February 28, 2009

Saturday Savings Roundup: Just Kroger ;-)

I'm linking up with the big weekly savings roundup at Money Saving Mom; go visit her Super Savings Saturday post for more great savings stories from around the blogosphere!

Weekly Savings Total: February 28, 2009

I only made it to Kroger this week for what we needed; my pantry and my little stockpile of drugstore goodies are both still very full and there were no *must-have* deals for me this week at CVS or Walgreens.

Like I mentioned here in this post for Sisterly Savings, I believe in using my time as wisely as my money; when the deals aren't superb or I'm well-stocked here at home, I simply don't go to CVS or Walgreens for the week. Instead, I focus on other priorities that need my attention...and with three kids, two dogs, volunteering, and blogging, there's always something that I need to catch up on doing!

Here's what I got at Kroger this week:



Spent:$71.06
Saved: $46.06, or 39%

You can see the full breakdown of the coupons I used for this week at my weekly Let's Go Krogering! post/feature.

Did you have a great week shopping at your Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store? Please feel free to drop a link to your Krogering post in the Mr. Linky box at the bottom of my Let's Go Krogering! post; this is a weekly feature every Tuesday here at The New Frugal Mom - come join in!

~~~~~Weekly Total~~~~~

Along with this trip above, my hubs ran out to get the team snacks for our older son's soccer game this morning (without *gasp* coupons!!); total cost was $7.18.

Spent: $78.24
Saved: $46.06, or 37%


I'm still on track for my weekly budget challenge of $95/week for the month of February; I actually came under by almost $20 this week which is phenomenal for me (and my big-eating bunch!). And I still have a very well-stocked freezer and pantry.

Over time, couponing reduces your budget because of the principle of stockpiling. When you stockpile those items that your family uses regularly at rock-bottom prices (buying when they're on sale/deal already, then lowered even more by available coupons), you lower your overall costs by not waiting until you need to buy those necessary items at full price.

New to couponing? Looking for tutorials to help answer your questions?

:: For help with learning how to coupon, read my Back to Basics: Couponing series.

:: For help with how to shop CVS, read my Back to Basics: CVS Explained.

:: For help with how to shop Walgreens, read my Back to Basics: Walgreens Explained.

:: For help learning the couponing language, read my definitions in my Couponing Terminology.

How'd you do saving at the stores this week? Share your success in a comment!

**Don't forget to enter my Girl Scout Cookie Giveaway - it ends tomorrow (03/01/09) at 10:00 pm EST! Click here to enter now!!**



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February 27, 2009

FREE Sample of Parent's Choice Baby Formula



Click here to request a free sample of Parent's Choice Baby Formula (Wal-Mart brand). You can choose either Milk Formula or Gentle Infant Formula.

Even if you can't use this yourself, it's a nice little gift to pass on to someone who does have a baby or to your local crisis pregnancy center.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Frugal Time Management: Create a Blogging Schedule



I skip around the blogosphere a lot, catching up with my fave bloggers (believe me, there's many more than you see on my blogroll; I have some updating work to do behind-the-scenes) and following good links that they recommend.

Scribbit, a multi-faceted blogger who writes from her home in Alaska (and she shares some great photos), had a great post earlier this week where she shared her personal blogging schedule. She really goes into great detail about how she manages all she does (which includes her four children).

Just like any part of your life where you want to see success and sanity (work, chores, bill-paying, errands, school, exercise, etc), taking time to create a schedule of what needs to be done and when to do it is a useful exercise for us bloggers - especially those of us who also answer to the name Mommy.

As I've been rebuilding this blog (after starting it in March of '08 and then closing it down in June of '08 when I became literally overwhelmed by lack of planning), one of the things I've been working toward is creating an overall schedule of what I post each day of the week as well as when I make time to do maintenance and overhauling of the site. I want to not only give all of my fabulous readers a sense of what to expect and when to expect it, I want to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed again as this blog grows.

I've got a *loose* schedule for the week that I'll be revising as I keep reading through all the great comments you're leaving me on my Girl Scout Cookie Giveaway post (thank you!!); I really appreciate everyone's honest input. I plan on unveiling it on Monday and posting it in the sidebar; be sure to check it out!

And, behind the scenes, I'm working on the nuts and bolts of what I do here to keep my life and my blogging in balance; I'll share that schedule with you, too...mostly for personal accountability! Keep me honest, m'kay?!!

I'll be summing up my weekly and my monthly savings and goals tomorrow in my monthly Hail & Farewell post; otherwise, I'll be busy behind the scenes this weekend working on the details above and also hanging out at dinner with this bunch of crazy blogging gals (plus another bunch of great bloggers not in this picture):

Top row, left-right:

Carrie @ Carrie's Cooking

Andrea @ Mommy Snacks

Erin @ $5 Dinners

Bottom row, left-right:

Carrie @ Money Saving Methods

Emily @ Mommin' It Up!

{Yours truly!}

I'm blessed to live in close proximity to so many great women who blog (and who didn't think I was a nutty stalker when I evited them to our first dinner above) and I'm doubly blessed to be able to count them as friends.

Have a wonderful weekend and keep bringing me your best ideas for this blog at my Girl Scout Cookie Giveaway post!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 26, 2009

Frugal Reflections: Your Time vs. Your Money

As much as I adore coupons and deals and saving money, I let many of those *super* deals pass me by because I place a high value on my time.

Read more of my frugal reflections on time vs. money at my full Going Frugal post @Sisterly Savings here.



Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

FREE Potty Training Success DVD from Huggies Pull-Ups



I just opened my mailbox to find a bunch of coupons and free samples - yippee!

I've seen this freebie noted by some other bloggers recently, but it's such a good one that I wanted to point all my fabulous readers to it, too. Potty training can be an utterly frustrating experience for us parents; any extra help we can find is worth trying!

Click here to request a free Big Kid Central Potty Training Success DVD from Pull-Ups. Good while supplies last; delivery in 4-6 weeks. Scroll to the bottom of the form for the rest of the fine print.

Even if you're not actively potty training, this is a nice resource to have for when that big kid day arrives!

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 25, 2009

A Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway! Girl Scout Cookies!!



Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I'm Catholic and every year for Lent, I work on praying more and giving more as I journey toward Easter.

I also give up all things sugar (or, as I like to jokingly say, everything worth eating!). It's a small sacrifice that - given my love of cookies, chocolate, and Jolly Ranchers - gives me the chance to re-focus on my Lenten goals every time I think about how tasty a Little Debbie Cake would be with my afternoon mug of tea.

{Oh, they are ever so tasty}

But, just because I am giving sweets and treats doesn't mean I can't offer all of my fabulous readers a chance to win these:



Three boxes of Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout Cookies!

For those of you who don't know this *amazing* fact about me, I am the Girl Scout Leader for my daughter's Brownie Troop. This is my second year as Leader; I've got (16) fantastic second grade Brownies who make it lots of fun. It's a big commitment of my time, but the rewards are great; Girl Scouts offers so much to our daughters, girls who these days are bombarded with not-so-positive images from the main stream media at younger and younger ages.

We're deep in the middle of Girl Scout Cookie season, so I thought it would be fun to offer some of these tasty treats to my fabulous readers as a giveaway!

And what better cookie than the Thanks-A-Lot?!

I sincerely appreciate each one of my fabulous readers; there are lots of blogs out there, especially personal finance/frugal living blogs. That you choose to spend a few minutes of your day here with me means a great deal to me.

{For those of you who might have food allergy issues to consider, you can read the ingredient list for these cookies at the home page of ABC Bakers, the company who provides cookies for my Girl Scout Council.}

This is a fast and furious giveaway that ends on Sunday, 03/01/09, at 10:00 pm EST.

To enter, all you need to do is help me improve this blog! I've got a lot of ideas and work to do behind the scenes (February has been a busy month for me in real life), but I'd still love to hear what your best ideas are, too!

Leave a comment and tell me what you'd like to see more of here at The New Frugal Mom! More deal matchups? More freebies? More budgeting ideas? More legitimate ways to earn extra cash? Ways to monetize your blog (if you have one)?


There's no wrong answer for this - your honest input is wanted and is much appreciated!

Your comment will be your first entry; once you leave your blog-improvement comment, you can earn (2) more entries by:

1. Tweeting about this giveaway; come back and leave a comment to let me know you tweeted! (That's 1 extra entry.)

2. Subscribing to my RSS feed by reader or by email; again, come back and comment and let me know you're a new subscriber. If you're already a subscriber, leave a comment letting me know for your extra entry. (That's 1 extra entry.)


So if you do all of these (blog improvement comment, tweet, subscribe), you'll have (3) chances to win those (3) boxes of tasty cookies! And baby, those are better odds than Powerball!

Be sure to leave me an email address or some way to find you online (Blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) in your comment; if I can't find you, I can't give you your prize, right?

I'm really looking forward to your input - you guys rock the webhouse!

Good luck!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Ten Frugal {And Not So Frugal} Things About Me: Frugal 5 x 5

A while back, Cheryl @ Swap Savers tagged me for this post. I'm happy to share...but I've added a twist (because I don't know if I can come up with 25 *amazing* ways I'm frugal).

First, I'll share 5 ways I'm actively frugal with our resources. Then, I'll share 5 not-so-frugal things about me.

Why?

Well, I'm on a frugal journey just like you; I don't want to proclaim myself an expert. This blog is all about sharing what works and what has worked consistently for me with the hope that it might help one of you.

And, the frugal journey isn't about scrimping and saving without purpose; I truly believe that pursuing frugality should lead to greater opportunities for your financial life as a whole. So some of what you'll see on my not-so-frugal list reflect that reality for me on a personal level.

Oh, and before I get going, go give Swap Savers a looksee. Cheryl has set up a really useful forum for frugalistas to share useful info.

Five Ways I'm Frugal

1. Coupons. I am passionate about couponing, not because I want to stockpile 37 cans of Campbell's Soup but because effective couponing multiplies your buying power.

2. eBay. I have sold much on eBay in the past but haven't sold anything for more than a year. It's a GREAT way to unload those rapidly-outgrown kids clothes, baby gear, and toys. I also buy clothes for my kids on eBay; it saves me time + money, both of which should be used frugally.

3. Haircuts. My hubs Knute cuts our boys hair (and he is good at it!). And for myself and my daughter, I usually just wait until I have a coupon for Great Clips or SuperCuts or we'll go to the local Career Center (vo-tech school) which has a very nice salon (they do everything a high-end salon does for a fraction of the cost). While I do spend the $30 or so once or twice a year to go to a spiffy salon for a really good hair cut, that's about it; I'm lucky to have easy hair that doesn't need any color or treatments.

4. Makeup. Since I discovered the glory that is CVSing and Walgreensing late 2007, I have not paid a dime for makeup; I simply wait for the ECB deals and the Easy Saver or Register Reward deals and stock up. In fact, I have a small arsenal of foundation and nail polish under my sink that I really need to donate to a worthy charity (I'm thinking of the charities that help girls find ways to go to Prom or something -- any ideas???).

5. The Joneses. This is the biggest one: I don't keep up with 'em. I don't even try. This is a mindset, one that can be hard to enact when your friends and family live a larger-spending life than you do. It can feel like you're the Lone Ranger of the Budget when you start playing the comparing game. My best advice to you is to make no assumptions, either positive or negative, about the state of someone else's financial health. The current mortgage crisis is proof that lots of those Joneses have been paddling a leaky rowboat through a sea of debt.

Five Ways I'm Not Frugal

1. Parochial School Tuition. My two oldest attend our Catholic Church's private school; it's a pretty penny. But this is one of the biggest reasons why I'm doggedly frugal elsewhere in our lives; Catholic education is a top priority for us as a family.

2. New Cars. We've bought two cars new off the lot; our 1999 Taurus is still running strong (and has been paid off for many years) and our 2004 Sienna is just a few hundred shy of a title note. We've owned "gently" used cars that have cost us an arm and a leg in repairs long before they were paid off. We buy cars new with the idea we'll drive them for a *minimum* of ten years; we're sticklers for maintenance (most of which is covered by warranties for the first several years) and really love our cars by keeping 'em clean inside and out.

3. Dogs. I've got two big dogs and can't imagine not having a dog around. Between food and vet bills, they are a big expense financially. And with their need for walks and playtime, they're also a big time expense. But they're our buddies and they're well worth it...and I've never once worried that we might need a security system!

4. Investments & Life Insurance. I'll never rob our future to pay off our current debt. We've invested since our mid-twenties (before we had kids) and have increased our investments and life insurance as each child arrived and our future planning changed. You can't start young enough in either of these important categories - compound interest is a long-term game and health issues plus increasing age makes life insurance more expensive and more difficult to procure as you get older.

5. Splurges. Sometimes, it's nice to just order pizza for dinner. Or buy the kids a new toy or art set just because they did something superlative. And if I need a jolt of caffeine during an on-the-go day, I'll spend a buck or two and grab some java without guilt. I firmly believe that living frugally isn't living miserly. Like I said above, living frugally should open doors for you, not shut them.

There you have it! More *amazing* truths about me. Our regular programming of deals, freebies, and tips will now resume.

;-)

Just for fun, if you want to take this idea and post your own Frugal 5 x 5 on your blog, go for it! Just link back to this one here, m'kay? And drop me a comment with your link so I can come read yours, too!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 24, 2009

Awards: Thank You and Enjoy!

It's always a pleasant surprise to get an award from a fellow blogger/reader. It's even more fun to pass them along!

That being said, let me say thank you to Kari for this award:



Here are the rules for the Honest Scrap Award:

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.Show the winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” There’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

List at least 10 honest things about yourself.


I know you're just dying to hear 'em so I won't keep you waiting! Here's my (10) Honest Things:

1. My favorite color has always been green. When I was a little girl, my dad painted my bedroom green for me.

2. I like peanut butter, but I could live without it (unlike the other four people in my family!).

3. I failed my driver's test when I was 16.

4. I.love.running.

5. I'm soooo not a fast runner.

6. I ran a marathon in 1998 (ahhh...those pre-kiddo years - full of me-time!).

7. I (we, really) have some consumer debt that I'm steadily reducing.

8. I (we, really) have invested steadily since we were 25; even though the market is in a serious trough, I'm not freaking out. It will take years but it will rebound.

9. I have a great-uncle (passed away) who - during the Great Depression - was part of a group of investors who owned Mark Twain's home in West Hartford, CT (it's now a museum).

10. I grew up in Maryland but am ever so happy to be a transplanted Buckeye! O-H! I-O!

I'm awarding the Honest Scrap Award to:

Stretching a Buck

Bargain Briana

Finding Deals in the 'Ville

I Am A Money Magnet

Starting to Save

What About Mom?

$5 Dinners

And, this cute award came from Kim. Go visit her blog, especially if you're in the Louisville area; she's been a regular participant in my Let's Go Krogering! linkup each week. Give her a shout out from me, m'kay!



The Lemonade Award Rules:

It is to be given to bloggers who exhibit great gratitude and/or attitude.

It is to be passed on to 10 other bloggers

You should link back to each blog that receives an award and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they've been given it.


I'm passing this award on to (4) bloggers who really inspire me to live up to all God has given me:

Conversion Diary

Bring the Rain

Rocks in My Dryer

Keeping the Kingdom First

Mommy Snacks

Thank you for the awards, kind readers. They mean a lot. ;-)

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

HOT DEAL! Pillsbury Refrigerated Roll Catalina @ Kroger!



Not only can you stockpile some Pillsbury Refrigerated Rolls (Crescents & Grands Biscuits, 5ct) at Kroger this week for pennies, you can get PAID for buying 'em, too!

Both are priced at $1.00 ea on sale. Here's the current OYNO catalina deal:

Buy 3, Get $1.50 Catalina; buy 4, get $2.00 calalina; buy 5 or more, get $3.00 catalina.


There are TONS of coupons available for these rolls; to see the full list, go visit Jamie @ I Am a Money Magnet. She's got you covered!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Let's Go Krogering! February 24, 2009


This feature is posted every Tuesday by 5:00 AM EST with a Mr. Linky at the bottom if you'd like to add your link to your own post about what deals you found at your local Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store. Please click here to read the rules; the html code for the 149x149 button is in my sidebar.

Feel free to link up to this all week and share the good deals you find at your local Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store! As always, please add a link back to me in your Krogering post. Not sure how to do this? Just email me and I'll walk you through it!

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$

Click here for a printable file of this week's (2/23-03/01) Kroger ad matchups with current coupons (Cincy Region).


Thank you to everyone who linked up last week! I so enjoy seeing how well you do at your Kroger or Kroger-affiliated stores. Deals galore!

Remember, this linkup is open not just to Kroger shoppers, but to anyone who shops a Kroger-owned chain store (like Shaws, King Soopers, Ralphs, etc; click here for a full list of Kroger-owned stores). And this linkup is open ALL week, from now until Sunday 03/01. I hope you'll share your savings!

Here's what I bought this week:

My Krogering Trip: Monday, February 23, 2009



No spectacular deals; I actually threw a few items in the cart for which I didn't have a coupon {*gasp*} just because we needed them or I knew my kiddos would like them. One of the nice things I've discovered during the past year of shopping with a hard-core couponing strategy is that I have more wiggle room in my budget for those *just because* extras.

Spent: $71.06

Saved: $46.26


Here's the breakdown on Q's used:

::(2) Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, $2.69 ea

(2) $0.70/1 Any Kellogg's Cereal, RP 02/22

::(2) Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Sandwich Kits, $3.19

(2) FREE OM Deli Fresh Sandwich Q's (Thank you, Jennifer!)

::(3) Kleenex, 110 ct, $1.00 ea

(1) $0.50/3, SS 02/08

::(1) Cottonelle 4 pk, $0.99

(1) $0.25/1, Cellfire

::(3) Yoplait Whips, $0.64 ea

(1) $0.60/3 printable here (reached limit)

Try this Q instead: $0.40/6, GM 01/04

::(6) Knorr/Lipton Rice or Pasta Sides, $1.00 ea

(3) $0.50/2, RP 01/18

::(7) Starkist Tuna Pouches, $1.00

(2) Buy2Get1FREE, RP 02/22

(1) $1.00/1 Vocalpoint mailed coupon

::(2) Coffeemate Creamers, $1.59 ea

(1) $1.25/2 Any Coffeemate creamers, Kroger Catalina

::(2) Ronzoni Bistro Meals, $2.43 ea


(1) B1G1Free, SS 02/08

::(3) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 5 ct, $1.00 ea

(1) $0.60/3 blinkie

**Catalina Deal on PB Refrigerated Rolls: Buy 3, get $1.50**

::(1) Mighty Dog Can, $0.89

(1) FREE can coupon, mailed promotion

::(2) Martha White Muffin Mixes, $1.00 ea

(1) $0.50/2 blinkie

A few other great deals I grabbed:

::(2)Brat Rolls, $0.69 ea (marked down from $1.39)

::(1) Strawberries, 1lb, $1.98 (unadvertised sale from $2.98)

::(1) Kroger Cottage Cheese, 16 oz, $1.00 (unadvertised sale from $1.85)


Remember, you can click here for my printer-friendly GoogleDoc of this week's Kroger Ad/Coupon Matchups (Cincy Region). Please let me know by a comment if I missed any good deals; I'll revise the list asap!

To see my menu plan for this week (built around these deals + what I had in my freezer and pantry), click here.

And, just because I love to save you time, click here for the full grocery list of items needed for my menu plan this week. It's also a GoogleDoc and you should easily be able to print it right from your browser. Let me know if I missed any ingredients so I can revise it as soon as possible!

I *heart* going Krogering! I hope you'll share how much you saved when you went Krogering this week! Leave your link below and be sure to come back next Tuesday, 03/03/07, to see what I find next week and to link up your own Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store deals!

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$


**As always, please add a link back to my Let's Go Krogering! post in your Krogering post and be sure that you add your post's permalink to the Mr. Linky so everyone else can find your deals (rather than just linking back to your blog's homepage). Need help doing this? Email me and I'll walk you through it!**



Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 23, 2009

NURU Personal Finance Cards Giveaway Winners



Here are the three winners for the NURU Personal Finance Cards:

The Lady Riposter

Tracy

Tiffani


Congrats! I'll contact you later today to get your mailing addresses!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Kroger (Cincy Region) Ad + Coupon Matchups, 02/23-03/01



I've compiled the Ad + Coupon Matchups for the Cincinnati Region 02/23-03/01 into a Google Doc that you can easily print from your browser. Here it is:

Kroger: Cincinnati Region
Coupon/Sales Matchups
February 23-March 1


I've also hard linked this GoogleDoc in my first right sidebar for easy reference during the week. I'll do this from here on out, m'kay? ;-)

Please drop a comment or zip me an email if you find a deal I missed; I'll revise the GoogleDoc with credit to your fabulous self (but of course!!).

Don't forget! Tomorrow is Tuesday which means it'll be time for my Let's Go Krogering! feature. Come by ALL week long and link up your post detailing what you scored at Kroger this week. I *love* seeing all the great deals everyone finds and - you guys - THANKS for linking up. You make my heart happy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 22, 2009

Meal Plan Monday: Week of February 23



Looking for ideas for dinner this week? Go visit Orgjunkie's Meal Plan Monday post and skim the links!

It's the end of the month which means it's a great chance to clean out the pantry and freezer when making dinner. Here's what we're having this week!

Monday

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday

Brats with Kraut + Grinny Beans (this is a family recipe; Grinny is my hubs Grandma who passed in 2004 - she went by Grinny because she always smiled)

Ash Wednesday

Fish Sticks + Tater Tots with Cole Slaw and Homemade Tartar Sauce

Thursday

Meatloaf (I made so much last week that I froze half of it for this week) + Knorr Pasta Sides + Steamed Veggies

Friday

We'll be at our church's weekly Lenten Fish Fry - yum + fun!

Saturday

I'll be out for dinner with some fellow Ohio bloggers (looking forward to it y'all!); the kids & Knute will munch on Pizza Rolls + Meatball Subs with carrot and celery sticks

Sunday

Southern Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies, and Biscuits


I've posted the grocery list needed for this menu plan as a GoogleDoc; find it here. You should be able to print it right from your browser.

If you see that I missed any ingredients, please drop a comment or email me; I'll revise the document as soon as possible.

Be sure to come back on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, for my weekly feature Let's Go Krogering! I'll show you the deals + coupon matchups I found for my menu plan at my local Kroger so you can get 'em, too!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

FREE Ile de France Cheese for Bloggers + $1.00/1 Coupon



If you have a blog, you can get some free cheese courtesy of Ile de France! Click here for more details.

You do have to agree to do a product review post about the cheese; here are the official rules from their website:

Rules:

Every blogger will receive an email acknowledging its subscription to the project: "we send you free cheese".

Only fully completed subscriptions (traffic is not required) will be taken into consideration.

Bloggers will need to provide an address where someone can pick up a UPS delivery during day time.

Ile de France reserves the right to choose the bloggers it will send the cheese to, based on traffic, regular update and related subject. Bloggers acknowledge they will have to post their comments about the cheese within a month of product reception.

An email will be sent to all bloggers to let them know if they have been selected, before the 15th of March 2009.

An email will be sent to the selected bloggers, to let them know in advance when the cheese shipment will arrive.

And click here for a printable $1.00/1 Ile de France Cheese coupon. This coupon is good for anyone, not just bloggers!

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Why I {Now} Rarely Shop Wal-Mart

Once upon a time (two moves and four years ago), we lived in a little town in Illinois with no Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store.

*gasp*

I know, I know - you're wondering how I survived!

In all seriousness, even though I clipped coupons during that time period, I did so only occasionally and didn't use any sort of strategy to maximize my savings. If only I had known then what I know now....! ;-)

I was fortunate to have both a Save-a-Lot and an Aldi's in our town and the neighboring town; I did quite a bit of shopping in those two stores. But I also shopped at our town's Super Wal-Mart out of sheer necessity.

I didn't mind shopping Wal-Mart, but whenever we visited family back here in Ohio, I'd shop a bit in Kroger and remember just how much I missed the deals. I was very when we finally made it back to Ohio in 2004; Kroger and I have been like peas and carrots ever since!

Now, I shop Wal-Mart once every two or three months and only for the best coupon matchups, like this one:



(4) J&J Buddy Soaps, $0.97 ea

::$1.00/1 J&J Buddy Soap, RP 01/04

(4) Ludens Cough Drops, $1.22 ea

::$1.00/1, RP 01/04

(2) Kotex Pantiliners, $1.00 ea

::$0.75/1, SS 01/11

(3) Schick Disposable Razors, $1.97 ea

::$2.00/1, SS 02/08

(2) Beggin Strips, $2.24

::BOGOFree, SS 01/11

These were great deals worth stocking up on, but there are several reasons why shopping Wal-Mart just ain't my bag (oh, the puns!):

*Wal-Mart does not double coupons like Kroger or Meijer. This means that to get any serious deals, you'll need high value coupons, generally $1/1 or higher.

*Wal-Mart's coupon policy limits the number of coupons per transaction to (40); Kroger has unlimited coupons per transaction.

*Wal-Mart's register system is now asking for confirmation on each high dollar value coupon, something I noticed last night. For several of my coupons, the register stopped and a message like this came up: Is the coupon value correct? The cashier could not continue until she pressed yes or no after visually verifying the coupon. The net result? A situation where the cashier gets hurried and flustered and your coupons don't get properly scanned (which happened to me last night).

*Customer service. Kroger rocks on this, IMHO but Wal-Mart is still lagging in this area (in my personal experience in several towns where I've lived). When I have an issue with a coupon at Kroger, I simply chat with the customer service desk and it's resolved quickly and efficiently. When things go wrong with my coupons at Wal-Mart (like last night), I don't even bother trying to get the transaction corrected because it can take more time than I have to spare...and sometimes there's simply too much confusion about coupons on the Customer Service side.

I'm most definitely Kroger-biased and I know that I'm fortunate to have a Kroger to shop; I do well enough when I do shop Wal-Mart, but I'm very glad it isn't my sole "big" grocery store any longer.

What's your experience with Wal-Mart? Are you lucky enough to consistently do well shopping there? Any hints you'd like to offer? Please share in a comment!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 21, 2009

Saturday Savings Roundup 02/21: Little Deals Add Up

I'm linking up as always to the big weekly savings spectacular, http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2009/02/super-savings-saturday-the-cameraless-edition.html. And I love sharing my CVS and Walgreens finds @ The "Cents"ible Sawyer's webjoint, too! Go check both of these great bloggers out and add your deals!

Well, Saturday is nearly done and I finally have a few minutes to share some of the best deals I found this week.

My Kroger Trip:



Spent: $40.62
Saved: $40.69

I love going Krogering! If you find great deals at your local Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store, please come join my weekly link up, Let's Go Krogering! There are some fabulous deal-hunters linking up their finds - you can, too!

Let's Go Krogering! is posted on Tuesday and is open all week...come and join the fun!

My CVS trip:



Coupon Cravings (thanks, Erin!) tipped me off to this great Suave deal; luckily my FREE Suave coupon came just in time to grab it. The gum? The price of couponing with children! ;-)

Spent: $0.00 (I paid the $2.28 I owed after coupons with a gift card)
Saved: $7.74
ECBs Earned: $2.00 on (3) Suave products


My Walgreens Trip:

I had (2) transactions at Wags this week. Since I had (2) $5.00 in Register Rewards to use by 02/20, I grabbed some of the weekly deals and some items we just flat-out needed.

Transaction #1:



Spent: $3.47
Saved: $10.89


Transaction #2:



Spent: $0.55
Saved: $8.79


I also made a very rare trip to Walmart; I had to grab some supplies for my Girl Scout event on Saturday. Since I was going anyways, I checked the weekly Wal-Mart matchups at The "Cents"ible Sawyer and brought my coupons to see what I could find worth stocking up on.



Spent: $12.20
Saved: $15.62


And...it started snowing on our way home from our Girl Scout event; I swung through Kroger to grab some milk and juice and fresh produce. and I lucked into a sweet deal on marked down fresh Bob Evans Brats & Italian Sausage. They were marked down to $1.50 each and they had $0.35 peelies on the front, making them $0.80 after the doubled coupon. I grabbed a bunch...but I left some for the next smart bargain hunter, too! ;-)

Spent: $20.62
Saved: $18.91


~~~~~Weekly Total~~~~~

Spent: $96.51
Saved: $132.30, or 58%

I'm on track for my weekly budget challenge of $95 and I was able to stockpile a little here and a little there. Stockpiling what you know you'll need and use is the best part of couponing. Save now with sale prices + coupons and save later by not needing to buy those necessary items at full price.

Remember, a monthly food budget looks very different from family to family. What works for me might not work for you - and that's perfectly ok! The good news for those of you just starting out as couponers is that the longer you stick with couponing, the more you can lower your budget each month. Couponing really is a learned skill, one that takes time to master.

*For help with learning how to coupon, read my Back to Basics: Couponing series.*

*For help with how to shop CVS, read my Back to Basics: CVS Explained.*

*For help with how to shop Walgreens, read my Back to Basics: Walgreens Explained.*

How'd you do saving at the stores this week? Share your success in a comment!

Thank you for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Super BUSY Saturday: More Posts Later!



I've been very busy with my Girl Scout Troop this week as well as other volunteering obligations that have kept me a-hoppin' all week. I usually work on posts in advance and schedule them for publication (love that feature, Blogger!), but even finding time to keep up with that this week has been challenging.

I've got a Girl Scout event this afternoon (I'm a Troop Leader); I'll be back later tonight with my usual Saturday Savings Roundup.

I've also got some other posts in the hopper waiting for finishing, including:

::Why I Rarely Shop at Wal-Mart

::Time Is Money - Use It Frugally

::Awards - Receiving and Giving

And I'm sure I'll have some good freebies to share once I skim my email accounts, too!

Take care and enjoy your Saturday!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 20, 2009

$2/1 Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Hair



Click here to print a $2.00/1 Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Hair from Right@Home.

I'm hoping that since this is a new product, we'll see a big roll-out sale on it in the stores; I have two German Shorthaired Pointers and even with their short hair, I'm forever lugging the vaccuum out to deal with dog hair.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

$$ In YOUR Pocket: Ebates, Cashbaq, & Mr. Rebates

I'm highlighting some simple online methods that can help you keep some of your hard-earned $$ in YOUR pocket; see the $$ In YOUR Pocket portion of my right sidebar for more ideas and links.

I love shopping online; no crowds, no tired and cranky kids, and you can shop around for the best deal no matter what time of day it is.

But what makes shopping online even better is the chance to earn back some of the money you spend with sites like these:







Ebates, Cashbaq, and Mr. Rebates all work on the same basic idea: when you login to your account at any of these services and then do your normal shopping online, you'll receive a certain percentage of your purchase back as cash.

All of these sites also offer a $5.00 deposit into your account as a sign-up bonus; each site also requires a minimum of $10.00 in your account before paying you your rebate by check or via your PayPal account.

You can also earn more be referring friends; this is where the sites differ. Ebates offers a flat one-time $5.00 bonus for each referral.

Cashbaq doesn't offer you a cash bonus for referrals but does offer you the chance to earn a percentage of what your referrals earn to three levels, in the amounts of 10%, 5%, and 2%, respectively. This is a bit confusing but offers a great deal of potential for earning repeatedly over time, rather than just a one-time referral fee. Breaking it down, you'll earn 10% of your first direct referral's cash back(let's call them Your Referral One), and you'll earn 5% of their first direct referral's cash back (let's call them Your Referral One's Referral A), and finally, you'll earn 2% of that person's first direct referral's cash back (let's call them Your Referral One's Referral A's Referral 1). If you have several referrals, your chances of earning those bonus percentages increase greatly.

Mr. Rebates offers a similar referral program to Cashbaq, giving you 20% your referrals' cash back percentages. There are no "levels" of referrers in Mr. Rebates system; the 20% you earn is on direct referrers only.

You can refer friends and family using the handy email form at each site or by adding a handy button to your blog or other social media.

Even if earning cash by referrals doesn't seem like something that would work for you, it's still worth your time to investigate and sign up for one or all of these sites if you shop online. Each of these sites offers hundreds (thousands, even) of online retailers where you can earn cash on your purchase. And you can make your deal even sweeter by using an online coupon code to lower your total. Each of these sites offer active coupon codes for certain retailers; if you don't see one for the store where you need to shop, just check Retail Me Not to find a coupon code.

I've been a member of Ebates for a long time now; I've got a $35 check coming this week, mostly from Christmas shopping last November. I've signed up for Cashbaq and Mr. Rebates as well because it's a great idea to have different options to research where I can earn back the most bang for my bucks.

You won't get rich by using any of these sites, but you can definitely keep a few extra $$ in your pocket which is always a good thing.

And in the interest of full disclosure, the buttons and the links in this post go to my referral accounts at each of these sites; if you do decide to sign up through my links, I'd like to say thank you very much! I deeply appreciate it.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 19, 2009

Free Goody Hair Barrettes



Click here to request a set of free Goody Hair Barrettes for girls. (Limited to the first 1000 respondents only.)

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Freebies for Gardeners: Spring Fever!



We've got more snow showers in the forecast tomorrow here in SW Ohio, but spring is just around the corner. Here's some freebies for you green thumbs out there!

Click here to request a free sample of the AgriMarks plant markers (those little plastic signs you use in your garden).

Click here to join the Great Sunflower Project and receive a free packet of sunflower seeds. (My kids love growing these!)

Click here to join the Home Depot Garden Club for tips, ideas, and and exclusive savings.

Click here to request a free sample of Squirrel Away.

Go check out my post about container gardening @ Sisterly Savings; there's some great links to help you plan your container gardens during these last few weeks of winter.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 18, 2009

Free Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee



I saw a story on Yahoo! earlier this week that Starbucks had plans to release an instant coffee product - I guess the buzz was well-managed press!

Click here to request your free sample of Starbucks VIA; the form says to expect shipment within (2) weeks.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Hip Hip Hurray! A Giveaway: NURU Personal Finance Cards



I'm always happy to offer great giveaways of useful products to my fabulous readers, so when Crystalee from NURU contacted me about reviewing her product, NURU Knowledge for Real Life: Personal Finance, I was happy to oblige.



Just as the image caption states, the Personal Finance tips from NURU come as a deck of (30) plastic cards held together by a metal ring. They're the same size as a deck of playing cards, but the Personal Finance cards are far more useful. In bite-sized bits of information meant to be read in a short span of time (like a coffee break or on the bus/train or during your kid's soccer practice), NURU's Personal Finance tips cover these seven topics:

:: Essential Vocabulary
:: Personal Planning
:: Investing
:: Loans
:: Retirement Vehicles
:: Credit
:: Insurance

Another useful feature: the cards cross reference each other. When a topic is mentioned briefly on one card, the card number that offers the full explanation of the term is noted in a small box so you can easily find a fuller explanation of a related term.

The information is easy to read and isn't purely definitions or mini-lectures. Also listed on the cards are more interactive components like this question in reference to negative amortization home loans, "Why would anyone do this?" or a handy list titled, "Questions to ask before investing."

These cards are a great resource for improving your knowledge about Personal Finance and are super-easy to take with you everywhere. And as I flipped through the set Crystalee so kindly provided for me to review, I thought about how useful these would be for recent or upcoming college graduates.

I highly recommend the NURU Personal Finance cards and I'm so happy to offer my fabulous readers the chance to win a set!

I have (3) sets, valued at $10.00 each, to giveaway! Woot! (Thank you, Crystalee!)

I know you're itching to enter this giveaway already so here's how you can win!

* Leave (1) comment EACH day through this Sunday (2/22/09) and tell me about which area of personal finance you'd like to learn more. That's a total of (5) comments/entries.

*Subscribe to my RSS feed here for your reader or subscribe to receive updates by email here. If you do subscribe, please come back to this giveaway post and leave a comment letting me know you've subscribed; if you're already in the cool kids club and are a current subscriber, leave me a separate comment telling me that, too. That's (1) more comment/entry.

*Tweet about this giveaway with a link back to this giveaway post (you can use Tiny to shorten this post's URL for your Tweet). Come back and leave a separate comment letting me know you tweeted about this giveaway. That's (1) more comment/entry.

If you do ALL of these, you'll have SEVEN entries total for this giveaway. Only (1) entry per person will win (meaning you can't win twice).

If you don't have a blog, be sure to leave me your email address (please - I don't want to have to forfeit your prize) so that I can find you if you're a winner.

This giveaway will close on Sunday, 02/22/09, at 10:00 pm EST and I will announce the winners (chosen by Random.org) on Monday, 02/23/09.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Giveaways...Go Enter!!

I just wanted to highlight a couple of good giveaways going on right now in the bloggyworld.

::Are you still wishing you'd won my Swanson Chicken Giveaway? Here's another chance to win FREE chicken! Go visit my friend Carrie @ Money Saving Methods and enter her Swanson Chicken Giveaway. There will be (15) winners of (5) FREE coupons! Click here to enter!

::Looking for some FREE hot lunches during the last chill of winter? My friend Jennifer @ Sisterly Savings is running Week 2 of her three week giveaway for Oscar Mayer Deli Creations. Each week, one lucky reader will will (7) FREE coupons for these -- yum! Click here to enter!

And...I've got a couple of upcoming giveaways, too! Check back later today for the first one and be sure to click through your reader to enter. I'll post details of my second upcoming giveaway later today, too!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 17, 2009

Let's Go Krogering! Week of February 16, 2009


This feature is posted every Tuesday by 5:00 AM EST with a Mr. Linky at the bottom if you'd like to add your link to your own post about what deals you found at your local Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store. Please click here to read the rules; the html code for the 149x149 button is in my sidebar.


Feel free to link up to this all week and share the good deals you find at your local Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store! As always, please add a link back to me in your Krogering post. Not sure how to do this? Just email me and I'll walk you through it!

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$


Click here for a printable file of this week's (2/16-2/22) Kroger ad matchups with current coupons (Cincy Region).

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week! We had quite a diversity of Kroger + Kroger-affiliated stores as well as locations around the country. I hope Let's Go Krogering! continues to grow into a useful resource for everyone out there.

And a big thank you to my bloggy buddies who are promoting this linkup on their own blogs. Y'all know how much I love ya!

Remember, this linkup is open not just to Kroger shoppers, but to anyone who shops a Kroger-owned chain store (like Shaws, King Soopers, Ralphs, etc; click here for a full list of Kroger-owned stores). And this linkup is open ALL week, from now until Sunday 02/22.

Here's what I bought this week:

My Krogering Trip: Sunday, February 15, 2009


Well, the amazing deals of the Daytona 500 sale are now just dust on the track. (I know, I know -- will the bad puns ever end?), but I did manage to grab a few more stock-up goodies on Sunday afternoon before the sale ended. I had a coupon for every one of the (10) Daytona items, coupons that I received as part of My Magazine, the little store magazine that Kroger sends out every month or so chock full of store and manufacturer coupons as well as recipe ideas and plugs for current promtions. The coupons almost ALWAYS match up to a big sale event. See? Kroger wants you to save big, baby!

I also picked up milk and juice for $1.99 a gallon (price good ALL week through 02/22- woot!).

My Trip Totals:

Spent: $19.05

Saved: $29.36, or 61%

My Krogering Trip: Monday, February 16, 2009

Ummm...this trip didn't happen. My son had a doctor appointment with his asthma specialist yesterday morning who gave an a-ok on his lungs (he had a life-threatening attack last November) but noticed his right ear was infected; I'm not surprised. We've all been fighting a nasty flu virus here at my house over the last week. I headed from the doc's office to Walgreen's with my boys in tow, then headed home.

Today was also our big Girl Scout Cookie pick-up day (thank GOD I have a FANTASTIC Cookie Mom running the sale for our Troop!), so my evening was spent organizing my daughter's orders.

I'm headed to Kroger this morning; I'll revise this post and add my picture and totals later today.

;-)

*Revised 11:16 AM, 02/17/09*

I made a quick run to Kroger this morning. I didn't grab too much since my pantry and freezer are well-stocked from the past (2) big sale events at Kroger.

My trip:



Best deals I found: (2) Dole Specialty Salads marked down to $0.99 each. There's a blinkie at my Kroger for $1.00/2 Dole Specialty Salads, so with that coupon, these cost $0.49 each. I also found some whole wheat hot dog buns for $0.59. And I found my Vocalpoint coupons for $1.00/1 Starkist tuna package. Even though these are no longer on sale (back to their regular price of $1.50 ea), with the coupons and the $1.00 catalina for buying (5), they're still a great stock-up price.

For the other coupons I used for this trip, you can click here for my printer-friendly GoogleDoc of this week's Kroger Ad/Coupon Matchups (Cincy Region). Please let me know by a comment if I missed any good deals; I'll revise the list asap!

Trip Total:

Spent: $40.62

Saved: $40.99, or 50%

To see my menu plan for this week (built around these deals + what I had in my freezer and pantry), click here.

And, just because I love to save you time, click here for the full grocery list of items needed for my menu plan this week. It's also a GoogleDoc and you should easily be able to print it right from your browser. Let me know if I missed any ingredients so I can revise it as soon as possible!

I *heart* going Krogering! I hope you'll share how much you saved when you went Krogering this week! Leave your link below and be sure to come back next Tuesday, 02/24/07, to see what I find next week and to link up your own Kroger or Kroger-affiliated store deals!

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$


**As always, please add a link back to my Let's Go Krogering! post in your Krogering post and be sure that you add your post's permalink to the Mr. Linky so everyone else can find your deals (rather than just linking back to your blog's homepage). Need help doing this? Email me and I'll walk you through it!**



Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 16, 2009

Freebies: Where to Find Free Samples


These are just a few freebies I've received in the mail during the last two weeks. Notice that (4) of the (5) items are from Walmart's free sample page; their samples ship extremely quickly!

I love free samples but I don't scour the web every day looking for them. I don't have that much time to devote to the task. Who does?!! ;-)

I always skim the weekly freebie offerings at my friend Andrea @ Mommy Snacks blog and my friend Alyssa @ Kingdom First Mom's blog when those posts pop up in my Google Reader; sometimes I see things there that I might want for myself and I'll click through to the link and enter my info.

When I want to search for freebies (I like to do themed freebies: dogs, makeup, food, etc) for a post here @ The New Frugal Mom, I hunt through several different websites that I have bookmarked where the freebies are legitimately 100% FREE - no shipping, no offers to complete, no other stuff to buy.

Because you, fabulous reader, might have more time to devote to freebie-searching than I do, I want to share some of the best places I've found to locate freebies. Many of these sites offer a daily or weekly email newsletter filled with fresh and new freebies which makes it easy for you to get 'em!

Walmart Free Samples
(Fastest freebie shipping. Period.)

ThunderFAP
(This one has a weekly email newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on what's fresh in FREEland!)

Shop 4 Freebies
(Thanks to my friend Carrie @ Money Saving Methods for pointing me to this one!)

Twisted Branches
(I love this one - people are really nice here in what they share!)

Free Sample Forager
(Lots of Google Ads to wade through, but this is chock full of good stuff as well.)

Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder
(This one is updated every few hours.)

Freebie Fix
(Subscribe for a daily email of latest freebies.)

You'll notice if you visit all of these sites that they'll sometimes post the same freebies as other sites; this is common. When a manufacturer rolls out a new product, they release freebies to the public to build buzz. Those freebie links get picked up very quickly by sites such as these. If you've already requested a particular freebie from a link at one site, chances are good that you'll get a screen that says Sorry! One offer per household! if you try to request the same freebie from a different site.

One more thing: some folks like using RoboForm to speed up the tedious process of entering in name, address, etc, on all the freebie forms. I don't personally use this download so I can't speak to it either positively or negatively. I type really fast so I don't mind filling out each request. If you have experience with RoboForm, chime in and tell us whether you like it or not.

Do you have a favorite freebie site? Let me know! I'm adding this list to the right sidebar for reference and I'd love to add more legitimate freebie sites for everyone to explore.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Kroger (Cincy Region) Ad + Coupon Matchups 2/16-2/22: PRINTABLE



*Sigh*

It's always a bit of a bummer when the big sale events end at Kroger; the past two weeks, I've used the Daytona 500 Sale to stock up.

Even though there's no big *super* sale event at Kroger this week, there are still several great deals to be found.

I've compiled the Ad + Coupon Matchups for the Cincinnati Region 02/16-02/22 into a Google Doc that you can easily print from your browser. Here it is:

Kroger: Cincinnati Region
Coupon/Sales Matchups
February 16-22, 2009



I've also hard linked this GoogleDoc in my first right sidebar for easy reference during the week. I'll do this from here on out, m'kay? ;-)

Please drop a comment or zip me an email if you find a deal I missed; I'll revise the GoogleDoc with credit to your fabulous self (but of course!!).

Don't forget! Tomorrow is Tuesday which means it'll be time for my Let's Go Krogering! feature. Come by ALL week long and link up your post detailing what you scored at Kroger this week. I *love* seeing all the great deals everyone finds and - you guys - THANKS for linking up. You make my heart happy!

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

February 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of February 16


Go see the menu plans mega list at Orgjunkie's weekly Menu Plan Monday linkup. You'll find tons of ideas!

It's another busy week here; my Troop's Girl Scout cookies are in and we've got lots of work to do in getting them out to our customers. Everyone at my house (including *yours truly*) is getting over the strain of the flu that our flu vaccines last fall didn't cover, so I've got plenty of food on hand from last week to plan my menu.

Monday

Spaghetti & Meatballs + Salad
(Nothing fancy; Ragu sauce + Armour Meatballs a la Crockpot)

Tuesday

Grilled Chicken with Black Bean & Corn Salsa over Mixed Salad

(The Black Bean and Corn Salsa is easy to make with canned ingredients you have on hand; you can even skip the chopped cilantro and extra spices if you've got jarred salsa on hand to mix in instead. I also like to use Ranch dressing on top and some crushed corn chips - whatever I have in my pantry.)

Wednesday

Meatloaf + Twice-Baked Potatoes + Valley Fresh Steamers veggies

Thursday

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese and Smoked Sausage + Salad

Friday

Pepperoni Stuffed Pizza Biscuits + Carrot & Celery Sticks

Saturday

FREE NIGHT - seriously busy day of activities, so we'll probably clean out the leftovers.

Sunday

CopyCat White Castle Burgers+ Savory Oven French Fries with Salad

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$



I've posted the grocery list needed for this menu plan as a GoogleDoc; find it here. You should be able to print it right from your browser.

If you see that I missed any ingredients, please drop a comment or email me; I'll revise the document as soon as possible.

Be sure to come back on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, for my weekly feature Let's Go Krogering! I'll show you the deals + coupon matchups I found for my menu plan at my local Kroger so you can get 'em, too!

Thank you for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Red Box Movie Night: Frugal Reflections from Kit Kittredge, An American Girl




Last night, I zipped out of the house for a few minutes (we've self-imposed a quarantine here this weekend until all of us are feeling better) and picked up a quick treat for the kids (Burger King - not terribly frugal or healthy, which is why it's a once-in-a-while treat) as well as the Kit Kittredge movie at the Redbox across the street from BK.

I actually paid for the Redbox rental since I haven't checked the Inside Redbox site for FREE codes for a while. (Go click and check it out - you can rent movies from your local Redbox for FREE!)

This movie was well worth the $1.00 I spent. Not only is a well-made movie with several recognizeable stars, it's a great family movie. We all loved it.

Oh, and it's set in Cincinnati, so we love it for that reason, too! ;-)

I won't spoil the movie for those of you who haven't seen it, but a great deal of the movie deals with the hard times that fall upon Kit's family during the Great Depression.

I watched as Foreclosure signs were hammered into the front yards of houses in the movies; the characters were truly and utterly devastated. I couldn't help but think how that resonates with the foreclosures that so many people are facing or on the brink of facing in our nation today.

I also watched Kit's mother do all that she could to keep their home intact. I was reminded greatly of the Proverbs 31 woman who does all she can for her family and does it with a heart full of hope and praise for God.

I wondered as I watched if I would have what it takes to face such trying financial times as were seen during the Great Depression. While I am ever seeking to be more frugal in how I spend our dollars and use our resources, I am no Frugal Diva of Perfection.

I'm not even close, baby. That's why I'm The *New* Frugal Mom, m'kay? ;-)

Here's the thing: I might not be close, but I can strive to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman every day (especially the on her tongue is kindly counsel part since sarcasm is my fave anger-management tool).

How will I know when I'm *there*?

The simple fact is there is no hard and firm *there* for this frugal journey that I'm on (and that you're on). Life is full of changes - family size, jobs, and health, to name a few - of all sorts that require us to assess and evaluate how we're allocating our money and how we could change our habits and spending to conserve or create more of those funds.

I hope that each day I can be more closely aligned with the example of the Proverbs 31 woman who does much for her family and community, who loves God, and who works with the strength of her mind as well as her arms.

And I hope that if our family should ever fall into deep financial trouble like the Kittredges that I'll find the strength in my soul to make lemonade out of lemons.

Thanks for reading and subscribing to The New Frugal Mom!

Couponing Terminology

Recently, Kari from Hi my name is asked this question in a comment:

I'm new to this blog, what does RP insert mean? I'm thinking the coupons in Sunday's paper?

It's a good question; thanks for asking, Kari. It's easy for those of us who've been couponing for a while to forget how confusing all the terminology and acronyms can be when you're just starting out.

I'm going to do my best to define and explain the terminology in this post; I'll hard link this post to my sidebar section labeled, "Resources for Beginners."

Can I ask you fine readers to help me? If I miss a term or if I don't adequately explain something, would you chime in with a comment at the end and share what I missed? Thanks in advance for your help!

$~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~$


Sunday Inserts: These are the coupon inserts filled with manufacturer coupons found in Sunday newspapers; they each have different names which are abbreviated to their initials in posts/forums/etc. Each newspaper subscribes to and pays for their inserts so you should check the newspapers in your area to see which ones they carry.

RP: Red Plum Sunday insert

SS: Smart Source Sunday insert

PG: Proctor & Gamble Sunday insert (generally only once a month)

GM: General Mills Sunday insert (generally once every two months or near major holidays/food buying seasons)

V: Vlassis

Doubling/Tripling: Some stores double or triple the face value of a coupon up to a certain amount. Check with your local stores to determine what their coupon policy is.

Printable: These are manufacturer coupons you can print from reliable internet sources such as SmartSource.com, Coupons.com (I have a Coupons.com widget in my header you can use), RedPlum.com, CoolSavings.com, etc. You can also find printable coupons available at many manufacturer's websites for their products. Some stores offer printable coupons you can use in-store as well; these can be both manufacturer coupons as well as store coupons. Please note: a reliable printable coupon is not one that has been reproduced in any manner and redistributed as a .jpg (etc.) file or other file format where multiple versions of the same coupon appear on the same page. This is likely fraudulent.

Catalina: These are coupons printed at point-of-sale by a small machine at the cash register. They print separately from your receipt and can include both coupons to use in the future on products or a coupon for a certain $ amount off on your next purchase at that store. Example: a store runs this promotion, buy (5) Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks in one trip, receive a $3.50 coupon to use at your next visit. The $3.50 coupon generated at the point of sale of the (5) BC Fruit Snacks would be a catalina.

Store Coupons: Some stores issue coupons that can ONLY be used at their store, thus they're known as store coupons. These can be sent via US Mail, by email, or might be found on the bottom of your receipt.

eCoupons: These are coupons available from sites like Short Cuts and Cellfireand P&G eSaver that load electronically to your shopper's loyalty card and are redeemed at point of sale when you purchase the item using your loyalty card.

Peelie: Sticker-type coupon found on the front of a product.

Blinkie: Coupon from a little machine found near or above a product in-store.

CRTs: CVS store coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt.

Shopper's Reward Cards: These are the shopper loyalty cards offered by stores like Kroger or CVS (Extra Care Card) that are necessary to get the current sale prices on items. They are also used to collect data about your shopping history so the stores can tailor their store coupon offers to you.

Stacking: Using (2) legitimate coupons - one a store coupon, the other a manufacturer's coupon - for the same product in one transaction. Some stores allow this; some do not. Be knowledgeable of your store's coupon policy.

Coupon Policy: Each store's rules on acceptance of coupons, whether they double and if so, to what amount, and the number of coupons that can be used in one transaction. You can request by email from the corporate site the coupon policy for your local store. Print it and keep it with you in case of confusion.

ECBs: Part of the wonderfulness of CVS! These are rebates on certain weekly and monthly items at CVS that print as coupons at the end of your receipt when you purchase the ECB-generating item and when your CVS Extra Care Bucks card is scanned at the beginning of your transaction. Consider them CVS money to be used in future transactions at CVS. ECBs from one item can be used to purchase the SAME item again (as long as there is a limit of more than one). ECBs do have an expiration date so always check yours to be sure you use them before the exp. date!

Rolling Over ECBs: This is the primary way of saving money at CVS. First, you earn a few ECBs on a low-dollar item. You then use those ECBs (as well as store coupons & manufacturer coupons) to purchase more items that will generate new ECBs. The goal is to pay as little out of pocket while increasing your total amount of ECBs from transaction to transaction.

Easy Saver Rebates: This is the monthly rebate program at Walgreens. Buy certain items that are in the Easy Saver Rebate Catalog (available in store and online), then submit your receipt (by mail or online) and receive a rebate check by mail. Better way to go? Request your rebate amount be added to a Walgreens gift card and receive your rebate amount + 10% more on your gift card.

In-Ad Coupons at Walgreens: Coupons for certain sale items that run each week in the Walgreens ad. These are considered store coupons and can be stacked with manufacturer coupons.

IVC (Instant Value Coupon): These are coupons found in each month's Easy Saver Rebate Catalog; they are considered store coupons.

Register Rewards: These are $ amount coupons good on your next purchase at Walgreens that print at point of sale. They are generated by certain sale items each week that are designated Register Reward deals. Example: buy (3) shampoo @$3.00 ea ($9.00 total) receive $4.00 in Register Rewards at checkout. Unlike ECBs, Register Rewards CANNOT be used to purchase the same item again in your next transaction.

YMMV(Your Mileage May Vary): This simply means what worked for one person at a certain store may not be exactly replicable by another person at a different store location. It might work, it might not, or it might work only partially.

WYB (When You Buy): Commonly used acronym in posts, forums, etc.

OYNO (Off Your Next Order): See Catalina definition above.

MFR: Manufacturer Coupon

Q: Coupon

OOP (Out Of Pocket): The amount of real money spent after all sales, coupons, ECBs, Gift Cards, etc, are taken off your order.

BOGO: Buy one, get one free; used in reference to sales in-store where you can BOGO items and also to coupons for products that state BOGO on a certain item.

Overage: This is hands down my favorite couponing term! Simply put, it means that the value of your coupon (or coupons if you have both a store and a mfr coupon) are worth more than the actual value of your item. Example: a bar of soap is on sale for $0.89 at a store that doubles coupons valued at $0.50-$0.99 to $1.00. You have a mfr coupon for that item with a face value of $0.50 that will double to $1.00. At point of sale, your coupon will get you your item for free and will earn you an additional $0.11 off the rest of your order. Important note: not all stores will allow you overage from coupons. Many will adjust the coupon value down to the price of the item; you'll still get the item for free but you won't get overage.

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Please don't hesitate to leave a comment if I missed something or didn't explain if fully enough. If you find something I left out, I'll revise this post with the new information with credit to you.

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