have a Wal-Mart nearby, mark your calendar for this upcoming Fabulous Freebie:

1 MILLION REUSABLE BAG GIVEAWAY, APRIL 19, 2008 (begins 8AM local time).

Click here for more info.

I also found many older links to municipalities and to other grocery chains that have held reusable bag giveaways in the past. I urge you to ask your local grocery store if they host giveaways for reusable bags and if they offer any discounts to shoppers who use reusable bags.

You should also contact your local government leaders about potential reusable bag giveaways; in many greener communities (think California), plastic grocery bags are being outlawed. As these laws go on the books, many communities host bag giveaways to jump start change.

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If you know your way around a sewing machine, you might want to try making your own reusable shopping bags.

Visit Morsbag for easy instructions and a how-to animation.

Another example here at About.com.

And one more here at The Creative Thimble.

Make a bunch for yourself, your family, and your friends; if your creativity garners compliments, you could even consider starting up your own home business! You could offer to partner with a locally owned grocery store, or you could go live online with your own store on Etsy.

*Does anyone know of any other retailers hosting reusable grocery bag giveaways or offering discounts to shoppers who use them? Comment and share the knowledge!

FREE Summer Camp for Children of Deployed Military


Operation Purple Camp is a completely free summer camp program for children of deployed military parents.

Click here for more information.

From their website:

"The stories from those who attended Operation Purple summer camps offer a glimpse of the heavy emotional and psychological burden that falls on the sons and daughters of service members. The goal of these free summer camps is to bring together youth who are experiencing some stage of a deployment and the stress that goes along with it."

In 2007, camps were available at 34 locations in 26 states as an outreach by the National Military Family Association.

Please share this information with any military families you might know with children who would benefit from this program.

Chadwicks of Boston: $20/$60 and $30/$90


Chadwick's of Boston is a womens apparel catalog/webite that often runs good deals like this one that expires April 14, 2008:

Save $30 on your order of $90; or

Save $20 on your order of $60.

Use coupon code CHGCARD to get either offer with your online order.

You can reuse these codes on subsequent orders, too!

While the "front page" items in the Chadwick's catalogue can be a bit spendy for us new frugal moms, they do have a very large "Clearance" section online with price categories starting as low as $6.99 or less.

You can usually find a wide range of items in those lower price points, which combined with this coupon code can yield a nice find of spring items for a very reasonable price.

Happy Savings!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fabulous Freebies: Freebies for Fido


(One of my hounds last fall when he was only four months old; he'd break that slide now!)
Free sample of Greenies Dental Chewie here.
Free sample of Yappy Treats here.

Free sample of Dog Lover's Choice here.



Walgreens $5/$20 Coupon - APRIL 11 ONLY!



I found this TREASURE in my inbox just a minute ago; without even checking my Bloglines Reader yet, I can assure you that the blogosphere is buzzing about this coupon.

For a direct link to Walgreens site to print this coupon, click here.

It's not very often that Walgreens releases a coupon like this - I think the last one was at the end of January 2008. It's deal-worthy! Grab your pencil, your calculator, your coupons, and start thinking!

The legal fine print reads: "Limit one coupon per customer per offer." If offer was instead transaction, I'd say you'd be safe in doing multiple transactions with multiple copies of this coupon. But offer could mean one coupon is offered to each customer; the legalese is a bit vague.

I'd love to know your plans - do you intend to use this coupon only once or do you intend to use multiple copies for multiple transactions?

********************

As always, I advise you to use this coupon stacked with manufacturer's and Walgreens coupons to maximize your buying power and also to earn Easy Saver Rebates and/or Register Rewards for future purchases at Walgreens.

Items you may want to work into your deal(s?) with this coupon:

Free After Rebate April 2008 Easy Saver Rebate Book (click here to see the full book):

Buy (1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean Polishing Action 5.6 oz or Advanced 2x Whitening Toothpaste 6 oz

$3.99 FAR

LIMIT 1

Buy (1) Colgate 360 Clean or Deep Clean Manual Toothbrush

$3.99 FAR

Limit 1

Buy (1) SoyJoy Bar, 1.06 oz

$1.39 FAR

Limit 1

Buy (1) Just for Men Touch of Gray Hair Color

$8.29 FAR

Limit 1

Buy (1) Jane Be Pure Mineral Blush .06 oz or .1 oz or Kabuki Brush

$4.29 FAR

Limit 1

Buy (1) Wal-Zry 24 Hour Allergy Relief, 10 mg., 5 Tablets

$3.99 FAR

Limit 1

Buy (1) Wal-itin 10 mg. Tablets, 30 pk

$6.99 FAR

Limit 1

*******************

Register Rewards (RR) Available this week:

Buy (4) 12 pk Coca-Cola products for $12.00, earn $2.00 RR

Buy Crest Whitestrips 56 pk for $20.00, earn $10.00 RR

Buy 2 of these participating products, earn $2.00 RR; buy 3, earn $5.00 RR; buy 4, earn $10.00 RR:

* Neutrogena Healthy Defense, Healthy Skin, or Anti-Oxidant Skin Care and Cosmetics (sale priced at 20% off, $4.79-$16.39)

*Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips, 56 pk, $22.00

*Rembrandt Toothpaste, 2.6 oz or 3 oz, $6.00

*Aveeno Skin and Bath Care (sale priced 20% off, $2.39 - $15.99)

Buy 3 of the participating items for $9.00 total (3/$9.00) earn $3.00 RR

* Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, Regular or Night, 6 oz

* Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash, 500 mL

* Glide Dental Floss, 38.3-55 yds

Buy 1 Gillette Mach 3 or Venus Disposable Razors for $6.00, earn $3.00 RR

Buy 1 Bayer Aspirin Heart Advantage, 30 ct Duo-Caps for $5.00, earn $2.00 RR

********************

There are also several BOGO (buy one, get one free) items at Walgreens this week. To see the full weekly ad, click here and enter your zip code to see the weekly ad for the store near you.

For even more deal ideas, visit Money Saving Mom's weekly Walgreens deal list here.

Happy Savings!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

WFMW: Blowing Bubbles!


It's SPRING! Finally! And it's Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer! Time to think of helpful spring ideas!

I know many of you out there endured a whole bunch of snow this winter (like we did here - a record February storm that was fun after the snow stopped) along with cold days, howling winds, and everlastingly GRAY skies.

Now that the days are getting longer and brighter, it's time to get the kids outside to play while you clean up the yard for the growing season. And what's better for kids of all ages (and dogs, too - my two big dogs love this as much as the kids do) than...

BUBBLES!

But if you're like me, mommying little ones who don't always understand that blowing bubbles works best when the bubble solution actually stays in the bottle or tray (rather than being dumped on the ground), you go through a lot of bubble solution in the warm months.

Rather than buy more, try making your own!

I worked in a Children's Museum (I'll let you guess which one) for several months during one of our Navy stations before we had children. We had a bubble room in the museum and we made our own bubble solution each day. It was a messy job, but lemon-scented, so overall not too bad!

Here's a quick recipe (I refreshed my memory here at Bubbles.org):

Using Joy (works best -it's what we used at the museum) Dish Detergent:

1 cu Joy

15 cu Water

and, for stability, you can add

1/4 cu White Karo Syrup or Glycerin

I don't remember us adding either Karo Syrup or Glycerin to the bubble solution at the museum; it was strictly water and Joy and a whole lot of stirring.

The key thing to remember with bubbles or making your own solutions is that many weather factors will affect how those bubbles "blow." Humidity, or lack of, is a big factor; also wind speed and colder temperatures.

You can also make HUGE bubble by using old plastic coat hangers. Pour the bubble solution into a deep enough tray, dip the coat hangers, and let it fly! Fun, fun, fun!

Making bubble solution with dish detergent I get for free on one of my deals Works for Me! And having fun for free with your sweetie pies I hope will work for you! Visit the linkylist at Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas today!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange - $25 FREE

I've seen this on many blogs and a kind reader send me a link yesterday, so I checked it out.

Revolution Money Exchange is a new player in the online payment banking (think PayPal). They're competing for PayPal's share of the pie by offering the same service with NO fees if both the buyer and the seller are Revolution Money Exchange members.

I've sold on eBay and I can tell you that the fees for both listing on eBay and using PayPal for payment do eat a lot of your profit. It's nice to finally see some free market competition for online banking and payment.

If you're still looking for info, read this post here at Profy.com which details what Revolution Money Exchange is all about.

And if you'd like a free $25, sign up by clicking the button on this post or in my sidebar - I'll get a referral of $10, too! Once you've signed up for your account, you can grab the button for your blog or send it via email to your family and friends. This offer ends April 15, 2008, so you'd better get cracking!

Revised 4/8/2008, 10:13 pm EST

To the anonymous commenter, yes, I do read Crystal over at Money Saving Mom. And yes, she too also noted this opportunity today here, the same day I was contacted by email by a reader of this blog regarding Revolution Money Exchange -leading me to investigate the offer independently, thus the link to Profy.com. The very nature of the internet makes information instanteously available to all.

I strive to adhere to the guidelines of good blogging etiquette; I also strive to keep this blog positive in nature. Thank you for your comment.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Going Frugal: Gardening


They look yummy, don't they?

Gardening is a great way to go frugal, if you have the time, the space, and the patience for it. I've tried my hand at it both before children and after; while I enjoy the harvest, there is much work to be done before you pick and eat those tasty fruits and veggies.

I've not gardened for the past few years because our family went through several life changes in the space of two years (moving, buying and selling homes, job changes, third baby) and gardening is most successful when you have constancy in your life.

If you've never gardened before but want to give it a try this year, start small. Try potted tomato plants and potted peppers. They're easy to grow, hardy, and delicious alone or together in salsas and other summer-friendly recipes. You won't need much space but you will need a sunny spot for those plants to flourish.

Gardening, as I said above, is most successful when you have constancy and stability in your life. And a garden isn't just a one or two season a year endeavor; good gardeners work their soil year-round to keep it healthy off-season and in the garden to maintain their crops in-season. And a daily time commitment is necessary or you'll find it difficult to see the peas amidst the weeds.

For those of you who try to live greener, gardening offers you the chance to reduce or eliminate any chemicals in the foods you grow yourself. Add in a small compost pile, pail, or tumbler, and you're doubling your efforts to be organically green.

I'm no gardening expert; in fact, my first published article (out this summer) is about one of my hilarious gardening adventures involving an eight-month pregnant me, overgrown peas, two German Shorthair Pointers (mine), and baby bunnies. So before you take my advice, check out these links:

More info that you can shake a stick at here at the Backyard Gardener.

Find your local Master Gardener (classes, seminars, school programs, and help of all kinds offered by avid gardening volunteers around the USA through local university extension offices) here.

This post is part of Be CentsAble's Tipster Tuesday; have a Frugal Tip to share? Post about it, then join in the linkylove here.

For those of you who do garden for fun, for the harvest, and for the overall frugality of growing some of what you eat, what are your best bits of advice to newbies? Share your knowledge; comment below and help the frugal faithful.

Fabulous Freebies: Curves Gym Promotion


Sometimes, it pays to kick back and relax a bit, which is what I was doing last night with my dh Knute. While watching Ocean's Twelve (a very good movie!), one of the commercials was for a new promotion for Curves. If you're not familiar with Curves, it's a women-only gym that has helped many women achieve physical fitness.

THE PROMOTION (it's a good one!):

Bring (3) milk jug caps to any participating Curves to receive a FREE 3-WEEK MEMBERSHIP! Offer good from March 17- July 17, 2008.

Click here for more info.

In my last life (ie: before kids), I taught aerobics and Spinning classes. While my personal fitness regime is limited by time constraints now (I hit our Y late at night, or go running when my dh is here to watch the kids...and there's not two feet of snow on the ground!), it's still very important to me. Taking care of your body is frugal - a strange concept, yes, but true. Poor health results in not only added economic costs, but emotional and social costs that are difficult to measure but very real.

So, frugal faithful, if getting healthy is on your personal TO DO list, but has remained an unchecked box because of costs, I urge you to take the chance to start changing your life, one little step at a time.

Happy Savings - and Happy Sweating!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shopping Scenario Sunday: Share Your Plans!

It's SUNDAY! Time to praise, time to relax, and time to scour the weekly ads for the best deals out there!

Let's all join together, frugal faithful, and share our best, most hopeful shopping scenarios for the week!


THE RULES:
1. Post your best shopping scenario for the upcoming week at your blog. Include store, what sale items you hope to snag, what coupons you'll be using (if any), and what you hope to pay and how you'll pay for your deal - with real money or ECBs, gift card, Register Rewards, etc.

2. Come back here and add your post link to the Mr. Linky! Be sure you note your name/blog and the store name where you hope to score your best deal.

3. Stick around and take a look at all the good deals that folks are cooking up across the blogosphere; you might find a better deal to help you this week!

4. Be sure to mention Shopping Scenario Sunday in your post with a link back to this post!

My hope is that by sharing our scenarios, we can save money and time. And if anyone encounters problems (ie: low stock, coupons not accepted, etc), please come back and share that information by leaving a comment.

Thanks for joining in the fun!

*******************************

Here's my best Shopping Scenario for the week (thanks for the heads up, Be CentsAble!):

Walgreens

Buy (4) Wrigley's Gum Big Packs (the 17 stick ones, not the multi-packs) at $1.19 ea ($4.78)

Buy (2) Posts Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Chocolate Clusters at $2.00 ea ($4.00)

Buy (4) Aveeno Skin and Bath Care at $2.39 ea (I'm hoping these are in stock!) ($9.56)

Total: $18.34

Use these coupons:

for Wrigley's

*B1G1 Free coupon from 3/2 Sunday Insert

*Walgreens 7-Day Coupon (in their weekly ad): 3 packs/$2.00

*Walgreens Easy Saver Coupon (in April Rebate Book): 3 packs/$0.99

for Post

*(2) printables for $2.00/1 box of Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters (print here and here)

for Aveeno

*(1) printable for $1.00/1 Aveeno Product (print here)

*(1) $1.00/1 from Sunday insert today (4/6)

*(1) $1.50/2 from Sunday insert today (4/6)

Total after coupons: $5.37

Use my RR (Register Rewards) from last week of $4.00

Final Total: $1.37 OOP cash

EARN $10.00 in new RR on buying 4 Aveeno!

(Even if you don't have any RR or Gift Card $, this scenario is a possible money maker!)

**Revised 4/7/08, 10:30 pm EST:

If it looks too good to be true, it may well be!

The B1G1 Free coupons are only for Wrigley's, not Extra.

The coupons out this Sunday (4/6) for Aveeno are not for the $2.39 bar of soap. All other Aveeno prices are in the $6.00 + range. Spendy!

The $2 sale on Post does not include the Chocolate Clusters.

So, I bought (3) big packs Extra for $0.99 using the (2) Walgreens coupons.

And, because I'm a fun mom, I bought a big bottle of Magic Bubbles for my three sweeties. Frugal? Not really. Fun? ABSOLUTELY!

I used my $4.00 RR from last week and paid $0.21 in tax. I don't have any RR to use this week but that's fine; I still have CVS to plunder!

And, I still used my (2) $2.00/1 Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters; I swung through Wal-Mart for some paint for my Girl Scout Troop and saw they were still priced at $2.32 there. I bought two boxes for a grand total of $0.64 plus tax. Not too bad!

Bottom line: be flexible in your scenarios, your stores, and your shopping. And celebrate the good deals you find by accident!

Thanks for sharing your scenarios!

Fabulous Freebies: Mary Kay TimeWise

Click here to request a free sample of Mary Kay's TimeWise Microdermabrasion set.

Click here to request a free sample of Dove Cream Oil Intensive Body Lotion.

Click here to request a Reach Access Flosser Sample Pack.

Click here to request a free sample of Dunkin Donuts Coffee.

Click here to request a coupon for a FREE Yoplait Kids Yogurt.

Happy Savings!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Super Savings Saturday: More Kroger Deals


It's Super Savings Saturday over at Money Saving Mom - go join in the fun and see how much the frugal faithful have saved this week!

I did my usual Friday Krogering yesterday and of course, made use of the Kroger 10 Item Mega Sale to fill my cart with 30 of the participating items along with my other necessities.

These 30 goodies above were $55.00 (mind you, that's the sale price - all the 10 Item Mega Sale items are priced at either $1.00, $1.50, $2.00, and $2.50).

I paid $29.50 for them after the $5.00/10 items multiplied by 3 = $15.00 was discounted.

I also had $10.50 in doubled coupons for some of these items.

My total savings on these 30 items was $25.50 - a total savings of 54%. Not bad! And I haven't even taken into account that these items are at sale price, not full price. Even more total savings!

My total bill yesterday at Kroger for these items and the rest of my necessities was $86.20 for $171.o1 worth of goodies. I saved $84.81 with sales and coupons, a savings of 49%!

And I'm stockpiling my pantry, a key part of using coupons to be frugal. Buy low, buy much, and spend less over time.

The Kroger 10 Item Mega Sale runs through April 13 in the Cincinnati area; I'm eager to see the coupons in tomorrow's paper and how they match up to the sale. I foresee many good deals next week, too!

Happy Savings!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Coupons, Part I: Work for Yourself


If I told you there would be a twenty dollar bill hiding in your Sunday newspaper, I'm betting you'd run to the curb next Sunday morning in your robe and slippers as you giggled with glee at the prospect of finding free money.

If I told you there might be two twenty dollar bills in that newspaper, you'd probably get up at o'dark thirty and wait in a lawn chair at the curb to make sure no one else got those greenbacks.


While you'll never find a bank who will exchange a fistful of clipped $1/1 coupons for actual currency, I do urge you to start thinking of those coupons as money - money, that with a bit of brainpower and hard work, you can "earn" through reducing your total grocery, personal care, and household items budget category.

For example, let's say that I'm newbie to the frugal life. I've done my homework and created a workable household budget for my family that addresses our needs and goals. But after looking at my household budget and my financial goals (whatever they both might be as mine will differ from yours, a basic truth of the Frugal Journey), I decide that I need an additional $100/month to meet both. What should I do?

The quick response in our consumer culture? Make more money! Most people would assume this means they need to increase the amount of money coming into their household. Maybe you already squeeze every penny until it squeals and you genuinely do need to increase your income. As layoffs and downsizing occur, foreclosures loom, gas and food prices rise, and real estate in certain markets remains outrageously overpriced, many good people are struggling just to make ends meet each week. I certainly admire those of you out there who are making it under just such circumstances.

But if you haven't tried using coupons yet, you should, no matter what your family's financial situation might be. Using coupons is like working a part-time job for yourself.

But before I delve into that concept, let's go back to my original statement, that you need an additional $100/month to meet your budget and financial goals. Let's assume you take a part-time job to make the difference - what would it cost you in time to make that $100/month?

Let's speculate that you find a part-time job for $8.00/hour . I'll make this an optimistic scenario and assume that you won't need to consider the possible cost of childcare in order to work; you're lucky enough to have a spouse or family member or friend who will watch your child(ren) for free.

Dividing $100.00/month by $8.00/hour gives you 12.5 hours each month. But you and I both know that you'll never see all of of that $8.00 an hour - Uncle Sam wants his cut, too. Again, for the sake of simplicity (because tax rates vary state-to-state and because additional income may affect into which federal income tax bracket you fall), we'll slice off a clean 20% (and this too is optimistic) off the top of that $8.00/hour and hand it over to the government.

Now that $8.00/hour you're making nets out as an actual $6.40/hour. Let's divide again.

$100.00/month by $6.40/hour equals 15.625, or 15 hours and 37 minutes each month.

Divide that by four weeks, and you'll need to work roughly 4 hours/week to make about $100/month.

But we also need to consider the other issue in play: your travel time. How much time will it take you to get to this imaginary job? If you're in a small town, maybe a few minutes. If you're in a big metro area, maybe 45 minutes or more.

Let's keep it optimistic and assume your imaginary job is one day a week, for four hours. You only need to travel 15 minutes to get to and from this job. You'll spend 30 minutes each week going to and from your imaginary job, adding an additional 2 hours a month to your 15 hours and 37 minutes required to earn that extra $100.

Now you've committed to sacrificing 17 hours and 37 minutes each month to earn the extra $100. That nets out to 4 hours and 24 minutes per week.

That's a lot of time if you're a busy parent, or you already hold a full time job, or you're a student, or you're some combination of these three.

And, let's remember that this example was optimistic. Add in childcare, the cost of transportation, any union dues, and uniforms or work attire, and you'll need to work even more hours to offset those costs and actually take home $100/month. And if you're working more than one day a week, you'll need to add even more time to your hours/month after you calculate the additional travel time per week.

I won't even touch the psychic costs of staying in a job you hate, or the mental and physical exhaustion of working two jobs, or missing out on your family life.

So let's return to this idea of working for yourself by using coupons. If you need to increase your income by $100/month to meet your current budget and financial goals, step back from your calculator for a moment and consider this:

If you lower your budget by $100/month by using coupons to decrease the amount of money you spend on groceries and personal items, you've just "made" that extra $100.

The key is discipline (something I struggle with myself; I'm no frugal diva, just another traveller on the Frugal Journey). You must be disciplined with your budget. For example, if you're currently spending $100/week on groceries and personal care items, you'll need to drop it by $25/week to $75.00/week to make that extra $100/month into your overall budget.

Using coupons matched up with current sales, along with stores that offer rebate programs like CVS or Walgreens, can help you do this.

Many people shy away from using coupons because it seems like such a hassle. They think that it takes too much time. Yes, using coupons will take time - I won't lie to you. Time to find and accumulate them, time to organize them, time to match them with current sales, and finally, time to execute: to actually go shopping and use them.

But the purpose of the imaginary job example was to get you thinking about your time and how you manage it. Being frugal with your time is as important as being frugal with your money.

If you're willing to commit at least two hours or so a week to using coupons, or even more, you can be both frugal with your time and your money. You'll reduce your overall grocery and personal care items bill and you'll be doing it by working for yourself.

*************************

Look for my next post in this series: Coupons, Part II: Finding and Organizing

Fabulous Freebies: Connections from Hallmark


Click here to request a free Connections from Hallmark greeting card.

Free Vaseline Intensive Rescue sample here.

Free Fiber One Caramel Delight Cereal sample here (and this is good stuff-my kids love it!).

Fabulous Freebies: Free Chicken Nuggets at Walmart

Word has it (thanks, Sisterly Savings!) that FastFixins freezer bags of DinoBites and Popcorn Chicken are priced $1.00 at Walmart again this week. Click here to register for the Fast Fixins Fanatics Club and print (5) $1.00/1 coupons (all different codes!). Then refresh the page and print again. It will print (5) $1.00/1 coupons again, all with new codes.

And, if you can score all 10 bags, you can save the UPCs to send in for an additional (1) $1.00/1 coupon! Details here, along with details for another "hidden" coupon you can find on their site.

I stopped by my local Walmart today to snag this deal (it ran a couple of weeks ago and I still had five coupons left I hadn't used) but the freezer case was already cleaned out. A sure sign that a great deal is afoot!

This is a great deal if you can find it; if not, hold those coupons and wait for the next one!
Happy Savings!

Get P&G Coupons - $31 - By Mail

Love P&G products? Click here to request a coupon book by mail (6-8 weeks) worth $31 for these products:

Iams

Cascade

Dawn

Febreeze

Mr. Clean

Swiffer.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

$5.00 Iams Dog Food Coupon

Request a $5.00/1 bag of any Iams Proactive Health Dog Food here. Coupon sent by US Mail (my last one came within two weeks).

Kroger often teams up with P&G (they bought Iams a few years back) for great promotions on P&G products; this coupon can really save you mucho $$ during one of their deals.

Happy Savings!

$1/1 Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber Printable

Click here to print a $1/1 coupon for the Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber (April Walgreens Easy Saver Rebate #35) (Update - link is fixed! Thanks for catching my error, Faerie Castle!)

Get this one from Clean Home Journal, too:

$5/1 Glade Wisp Flameless Candle here

Click here to register for Home Solutions News and print lots of great coupons including:

Airwick products

Electrosol Dishwasher Detergent

Jet Dry

Lysol products

Spray-n-Wash

French's Mustard (use this at Kroger's 10 Item Mega Sale!)

and many more!

Grocery Gathering: Help for Newbies


Frugal faithful, if you haven't stumbled across BeCentsable yet, I encourage you to click over to their Grocery Gathering rules post and check for your local grocery store.

These frugal divas host this post twice a week with links to posts from around the country detailing the best grocery deals for the week at different stores. The deals are based on the weekly ad for the store and current coupons available through Sunday inserts and printables.

If you're a new frugal mom, or new to coupons and stockpiling, you can check the best deals in your local grocery stores and save yourself time (and money!).

Click over and take a looksee!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kroger 10 Item Mega Sale: The Coupons!

Alrighty, frugal faithful! I'm going to go through the items included in the sale and list the coupons I've found in recent Sunday inserts. For some, I have the date and insert for the coupon (ie: SS for Smart Source; RP for Red Plum; GM for General Mills); for some, I do not. I'll update this post as needed; email/comment if I missed any or if you've got linkage to printables.

The limit is (3) rewards per transaction, meaning you can buy any 30 of the items included in your Kroger Mega Sale and will receive a total of $15.oo off your order($5.00/10 items).

Best ways to save? Buying (10) $1.00 items for $10.00, getting $5.00 off $10.00 at point-of-sale leaving you a total of $5.00. Add coupons on top for each of the (10) items (and this works BEST if your Kroger doubles coupons) and you might find yourself at $0.00 or, even better, into those wonderful negative numbers we frugal faithful call "overage" - meaning you can get other items for free!

This sale offers many, many ways to leverage that overage in your transaction; plan on spending some time with your calculator before hitting the store.

I should remind you that I'm in the greater Cincinnati area; our Kroger ad runs Monday-Sunday and began 03/31/08. This sale runs through Sunday, April 13, in my region. Check Kroger online for details on your region.

$1.00 items

Pedigree Canned Dog Food, 22 oz (there are some $0.75/10 can coupons out there - good if you use this; printable here and here)

Gatorade Sports Drink, 32 oz

Sobe Lifewater, 20 oz

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, 6.6-8 oz

Lipton Side Dishes (rice and pasta), 4.1-6.4 oz

Haagen-Dazs, 4-4.23 oz or cup

Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce, 15.5-16 oz

French's Mustard, 12-14 oz ($0.50/1; printable $0.50/1 here)

Hormel Chili with Beans, 15 oz ($1.00/2)

Kroger Toaster Treats, 8 ct

Kroger Pretzels, 9-15 oz

Excedrin Extra Strength Tablets, 10 ct vial ($2.00/1; same coupon available as a printable here and here.)

Hershey's Whoppers or Milk Duds, 10-12 oz

Betty Crocker Cake Mix, 18-18.4 oz ($0.55/1 Mix and 1 Frosting printable here)

Pillsbury Biscuits or Rolls, 4-12 oz ($0.25/1 Crescents; $0.50/3 Grands)

$1.50 items

Scott Paper Towels Mega Rolls ($1/4 rolls)

Clorox Bleach Liquid, 82-96 oz

Philadelphia Soft Cream Cheese, 8 oz tub

Cheez-It Crackers, 7.5-10.5 oz

Peter Pan Peanut Butter, 14-18 oz

Betty Crocker Specialty Potatoes, 4.5-7.6 oz ($0.35/1, SS 3/16 and GM 2/10)

Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies, 8.5-12 oz

Betty Crocker Pouch Cookies, 17.5 oz ($0.50/1, SS 3/16; $0.60/1 printable here)

Whiskas Temptations Cat Treats, 2.1-3 oz

Beneful Dog Food Prepared Meals, 10 oz

Pillsbury Refrigerated 4 ct Biscuits or Dinner Breads, 7.5-30 oz ($0.40/2 Italian Meal Breads, SS 2/17 and SS 3/16)

Progresso Light Soup, 18.5 oz ($0.25/1, GM 2/10)

Marie Callender's Pot Pies, 10 oz

Healthy Choice Simple Selections, 6-10 oz

Frito Lay Cheetos or Fritos, 8-10 oz

$2.00 Items

Kraft Cheese, bars or shred, 8 oz

Hot Pockets, 8-9 oz ($0.50/1, SS 3/16)

Kraft Cheese Slices, 12 oz (there's a $0.75/1 Kraft Singles Select out there, not sure if it works on this promotion)

Tidy Cats Litter, 10 lb

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 4.2-10 oz ($1.00/2, SS 2/24)

Classico Pasta Sauce, 10-26 oz

Kellogg's Fruit Snacks, 4.8-9 oz

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats, 8 ct

Welch's Grape Jelly or Jams, 22-32 oz

Windex Glass Cleaner, 26 oz ($0.75/1 Antibacterial Multi-Surface; not sure if it will apply to this promotion; $0.40/1 Windex)

Dole Fruit, 24.5 oz jars or 4 pk bowls

Betty Crocker Premium Brownies, 20.5-26.7 oz ($0.50/2, SS 3/16)

Betty Crocker Muffin Mix, 15.2-19.6 oz ($0.50/2, SS 3/16)

Eggo Healthy Waffles, 12.3 oz

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls, 8 oz

Jimmy Dean Sandwiches, 2 ct

Spam, 12 oz

Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfasts, 7.8-14.8 oz ($1.00/2, SS 3/2)

Clorox Wipes, 35 ct

Shout Stain Remover Liquid, 22 oz ($0.75/1)

New York Garlic Toast or Breadsticks, 10.5-11.25 oz ($0.40/1)

$2.50 Items

Breyer's Ice Cream, 48-56 oz

Thomas' Bagels, 20-22 oz

Tombstone Pizza, 16-27.7 oz

Minute Maid Orange Juice, 64 oz

Domino Sugar, 5 lb bag

Dannon Yogurt or Smoothies, 4-8 pk or 24-32 oz ($1.00/1 4pk or 8 pk Smoothies, SS 3/2)

Chips Ahoy! Cookies, 14-16 oz

Ritz Crackers, 12.5-16 oz

Edy's Dibs, 60 ct

Kellogg's Special K Bars or Bites, 4.6-4.87 oz ( $0.70/1 Special K Protein Products, RP 2/24; $0.55/1 Special K Bliss Products, RP 3/30)

Sara Lee Fruit Pies, 37 oz

Ziploc Food Storage Bags, 7-25 ct ($0.55/1, SS 2/24; $0.40/1, SS 3/16)

Weight Watchers Frozen Treats, 4-12 ct

Popsicle Frozen Treats, 18-30 ct

Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing, 16 oz

Morningstar Farms, 5.25-16 oz

Welch's 100% Grape Juice, 64 oz ($1.00/2, SS 2/10)

Vlasic Pickles, 16-24 oz

Buitoni Pasta or Sauce, 9-15 oz

Crisco Vegetable or Pure Canola Oil, 48 oz

Thomas' English Muffins, 11-13 oz

100 Calorie Packs, 4.2-4.86 oz

Dawn Detergent Liquid Dish, 12.8-28 oz

Newman's Own Salad Dressing or Mist, 7-16 oz ($0.50/1, 3/30)

Glade Candles, 4 oz ($1.00/1 4 0z Jar Candle, SS 3/16)

Milkbone Dog Biscuits, 16-26 oz

Kellogg's Cereals, Ass't Varieties, 8.4-19.1 oz (I'm not sure which cereals are included for this deal; printable here for Raisin Bran and Raisin Bran Crunch; $0.70/1 Frosted Mini Wheats; $0.70/1 Special K)

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Lunchables, 13.2-15.6 oz

South Beach Wraps

Hunts Snack Pack Pudding, 12 ct

Email or comment with any coupons I've missed from the Sunday inserts and printables. Just like different regions run different versions of this sale, we also receive different coupons, too. Check yours to be sure!

Happy savings!

April Showers Gift Pack from Clean Home Journal

Click here to register for this fabulous freebie, courtesy of the Clean Home Journal.

Details:

The first 10,000 people* to respond will receive a Clean Home Journal™ April Showers Gift Pack that includes the following:

2-cup Ziploc® Brand Twist 'n Loc® Container

Glade® PlugIns® Scented Gel warmer with a free refill

Each gift pack comes with coupons for Fantastik®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout®, Windex® and more—with a total value of $10.

You'll need to register as a member of Clean Home Journal - it's free! - and then you'll receive their offers via email in the future, too.

Free is as frugal as it gets!

Online Shopping - Check for Codes and Make It Pay!

I, like many moms, do a lot of online shopping. It's just easy! I can surf and compare prices anytime of day (or night, more likely!) and I have the added bonus of not having to worry about one of my three junior track stars taking off at a dead sprint when my attention is diverted.

But is online shopping frugal?

It depends; if you're constantly shopping online because you just can't stop yourself, you may have a problem that is way bigger than I can address in this post. Addictive behaviors know no bounds. If you're shopping yourself into big debt, seek professional help.

Now, if you're like me, looking for a good deal without dragging three kids all over the county (and footing the gas bill for the van, too), online shopping is a no-brainer. It works and there are always great deals to be found.

But the best deals are the purchases you make online using coupon codes. But where might a new frugal mom find such a treasure trove of codes?

Why, over here at Rather Be Shopping! The owner of this website (Kyle) personally verifies that all codes work and even better, will help you out by email if you have any questions. What a find!

But if you simply shop with those coupon codes, are you getting the best deal? Could you do better?

Well yes, you could! Shop via eBates, where you can get $$ back on your purchase!

Coupon codes + money back + saving time = a frugal choice.

Just don't shop till the mouse drops!

Happy Savings!

Kroger 10 Item Mega Event: $70.21 for only...


Actually, my total was only $4.96 after the Kroger discounts and my coupons.


So, what did $4.96 buy me this morning at Kroger? Take a look:



It's a bit blurry - sorry!

This was one transaction; the 10 Item Mega sale limit is three rewards per transaction. So of course I maxed it out with 30 of the participating items (along with a couple other good deals).

Here's the breakdown with coupons used (all coupons from recent Sunday inserts; the only printables I used were (3) different $2/1 any size Excedrin.)

I should note that my Kroger doubles coupons up to $1.00. Hope yours does, too!

$1.00 items:

(4) Excedrin - (3) printable $2/1 any size, click here and here; (1) $2/1 any size (Sunday inserts) coupon

(2) French's Mustard - (2) $0.50/1 coupons

(2) Hormel Chili with Beans - (1) $1/2 coupon

(6) Pillsbury Grands Biscuits - (2) $0.50/3 coupons

(2) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - (2) $0.25/1 coupons

(2) Pepperidge Farm Goldfish - No coupons! My kids love them!

$1.50 items:

(4) Scott Paper Towel Rolls - (1) $1.00/4 coupon

(2) Betty Crocker Cookie Pouches - (2) $0.50/1 coupons

(1) Cheezit Cracker - No coupon! My kids love them!

$2.00 items:

(2) Quaker Chewy Granola Bars - (1) $1/2 coupon

(1) Shout Stain Treatment - (1) 0.75/1 coupon

$2.50 items:

(1) Dannon Light 4pk Smoothies - (1) $1/1 coupon

(1) Milk Bones - (1) 0.55/1 coupon

My other items:

(2) Cottonelle 4pk on sale for $0.99 ea - (2) $0.25/1 coupons

(1) Shed Spread on sale for $0.98 - (1) $0.50/1 coupon

Bananas, 0.87 lbs at $0.56/lb - $0.49

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In the Cincinnati area, this sale is ongoing through April 13, 2008. I plan on going to Kroger again...and again...and again!

Please note that the items included in and length of this sale will likely vary from region to regin. Visit Kroger online to view the ad for your zip code.

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I have gone through all my Sunday inserts and pulled all the coupons I have for the participating products; I plan on posting a list of these later today to help everyone in getting the best deal. Come back and check it out!

Do you have links to printable coupons for this sale? Please comment or email me and I'll add them to the list with credit back to you!

If you'd like to see how other bloggers are making this deal work for them, visit the carnival going on for this sale at Money Saving Mom!

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

$24 in CVS Beauty Coupons: Reinventing Beauty Magazine

I found this goldmine at CVS today!

The magazine is in the Beauty section (in my CVS, it was stacked on a display). It's called Reinventing Beauty and is priced at $0.99 - a great filler price for your next transaction.

AND, for that $0.99 investment, you'll get TWO sets of coupons (you can see the green booklet in the picture above) valued at $12.00 each! One is stuck to the outside of the magazine; the other is inside.

Coupons include:

*$2/any Skin Effects purchase, exp. 6/30/08

*$1/2 Dasani or Evian 1 liter bottles, exp. 6/30/08

*$1/1 Hershey Bliss 8.6 oz bag or larger, exp. 9/30/08

*$2/1 CoverGirl TruBlend, exp. 5/31/08
**In April Extra Value Book; earn 6 ECBs on any TruBlend Whipped Foundation

*$1/1 Nail Duets by Nailene, exp. 8/31/08

*$2/1 Clairol Perfect 10, exp. 5/31/08

*$1/1 Powder Palette Multi-Colord Face Powder & Blush, exp. 6/30/08

*$2/1 Pantene Pro-V Styler, exp. 5/31/08

In the spirit of ethical couponing, I encourage everyone to do the right thing and spend the $0.99 for the magazine.

If you come up with any great deal using these coupons, comment or email me! I'd be happy to post them here with credit back to you!

*Revised 4/1/08, 11pm EST:

Thanks to Heather for pointing me to the same coupon booklet online - no scans, this is legit. Click here for online printables of these.

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Also, as of today, 04/01/08, the ECBs you earned on your CVS Winter Spending will print automatically at the bottom of your receipt. You earn 2% every three months on your total spending.

If you're signed up for email alerts from CVS, you'll get an email today telling your your quarterly ECB amount and the option to print them at home. If you're not signed up for email alerts, look at your last CVS receipt from March, find the line that reads WINTER 2008 SPENDING and the amount to the right. Multiply that $ amount by .o2 (2%) and you'll know how many ECBs you'll receive the next time you shop at CVS.

Then make sure you do sign up for email alerts from CVS! You don't want to miss out on their emailed coupons!

Happy savings!