Wednesday, December 21, 2011

**EXPIRED** FREE! Audio Download: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I just happen to be reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes via the free Kindle app on my iPhone, and here is a free audio download of the unabridged story from

After you put the item in your cart, you'll need to sign in with either your or log-in info. If you have neither account, you can set up an account. Enjoy!

Thanks to Money Saving Mom and My Frugal Adventures!

Quick Tip: Don't be So Quick to Throw Away that Packaging!

Manufacturers often print coupons on the inside of boxes, or include a paper coupon inside. Be on the lookout for these. This is a great way to get coupons for items you already buy. Note: Sometimes, the coupon is for a different product made by the same manufacturer, but it still may be something you use or can give away to or trade with a friend.

Savings: Are You Talking About It?

Folks, I have friends who have just about paid for all their Christmas shopping with rewards points, coupons, special offers, etc. I managed to score some great savings at CVS' annual December make-up and beauty clearance. It's great to save, but are you passing along your savings secrets to your best buds? No?! What's stopping you?

I'm a stay-at-home-mom, so being a one-income family, I both appreciate and need to find savings when I shop. However, I know folks who live a lot larger than we do who still use coupons and take advantage of sales, offers, and deals. Why? Because just about everyone these days is feeling the pinch. Whether you rent a small apartment or live in a large estate home, pay cuts, rising gas prices, higher food costs, no one is immune. However, as children, many of us learned from our parents that it is not polite to discuss money. Some of your friends may be OK with the topic, but not all friends feel comfortable discussing financial issues. Fortunately, talking to your friends about saving money does not have to be an exchange about what your mortgage, rent, or car payments are. Most people appreciate saving money because there is always something we'd rather be doing with our money than buying the daily necessities. So, when you find a good deal, let your friends know, especially if there's still time for them to take advantage of it, too. Pretty soon, your friends will be telling you about their great deals, too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

**EXPIRED** Walgreen's 25 Free Prints + Free Desktop Calendar thru Sat. 11/05/11

Folks, with Christmas coming up, I know that many of you will appreciate having 25 free photos to include in your holiday cards. Or, print out those choice photos you've been meaning to get in the scrapbook. So, get to Walgreen's RIGHT NOW! Enter FREE4X6 at checkout. Discount does not apply on taxes or shipping charges. My guess is that if you have a photo kiosk / processing department at your local Walgreen's like I've had in the past, then you can skip the shipping and pick them up in store. However, if you don't have a Walgreen's nearby, you may be able to have your prints shipped for a small charge.

AND, while you're at it, get a free Desktop Calendar by using FREEFORU at checkout.

Remember, you'll need to have a Walgreen's photo account, which is quick and easy to create.

Now, I have taken advantage of Walgreen's offers such as these in the past, and found their website gets slammed. That being said, I've had twice when my order would not go through. If that's the case when you try to place your order, understand it is because there are lots of folks like you looking to get in on this deal. Be patient, and try again. If it still doesn't work, then just send them a nice little note via their Contact Us link, or give them a call at 1-866-264-2910, and simply let them know the site would not process your order. I have found that generally, by the next day, I've had a credit posted to my Walgreen's photo account for the item I was supposed to get for free. Just make sure to try your order before the deadline, and send the note before the deadline, if needed.

Now, go get place that order!

**EXPIRED** AMEX Card? Get a $25 Statement Credit for Small Business Saturday.

Folks, I just learned about the Second Annual Small Business Saturday.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this new "shopping holiday" encourages consumers to patronize small businesses in the United States on Saturday, November 26th.

According to the Small Business Saturday Facebook page, if you register an eligible American Express card and use that card for a purchase of $25 or more at a small business on November 26, 2011, you will receive a one-time $25 statement credit.

Of course, there is always "the small print", so be sure to check out the Terms and Conditions link on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page for more info. Also, PLEASE BE SURE to check the Small Business Saturday Facebook page to see what area businesses are participating. Just because you know of a small business in town, or your friend sells plastic storage containers, make-up, or candles does not mean that his or her small business is eligible. Check the site first for participating businesses!

Also, please note, this is a statement credit. Do not expect to walk out of a store without paying anything out of pocket. You will have to use your eligible AMEX card to make the purchase. How does one know if his or her card is eligible? You have to register the card via the Small Business Saturday Facebook page. I would register BEFORE November 26th, not after. Also, the registration link from the Small Business Saturday Facebook page takes you to a secure AMEX site.

Remember, as with any sale or deal, it isn't a bargain if you had not already planned on making the purchase, or if you overspend. Make sure the purchase price, after any other coupons or discounts, is at least $25, and from what I've read, you should be set.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting Fabric for Free? Check for its Prior Care, First.

After reading Money Saving Mom's post on "5 Ways to Save Money on Sewing Supplies," I wanted to take it a step further and discuss what to look out for when it comes to old fabric.

Have you ever been the benefactor of old-but-new-to-you or vintage fabric? There are some great prints out there that have been discontinued or ones that harken back to days long past. Wouldn't it be great to repurpose those for a new project? Absolutely! However, a few words of caution.

I suggest investigating the fabrics before accepting or purchasing them. Many folks store fabrics in the wrong place or under the wrong conditions. When considering the purchase of an older fabric, or one that doesn't come from a store, look for the following:

1. Is one part of the fabric a lighter, or washed out shade, from the rest? That tells you that the folded piece may have sat near a window. The sun is horribly destructive to fabric. This can happen to new fabric, too! I know you've seen younger people who have baked in the sun and look many years older than they truely are. The same thing happens to fabric, but without the overly revealing swimsuit or fragrance of coconut oil.

2. Look at and listen to the fabric. Pick it up and feel it. Is it cotton, but it feels rough / crackly? Can you hear it crack a little? That means it was stored in too hot an area (think attic), and is no good. It will probably rip (and leave a little dust when doing so) with very little force. I had a quilting teacher in Columbus, OH who told us the story of one of her customers. The woman had such an addiction to building her stash (and hiding it from her husband) that she stored her fabric IN THE ATTIC OF HER OLD GARAGE. Oh, that poor fabric! Well, guess what? Her husband found out. How, you ask? He learned of her stash when the weight of the fabric become too much for the old garage, and the attic and roof collapsed onto their cars. It has been nearly a decade since I heard that story, and it still gives me goosebumps.

3. If you're just not sure, and you're talking to the owner, ask! Ask where / how she stored her fabric. Her honesty and potential lack of knowledge on how to properly care for a fabric stash could save you some heartache in the middle of a project.

4. Even if your fabric comes from a store, check the outside of the bolt compared to the inside. Some smaller stores showcase their fabric in their front windows to lure in customers, and the fabric suffers sun damage. That amazing mark-down may come at a higher price later. Most good fabric shops know better and wouldn't do such a terrible thing to good fabric.

So, whether you are saving money by getting fabric at a tag sale, or are the beneficiary of your friend's sewing room purge, make sure that old fabrics, threads, etc. are going to last as long as they were intended. Otherwise, you'll lose time and money, and to me, that's more frightening than sun-washed fabric!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

**EXPIRED** Free Cup of Yoplait Original Yogurt

Visit Yoplait's site to get a free cup of Yoplait Original Yogurt.

You can even share with a friend or point them to SAHMonomics for the link.

Use their Calcium Calculator to find out if you are getting enough Calcium every day.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

**Expired** Walgreens - Free 8x10 Collage Print. (Expires 5/07/11)

I'm working on a photo project with my daughter. There are so many places that offer free photos or discounts on photo processing, sometimes offering anywhere from 10-20 prints free. 
Right now, you can get a free 8x10 Collage Print. Visit Walgreens Photo site to order and be sure you choose in-store pick-up to avoid paying for shipping.
To create a Collage Print, just click on "Get coupon code", and follow the instructions. If you are new to the Walgreens Photo site, you'll need to register. They offer frequent photo deals, so it's definitely worth the time. Make sure to use coupon code FREECOLLAGE at checkout. Limit one free 8x10 Collage Print per account. Offer ends May 7th. 
If you sign up for e-mails from Walgreens, you can learn about future photo offers like this one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

**Expired** Free ebook: 31 Days to Clean (today only!)

Free ebook: 31 Days to Clean (today only!)

I just learned about a new ebook, 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way. The author is giving away a free copy, today only!
Sarah Mae is giving it away today. To get a free copy, you just have to post about the ebook on your blog or on Facebook or Twitter and link to her site and then send an e-mail with a link to your post to She’ll then send you a free copy!
Thank you to Money Saving Mom!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick Tip: Save Time and Gasoline by Calling Ahead

So, I needed to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy today. I went in for a refill five days ago. According to insurance, it wasn't  quite time to pick up the script, so the pharmacist provided four pills at retail price and faxed the Dr. for the refill. Fast forward five days to today. I stop in to pick up the refill, and surprise, no word back from the doctor. Turns out, the fax has been sitting on his desk for the last five days waiting for him to approve it.

Moral of the story is, call the pharmacy (or other service provider) ahead of time to make sure that everyone has done their job, and in the event they have not, then you can save yourself the trip. I usually do this, but since I was in the neighborhood, I broke my own rule of calling ahead.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quick Tip: Separate e-mail Address for Coupons / Offers / Freebies

I'm getting ready to take my own advice. If you are new to couponing / offers / freebies, or even if you're not, you really need a separate e-mail address for the influx. Some companies will allow you to opt out of receiving e-mails when you request to print a coupon from their site or ask for a freebie, but others do not. You can opt out later, but generally not until you receive your first e-mail. Typically, coupons offered by the manufacturer direct from their website are higher in value than what you'll find in the Sunday paper, so there really is value to receiving these e-mails. Also, you can get neat samples to try like the one I received yesterday from Breve Creme Coffee Creamer for a free full-size pint and five 55 cent off coupons.

The coffee cup was the shipping "box" for what you see arranged on the table.

The environmentalist in me says boo to the extra packaging on this Earth Day, but the bargain shopper and  deal finder says "cute and eye catching design".

So, the bottom line is, if you don't want to miss an important e-mail from your friend, family member, or bank in the potential sea of money saving info coming from your favorite brands or manufacturers, take a moment to open a second free e-mail through your internet service provider or another e-mail provider such as Google, Hotmail, or Yahoo!.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick Trip to Albertsons. Saved 79% and 85%

Click on the photo to get a better look at the savings!

Receipt #1: (left) I purchased 22 items, spent $31, saved $47.63 for a $79% savings. 

Plus I received a 5% off Catalina for a future purchase AND the cashier and I both missed a 55 cents off coupon on one package of meat. Even after almost two years of pairing coupons with sales, I still miss those peelies! I did catch two others that the cashier missed. Those were each for a free four-pack of King's Hawaiian Rolls with the purchase of meat. What I didn't notice is that the price for those was $1.09 each and the "free with purchase" coupon took off $1.00. I didn't see the peelie to see if it had a limit. Yes, it's only 18 cents, but it all adds up over time. It also looks like on my receipt, the cashier missed using one of my three doubler coupons. That's another $1.00. Since we get reimbursed for the deposit we pay on recycling for cans and glass here in Oregon, when I take in my recycling receipts to cash in and visit the pharmacy, I'll take my receipt from this purchase, along with the 55 cent peelie, and mention both the King's Hawaiian Rolls and the $1.00 doubler coupon. That will be $1.73 in my pocket.

I also used a manufacturer's coupon for a free full-size bottle of Nestle Coffee-Mate Fat Free French Vanilla that I got from either a Facebook or Coffee-Mate website offer. Be on the lookout for free or money off coupons on your favorite products' websites or Facebook pages! I also got brats, steak tips, and sausage crumbles that were all on sale and three boxes of Wheat Thins Crunch Stix. See scenario for the Wheat Thins below.

Receipt #2: (right) Two items, paid 98 cents, saved $5.60 for savings of 85%.  

Since Albertsons has a limit of three doubler coupons per transaction, I did a separate transaction. These were the new Nabisco product called Wheat Thins Crunch Stix. The come in four flavors, Chipotle Pepper, Honey Wheat, Fire Roasted Tomato, and Cinnamon Kick. The 4/17/11 Sunday paper had a $1.00 coupon for this product, and the Sunday paper also had three Albertsons doubler coupons which will double any manufacturer's coupon up to $1.00. Albertsons had the Stix on sale for $2.49 / box, so with stacking the manufacturer's and Albertsons coupons, I paid 49 cents per box. Not bad for a tasty new treat!

I will say that as far as the meat goes, if you work full-time or in the morning, it is hard to catch good meat markdowns since early morning is when most meat departments do their markdowns. However, you can send a relative or a friend who is available and split the purchase. If purchased on a Friday, you can hang with your friend or family member on a Saturday for a freezer cooking day. Put together some dishes that you both like using the meat one of you purchased, then split the bounty.

You can save money the way I did today. I follow various blogs via Facebook that post sales and coupon match-ups so all I have to do is buy the Sunday paper, or order my coupons online. You don't have to cut out ALL of the coupons, just the ones you need. Share other coupons you're not using with your friends. My friends and I even print coupons for each other since most sites have a limit. Shh! Don't tell. :-) I'll talk about these websites, how and where to buy coupons, and more in future posts.

Questions? Post in the comments section below and thanks for following SAHMonomics!

Stove Top Stuffing Facebook Coupon (printer required)

Make sure that your printer is turned on, has paper and ink.

Visit Stove Top's Facebook page, click on "Like" and print a coupon for 50 cents off of one package of Stove Top Stuffing. Many stores such as Walgreens, CVS, and Target have Stove Top on sale for 99 cents or less per box this week. That could make your price 49 cents per box or less!

After printing, make sure to press the back button to get a second print of this coupon. Two is the maximum you can print.

The two coupons that I printed today expire on 5/19/2011.

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Facebook Promotion (printer required)

Make sure that your printer is turned on, has paper and ink.

Visit Lysol's Facebook page, click on "Like" and print a coupon for $1.50 off of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes.

After printing, make sure to press the back button to get a second print of this coupon. Two is the maximum you can print.

JUST LEARNED: Target has this product on sale for $1.89 this week. These coupons will allow you to get two containers of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes for 39 cents each!

The two coupons that I printed today expire on 5/19/2011.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scholastic "Learn and Earn" Promotion = Free Books! (printer required)

If you have a printer, then you can print a few age level reading and / or math worksheets to have your child complete.

If your child completes the worksheet(s) from either the Reading OR Math category, he or she will earn TWO free scholastic books. If your child completes both the Reading and Math categories of worksheets, then he or she will earn FIVE free Scholastic books!

I printed the worksheets for my daughter, and decided that if she doesn't care for any of the books that are available for her age group, then we'll donate what she doesn't want to her school's library.

Thanks to Money Saving Mom and Shannon for providing the link!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick Tip: Herb / Spice Mixes

Do you have a favorite recipe that you just love to serve, but are looking to save some time on food prep? I've got just the tip for you.

My husband absolutely LOVES his mom's Italian Beef. Thankfully, she shared the recipe with me since we now live over 2,000 miles away!

This beloved family recipe has a secret blend of herbs :-) and though I like to cook, I am not a huge fan of opening a million separate spice jars and measuring out all those ingredients every time I make this dish.

Here's what you do: The next time you finish off one of those glass herb or spice jars, don't send it to the recycler. Instead, wash and dry thoroughly, making sure to remove the label in the process.

Next. let's say your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of five different herbs. Measure out 4 teaspoons of each herb in a bowl. Mix, then using a funnel, add the mix to the jar and cap tightly.

You can add your own creative label using your computer and printer, or slap a piece of masking tape on the jar and use a permanent marker to name the mix. Mine just says "Italian Beef". In the event you are concerned with knowing what ingredient is, then add another label that lists the ingredients, and the amount you'll need. For our imaginary dish that uses 2 teaspoons of 5 different herbs, you'll need 10 teaspoons of your mix. Or, the equivalent number of tablespoons and remaining teaspoons, etc.

There, a great time saving tip from my kitchen, to yours. Enjoy!

*EXPIRED* CVS Beauty Club Facebook Offer for FREE Antibacterial product (Offer ends 4/18/11)

Like to try products before you buy them? Me, too!

CVS currently has an offer through Facebook.

1. Visit: s
2. "Like" the CVS Beauty Club page
Click: "Special Offers"
3. Enter: Your CVS extracare memeber number (on the back of your CVS extracare card, below the bar code.) and e-mail address, then click "Submit".
4. Within moments, you will receive an e-mail (check your junk mail filter). Click on "in-store coupon"
then print.
5. Redeem your coupon at your local CVS store to receive a FREE full-size Essence of Beauty Antibacterial Collection product. Retail value up to $3.99.

If you decide that you do not want to receive CVS Beauty Club updates on your Facebook wall, then go to their page and click on "Unlike" on the lower left side of the page.

Hurry, in-store offer ends 4/18/2011.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quick Tip: Be "Brand Agnostic" to Save Money

I'll be the first to admit that there are certain brands that I'm not willing to forego. For example, I'm a fan of Heinz Ketchup, French's Mustard, and Hellman's/Best Foods' Mayo. However, for some products, it really doesn't matter to me or my family if we have a certain brand, or even a brand name product, at all. Go with the choice that is ON SALE and for which you HAVE A COUPON. If I'm using canned corn in a recipe, then any name will do the trick, but if we are having straight-up canned corn as a side dish (I know, so exciting and original!) then it has to be Green Giant Niblets.

So, if possible, being Brand Agnostic will save you money!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dinner Panic! What's for Dinner?!

I just experienced that moment that I think most of us have had, "Oh, no! What's for dinner?!" Not sure how dinner comes as a surprise to me, given that we have it every day, but old habits die hard, I guess. The moment of panic soon drifted away as I remembered that I decided last night what I'd be making for dinner tonight.

Now, some folks are really good at planning meals ahead of time. Currently, I'm reading Cut Your Grocery Bill IN HALF -with- America's Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides. It was a birthday gift from my brother-in-law Nathan and his wife, Erika. Do they know what I like, or what?! Anyway, back to the book. These folks, the Economides family, plan their meals out a month in advance. I'm just not there yet. I do keep the freezer and pantry stocked with the good deals that I find at my local grocery stores, but I have not yet developed my meal planning to the science that the Economides family has. Those folks are good!

That being said, I do have some Go-To Meals for when I've forgotten to take meat out of the freezer to thaw or when I am missing ingredients that I need for something that I want to make. Or when, like last night, I knew that my daughter's lacrosse practice today would have me away from home at the normal time I'd usually be making dinner. In the past, I would have jumped in the car and run out to the store to pick up those odds and ends that I needed to complete a meal. One more trip to the grocery store, more time, more gasoline, more money, more frustration! Also, certainly I was not planning ahead and buying with coupons paired with a sale. Now, instead of all that waste, I make one of my Go-To Meals, which qualify as follows:

1. Must have only a handful of ingredients.
2. Must have ingredients that I readily have on hand.
3. Must take less than 30 minutes to make.
4. BONUS: Can be made ahead of time and quickly reheated.

Tonight's Go-To Meal is Tuna Salad Sandwiches. Canned tuna, mayo, sweet pickle relish, and bread. Four ingredients, not too bad! I usually have a bag of baby spinach in the fridge, so with that on the side, it's a meal. Today, I am a little low on bread, but it just so happens that I have been planning on making my first loaf of wheat bread. And, if something comes up and I don't make the bread? We can make do with what we have, or, I'll use my back-up plan. My personal back-up plan is my husband and he can stop to grab a loaf of wheat bread on the way home from work! Seriously, I aim to do things in a certain way, but am not going to beat myself up (too much) when it doesn't all fall into place the way I had planned. Life happens and my husband is really good at sticking to a grocery list, so I know that no extra purchases will sneak home in the bag.

Another Go-To Meal is pasta and sauce. Again, quick, easy, and fast. To change things up, sometimes I will doctor store-bought sauce with some sauteed onions or peppers (if I have them on hand), or canned mushrooms and olives. Canned corn and chopped green beans have also made an appearance in my pasta sauce. These things make the sauce a little chunkier and add in some extra vitamins and fiber.

Breakfast-for-Dinner also makes a regular appearance as one of my family's favorite Go-To Meals. Eggs, frozen sausage links (quick to thaw), bacon, wheat bread for toast, pancakes, and frozen waffles are all candidates for Breakfast for Dinner in my home.

So, what Go-To Meals do you serve in your home? FYI, fast food does not count!

Heinz Vinegar 50 cent Coupon

For those of you who like to cook or clean using vinegar, Heinz is offering a 50 cent off any one bottle of Heinz Distilled White Vinegar or Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. Besides general cooking and cleaning, white vinegar also comes in handy when coloring Easter Eggs, which wow, is only two weeks away!

Here is the link:

I printed this coupon today, and it says it expires 5/07/11.
FYI, I was able to hit the back button on my browser, and it printed a second coupon.

What do you use vinegar for the most, cooking or cleaning? I think it's an even split in my home.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bulk Buying for Singles / Small Families

Bulk buying / couponing is not just for families with six kids. If you are single, an empty-nester, a widower, a poor college student, starving artist, whatever, you, too can benefit from bulk buying!

Gather some friends who are in a similar situation to you, other friends, neighbors, college students, retirees, and create your individual In Search Of lists, or ISO's, for short. Have everyone over for coffee or tea and share your lists. You'll be surprised at how many more items you'll add to your list upon hearing what your friends have on their lists! When you find items in common, you'll note on your list that person's name next to that item. Keep your ISO list handy when out shopping (put it in your coupon envelope / binder).

When you or your friend learn that there is a sale that can be combined with a coupon for extra savings, you can split the purchase price and share the items. This goes for canned goods, boxed items, even frozen foods and fresh meat! For example, get together and split up a purchase* of fresh meat, put the meat in the freezer-safe storage container of your choice, ad a marinade, and pop those bad boys into the freezer. Take them out a day or two before you plan on cooking. It's that easy!

*Try to meet together at the store so you can each provide money towards the purchase and/or make sure you are purchasing in bulk with a close friend who you know will definitely pay for their portion!

One last word, many folks who donate to their local food pantry or church food pantry can benefit from bulk buying. You may not need ten boxes of cereal or 20 cans of green beans, but if you were going to buy some items for the local food pantry anyway? Bulk buying is a great way to make your dollar go farther when donating food items to local charities. In your quest for savings, you will run across items that are free or next to nothing when combining a sale with coupons. You say you don't use that item? Well, maybe one of your friends does or you can donate the item to the pantry.

Eventually, you'll find so many great deals, you'll be in amazement that you used to spend so much on groceries and personal care items. Just make sure that the shelf life of what you buy is longer than the time it will take you to consume the items AND that you have adequate storage for whatever items you do buy.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes. Post below with any comments or questions!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kroger's Houston Coupon Policy Change - In a Nutshell

Thanks to my stepsister, Kelly, who pointed out that I did not say what exactly changed with the Houston-area Krogers' policies regarding couponing in my post from earlier today. Duh! I guess I was "talking to" the folks who already knew about the issue. So, if you'd like more details or have not heard what's going on at all in regards to this change, then please keep reading.  :-)

Krogers is discontinuing it's double / triple coupon program effective 4/13/11. They also will no longer allow folks to stack their coupons (i.e. the use of an electronic AND a paper coupon on the same item.)  This is for the Houston market ONLY.

I shop at Fred Meyer (a Kroger company) here in Oregon (we don't have Kroger) and we cannot double/triple coupons, nor can we stack coupons. I know that I do not have a horse in this race, however, I recognize how this change in policy will hurt many Krogers' customers in the Houston market, therefore, it's pertinent to the main theme of my blog, saving money!

Krogers says it has a new program in the works, but neither provides details as to what it is, nor when it will be rolled out to the Houston market. Folks speculate Krogers' use of Houston as a test market means this program will eventually spread across the country. Krogers has said the program is only in Houston, but I personally cannot imagine why, if the discontinuation of doubles / triples and the subsequent release of a new yet-to-be-named program are successful, then why wouldn't they roll out the same program to the rest of the region or even to all their locations nationwide? Isn't that why companies have test markets??

Given these tough economic times, many folks depend greatly on the ability to use double/triple coupons and stack coupons at Kroger. Many folks are so inflamed with the change in policy that consumers across the country are vowing to leave Kroger and shop elsewhere. If you'd like more info, here is a link to Kroger's site where they explain in detail the changes they are making.

I liken this change to my time in college when my university tore out a parking lot on campus to build a new business school. However, they didn't build the new parking garage to accommodate those who lost their parking spaces in the lot till years later! I just wish that Kroger would announce the discontinuation of one program and the beginning of the new program in the same message. However, I'm certain there is some wise business decision behind their reasoning. If you hear what that decision is, please share in the comments below!

Welcome to those Upset about the Change in Kroger's Coupon Policies!


Just a quick word. I know that businesses are tightening their financial belts, just like the rest of us.
However, I personally know a lot of folks who make ends meet with the serious use of coupons.

I know that businesses need to try out their ideas on single markets / regions, so someone has to
be the one to suffer or the first to suffer.

I know there are folks that tell you to be thankful for the savings you've gotten in the past and that grocers do not have to provide these programs. They also tell you that you are free to shop elsewhere. Many of you will do just that, which just like it's the grocer's right to change its policies, it's your right to shop where you like. I just hope that some of my ideas, and some of the ideas that we all share here, will help each of us save a little more. I don't want to get political, I just want to plan for the event that this economy doesn't turn around quick enough to take care of my minimal expenses.

Many of you are already VERY savvy money savers. You may have more to give than get from this blog. However, some of you may be new to saving money, budgeting, planning, etc. If I can help just one family save a little each month to make ends meet, it will be well worth my time.

Welcome to SAHMonomics - Stay at Home Mom-onomics!

Take care,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick Tip: Coupon Sharing

Are you new to couponing but do not have anyone nearby with whom you can trade or share extras? Don't forget about your friends on the other side of the country! I received an envelope FULL of great coupons from my friend Ronda in Ohio today. (Thanks, Ro!) I also sent one to her today, and two others earlier this week. Even though my coupon-using buddies are far away, we can still look out for each other's favorites.

 Ronda has an in-person coupon trading group back in Ohio, and for any coupons that I send her that she neither wants nor needs, she shares those with the other folks in her group. Some stores even have a basket near the front door where folks can put their unwanted coupons and Catalinas. My local Fred Meyer has just such a basket near the carts by the front door.

Make sure to trade ISO (In Search Of) product lists with your friends.  Also, if there are coupons that you can print online, but are for stores that your friends have, but you do not, then you can share those as well.

Happy couponing!

Buy One Get One Free Chipotle! Good through March 3, 2011.

Click on the title of this post, which will link you to Chipotle's Facebook page. Make sure you're on the Chipotle tab, and watch the short video about America's Next Great Restaurant. You will then be able to print a coupon for Buy-One/Get-One Chipotle Burritos, Bowls, Tacos, or Salads. Yummy! 

Offer / coupon is good through March 3, 2011, so make sure to act on this soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Cleaning Tip! Cleaning Stainless Steel Sinks with Baking Soda & Vinegar

I love using baking soda and vinegar to clean my stainless steel sink. Those two ingredients bubble together for some great cleaning action! However, to get them to work really well together, I've come up with a great method of applying both that I hope you will like, too.

When I first started using baking soda and vinegar to clean my stainless steel sink, I'd pour some baking soda from the box, but it wouldn't stick to the sides of the sink. Then I'd pour vinegar out of the bottle, and it would wash the baking soda into one big pile, or sometimes, straight down the drain. I needed a method to help coat more of the sink with the two agents so their bubbling action would do more of the work for me!

First, get a small pump spray bottle from a local store. Or, save money and reuse an empty Windex bottle, removing the label first, and relabeling with "White Vinegar for Cleaning Only". Fill your bottle with white vinegar. I store mine under the kitchen sink so it's always handy, but you should store yours wherever it makes sense for you. Next, either find a plastic container with a screw-top lid, or repurpose a bulk herbs / spice container. I like the type that onion flakes come in, because it has a flip-top lid, but on the inside of the lid, there are holes for the baking soda to exit the container. A plastic parmesan cheese shaker would work well for this, too. Clean out whichever container you choose with warm sudsy water so the baking soda will not absorb the smell of original contents, then fill the container with baking soda.

When it's time to clean your sink, remove all items from it. Spray your stainless steel sink using the vinegar spray bottle, then shake out some baking soda so you are covering all areas of the walls and floor of the sink. The baking soda will stick to the vinegar and start to react. Let the mixture sit for a short time until the bubbling slows. Next, get a damp sponge that you know is safe for your stainless steel sink. Wipe the baking soda / vinegar mixture with the grain of the stainless steel, wiping the walls and the floor of the sink thoroughly. After you feel you've given it a good cleaning, rinse with cool water.

If you are cleaning a stainless steel sink that is REALLY dirty, I suggest putting in the stopper and filling with hot, sudsy water. Be careful not to burn your hands or to over fill the sink. Let the hot, sudsy water sit for 15-20 minutes (making sure no small children can get near the sink full of hot water) then drain. At this point, I would do a quick rinse of the sink with water, then dry the sink with a paper towel so your vinegar isn't competing with any water that remains from the soak. If the sink was seriously dirty.  Embarrassingly dirty. If it were "I'd faint if anyone knew my sink were this dirty" dirty, then repeat with the vinegar and baking soda.

Not only will you have a nice clean and shiny sink, you will have used products that are safe for you and the environment, and you'll have spent very little money in the process.

What ways do you use baking soda and vinegar?

Kitchen Clean up Taking Forever? Practice Clean-as-You-Go Cooking!

I think most of us know that, after eating, the bulk of our energy goes toward digestion, thus making us feel a little sleepy. After dinner in my house is a time for finishing homework and spending time with my husband, so the last thing I need to be doing is spending an hour in the kitchen recovering from dinner. Therefore, I practice "Clean as You Go".  (Starting with a clean kitchen is a big help!)

First, if I create any sort of trash or recycling while cooking, I take care of it right away. For example, I rinse cans, remove labels, and get those cans to the recycler container in my pantry.  If I'm done with an ingredient, I put it right away. If I'm using a leftover from the fridge and I've emptied the container, I rinse all food residue away or allow it to soak while I continue meal prep. Cutting carrots? I have a white plastic cutting board, so for any food that stains, I make sure to scrub it a bit with dish soap and set to the side until I load the dishwasher. And, of course, wipe up spills immediately so they do not become hardened.

Remember, life doesn't always go as you plan, and there are times when the kitchen will just have to wait. In those instances, at a minimum, make sure all leftovers are put away and that plates and utensils get a quick rinse so they won't have to be soaked later. Enjoy dinner and enjoy life!

Monday, February 7, 2011

{Expired} FREE $2.00 Amazon MP3 Code! Good till Feb. 14, 2011

**This offer has expired**

Free MP3's? Awesome! I just used this credit to download one of my daughter's favorite new songs and am waiting for her to get home from school to choose the second song. 

If you choose songs that are 99 cents, you can get two songs with this code.


Just copy and paste the code above, then click on the title of this post to go to Amazon. Enjoy!

This code is good until Feb. 14, 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quick Tip: Catalinas - Plan Ahead!

Some savings sites or Catalina ads will tell you what you can buy in order to generate ONYO (On Your Next Order) money-off Catalina coupons. If you know that you are purchasing something that will generate an ONYO money-off Catalina, then tell the cashier that you have two transactions, and buy that item first! Then, use your ONYO money-off Catalina on your very next purchase. This helps you to note forget to use it in the future. It's no fun to find one of those valuable Catalinas at the bottom of your shopping bag or at the back of your coupon folder.

Also, in the event I'm in a rush and do not use the ONYO money-off Catalina right away, I put it with my method of payment (folded into cash or around my credit card) so it's just about impossible to miss during my next trip to the store. Also, every time I pull out the cash or credit card at another store, I'm reminded that the Catalina is there waiting to save me money!

Quick Tip: Pay Attention to Catalinas!

If you're saying, "Catalina? What's that?" then let me quickly explain. Do you remember those long, skinny coupons that you sometimes get at the check-out along with your receipt? Well, those are Catalinas. Sometimes they are coupons, sometimes they are ads. Well, don't just toss them in the recycling bin when they are ads, listen up!

Recently, there was a Catalina ad for Maxwell House International cafe. It stated that starting on a certain date, when you bought a certain number of that item, you would receive a Catalina good for money off on your next purchase. Silly me! I drink that stuff like a fiend, but didn't hold on to the ad. I found a sale on a certain flavor, at a certain Albertson's, and now cannot remember how many I need to buy to get the various money-off Catalinas. I found that I was safe in purchasing six items, as that got me the maximum reward of $3 off OYNO (On Your Next Order). But what if it were four items? I would only have to buy four to get the ONYO Catalina. So, the moral of the story is, pay attention to those Catalina ads as a part of your overall couponing and savings strategy!

Quick Tip for Couponers: Keep Scissors in Your Purse

OK, how happy was I with myself when I found that I remembered to put a pair of rounded-end children's scissors in my purse today? Sitting in the Albertson's parking lot, I found a few extra coupons to cut out for their doubler sale this week. So, keep those children's scissors in your purse, glove box, wherever you need to so you'll have them handy to neatly and easily cut out some last minute coupons!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TODAY ONLY! $20 Gift Card for $10!

Hurry up on this offer, because it will go fast!

Click on my personal link above to take you to LivingSocial's website to order your gift card. This is great if you have a Kindle, like to purchase MP3's, or any of the bazillion other things that offers for sale.

Never used LivingSocial before? It's just like Groupon, a daily deals site where you can save usually 50% or more on gift cards, restaurants, spas, and all sorts of services. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quick Tip: Rain Checks

Quick Tip: Rain Checks - Totally Worth It!

You've started looking for sales and deals at your local grocery stores. You've even planned ahead and brought your coupons to maximize your savings. However, you find an empty shelf! Not to fear, the Rain Check is your friend! Almost all stores offer Rain Checks when they are out of a product. But, before you ask for one, do a quick check of the following.

1. If the shelf is empty on the "end cap" (the end of an aisle where sale items are usually prominently displayed*), check the item's normal location in the store for additional stock.
Likewise, if the item's normal shelf is empty, check for end-caps.

2. Ask a stocker or store manager if they have additional stock in the storeroom.

3. If the store is truly out of the item you want, then ask for a rain check! If you must have that item right now and aren't just stocking up on it, then ask the store manager if he or she is willing to substitute a comparable item. Recently at Fred Meyer, they were out of the $1.79 carton of eggs. When I asked if they had more in the back, they told me to just get another brand, and tell the cashier to charge me the $1.79 price. I mentioned this to another manager at the front of the store near the checkout, and she not only agreed, she got the cashier's attention and let her know it would be O.K. to do. This saved the cashier a call, and me a wait in line, while she called to confirm. I wound up getting better eggs that what were on sale!

*A word to the wise: Just because items are prominently displayed on end-caps does not mean that they are the best deal!

Plastic Grocery Store Bags. You have them, now what to do with them?

Though some communities are considering and passing legislation to outlaw them, single use plastic grocery store bags are everywhere. Sadly, we often seem them stuck in trees, bushes, and littering the sides of our roadways. Like many people, even if you are using reusable bags, folks still have a bunch of the plastic ones at home. I personally use reusable bags, but on occasion, I forget them in the trunk of my car, or simply do not have enough to hold all my great grocery deals! So, plastic bags, what to do?

Plastic bags, Uses and Recycling

Some folks use the grocery store plastic bags to clean up after their dogs instead of buying the little plastic bags that are stored in the retractable dog leash. Others will take their store of plastic bags to the recycling can meant solely for these bags at their local grocery store. I don't know what they make out of those bags, but, I'm glad there is less going to a landfill. Another use I have for these bags is for tossing the wrapping and tray* that holds raw meat from the grocery store. *Some communities recycle these plastic trays. Where we used to live in Central Ohio did, here in NW Oregon, they do not. Of course, there's always the option of using them for temporary storage of wet swimsuits, towels, and sandy shoes / toys when coming home from the pool or the beach.

Plastic bags, where to keep them?

My family keeps a "bag of bags" hanging in the pantry / laundry room. This is where any of those plastic bags go after groceries are unloaded. However, I have another idea that I really like on where to store those bags. See, I also use the plastic bags to line the small trash cans that we have in each bathroom, bedroom, etc. I find it annoying to have to go grab a new bag from the pantry when I empty the trash in any of those rooms , so this is what I do. When we have finished a box of tissues, I stuff it full of those plastic bags, then store the reused box-full of bags under the bathroom sink. That way, the bags stay under control in a cute way, and it makes it really easy for me to tidy up in the various rooms. Restock as needed. Who doesn't want an easier job of cleaning up around the house? I even like to keep a tissue box full of plastic bags in the trunk of my car for those wet towels, sandy shoes, etc. that I mentioned above.

Don't forget...

If you do use reusable bags, remember to make sure you're getting your "reusable bag credit" at the grocery store, if you're store does this. It's usually five cents per bag. It's your money, keep it!