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!