Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Freebies 11/25

Here are a few free samples for this week!

If you have a pet, you can request a free sample of Greenies, a yummy treat for dogs and cats.

Don't forget to get a treat for yourself too! You can request a sample of Bear Naked Granola, a healthy snack with nuts and fruit!

Costco is offering a free sample of their Kirkland diapers. I've read some good reviews of these, so I can't wait for this one to arrive! Maybe it will be the incentive that finally gets me to spend the money to join!

Dove(R) Cleansing Cloths are refreshing for your skin while Neutrogena(R) Cleansing Cloths are known for repairing and healing your skin. Complete the program requirements for a FREE sample. Click Here

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 11/24

It will be a shorter week for cooking with Thanksgiving coming up, but here's my plan... I found ground beef on sale this week, so we have meals focusing around that. I made a big pot of chili and spaghetti last night, so most meals and lunches will come from that.

Monday: Chili and cornbread
Tuesday: Spaghetti, salad, homemade bread
Wednesday: hamburgers, homemade fries
Thursday: TURKEY! We are doing potluck, so we will be making turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rolls
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: turkey casserole, rolls

I'll try to freeze any leftovers in single servings for Jason to use for lunches next month!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Savings Tip: Coupon Clipping Services

I have recently started buying two newspapers to get an extra set of coupons; our local .99 Store has the paper for $1, so it's not that much of an expense considering the savings it yields. There are a few of those products that I could definitely use more than 2 coupons for, so today I tried using a coupon clipping service. For this first attempt, I used The Coupon Clippers. I'll let you know how that goes... If it works, it will be a great way to get extra coupons that you know for sure you'll put to good use. They have a .50 administration fee and you also pay for shipping, but I think you if place a big enough order for some good coupons, it will be more than worth those fees!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baby and Child Favorites

It's time for a few Friday favorites!!!

I recently bought a few new toys for Eli and he is very fascinated with one of them. I really like it and may end up buying a couple more to link together. I like the Melissa and Doug line of toys and suggest you check them out!

One of the worries of parents is saving money for their child's college fund. One easy way to do this is by signing up at UPromise. You can earn money for your child for college just by doing your every day shopping. Many online stores contribute a percentage of your spending, so be sure you always go through the UPromise website when you shop online. There are also eCoupons you can link to your shopping cards...when you purchase that product, the value of the coupon gets deposited in the college fund. You can have friends and family members save too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Make Your Own Cleaners

When I found out I was going to have a little one in the house, I started researching how to make my own cleaning products. I wanted to know exactly what was in the spray bottles I was using to clean my house. I found some good "recipes" online and I wanted to share one of my favorites. This is also better for the environment because you are reusing the bottles, not throwing away bottles and buying new ones.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1 cup distilled water ( I just used tap water)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid soap (Dr Bronner's is what I use)
1/4 tsp lemon or orange essential oil
Mix in spray bottles. Shake well before each use!

I found the soap and the essential oils in the organic/natural section of my grocery store, so check around there. I initially ordered mine online, but I know where to find them locally now so I will save money on shipping once I run out. The liquid soap can also be used to bathe your little one!

Whole Life Essentials has many other great "recipes" and many natural products for every part of your life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jackpot! Wal-Mart & more CVS 11/19 deals!

When I got to work today I found a gallon bag FULL of coupons sitting on the counter. A lady had dropped them off for the workers at the store. WOW. Nobody else seemed interested, so I dug in. I found all the coupons I needed to do more CVS shopping this week, so I went there after I got off. Here's what I did with my ECBs:
1 Glade Scented Oil Refill 3.99
1 Glade Scented Oil Holder 7.99
1 Crest Pro Health Toothpaste 3.49
2 Kleenex, 1.49 B1G1
3/15 coupon
Free Scented Oil Holder w/ refill purchase coupon 7.99
.75 Crest coupon
.55 Kleenex Coupon
.22 OOP, earned 5 ECB + 3.49 ECB

I took that and bought:
1 8 pk C Duracell Batteries 9.99
1 8 pk AA batteries 5.99
1 8 pk AAA batteries 5.99
3/15 coupon
3 - .75 Duracell Coupons
8 ECB + 3.49 ECB + 5 ECB
.22 OOP, earned 15 ECB
The second pictute is my Wal-Mart run for today. My total before coupons was 37.16....after coupons was 13.98! Awesome! Here's what I got:
2 Cascadian Farms granola bars 2.44 used 2 $1MC
2 Yo-Plus yogurts 2.21 used 2 $1MC
1 Durex bonus pack 4.74 used $2MC
6 Johnson Buddies soaps .97 used 2 $3/3 MC (I will donate these)
2 Whiskers cat treats .97 used 2 $1MC
1 Meow Mix treats .97 used .75MC
2 3M lint rollers 2.88 used 2 $1MC
2 Kotex panty liners 1.00 used 2 .75MC
3 Starkist Tuna Creations pouches 1.43 used 3 $1MC
3 Green Giant green beans .84 used 3 $1MC
Since the last cashier gave me some trouble with printed coupons, I only used coupons cut from the newpaper inserts this time, but still saved a lot! I've found that the higher value coupons do better at WM for me because they can't be doubled or tripled at Kroger. I went through my coupons tonight, pulled those that were .75 or more and were products I might would use, and headed out to the store. Many of the expired at the end of this month, so I needed to put them to use before I ran out of time.
I am very thankful to the nice lady that dropped off those coupons! She got me lots of free stuff!


Since I became a mom I have learned how difficult managing a baby, a house, and myself can be. One way to save time is by making dinner in a crockpot. I found this awesome website called A Year of Crockpotting, where a new recipe is tried and reviewed every day. It is soup weather for most of the country, so lets try this recipe out and see how it is! It looks yummy and was given a positive review! I love the soups at Olive Garden, so hopefully this is a good copycat of the pasta fagioli.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Samples and Coupons

A few freebies for Tuesday!

Betty Crocker is offering a free sample of Turtle Chex Mix Bars when you sign up for their newsletter. There is also a coupon booklet you can sign up for on there, just check out their promotions page.

Pillsbury is also offering a coupon book when you sign up for their e-newsletter.

Try a sample of new Gain laundry detergent, or Benefiber singles that you can just add to your bottle of water!

If you love the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, they are giving away a free mini one! It is amazing what they can get off my tile floor!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meal Plan Monday 11/17

I want to use up some stuff we have in the freezer and pantry, so here's my plan for the week:

Monday: baked chicken with rice and broccoli
Tuesday: pulled pork sandwiches with homemade french fries
Wednesday: chicken, dumplings, and yellow squash (from the garden!)
Thursday: soup and sandwich
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: steak, baked potatoes, homemade rolls
Sunday: Panera Bread! YUM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Shopping CVS 11/16 & Kroger 11/16

CVS: (plus 4 boxes of Kleenex, not pictured)
Well, I ended up with a weird deal at CVS. I wanted to do the Glade Buy $10, get $5 ECB back and the Soft & Dri/Right Guard $2.99 get 2 ECB deals. In the ad, CVS had listed Glade candles, scented oil refills, and glass scents. I had coupons for a free scented oil holder when you buy a refill, so I decided to use those... When I looked at my receipt, those also counted in the deal... I could have gotten off much, much cheaper, but I had no idea until AFTER the transaction. SO, here's what I did....
Transaction #1:
2 Glade Glass Scents 2.50 each
1 Right Guard Extreme 2.99
2 Glade twin scented oil refills 3.99 each
2 Kleenex, 1.49 B1G1
2 Glade Scented Oil Holders 7.99 each
used 3/15 coupon
.40 MC Kleenex
1.59 ECB + 2 ECB from last week
B1G1 glass scents MC ($2.50)
2- Free scented oil holder with refill MC (7.99 x 2)
Total: 7.84OOP, earned 12 ECB
Transaction #2:
2 Right Guard Extreme 2.99 each
2 Soft & Dri 2.99 each
1 Dove Day Moisturizer, clearance 3.50
2 Kleenex 1.49 B1G1
used 3/15 coupon
2 - .55 peelies from Soft & Dri
12 ECB from previous transaction
Total: .85 OOP, earned 9 ECB
On my first receipt I noticed my Glade total was $27.96, so I stopped and bought a candle for 2.50 and got another 5 ECB. (this was because of the holders counting)
They also have another great deal going on with batteries. If you buy $20 of Duracell batteries, you get 15 ECB. The batteries are three prices, 5.29, 5.99, and 9.99. I didn't really have any good coupons for those, but I went ahead and did the deal twice. With a little one in the house, we use tons of batteries! I ended up spending about $21 OPP for an assortment of C, D, AA, and AAA batteries and have 15 ECB left. I need about $13 more dollars to earn another 15, so I'm going to go ahead and use my 15 ECB to buy those and get another 15 ECB back. We can always use batteries!
I didn't take a picture of my Kroger trip, but here's what I got for $26.53 (I saved 33.80, or 55%) They are still doing the Mega Sale here, so I got 10 participating items* and saved $5.
2 Crisco vegetable oils
2 PAM sprays
1 Cottonelle 4 pk toliet paper
1 Colgate Total toothpaste
1 Scotch Brite sponge
1lb Boar's Head ham
1 pk Hormel turkey pepperoni
4 boxes of Quaker granola bars
1 Colgate Advantage toothpaste
1 Active Instant Oatmeal
1 Kroger tomato paste
2 cans Progresso soup
1 gallon skim milk
1 Nature's Own wheat bread
1 Nature's Own White Wheat buns

Saturday Savings Tips

(again, a day late because of our fussy little guy)
I'm really excited about this toy! If you check at, it is listed as $17.99. I went to our local Target (on sale there for 14.24) and walked out with it for $6.75! How? Well, the tip for the week is coupon stacking! You can do this at Target, Kroger, and CVS. If you have a Target coupon, which I did, you can also use a manufacturer coupon. On this deal, I used a $5 Target toy coupon, along with a $3 coupon I got for signing up at If you get a coupon printed on your CVS receipt, you can use that plus MCs. For Kroger, use MCs paired with coupons from or to increase your savings! I got free toliet paper, toothpaste, soup, and oatmeal tonight at Kroger by combining coupons! Nothing better than free stuff!!!
**note, the Target coupon says it's for Fridge Phonics, but I don't remember the one I printed out being so specific*** It may have been and they took it anyway?

Friday Favorites

It has been a rough few days in the world of motherhood, so I'm a little behind in posting. I did want to share some of my favorite things on Fridays, so better late than never, right? is a great website for those who like playing the grocery game or need information on coupons. There is a searchable coupon database, so if you need a product and aren't sure if you might have a coupon in your saved inserts, you can go there and search and quickly find out. That is so much easier than looking through all those papers! It was a bit of a pain to register, but all the information available was well worth it.

I find so many of my bargins on There are also links to other sites that you can follow to find even more!

Finally, if you need a good laugh, CakeWrecks is a super funny blog about cake decorating gone wrong. I like to look on there when I need a good laugh. :)

Oh, one favorite product! I recently bought a Crest SpinBrush on one of my CVS deals and oh my do I love it! It makes my teeth feel so much cleaner! I would highly recommend one! There is even a $2 coupon to help you out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

One easy want to save money and go green is to make your own cleaners and laundry detergent. You are saving on the amount you spend, plus decreasing the number of boxes or bottles you are throwing out (or recycling). We have been using this detergent for months now and I think it works great!

Grate up some bars of soap...
I have been using Ivory, but you can also use Fels Naphta if you can find it.
Buy a box of Borax and a box of Arm & Hammer washing soda. I found both of those in the laundry detergent aisle of my grocery store.

The recipe is 1 cup grated soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda. Simple and easy. Use 1 tablespoon on light loads, 2 for heavier loads. White vinegar can be used as a fabric softener too. Just put in the Downy ball and throw it in the washer. It doesn't leave your clothes smelling like vinegar, so don't worry about that!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Can I Make for Dinner Wednesdays

On Wednesday I'd love to share some of our favorite recipes! Tonight we had pizza, so I'll share that one!

First, Jason makes whole-wheat pizza crust in the bread machine. The recipe we use is this one and it has turned out great every time. (I'll go ahead and post it here too, just in case you don't want to navigate away from the blog).

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2.5 tsp yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine in order listed. Run dough cycle. When finished, form into a circle (or put on a pizza pan). Top with desired toppings and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

He tops it with pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pineapple, and 2% Mozzarella cheese! YUM! I actually prefer his version to any we used to order from the pizza places. Pair it up with a salad and you have a pretty easy dinner that isn't too bad for you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Few Deals from Wal-Mart

I don't usually shop at Wal-Mart, but I found some good deals listed online so I decided to put some coupons together and run by there today. My cashier was not too happy and tried to tell me she *thought* their policy had changed and they were only accepting printed coupons that were in color. She went ahead and took the ones I had; if she had refused, I planned on getting all my coupons back and walking out. There is no signs posted saying color coupons only, so I'm not sure what the real policy is. I do plan on asking my brother though. He should be able to find out since he works for them. I think they are worried about people using the coupons to get free stuff, like it really matters since they get reimbursed anyway!
Anyway, here's what I got:
2 Green Giant Fresh Valley Steamers green beans; $1 each
-2 $1 coupons from (you'll see a link for this site on my sidebar) FREE
1 Cascadian Farms Organic Granola Bars 2.44
-$1 MC 10-5 Smart Source 1.44
1 YoPlus Yogurt $2.12
-$1 MC (not sure of origin) 1.12
1 Sea Pack Shrimp Poppers $1.32
1 Green Giant Fresh Valley Steamers, potatoes w/ sauce $1.50
-$1 MC 10-5 Smart Source .50
1 Ronzoni Smart Taste penne pasta $1.50
-$1 MC 10-5 Smart Source .50
1 3M Lint Roller $2.88 (if you can find the trial size, it will be a better deal)
-$1 MC 10-5 Valassis 1.88
1 Kotex Lightdays panty liners $1.00
1 Great Value pineapple tidbits (not a deal, just needed for pizza tomorrow) .52
1 Starkist Tuna Creations $1.43
-$1 MC 10-12 Valassis .43
Total before coupons: $17.03 OOP: $6.87
Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom for listing these deals and more on her website!

Tuesday Freebies!

Here are some great sales that when paired up with the right coupons, yield free or really cheap items!

(remember you have to buy 10 participating items to get the extra $5 off that makes these the prices listed)
Carnation Evaporated Milk: .50 each $1/2MC from the 11/2 Red Plum insert FREE
Quaker Oats, 18 oz: $1 .50MC from 9/7 Red Plum insert, doubled to $1 FREE
Dial Soap, 3 pk bars: $1 .30MC from 10/5 Smart Source insert, tripled to .90 cost .10
Betty Crocker Potatoes: $1 .40 coupon from BC website, doubled to .80 cost .20

Garnier Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner, or Stylers 2.99 earn 2 ECB use $1MC from 10/5 or 11/9 Red Plum insert FREE
Glaceau Water 1.49 earn 1.49 ECB FREE

Monday, November 10, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

One of the easiest ways to save money is to look over what you have already in your pantry and freezer, plus make note of what is on sale for the week, and make out a meal plan. You will be less likely to make impulse trips to the grocery store or restaurants that way. I know it works, so I plan on starting it again this week. Here's my plan:

Monday: Pinto beans (in crockpot), corn bread, fried potatoes, and pork chops (I have all this already!)

Tuesday: We have some left-over spaghetti noodles, so I want to make a batch of red sauce, cook up some ground beef, and have spaghetti. Pair that with a loaf of homemade Italian bread.

Wednesday: We have all the ingredients for pizza; the crust will be made in the bread machine.

Thursday: I'm on my own today; I will have leftovers from Monday.

Friday: I'm on my own again today; I have tomato soup in the 'fridge that needs to be used, so I'll have that with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Saturday: Treat Night; will have Jason pick up ChickFilA on his way home! :)

Free Samples!

I love requesting free samples online. They are usually small versions that are great to leave in the guest bathroom for visitors to use!

Most of the time they come with coupons, so if you like the products, you can save on them too! Here are a few to get you started!

If you have a young one in the house, Wal-Mart is offering a free sample of Huggies diapers! In addition, Playtex is offering a free drop-in BPA free bottle!

How about trying out the new Always Infinity feminine care products? or prefer Stayfree, Kotex, or Playtex? They have those too!

Have a dog that LOVES treats? Request a sample of Pedigree dog treats.

Like to add a lemon flavor to your drinks? Try a sample of True Lemon.

If you like coffee, here is a free sample of Folgers coffee.

Register at P & G Everyday Solutions to get coupons and samples from Proctor and Gamble.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

more Kroger 11/5 deals!

I made another Kroger run today while the awesome sale was still going on. I saved 72% today; I paid 18.95 and saved 49.56! (coupons up to .39 tripled, .40 - .50 doubled)
Here's what I got:
1 Lucky Charms
1 Cocoa Puffs $1/2 MC
2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch 2 - .55 MC
1 Betty Crocker Muffin Mix .75 MC
1 Betty Crocker Cookie Mix .75 MC
1 Pillsbury Crescent rolls .35 MC
2 Swiss Miss Cocoas .50 coupon
1 BC Roasted Garlic potatoes .40 MC
1 Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop popcorn 1.00 MC
1 Active Oatmeal 1.89 coupon (free!)
2 Pledge 2 - 1.50 MC
1 Pledge floor cleaner 1.50 MC
2 Coffeemate liquid creamers 1.50/2 MC
2 Hunts tomato products .40/2 MC
1 Land o Lakes butter .55 MC
1 Activia yogurt .50 MC
1 Johnson and Johnson baby wash
2 J&J baby lotion $3/3 MC

A few Kroger hints: got to the Kroger website before you go shopping and check out the links to the P&G eSaver coupons and the coupons. You can load these onto your Kroger card and then use MCs on top of them! also has coupons you can load onto your card, which is how I got a free box of oatmeal on this shopping trip! I also noticed that one of our Kroger stores has higher prices than the other that is 5 minutes away! It didn't matter on these deals, but produce and other products were different prices! I noticed that diapers were on sale for $1 cheaper one week and have since been careful about which one I go to!

CVS 11/9

CVS Card #1: Starting with 10ECB from last week
Transaction 1:
L'Oreal Advanced RevitaLift Anti-Wrinkle Serum 11.99
$1 MC
10 ECB
Total: 1.11 OOP
Earned 11.99 ECB

Transaction #2:
3 St Ives Body Washes 3.99 each
1 Garnier Fructis hairspray 2.99
$1 MC
11.99 ECB
Total 2.03 OOP
Earned 9 ECB

Transaction #3:
2 19.6oz bags Hershey's candy $4 each
4 8oz bags Hershey's candy $2 each
4 Hershey's Special Dark singles .50 each
used 2 MC for $1/3 bags of candy, plus 2 B1G1 for the Special Dark
Total: 6.53 OOP, earned 10 ECB

Card #2: Starting with 5 ECB from last week
Transaction 1:
2 Raisin Bran cereals 2/$4
1 Garnier Fructis shampoo 2.99
2 Colgate Total Toothpastes 2.69 B1G1
1 Glaceau Smart water 1L 1.49
2 $1 MC for cereal
$1 MC for shampoo
2 $1.50 coupons for Colgate
Total: .27 cents OOP
Earned 3.59 ECB

The cashiers at CVS were super nice today and I found out that the sales start on Saturday, expect for any that are 1 or 2 day only deals. I was wondering how they were already out of stuff by the time I got there! I was there about 20 minutes after they opened and there were only a few other people in there the whole time I was going around figuring out what to buy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

How to Save!

One website I found that explains the CVS game is Money Saving Mom's CVS 101.
I like to follow a few other websites, Deal Seeking Mom, and Southern Savers. They both list some ideas for various stores, free samples you can request online, and have coupons you can print out and use at the stores! Another new one I found today was "Cent"sible Sawyer, which has more even more info. Google is your friend too. If I want to see what websites have CVS deals for this week, I just search for CVS 11/9 and it will show me who has already blogged about this coming weekends deals! Same thing for Kroger. Hope that helps!

This website, which I became a part of, has a whole list of blogs written by people who are trying to save money! Just look for the Frugal Blogroll on the sidebar and start checking out some of the blogs for ideas!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kroger 11/5

Can you believe all of this was only $28.55?? I saved $71.53, or 71%! I'll try to list all I bought and the coupons, but I will probably miss some of 'em. They were running the Mega Deal special, so if you bought 10 participating items, you got another $5 off. You could do up to 3 of these per transaction. My Kroger triples coupons up to .39, and doubles up to .50.

2 Betty Crocker Potatoes 2 .40 coupons
1 Betty Crocker Muffin Mix .45 coupon
1 Quaker Chewy granola bars
1 Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop .40 coupon
2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch 2 .55 coupons
1 2-liter of 7-UP
1 Welch's Grape juice $1 coupon
2 Nestle Morsels 2 .50 coupons
1 Domino 4lb sugar .35 coupon
2 Better Crocker Sugar Cookie mixes 2 .75 coupons
1 Carefree pantyliner .50 coupon
1 Dial 3 pk soap .30 coupon
1 Palmolive dish washing liquid .25 coupon
1 Shout stain remover .75 coupon
1 Pillsbury Toaster Strudel 1.00 coupon
1 Breyers Ice Cream .50 coupon
1 Cottonelle 4 pk toliet paper .25 coupon
2 Tostinos Pizza Rolls 2 .35 coupons
6 Carnation Evaporated milk 3 .50/2 coupons (FREE)
1 Activia yogurt .50 coupon
1 Land O Lakes butter .50 coupon
1 Better Crocker frosting .55 coupon
1 Borden Gallon milk
1.09lbs broccoli
4 navel oranges
2.5lbs grapes

Not bad, eh? :)

CVS 11/2

*plus a Sunday paper (not pictured)
Not much going on with CVS for me this week. I spent 7.01 OOP and got back 7.49 back in ECB.
Here's my transaction:
1 Pert Plus Shampoo 2/5 used $2 MC
1 Crest Pro Health Toothpaste 3.49 used .75 MC got back 3.49 ECB
2 Sure Deodorants 2.89, 2.99 used 2 $1 printable coupons, got 3 ECB
1 Kotex Pantyliners 3.89 used $2 CVS coupon, .75 MC, got 1 ECB
1 Sunday paper 1.75
used $3/15 coupon
I took the 7.49 ECB, plus $1 MC, .25 MC, plus $3/15 and bought 2 packs of Pampers and a bottle of Dawn. Spent 9.64, got back 5 ECB.
Right now I have 10 ECB from last week on one card, and 5 ECB on the other.