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!