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!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Super Saving Saturday: CVS, I Missed You!

I have to tell you - I only went to CVS this week to flip some ECBs that were about to expire. I hadn't been to CVS for over two weeks as the deals just weren't overly fab and I had a well-stocked pantry.



Like I mentioned here, I found these tearpad coupons at my usual CVS for the FreeStyle Glucometers that are part of the May ECB deals, buy (1) at $9.99, earn $10.00 in ECBs, limit 2.


Since my usual CVS was out of stock and the super-wonderful ladies who work there informed me that there would be no more trucks before the end of the week (which is the end of May and thus this deal), I took a trip down to the CVS across the river with hopes I'd find the monitors.


And I did!


Here's my first transaction:



(1) FreeStyle Lite Monitor, $9.99


(2) Boxes Lipton Tea, 2/$6.00


(1) Skippy, $1.50


(1) Hershey Bar, $0.79 (and thoroughly enjoyed by my boys!)


(1) M&Ms, $0.50


(1) Small notebook (not pictured as my older son was busy drawing in it), $0.99



Coupons used:


* (1) $19.99/1 FreeStyle coupon, adjusted down to $9.99


* (2) $0.60/1 Lipton coupons, SS 5/18


* (1) CVS printed FREE Hershey Bar coupon


ECBs used:


$2.99 and $4.69


Cash OOP:


$0.12


ECBs earned:


$10.00 on FreeStyle


+++---+++---+++---+++


Transaction #2

(1) FreeStyle Freedom Monitor, $9.99

(2) Ragu, 2/$3.00

(1) J&J Softwash Lotion, $5.99

(1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean, $2.99

Coupons used:

(1) 19.99/1 Freestyle, adjusted to $9.99

(1) $0.50/2 Ragu, SS 5/18

(1)$1.00/1 Aquafresh Extreme Clean (sorry, can't remember location!)

ECBs used:

$10.00 from Transaction #1

Cash OOP:

$0.49

ECBs earned:

$17.99 total

$10.00 (FreeStyle)

$3.00 (for purchasing a total of $10.00 in Lipton, Ragu, and Skippy over the two transactions)

$2.99 (Aquafresh)

$2.00 (J&J Softlotion)

+++---+++---+++---+++

Get ready for the June ECB deals at CVS! Check out SlickDeals listing of June's Monthly ECB deals here!

And be sure to visit Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom and CVS SuperStars at The "Cents"ible Sawyer for more inspiring deals! You might just be able to grab one of those deals for yourself!

Going Frugal: Custom Cake: $5.75

This cake was so easy to make! I assembled and decorated it with my three children underfoot last Sunday; it only took about twenty minutes.

Directions on how to make this racetrack cake can be found here. Family Fun is a great resource for planning easy birthday parties.

Before we lit the candles at my son's birthday party last Monday, I threw a few of our endless Matchbox cars on the tracks (after washing them, of course!). Everyone loved it!

Here's my cost breakdown:

Cake mix, $1.00 (on sale at Kroger)

Frosting, $1.50 (I bought the large sized can of white frosting and used green food coloring I already had on hand)

(1) Box Good & Plenty Candy, $1.00 (I used the white ones to make lines on the track)

(1) package chocolate sandwich cookies, $2.25 (These are crushed and used to make the track)

The other ingredients (eggs, oil, etc), I had on hand.

I substituted green decorative sugar sprinkles on top of green frosting (which I had on hand) for the green sprinkles/jimmies on white frosting seen in the picture on Family Fun. One, I couldn't find a huge tub of just green sprinkles, and two, the amount needed would have cost me about $5.00.

And I used a small Ziploc baggie to make the white lines around the base of the cake and the track. I loaded the baggie with white frosting I had saved for this purpose (the rest I dyed green) and cut one corner off to make a quickie pastry bag.

All in all, I spent $5.75 and about thirty minutes (ten minutes to mix the cake and throw it in the oven; twenty minutes to decorate it) to make this cake. Everyone loved it and we still have half of it left over in our freezer.

Do you make or buy birthday cakes for your children? Do you have a great success story or a horrible disaster story? Have you bought a cake only to realize you could have done better yourself?

Share because you care!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

*CVS* Tearpad Freestyle Monitor Coupon - $19.99/1


I saw info about this tearpad coupon available at CVS for the FreeStyle monitors posted by fellow BBJ Mama Blogger Jenny earlier this week at her blog. Jenny's CVS posts aren't just inspiring (she knows how to save some moola), they are hilarious! I think she'd keel over if she ever had to live in a town that didn't have a CVS. Go take a looksee when you have time, m'kay?

Well, since I had $4.99 in ECBs about to expire, I took a trip to CVS yesterday to flip a little deal and thought I'd look around for the coupons. I didn't expect to find them; my CVS has a bunch of funny and fab ladies working the registers who are always happy to see me and my three weefolk, but never seems to have any of the great coupons other CVSers find in-store.

Imagine my surprise when I passed the pharmacy counter. Lo and behold! There they were!

Of course, there were no monitors, so I made a trip to my second, secret-destination CVS this morning and found them there. I'll post that trip later this week.

And, if you haven't done much CVSing or didn't get a chance to look at the monthly deals for May, here's how to use (2) of these coupons to get $20 in ECBS for FREE!

* Buy (2) FreeStyle Lite or Freedom Lite (or one of each) Monitors, $9.99 with CVS Card

* use (2) $19.99/1 tearpad coupons (the cashier will/should adjust this coupon value down to the purchase price of $9.99 for each coupon)

Final Total: $0.00 (Fuh-REE!)

ECBs Earned: $20.00 ($10/each monitor with a limit of {2} per card)

Now you're ready for wheeling and dealing at CVS when the June Monthly ECBs start!

If you're new to CVS, read this to help you get started on saving $$ and rolling your ECBs. If it seems overwhelming, remember, I was once a newbie, too, as were all of us out here in the blogosphere. Don't be afraid to comment or email any of us with questions! We're here to help - and Jenny is here to spread the joy!

Happy Savings!

$10/$30 Walgreens Coupon: Friday 5/30 ONLY


Click here to print your $10/$30 purchase at Walgreens good only for Friday, May 30.

Remember, when shopping Walgreens:

1. Your number of items must be equal to or greater than your number of coupons;

2. Walgreens $/$ coupons are only accepted by the register if your total hits the purchase amount (tomorrow's is $30) before tax; and

3. One of my kind readers, Holly, last week commented with this info:

I had some trouble at Walgreens today. My order before coupons was just over $20. I gave the $5 off $20 first. But then when my Walgreens coupons from the ad brought the total down, the $5 was voided out by the register and added back in. The manager ended up letting pay $5 less in cash, but it does seem that your post-Walgreens-coupon total has to be over $20 for the register to allow the use of the coupon.

Be sure to do your math in advance of hitting the store if you intend to use any Walgreens Easy Saver coupons or Weekly Ad coupons.

Happy Savings!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wife Swap on ABC: They Want YOU, Couponers!

I just had to post this email I received today (and I'm sure many of you frugal mommy bloggers did, too).

I would just be tickled to see someone from the blogosphere end up on this show. Here goes:

WIFE SWAP, ABC'S HIT PRIMETIME SHOW, SEEKS SUPERSTAR FAMILIES!

The premise of Wife Swap is that one parent from each household swaps places for a week to experience how another family lives. It is an incredible family experience and opportunity to both learn and teach different family values.Wife Swap is a fascinating story of what happens when two couples see themselves and their partners in a whole new light. The New York Post says, "It should be called 'Life Swap' because it's not just the wives who learn something here. It's the families."

Potential families can live anywhere in the United States, but we ask that families applying for the show consist of two parents and have at least one child, age 7 or older, living at home. Specifically, I'm looking for families who know how to save a buck by clipping coupons! If you're serious about your coupon regime, I want to hear from you!

To submit for the show please email a family photo and description to: gaby.wifeswap@gmail.com. Families featured on the show will receive a $20,000 honorarium. If you refer a family that is selected you receive $1,000.

If you are a family unit (two parents and children between the ages of 7 and 17) who love an adventure, I would love to hear from you today! Also, please feel free to send this casting along to any families you feel would be appropriate!

More information is available at: http://abc.go.com/primetime/wifeswap.

Wow - I actually just read that line about referrers getting $1,000! Nice for whoever gets it!

Ok, if anyone out there applies and gets a casting call on this after reading it here, email me! I'd love to share your story and let everyone watch your big debut!

After reading that email, I would imagine that ABC wants to swap a budget-conscious, couponing mom with Susie Spendy. Should make for some interesting TV!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going Frugal: Home Owner's Warranties

If you buy a "used" home, having the seller purchase you a home owner's warranty (HOW) should be one part of your contract negotiation.

Why?

Well, when you buy a newly built home, that home carries a builder's warranty on the home and the components for anywhere from one to seven years depending upon your builder. So if your roof springs a leak, your foundation cracks, or any number of structural things go wrong, you simply contact your builder and hope they make good on their word (it's SO important to investigate your builder and their history via your local BBB if you're considering a new build).

But if you buy a home that's older, one past the new builder warranty dates, you should require your seller to purchase you a one-year home owner's warranty as part of the sale contract.

Our HOW came in handy last year. Here's how:

*Hot Water Heater Replacement: $1200 normally. Our bill: $55 service call.

*Furnace Stopped Working -- on a COLD January night: $??? for a new furnace (I was so happy to be warm again that I didn't even ask the nice repairman the retail cost of new one + labor). Our bill: $55 service call.

We opted to renew our HOW this year when it expired after the year's coverage paid by the seller of our home was done . It wasn't cheap - the total cost for the year is $500 after we added on optional air conditioner coverage to the plan. We paid cash in three installments at the beginning of the year.

And now, as my utility sink is clogged and leaking, and my front yard faucet is leaking, too, we'll pay our...drum roll please...$55 service charge to have both fixed this Friday.

While home owner's insurance will cover damages that occur due to accidents, nature, etc, when home systems fail from normal wear and tear, the cost of fixing them is on you, the home owner. A HOW is in essence an insurance policy for home maintenance and major repairs/replacements.

I'd love to hear from you: do you or have you in the past carried a HOW? Was it worth it or a waste of money? And if it did save you $$, tell your story - what happened and how much would it have cost retail to fix oop without a HOW?

*Revised Wednesday, 5/28/08: Just a quick addition to this post. If you're in a "used" home you purchased without a HOW and would like to buy one now that you own the home, you can. While HOW are normally purchased at the closing on the home, you can purchase one anytime during your home ownership. Most HOW companies will offer you a free quote online and do not require a full home inspection to purchase the warranty.

Google "Home Owner's Warranty" and research the companies that serve your area. Get competing quotes and be sure to read the fine print on what's included for coverage. For instance, we paid a little more to add on coverage for our air conditioner as it's not standard in the HOW. Having replaced our air conditioner when we owned a home in Florida for $1500 (and this was a small, one-story home in 1998), we knew we didn't want to risk replacing one on our two-story home and paying full price.

Share because you care!

After Much Thought and Prayer...

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was contemplating closing down this blog.

Why?

Well, the world that is frugal/deal blogging is a demanding and time-sensitive one. You, kind readers, want and deserve the freshest information on the hottest current deals.

And I, kind readers, am finding it difficult to keep up with the pace required.

May, the month that tests me each year with the sheer number of scheduled events for our family, is coming to an end. While I am hopeful for the respite of summer vacation, I should mention that my children are the ones who get the break from their normal routine, not me. Summer for me means three hot and oft-cranky children from dawn until dusk with precious little peace for writing.

As I've worked so hard here to create this blog and do believe that I still have much to contribute to the frugal blogosphere, I have no plans to shut this blog down entirely. To do so would be an act of over-tired and thoughtless impatience on my part.

But I've been thinking and praying about what I'm doing with this blog and with my other blog and ultimately, what motivates me to blog at either place at all. Why? Why be another voice out there blogging deals when so many others do it far better than me? Others like Andrea, Alyssa, Denise, and Crystal. And what do I really hope to accomplish as a blogger?

To be honest, pride has motivated me here (as in, Wow! So many people are reading this!). While StatCounter and Feedburner offer valid and useful tools, they also offer daily ego boosts via numbers. It's easy to lose perspective on what I feel blogging should be: communication, education, enlightenment, and support. All of these available at your fingertips, for free, via your fave blogging platform. It's mind boggling when you consider the ramifications.

And while I do my best to manage our finances, I am not perfect. This month, I've busted our grocery budget, going over by $50. Not critical, but still there, a reminder that there is always room for improvement. And while we're chipping away at our debts one day at a time, the cost of living has gone up and up over the last several months and seemed to explode with gas prices hitting $4.00/gal this month.

I'm proud of what we've done (continued building our investments/financial plan, paid off one debt, have our <2> children's tuition for the upcoming school year ready to pay in full - cash - come August), we still have a long way to go to be in the black. I'm hopeful, but I'm not perfect. I *gasp* used our remaining credit card this month and while those expenses will be paid from the budget at the end of this month, I did use it.

While we aim to be debt-free (minus mortgage) in twenty-four months or less, we will never back down from our retirement investing to eliminate debt (compound interest works best over the long term, not the short term), lower our life insurance coverage for anyone in our family (we carry for ourselves and our children), nor would we give up our children's Catholic education (and, therefore, required school tuition) to eliminate debt.

My point: while I consider myself frugal and financially prepared for my family's future, I by no means consider myself an expert or a voice of authority on all things frugal. I'm just another traveller on the Frugal Journey and I too stumble as I find my way.

As I continue blogging here, I'll post about my Frugal Journey and how we're succeeding with our debt busting plan. Will I still blog deals? Sure. When I can, I'll post those deals I use myself each week (Kroger, most notably). Will I hold myself to an unrealistic schedule (and therefore disappoint you kind readers when I fall short due to the constraints of time and space)? No.

There is this beautiful thing beyond the computer screen called LIFE. And I so love mine, and love the people that inhabit it, that I can say honestly that blogging cannot compete with the joy that is bubbles, chalk, and dripping Popsicles on a sunny summer day.

The FeedBurner chicklet - pride as HTML code available to all! - is coming down. Some of my weekly features will be scaled back. And I'll be posting those pesky details on Walgreens and Coupons before long, I promise for the umpteenth time!

And I will be here, kind readers, helping you I hope, to save a few dollars, stretch your budget, and most of all, to know that you are not alone in your quest for financial freedom.

And, lastly, for those of you struggling to find your way in our consumer-saturated culture, remember:

Happiness isn't found in a new dining room set or a new boat or even an armful of trinkets from the $1.00 bin at Target.

Happiness is found within your soul, in the simple choice to enjoy what blessings God has given you each day, no matter how humble those gifts may seem.

The freedom to blog is a blessing and so I will be here, kind readers, as LIFE permits!

Monday, May 26, 2008

To Our Armed Forces: Thank You

While many of us celebrated this day with family and friends at cookouts (myself included), let us not forget for whom this day is intended.

To the soldiers, sailors, grunts, and flyboys, and all those who have served our fine nation valiantly and with great dignity, I thank you for your sacrifices and for your defense of FREEDOM.

Even if you don't agree with the current administration or the Iraq War or with the local yokel politicians who run your town, your rights to peacefully disagree through free speech, protests, and voting are freedoms you enjoy because there are those who are willing to answer to call to duty.

Our nation may not be perfect, but it's still the best darn country in the world.

God Bless America, and God Bless America's Brave Soldiers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Going Frugal: Kid's Birthday Parties


I'm a mom to three great children who are truly blessings from Jesus; as hard as modern mommying is (and you can read my thoughts on that issue here at my personal blog), they are worth it. Every minute of every day - even when they're misbehaving!

So when their birthdays roll around on the calendar, I love to celebrate the joyful day they came into this world with our family and friends.

I do not, however, think that children's birthdays should mean their parents are required to fork over serious moola. While I do agree that certain milestone ages and cultural/religious events are worthy of larger, more elaborate parties, I think that we as a society of parents have gone completely overboard on the birthday party issue to feed our own egos.

While the Ginormo-Party-to-Outdo-the-Neighbors trend hasn't disappeared completely - you can read some examples of overboard parties here (I warn you, I had sticker shock as I read this article) - there's definitely a new trend of using the traditional birthday party as a chance to give to those in need.

One organization that can help you plan a donate-to-charity birthday party for your child, Smiling Kids Party with a Purpose, will even send you party stationary to help you plan your party. If you do decide to host a give rather than receive birthday party for your child, be sure to get them involved in the planning. Ask them which local charitable group they'd like to help, create a theme around the charity (I like the idea of borrowing a grocery cart and having a contest to see who brings the most canned goods for the local food pantry), and then be sure to contact the parents of the guests personally to explain what you're doing and why.

Even if you decide to have a traditional party, you don't need to rob your child's college fund to make it special. I'm planning my son's 5th birthday party with our family and friends; here's some of the things I'm doing to keep costs low:

*Make my own special birthday cake. I'm trying this cake here; I made a SpongeBob cake for my youngest son's birthday in January which was a huge hit with everyone. You'll save on the cost of the custom cake and can tailor the cake to the needs (I'm thinking of you mommies with food allergy children) of your guests.

*Go online to find ideas for games/activities. I plan on using a couple of the ideas from Family Fun here for a racecar birthday party. Frugal + recycling = good for the budget and Mama Earth!

*KISS. Simplicity is good for the soul. Don't over schedule activities for the party - it's a fun day, not a school day - and remember that time to just play with family and friends is more valuable than yet another hurry-up game with confusing rules.

*Party Favors. I try to keep these simple as well - a little candy, a couple of pencils, maybe some stickers. I don't send kids home with a two pound bag of candy, but it is a nice gesture to acknowledge your guests with a little something.

The most important part of the party is just to make your child feel special and loved. No pony rides, magician, or super-duper event can replace you and your love for your child -- no matter how much they might whine for a party just like fill-in-the-blank's!

And - as I also believe that as parents we have a duty to teach our children sound money management -if your child does whine for a super-duper, over-the-top party and you simply cannot afford it, you have a great opportunity to teach your child about budgeting and financial responsibility. Be open and honest, without any guilt or anger, and seize the chance to sit down with your child and plan the day and the budget together.

I'd love to hear about some of your most successful and simple children's birthday parties! Comment with details and share the knowledge!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Walgreens $5/$20 *5/23 Only!* Scenario Ideas

It's almost here - another chance to rock Walgreens this month with the one day only (Friday, 5/23) $5/$20 purchase coupon; print yours here.

The legalese reads one offer per customer; as this is a coupon available via their website and not emailed individually or linked to a shopper's card, I think it's worth a shot to print more than one and use them for different transactions. I do intend to do so myself. I shop a very friendly Walgreens with cashiers who get a thrill out of seeing my deals. I know that's not always the case with Walgreens having read many disgruntled comments about Walgreens throughout the blogosphere.

Two key points to note before you go shopping tomorrow, no matter what you buy:

1. The Walgreens register system requires the total number of items to EQUAL to or GREATER than the total number of ALL coupons. This includes the $5/$20 coupon, Easy Saver coupons, Weekly Ad coupons, manufacturer coupons, and Register Rewards.

So, say I plan on buying three Crest Pro-Health Night toothpastes tomorrow and using the $5/20 coupon, the $3/2 Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste May Easy Saver Catalog Coupon*, and (2) $1.00/1 Any Crest Toothpaste coupons.

*Revised Friday, 5/23: the May Easy Saver Catalog $3/2 Crest Pro Health Toothpastes coupon is only good on the 4.1 oz size; this RR deal requires buying the 6 oz size. Sorry for the mistake!

I won't revise the remainder of this example as it still serves to illustrate the point of how your number of coupons cannot exceed your number of items. For the sake of the example, assume that you could use the May Easy Saver coupon, m'kay? :)

(The Crest Pro-Health Night Toothpastes are 3/$9 and generate $3.00 in RRs, a nice little deal to add onto to reach $20 for the $5/$20 coupon.)

Adding up our items and our coupons in the above example, we see this:

My total Crest Pro Health Toothpastes = 3

My total coupons used for the toothpastes, including the $5/$20 = 4

To have the register accept my coupons (forgetting for a moment that I still need to reach $20 to use the $5/$20 coupon), I'd need to add (1) more item to my order so that my total items will be (4) and equal to my total coupons (4).

This is one of the reasons why Walgreens can be very frustrating. My advice: plan your scenarios out and add up your items and your total coupons (remember to include any RRs you intend to use as the register system considers those coupons) to see if they're equal. If your coupons outnumber your items, plan for some inexpensive fillers (my fave, M&Ms) to make the totals equal.

2. To use the $5/$20 coupon, your items purchased must total $20 BEFORE tax. One very nice cashier at my local Walgreens informed me of this the last time one of these coupons was released.

Also, remember that the order in which the register receives your coupons is critical!

Give coupons in this order:

1. Walgreens $5/$20 coupon

2. May Easy Saver Catalog coupons

3. Walgreens Weekly Ad coupons

4. Manufacturer's coupons

5. Register Rewards

Then pay your balance with cash oop or with your rebate gift card.

+++---+++---+++---+++

Scenario idea:

Buy (2) Crest Pro-Health Night Toothpaste, $3.00 ea

*use $3.00/2, May Easy Saver Catalog*

* Revised Friday, May 23: as noted above in red, the May Easy Saver Catalog $3/2 coupon is good only on the 4.1 oz size; this RR deal requires buying the 6 oz size. Apologies to all!

*use (2) $1.00/1 Crest Toothpaste, PG 4/6

Buy (1) Glide Floss, $3.00 ea

* use $1.00/1, PG 5/4

Buy (2) One-A-Day Mulitvitamins, $6.99 ea

*use (2) $1.00/1, SS 3/16; printable $1/1 available here


Add (1) filler ($0.50 or less) to make total items = 6

Total before coupons: $23.48 + tax (assuming a $0.50 filler)

Total after $5/$20 and the (5) coupons (= 6 coupons): $13.48 + tax OOP

Earn $8.00 in Register Rewards ($3.00 RRs on 3 Crest/Glide; $5.00 RRs on 2 One-A-Day Multivitamins)

Then, use the $8.00 RRs and the $5.00/$20.00 to jumpstart your next deal!

Of course, you can break this scenario apart into the two different RR deals if that works better for you; I plan on only making (2) transactions so I'm trying to give myself the best possible deal for the second transaction.

I'd love to hear how you plan on maximizing this rare and wonderful $5/$20 Walgreens coupon!

Comment and share your plans!

Happy Savings!

Guest Post by Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping

It's Thursday, two days later than the usual Tuesday - apologies to all - time for more great ideas and coupon codes from Kyle, the mastermind behind Rather-Be-Shopping. If you're an online shopper, bookmark his site; he's bound to have a coupon code you'll need!

And before you point-click-buy, remember: it's only a great deal if you actually need it!

Get In Shape Frugally

Three years ago, I was at my annual physical and my doctor told me I was 45 pounds overweight. Of course, I already knew this as the mirror does not lie. But I was the king of procrastination and kept telling myself, "I will start working out next month." Next month would come and go and still I did nothing. But having my doctor tell me the health risks associated with extra weight did the trick for me. After all, I want to be at my children's college graduations and weddings. So I vowed to get in shape. It took a couple years of hard work, and dedication, but I am proud to say I lost the weight and feel great about myself! Plus, I did it frugally. No expensive gym membership or home gym system. Here are a few of the things I did:

~ Find Free Calorie Burners. - Stop using the elevator, take the stairs instead. Park way out at the far end of the parking lot and walk. If you do these small things everyday, you will burn a lot more calories every week and they all count!

~ Start Walking or Biking. - The best way to burn enough calories to burn fat is to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes at a time at least 3-5 days per week. Forget the expensive gym membership, there are plenty of free ways to get your exercise. Start doing a brisk walk or bike ride around the neighborhood in the evening or early morning. Also, dust off that bike, or buy one if you don't have one! I ride my bike all the time. It is great frugal exercise. Plus, it is something fun that you can do it with your kids.

~ Give Yourself Permission. - As a very busy father of 3 small children, it was hard to give myself permission to exercise. So I try to exercise after the kids go to bed, or at my lunch break, so it does not take away from family time. By finally giving myself permission to exercise, I came to the realization that I actually became a better Dad. My mind was sharper, I did not get tired easily, and physically I could keep up with them! I now can run alongside my 6 year old son and not lose my breath. What a great feeling!

Unfortunately, I can't say I spent zero money getting in shape and losing weight. I did buy a mountain bike and some free weights. Although, both were money well spent because they helped me reach my goal and they didn't require a start-up fee and monthly dues like a gym membership. Here are a few related coupons that can help you save some money. But like Marianne says, it isn't a great deal if you don't need it! For example, try to put new tires on your old bike before you buy a new one!

Sports Authority.com
Save 15% Off Any Single Item in your Online Order (Discount Shows at Checkout)
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All: Coupons For Sports Authority

Eastbay.com
Save 10% Off your Entire Online Order
Coupon Code: LKS18Y5M
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All: Coupons For Eastbay

Modell's Sporting Goods.com
Save 15% Off your Entire Online Order (Discount Shows at Checkout)
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All: Coupons For Modells

Dicks Sporting Goods
Save 15% Off your Entire Online Order (Discount Shows at Checkout)
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All: Coupons For Dicks Sporting Goods

Footlocker.com
Save 15% Off your Entire Online Order
Coupon Code: LKS18M55
Expiration: 5/30/08
See All: Coupons For Footlocker

Fogdog Sports
Save 15% Off your Entire Online Order (Discount Shows at Checkout)
Coupon Code: None Needed
Expiration: 5/31/08
See All: Coupons For Fogdog

*SIZZLING DEAL!* $5/$20 Walgreens Coupon 5/23 ONLY

Click here to print your $5/$20 coupon for Walgreens, good on Friday, May 23 ONLY.

These coupons are a rare offering from Walgreens; make plans to use yours tomorrow!

I'll revise this with deal scenarios later today; I just wanted to give everyone a heads up!

Happy Savings!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Here to Stay!

Thank you to everyone who sent a comment or email my way - your words of support mean so much!

As I've continued to clean up the blog a bit (bloggy housekeeping), I finally added a FeedBurner subscriber chicklet to the right sidebar.

Can I tell you I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the number of subscribers?

I had no idea that this little frugal bloggy venture of mine reached so many of you on a daily basis. I'm humbled. Thanks for reading.

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Upcoming posts:

Getting Fit Frugally by Kyle, at Rather-Be-Shopping's (his weekly online coupon roundup)

Going Frugal: Fun and Frugal Birthday Parties (I'm planning my son's 5th for this weekend!)

Kroger Deals 5/19-5/25: A Week for P&G eSavers

As always,

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fabulous Freebies and Temporary Link for MSM.com

I know, some break from blogging, right?

Can blogging be an addiction? And, more importantly, should blogging to help others be considered a good addiction to have?

Alas, those are questions for another day.

:)

Here's a quick freebie that landed in my inbox today. I love this product and know many of you out there would appreciate this sample:

FREE sample of Splenda No Calorie Sweetner Flavors for Coffee (includes *2* packets!); click here.

Get a $1.00/1 for Edge Shave Gel coupon here.

Print $1.00/2 Ziploc Bags, $0.75/1 OFF!, and $1.00/1 Shout Laundry Stain Remover here.

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Have you been looking for new posts from Crystal at MoneySavingMom over the last few days and wondered if she fell off the edge of the blogosphere?

Nope, she's still very much with us! She's just having some technical issues with Blogger (I can totally relate) and tending to her very sick little girl right now.


But because she is dedicated to bringing you the deals, she's set up a temporary MSM blog here. Visit and drop her a note of encouragement, would you please? She's done so much for so many.

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I've enjoyed the last 24 hours of not thinking about blogging; thanks for your understanding, kind readers. May is a particularly over packed month for me and my family. Finding time to write quality posts and bring you good deals has been challenging.

I'm praying and thinking about what God wants me to do, what I want to do, and what my family needs me to do.

I've been chatting via email with my fellow BBJ Mama Blogger, Andrea. And I mean no offense by that nickname for that photo - that statue is real, it's down the road from me, and I gotta be honest, it freaks my kids out when we drive past it. And no, it's not made of real butter; that's just one it's many nicknames. Anyhow, Andrea lives on the opposite side of BBJ from me and she and I are trying to find a time to meetup and chat deals and bloggy stuff in the near future. Andrea has such a positive attitude; it's hard not to catch her enthusiasm and rethink how I can keep bringing this blog to the masses. Thanks for your support, Andrea!!

I really do enjoy writing this blog and bringing you deals, freebies, and ideas on how to become more frugal in your life. With gas at $4.00/gal, food prices rising in kind, and home values stagnant or plummeting, now is the perfect time to examine your financial life with honesty and maturity. I like to think that this blog has helped one or two of you out there in finding ways to be more frugal and therefore find more financial freedom.

Again, I'm going to keep praying, thinking, and considering what comes next for The New Frugal Mom. More to follow...!

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CVSers and Walgreens shoppers: keep an eye open for hot deals over the Memorial Day holiday this Monday; check the upcoming week's deals (5/25-5/31) for CVS here (courtesy of SlickDeals - thanks!) and for Walgreens here (courtesy of HCW - thanks!).

Make sure you check your email for any possible coupon releases on Thursday from CVS!

And thanks for dropping by TNFM; I truly appreciate it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Blogging Break

My cup, both in real life and the blogosphere, runneth over!

I'm taking a bloggy break for this week while I consider how much time I can honestly devote to The New Frugal Mom. I'm not one to do anything half-way and I'm feeling as if that is what's happening as I try to juggle offering new content every day here with the needs of my family.

In the meantime - when you need your deals fix - go visit my fellow BBJ blogging buddy Andrea at MommySnacks. She is so good at blogging the deals that I know you'll find some great posts to help you save $$.

I'm considering taking some of the best posts from here and moving them to my personal blog, Writer-Mommy, and continuing to post some deals/frugal tips there.

No matter what I decide to do, I will keep all of you informed, kind readers!

Look for Kyle's guest post on Getting Fit Frugally to be posted here soon. He's got some great ideas!

Thanks for your understanding!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

*NEW* The $5.00 CVS Challenge!

The day is here! Time to share your ideas with CVS newbies around the blogosphere!

A quick review of the rules:

1. Come up with your best scenario/scenarios for the upcoming week at CVS using the current weekly ad, monthly deals, and coupons available. Your budget for Out of Pocket (OOP) expenses on the first transaction is only $5.00 (either cash OOP or ECBs on hand).

2. Using up to (3) scenarios (we don't want to overwhelm the newbies with too many transactions), offer up your best scenarios to "grow" that $5.00 into more ECBs to use in following weeks.

3. If you want to divide your $5.00 allowance over the three scenarios to make them work, that's fine!

4. Be sure to list coupons by inserts and/or with links to printables to make it easier for everyone to follow along.

Read more here about why I've changed my Shopping Scenario Sunday to The $5.00 CVS Challenge.

Now, here's my $5.00 CVS Challenge!

Transaction #1

(1) Addidas Deoderant, $4.99

(1) Tums Quik Pack, $4.69

*use FREE Addidas Deoderant, RP 4/13

*use $1.00/1 Tums Quickpack, SS 5/18

TOTAL OOP: $3.69 + tax

ECBs Earned: $4.99 on Addidas; $4.69 on Tums

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Transaction #2

(1) Colgate 360 Clean Toothbrush, $3.99

(2) Oral B Indicator Toothbrushes, $1.99 ea ($3.98)

*use $1.00/1 Colgate 360, SS 4/27

*use $1.00/2 Oral B Indicators, P&G 5/4

*use $4.99 ECBs earned on Addidas in Transaction #1

TOTAL OOP: $0.98 + tax

ECBs Earned: $3.99 on Colgate; $2.00 on Oral B Indicators (earn $1.00/1)

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Transaction #3

(1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean Toothpaste, $2.99

*use $1.00/1, SS 5/4

*use $2.00 ECBs earned on (2) Oral B Indicators in Transaction #2

TOTAL OOP: $0.00 (this actually will be negative $0.01; add a small filler of $0.25-$0.50 to Transaction #3 to make your final total a positive number otherwise the register may not accept your $2.00 in ECBs)

ECBs Earned: $2.99 on Aquafresh Extreme

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Total Spent OOP: $4.92-$5.17 + tax

Total ECBs you'll take home after Transactions 1-3: $11.67

($4.69 on Tums; $3.99 on Colgate 360; $2.99 on Aquafresh Extreme)

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I'd love to see the smart deals you've come up with to help "grow" your $5.00!

Post your scenarios and details on your blog, then drop your permalink below!

Don't have a blog? Don't sweat it! Just comment below with your scenarios.

Thanks to everyone in advance for sharing your knowledge; newbies, please feel free to comment with questions!

Happy Savings!


Super Savings Saturday at MSM

I'm linking up with Crystal's Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom; click over and see all the great deals found by the Frugal Faithful this week!

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Alas, it was slim pickings for deals at CVS last week. Since I plundered Walgreens during their P&G RR promotion, the pantry and the goodie box in our hall closet are both well stocked; why spend real $$ or ECBs when I can just "shop" my stockpile at home, right?

I'd decided to skip CVS altogether this week and save my $12 ECBs for another week...that is, until I came home after school drop-off to find one of the pink fake-Crocs belonging to my daughter (purchased a couple of weeks ago at CVS with ECBs, of course) had been happily chewed to bits by our dog, Brownie:


This photo is from one of his prior frenzied moments (German Shorthair Pointers are bundles of energy); I imagine he looked much like this as he tossed my daughters fave new summer shoes around the living room and office.

So what's a mom to do?

Head back to CVS right away!

And so, rather than a picture of my purchase at CVS, I offer you this pseudo-MasterCard commercial moment:

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1 pair pink Croc-like summer clogs, on sale 25% off:

$5.99

Getting a replacement pair for FREE before my daughter discovered her new shoes had become new chews:

PRICELESS

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I did have to burn $7.00 in ECBs (I bought {2} candy bars as fillers for my sons) leaving me with only $5.00 in ECBs to flip in next week's deals.

Which brings me to my next point: I've been hosting Shopping Scenario Sunday here for about a month; as I've worked on changing this blog around a bit, I've been thinking of ways to improve everything and help people who are newbies to CVS, couponing, and living with a frugal mindset.

Starting tomorrow, Shopping Scenario Sunday will change!

Since rolling ECBs at CVS offers one of the best ways to start slashing your grocery/personal care/paper goods budget, I want to focus on helping newbies master the CVS system.

Instead of Shopping Scenario Sunday, I'll be hosting...

The $5.00 CVS Challenge!

Here's how it will work:

1. Come up with your best scenario/scenarios for the upcoming week at CVS using the current weekly ad, monthly deals, and coupons available. Your budget for Out of Pocket (OOP) expenses on the first transaction is only $5.00 (either cash OOP or ECBs on hand).

2. Using up to (3) scenarios (we don't want to overwhelm the newbies with too many transactions), offer up your best scenarios to "grow" that $5.00 into more ECBs to use in following weeks.

3. If you want to divide your $5.00 allowance over the three scenarios to make them work, that's fine!

4. Be sure to list coupons by inserts and/or with links to printables to make it easier for everyone to follow along.

Here's my reasons for coming up with The CVS $5.00 Challenge:

*The CVS ECB game can be tricky and intimidating to newbies who've never tried it or to those out there who are new to coupons in general.

*When starting the CVS ECB game, it's best to set a low OOP budget, like $5.00, and "grow" your ECBs over multiple transactions.

*Many of us are very experienced at the CVS ECB game; this is a chance to use that knowledge to help beginners throughout the blogosphere.

There you have it! A new way to play the CVS ECB game by helping newbies learn the ropes. And who knows - you just might be inspired yourself by some of the deals you find, too!

Come back tomorrow (Sunday 5/18) and look for The CVS $5.00 Challenge post; I may not have all the whiz-bang buttons done, but I'll have the Mr. Linky box ready and waiting for your great ideas!

**Want to get cracking on your deals? Check out Alyssa's preview of tomorrow's (5/18) coupons here; check out Taylor Town Preview, too.

Remember, coupons can and do vary by region and newspapers!**

As always, thanks for spending a few minutes of your day reading The New Frugal Mom, and...

Happy Savings!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Best of the Week: Friday, May 16, 2008

Here's my quick rundown of links, posts, freebies and more for this week:

~GROCERY GATHERING at BeCentsAble

Kristin and Chrissy, the supermommies behind BeCentsAble, have revamped their blog design after taking all of your helpful comments into consideration.

Now you can easily locate the best deals available each week at "your" store on their right sidebar; click here and check for your store.

If you're unfamiliar with the Grocery Gathering, it's a simple idea that just makes sense! Bloggers from around the country scope out the best deals available each week at "their" stores, matching the sales up with current coupons, then post the deals on their blogs. Then they're linked up at the Grocery Gathe