Friday, May 28, 2010

House Party!

I was selected to host a House Party!  Yay!  I will be using the fabulous products that the Ball canning company sent me to make some salsa and jam with friends.  So, what is a House Party?  It's a business that other companies can use to get their product out to the consumer in a fun way.  Hosts are chosen from an applicant pool and then mailed all kinds of freebies, coupons and gifts.  If you're interested in hosting your own House Party, click here.

So here's what I got:

15 reusable shopping bags for guests
Canning starter set with TONS of pectin for making jam.  Coupons to hand out to guests on the left.
More pectin.
Coupons for me to buy the jars for guests.  I'll be getting 4 cases FREE.  Recipes to hand out on the right.
This is the best part (in my love of all things home-ec): a stainless steel canner!  This thing rocks!  It'll be so good to replace my warped bottom canner.

I also got a box of canning utensils, a huge flip chart (so I guess I can pretend I'm a TV chef while I'm explaining to everyone how to can?) and two cook books.  Not too bad.  I can't wait!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wolf Creek Lodge 80% off on

I was so excited to see this in my inbox!  Wolf Creek Lodge is now on the list at  Then I clicked on the link to see it was the Valley Wolf Lodge location.  Ok, so not quite as excited.  I've heard the Valley location is not as good as the one near Lake Coeur 'd Alene (my husband's favorite restaurant), but I'd be willing to try it with a discount.    So go here to get 80% off a $25 gift certificate.  Keep in mind that it's not a true 80% off.  They add an 18% gratuity before discount, you must buy two entrees and it's good for dinner only.   Use the promotional code FLAG to get 80% off at check out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Score on Free Movie Codes & Getting More Organized

After a separation from my camera (since Saturday!)  I've now got it back and can finally start to unload all these blog ideas that have been building up in my head! 

Ok, so with the school year ending, I've been planning ahead to put together gift bags (I'll share the final result soon) for my kids teachers.  On Sunday, I stopped at Fred Meyer and was digging through the coupon exchange when I found TWO free movie codes for Red Box!  Yay!  I can't wait to tuck them in with some other gift goodies.  The beauty of this is that someone just tossed them as if they were useless!  What?  I wonder about that....

The little organizer, above, is something I picked up at Ross a couple of weeks ago for $3.99.  This is what I use when I'm planning my shopping trips, or organizing my coupon binder (which I will talk about more, later-it's brand spankin' new!).  I keep all the weeks current ads, Catalina coupons that have my free Red Box codes, anything that needs to be filed.  So far, it's working well for what I need.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Freebies In The Mail

Just for 'liking' Kraft foods on facebook, I received this little box of goodies today in the mail!  I checked to see if they are still offering this promo, but it looks like it's gone.  The coupons are for a FREE package of cheese bites and a box of mac-n-cheese.  In another offer, I  got a free Easy Up for my daughter who will hopefully be potty training this fall.  These types of offers are so worth it!  Keeping an eye out can add up to savings over time.  I avoid signing up for the companies newsletter-uh, no thanks!  Maybe I'll be missing out, but I feel like I'm able to find what I need though searches.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reusable Sandwich Bags: Finally DONE!

My dear friend, Carol, asked me to make some reusable sandwich/snack bags for her family fovever ago (I think it was two months) to which I not-so-humbly replied "No problem!  That's like a home-ec project!  It'll be quick."  Ha!

So she determined that she'd like to have 4 for each family member.  Two large sandwich size, and two snack size.  I used this tutorial from Noodleheads as a guide, only I didn't recycle old pants, but tried to pick material that matched the personality of each person.  I also sewed most of the velcro on with a zig-zag stitch-it reminded me of brown lunch sack fringe.

I'm awaiting feedback to see how these work for her.  I'm making some for us too.  The type I made won't work well for sloppy sandwiches or food that's very moist.  They will be great for crackers, tidy sandwiches, and certain veggies and fruit.  These will be a money saver in the long run, and will work well if there's a large rotation.  It cost me $10 for supplies to make 16 bags and I will be able to make about 8 more.  Even better, I plan on using my scraps I already have to try to get a large supply built up.  Oh, and I just ♡ the Mom tattoo material!  I might just make my toddler a dress out of it for kicks:)

Thanks Noodleheads!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being Frugal: A Three Week Summary

Here are just a few of the ways I've been saving!  It's mostly with our grocery budget, but I wanted to show a couple of other things I'm doing, too.
            I paid 29¢ for this + a 20oz. pkg of ground turkey not in the picture (we ate it already:).

                                           58¢ for this (16 chocolate bars were free!):

                                          77¢ for these (not to mention the free re-usable Target bag I got last month):

Totally free-I even made money on the pasta sauce.

                      More money-making pasta sauce.

Of course, coupons matched with sales made the above possible!

Birthday gift for 6 year old boy=$4 + tax.  Butterfly net, jungle bubbles, Star Wars kite and that tiny foam ball molding 'stuff' (I don't know what to call it-it never dries out like playdough!)  This is the third time we've given this gift in the last two months and it's always a hit, especially the butterfly net.  You can find all of this at Dollar Tree.  The nets are getting harder to find, though.

And for the last thing: Rebates That Get Dumped On Debt
I love this one!  Every time I get a rebate back from a product I've bought, I immediately put it in the 'bank' envelope.  This envelope holds any check or money that's going towards the current debt in our debt snowball (That's the car right now.  Note too, that we only have 4 debts left.  We have paid off the first 5. Our debt-free date according to that calculator is much sooner, too.  I'm not sure how to edit that.).  I also add any money that I have left over from the budget.  The $12 above is from an oil change that cost $18 instead of the $30 I budgeted.  I'm starting to feel more comfortable putting budget leftovers on debt as we've gotten a little more streamlined.  The bank that holds our car loan must think I'm crazy, because I come in there with these little payments, but I don't care-it's just that much sooner that we'll be free!

Thanks Confessions of a Couponaholic, Hip2Save and my friend, Joelle.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Having Fun, Saving $24 From a Parade?

This was a fun Saturday for us!  We went downtown to see the Jr. Lilac Parade, as our oldest was marching with her middle school band, let the kids play, then went out to eat at our favorite burger joint.

So, I'm not too sure that going to parades is the best strategy for saving money, but we were given two coupons for free haircuts at Sport Clips from one of the paraders (is that even a word?)!  Yay!  That's a $24 savings for my boys.  I usually cut my oldest son's hair, but the younger two have difficult hair to cut.  One always looks like I hacked it, and the other has the most gorgeous, wavy hair, that it's hard for me to shear it-I really like to keep him a little longer.

Eating out is something we haven't given up completely, and we budget to eat out about twice a month.  We love going to D'Lish!  If you like burgers (which they're not a fav for me, but these are so fresh and delicious + their fries are to die for) this is the place to go.  The decor leaves a bit to be desired, but after your first bite, you won't care!  We've even determined that these beat In-N-Out in California.

Here's a Happy Mother's Day shout out to all of you who work so hard raising up your kiddos.  I love being a mom!  Our family isn't perfect, and I wouldn't trade what I have or the heartache we've been through in losing our third child, Rose.  When I see these five faces, I know why I work as hard as I do with my husband to get our finances right.  We want to pass on the money skills that we're learning at our age so that they will have them as they start out their adult lives.
                      Emma didn't know we were taking her picture.  She's usually a very smiley girl:)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scan Giveaway

(maybe some day I'll get pictures of food/drink that's not been half eaten or or totally swigged!)

I just had to share this little tidbit I knew nothing about until Sunday!  So I went to Albertsons and used some of my doublers and coupons.  Here's what I got:
  • 1 bottle of Welch's grape juice with fiber
  • 6 packages of tortillas
  • 2 packages of Oscar Meyer deli lunch meat
My total came to $3.80, which didn't seem right to me.  I got out to the car and looked at my receipt and the grape juice rang up at $5.69!  I almost fell over (kinda hard to do in a car).  I looked at my daughter and told her we had to go back in since that juice should have been $3.

Long story short, the checker refunded me the entire $5.69 for the juice since it had been misrepresented on the display.  The fiber juice wasn't included in the sale, so she called it a "scan giveaway".  It's an Albertsons policy to refund the entire amount of the item if it rings up wrong (meaning you get the item free!).  So I guess the moral here is to always check your receipt!  In the end, they paid me $1.89 to get my stuff:)

*Product Update:  Ok, so that grape juice with fiber is like colon blow!  My two youngest have been going and going, so it does work!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

April Grocery Totals

I knew this month wasn't as good as previous ones!  BUT it's still way lower than what I was spending on groceries and more importantly, I was within budget (although my goal is for under $300, I budget $400 for food/household)!  So, here it is:

Total Spent on Food: $304.77
Manufacturer's Coupons Used: $155.00
Store Savings: $217.17

image credit: foto factory

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Family Coupon Outing

I'm sure most people would call this crazy, but I took all five kids (and Teddy B, the Kindergarten bear that's visiting our house for the weekend) on a coupon mission.  Husband was out of town, so I was the lone adult.

  Yesterday was 4/30, the last day to use quite a few coupons in my stash.  I saw this post from Pocket Full of Coupons (thanks!) and that was all it took-I was off!  I'd been trying to use those darn Seattle's Best latte coupons for a month!  Obviously free coffee is a bonus anytime, but I happened to have sixteen of those coupons (thanks Joelle) that would make my 16 coffees free!

So, since I still consider myself in the learning stages of couponing, I decided to make the outing an adventure, a hunt for the coffee.  I also told them they could each pick out a box of Cheez-Its at Albertons if they were good at Safeway, where the coffee was (if that seems like a lame 'treat', first of all, my kids all love Cheeze-Its, and second, when you have a bunch of kids on a limited income, you're getting out of debt, and on a budget, simple treats go pretty far)  It took our third Safeway for us to finally find the coffee in stock, and we were able to use all 16 coupons!

Let's just say the Philly fam was high-fives all around in the parking lot!  I was on a coupon high, and the kids were wanting all that coffee, which I nixed all requests-like taking all my kids wasn't busy enough, I couldn't imagine them jacked on caffeine on top of that!

Unfortunately, when we got to Albertson's my coupons wouldn't match up right for the Cheez-Its, but the kids took it well.  I wasn't about to pay $1.50 for the small box, and my kiddos pretty much know Mama doesn't pay full price for anything.  But I did get them Head and Shoulders (it was actually a request from two of them) after it was determined that last week my 9 year old son was using Axe body wash on his hair for the last couple of months and creating his own dry scalp.  My 13 year old daughter is horrified that her younger brothers use Axe!  You know, those racy commercials?  If you use Axe, you're supposed to be a babe magnet?

Anyway, it was a fun trip, and completely worth all the work!