Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shopping list for 7/1/10

Blue- Manufacturer's Coupon
Green- Publix Coupon
Red- Competitor Coupon 

(2)Breakstone's BOGO $1.59 
   -(2) 55¢/1 printable HERE  
(1) Bag Red Potatoes $2.99
   -(1) $1/1 wyb Breakstone's Sour Cream HERE
(2) Bush's Baked Beans BOGO $2.29
(2) Kraft Cheese Singles 2/$4
(1) Sourdough Bread
    -$2 off Sourdough bread wyb 1 Kraft cheese HERE
(1) Ground Beef
   -$1 off ground beef wyb 2 Krafy cheese tearpad
(2) Goldfish Grahams 2/$3
  -(2) 75¢/1 printable (no longer available)
(10) Gerber Graduates 10/$9
  -(2) $1/5 Target Coupon HERE
(1) Cheez-It 2/$5
  -$1/1 Facebook printable (promotion over)  
(1) Kraft Sandwich Shop $1.99 (possibly BOGO?)
  -$1/1 from 6/13/10 SS
  -$1/1 Yellow Advantage Buy Flyer
(2) Schick Hydro Shave Gel 2/$4
  -(2) $1/1 Green Advantage Buy Flyer (Exp. 7/2)
(2) Gas-x $2.49 (?)
  - $5/2 Green Advantage Buy Flyer (Exp. 7/2)
  -(2) $1/1 printable HERE
(2) Fisher Fusions Nuts 2/$2 
   - $1/1 from 6/20/10 SS
   - $1/1 printable HERE 
(4) Georgia Sweet Corn 10/$1.49
  -$1 off Produce Baby Club Coupon
(1) Bananas 59¢ / lb  
  - Same coupon as above
(1) Huggies Little Swimmers $6.99
  -$2/1 Publix Baby Club Coupon
  -$1.50/1 Printable HERE  

$10/$50 Purchase Publix Q from Redplum homemailer 

I'm still debating a few more things, but if I buy them I'll update with my match-ups on my shopping trip post. 

Check out the full ad with match-ups at iheartpublix or southernsavers

Intro to Storing Water

For more about food storage and emergency prep, click here.

Why do I need to store water?
One of the most often forgotten aspects of food storage is the storage of water. We as humans need water to survive. There are several reasons why you may need access to water storage. One example is when a water source becomes contaminated, this often happens in an area after a natural disaster. 

How much water do I need?
Minimum storage guidelines are one gallon per person per day. This guideline is just for cooking and drinking, it doesn't include other uses such as personal hygiene and sanitation needs. It also doesn't account for special needs such as nursing or pregnant mothers, infants who need formula, etc.

Where will I store that much water? 
Just like with food storage there are shorter and longer term water storage ideas. However, with water storage you can also find water in surprising places for hygiene and sanitation needs. It's also not just storing water, but learning how to purify water for usage. Also, like food storage, you can get creative in your storage methods.

I have no idea how to do any of those things, what should I do?
Keep checking back here as I continue in this series on storing water. We'll look at bottling water for drinking, accessing water for hygiene and sanitation, purifying water, and proper storage of water. So please check back to learn all about it. It's surprisingly easy. For now, make sure you have enough water in your 72 hour kit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Uses for Paper Clips

For more in this series click here.

There are so many uses for paper clips and many have nothing to do with paper. Check out the list below for some great ideas.
  • Christmas ornament hanger. 
  • Simple lock picking. Not anything illegal, but we've all locked ourselves out of simple things like jewelry boxes and screen doors
  • Stress Relief. Twirling and bending a paper clip can relieve stress or at least give your hands something to do.
  • Unclogging. Use it to get that hair out of the drain or to unclog the top of the glue bottle, salt shaker, or any small hole.
  • Cleaning. Use it to clean grout, between keys on a keyboard, or really stuck on water deposits in your shower head.
  • Pressing release button on the disk drive on your computer (for when the computer won't power on and a disk is inside)
  • Clipping fabric together while you are sewing.
  • Paper clip chain. You can hang them on the wall by your desk to hold notes, etc. from it.
  • Pressing the reset button on electronics and watches.
  • Crafts. You can make all sorts of things from bending and linking paper clips.
  • Closing bags such as potato chips or frozen veggies.
  • Bobby pin or hair clip in a pinch
  • Book mark
  • Money Clip
  • Zipper Pull Replacement
  • Keep winter gloves together when storing
  • Use it to barter for a house.
Do you have a creative use for paper clips? Please share below, and I will add it to the list!

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Publix Ad

    I Heart Publix

    Michelle over at iheartpublix has this weeks ad up, check it out HERE.

    I see a few deals I like, but I think most of it I'm pretty well stocked on. What do you think?

    Monday Money Sense- Needs vs. Wants and Good, Better, Best

    Click here for previous weeks in the Monday Money Sense Series.
    Step Four- Truly looking at your needs versus wants.
    We've been talking about getting out of debt. We've learned what it means to live within our means and did an exercise to see if we really are living within our means. We've created a budget. We've created our debt pay-down plan. Is there anything more we can do to pay down debt faster? The answer is YES! The solution: looking at our needs versus our wants.

    I suppose some of you out there are wondering why I did not start the series with this. The reason is I think it is more important to have a reality check about the amount of debt one is acquiring first. Once some one realizes they are spending more than they are earning they will automatically (hopefully...) cut down on some "wants." Then when they plan their budget they will cut back more. This section is not about choosing between the simple needs versus wants, but the harder ones out there. For example, we all know we need food, clothing, shelter, etc. We all know that we want internet, cable, iphones, tvs, wiis, movies, etc. But when we truly look at our needs versus wants we can kick our debt payback into high gear. It means cutting back even when it's completely within your budget to get it. Let's look at some scenarios and I want you to pick an answer to each, then we will discuss.
    1. Your baby has outgrown his/her 3-6 month clothing. Do you: A) Go to the mall and buy some clothes from Baby Gap, B) Go to Target or Walmart and buy clothes, C) Check out the clearance rack and consignment stores?
    2. It's your spouse's birthday. What will you do about his/her cake? A) Go to a baker to have a professionally made cake, B) Buy it from your local grocery store, C) Make one at home
    3. It's your preschooler's birthday party. Do you: A) Book Chuck E Cheese and invite all the children they know from school, church, soccer, and daycare, B) Have a party at a local park and invite their entire class, C) Have a party at home and invite their close friends and family?
    4. A movie you want to see is coming to theaters. Do you: A) Go see it in theaters, B) Wait for it to come on DVD and then buy/rent it, C) rent it from the library or from Redbox?
    So, it's fairly obvious that there is a good (A), better(B), and best(C) to each of these.   Let's start with number 1. Your baby needs clothing, but your baby doesn't need name brand clothing. You can save a ton of money just by buying from a large retailer like Walmart or Target, and you can save more from buying from the clearance rack or a consignment store. Remember most baby clothes only get worn a few times before they grow out of them.  Moving on to number 2, you love your spouse and you want them to have a great day. However, it is not a need for them to have a cake, but there is a way to make the day special without going overboard. Your spouse doesn't need a fancy cake, so consider a store bought, and if your really daring consider baking your own (from scratch is even better!). Most adults love any cake and will love that you cared enough to bake it for them, and it will save you tons to do it this way. Number 3 is again more of a want than need, but I know how hard it would  be to tell a child they can't have a birthday party. So again don't go overboard. A small party at home is usually cheaper (and easier) than having to deal with 70 kids at Chuck E Cheese. And finally number 4, which is clearly a want, but a want that you can have for free or cheap if you can be patient. Ticket prices are expensive, and nothing is worse than seeing a movie paying $20 for a ticket and snacks and realizing the movie stinks. If you wait for it to come out on DVD you can, in most cases, rent it from your local library or go to Redbox and only risk $1.

    So what does this have to do with debt? Well imagine the savings of moving from a good category (A) category to a better (B) category (or from a better to a best). If you took that money (which you've already budgeted for) and apply it towards your debt you will be working toward paying off your debt sooner and paying less in interest in the long run. Move from an good to a best category and that is even more savings. You could easily find $10-$20 (or more!) a month to put toward debt! It's not a change to your budget or debt pay-down plan, it's just an extra little burst to it.

    This week before you spend any money think "is there a way I can get this cheaper?" or "Do I really need this item now or can I wait until I can get it cheaper?" or "Do I need to spend money on this at all?"

    Be sure to check out some of my other series for ideas on ways to find those extra ways to save money.

      Friday, June 25, 2010

      Recall- Kellogg's Cereal

      Kellogg's is recalling several of their cereals for quality control reasons concerning an off-taste and smell. You can find out more information at their website HERE.

      Friday Fun- Eating Out on a Budget

      Eating out is expensive, but it doesn't have to be! Follow these tips, and you will be sure to save some cash.
      • Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch menus are almost always cheaper than dinner.
      • Consider the early bird special. Same concept as above.
      • Consider getting it to-go. A lot of casual dining restuarants allow you to phone in an order and come pick it up. By doing this you save on the tip.
      • Skip the drink and the dessert. These are often the parts of the meal that have the most inflated prices. Water is free. If you really want dessert, consider stopping by a local bakery or grocery store where you will often be able to buy a whole cake for the cost of one slice. Remember everything you eat at casual dining restaurants will add to the amount of tip you should pay.
      • Sign-up at your favorite restaurants websites. Many offer special clubs that send you coupons every so often. A favorite of mine is Ruby Tuesday's, quite often they send BOGO meal coupons.
      • Get free food in your birthday month! Check out this link for a great list of places you can sign-up to get free food, and many will fit the above tip too.
      • If you have children, go to places where kids eat free. Check out this list to see some possible places, but make sure to call your restaurant as well because sometimes things vary.
      • Check your weekly coupon sources. I often see coupons in RP or SS for some of the major chains.
      • Check local newspapers and mailers. Several times a month I receive coupons for local restaurants through various local papers, magazines, and mailers.
      • Opt for carry out instead of delivery. Usually there is a charge (or a minimum purchase requirement) for delivery.
      • Consider picking up fast food and using it for a picnic.
      • A favorite way to save on fast food is for one person to order a value meal and up size it, and the other just order an item off the dollar menu. You can then share the fries and the drink.
      Do you have any tips for saving on eating out? I'd love to hear them!

      Thursday, June 24, 2010

      BJ's Trip

      I made a trip to BJ's as well today because I needed some meats, etc.

      Here's what I picked up:

      (1) 16ct Burger patties @ $15.69
            -$3.50/1 BJ's Coupon
      (1) Cheddar Cheese Shreds 3lbs (12 cups) @  $7.19
      (1) Tyson Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts w/ rib meat 10lbs @ $19.99
      (1) 1% Milk @ $2.72
      (1) Whole Milk @ $2.79

      Total for Purchase= $44.88

      I can't tell you exactly how much I saved, but I can give you a few cost comparisons of the prices for the bulk versus Publix.
      1% Milk at Publix $3.29 - $2.72 = 57¢ savings
      Whole Milk at Publix $3.29- $2.79 = 50¢ savings
      Tyson Chicken 2lbs @ Publix currently on sale @ $5.99 (you can add a Publix coupon for $1/1 "limit one coupon per customer" bringing it to $4.99) which equals $2.49/ lb or $2.99/lb w/o coupon  or BJ's price of $1.99/ lb. So, 10lbs @ Publix $28.95 - $19.99= $8.96 savings.

      I love BJ's because they accept coupons, and you can stack a manufacturer's coupon with a BJ's coupon.
      Everything listed above (except the milk) will probably last us a few months. We last bought these items about 4 months ago.

      Publix Trip 6/24

      (not pictured rice, package of zucchini, and kiwi)
      I spent $16.23 for $55.40 worth of groceries, saving $39.17 or 70%!

      Click here for the original list.

      Here are the changes:
      I added:
      Kraft Mayo w/ olive oil $2.99
       - Free from Kraft Summer Savings Promotion
      (4) Gerber Ravioli @ $1 each and (1) Gerber Carrots @ 85¢
        -$1/5 Gerber Products Target IP HERE
      (1) Ziploc Sandwich Bags 50ct. $1.99
        -$1/1 Ziploc Product Target IP HERE
      (1) Publix Rice 5lb bag $1.99   

      I deleted:

      Other Changes:
      Zucchini $1.34 ( I bought a 3 pack)
      No Peelie on the Butter

      I also stopped by another Publix in my area because my favorite Publix has not yet received the Green Advantage Buy flyers! (I know seriously they expire in a little over a week). This other Publix did have them, so I grabbed a couple to use next week to get the things I've been wanting to get, but needed the flyer coupons for.

      Frugality- What does that mean? Vocab and abbreviations for the world of couponing.

      Click here for more posts on this subject.

      The very first time I went to some of my favorite sites I found myself feeling overwhelmed because I just did not understand half of the stuff they were talking about. There were so many different terms and abbreviations for everything. So that is what I'm going to discuss today, and hopefully then you will be in the know from now on.
      Common Terms
      • Manufacturer's Coupon- a coupon from a manufacturer. Has a barcode and usually is labeled manufacturer's coupon
      • Store Coupon- a coupon for a specific store
      • Publix Coupon- A type of store coupon. A coupon put out by Publix. Usually has L.U. and a series of numbers on it
      • Competitor's Coupon- a coupon from another store that is not a manufacturer's coupon. Usually says things like "Target coupon" or "Winn-Dixie Coupon." Some stores, like Publix, accept competitor's coupons (you will need to ask your specific store if they accept competitor's coupons)
      • Printable Coupon- a coupon printable from the internet. Most have security features built in to them.These can be manufacturer's, store, or competitor's coupons.
      • Blinkie- a coupon found in a machine at the store. It usually has a blinking light on it
      • Tear pad- a coupon found on a tear pad most often in front of the product
      • Peelie- a coupon usually found on the package that peels off
      • Hang-tag- a tag hanging from the product (most often found on beverages and cleaning supplies)
      • Bricks- usually refers to a type of internet printable hosted by
      • Freebies- an item you can get for free, either through coupons or samples
      • Overage- when the value of the coupons is more than the cost of the item. This overage of money can be applied to other groceries.Your store may or may not allow overages.
      • Match-ups- a match-up of coupons to sale items.
      • Stockpiling- stocking up on an item at it's lowest point in an effort to only buy items at the lowest they will go.
      • Stacking- stacking two coupons of different types  on top of each other. Usually it is a manufacturer and a store coupon
      • Doubling- when a store doubles the amount of the coupon
      • Catalina- coupons that print out with receipt. Not found at all grocery stores.

      • SS- Smartsource, one of the main newspaper inserts
      • RP- RedPlum, on of the main newspaper inserts
      • PG- Proctor and Gamble, a manufacturer. Usually has an insert once a month, also has special offers and freebies from time to time. 
      • BOGO or B1G1- Buy one get one. Depending on your store you will either have a "true BOGO" where one item rings up free or a half off BOGO where you can buy one item for half off of the original price.
      • $X/X- the amount of money off of the an amount of products. For example $1/1 means $1 off 1 product. $1/2 means a $1 off two products.
      • $X off a $XX purchase- a coupon for money off the entire purchase. For example $5 off a $25 purchase. Usually means before coupons.
      • MIR- mail in rebate. This means you receive a rebate in either a check or gift card buy sending in specific things to a company.
      • IP- internet print, see above for definition
      • MFR- manufacturer coupon, see above for definition
      • OOP- out of pocket, how much money you actually spent
      • WYB- when you buy. For example $1 off milk wyb cookies.
      • Q- coupon
      Are there any terms or abbreviations you want to know? Please comment to let me know, and I'll be sure to find out. Next week I will talk about some of the basics of coupon usage.

      Wednesday, June 23, 2010

      Shopping list for 6/24

      So here's my list for tomorrow:

      Blue- Manufacturer's Coupon 
      Green- Publix Coupon
      Red- Competitor Coupon 

      (2) Musselman's 6pk BOGO $2.33
         -(2) 75¢/1 Publix Smart Savings Booklet
      (2) Smart Balance Milk BOGO $3.59
         -(2) $2/1 IP from their website HERE 
      (1) Land O Lakes Butter $2.50
         -Possible 55¢ peelie  
      (1) Cascade Detergent $3.99
         - 50¢/1 Home mailer  
         - $1/1 Publix Stock Up and Save Now sheet
      (1) Zucchini 99¢
      (1) Kiwi 25¢
      (1) Dr. Pepper $1
         -60¢/1 IP (no longer available)
      (1) Pampers Jumbo Pack $10.99
         -$3/1 Home Mailer
      (1) Pampers Wipes Price?
         -Free wyb Pampers Diapers In-Ad coupon
         -$2/1 6/6/10 PG
      (2) Muir Glen Pasta Sauce 89¢
         -(2) $1/1 IP HERE (You will need to register first)
      (1) Milk $3.09 (I might decide to buy this at BJ's)

      $5 off $25 Purchase Save-a-lot coupon     

      Be sure to check-out the full ad on iheartpublix or southernsavers.


      Food Storage- Building up your 3 month supply

      Click here for past entries on this subject.

      Before I get started on building a three month supply of food, I just need to get something out there right now about food storage. Do not, I repeat, do not, buy a years supply of food from some company. There are several reasons for this the main being the prices are often insane (think thousands of dollars for one person). You should never go into debt to get food storage. Secondly, a lot of those companies do not know what your tastes and needs are. It is better for you to build it up yourself and it be usable then to go for the convenience of buying it in one swoop. That being said there is nothing wrong with buying an item here or there from these companies. Ok now that I have that out of the way, on to building a three month supply.

      How can I build a three month supply of food?
      The simple answer is a little at a time. My suggestion is two do one or both of the following.1) Whenever something you eat regularly is on sale buy extra of that item.  2) Set aside a portion of your food money each week to buying items for food storage. I feel like the best solution is a combination. For example if you set aside $5-$10 of your weekly food budget you can buy a few of the items that are on sale with it and use the remaining amount of money to buy things that seldom go on sale.

      What kind of foods should I have in my three month supply?
      That's easy! The kinds you eat. LOL. Ok, but seriously pretty much anything that is shelf stable is a good idea for a three month supply. Pastas, sauces, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats and fish, crackers, nuts, beans, rice, flour, yeast, sugar, dried fruits, jerky, canned soups, mac and cheese, etc., etc. Basically anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated or frozen. It also excludes bread and fresh fruit and veggies (as these things normally would spoil in a three month period). As you work on living a provident life, you'll also gain some skills such as canning and gardening that will help with food storage.

      So I'm not supposed to touch these foods? 
      Actually the opposite is true. To have truly effective food storage you need to be rotating through and using it.

      But if I use it then I won't have it...
      The key is rotation. You should create a system to replace what you use. You can replace them as they go on sale again or with money set aside for that purpose.

      How will I know if I have enough food?
      The best method is to create some menus. Create a menu for one day, then one week, then one month. This will help you to most accurately figure out your family's needs. And once you create these menus put them with your food storage.

      What questions do you have about building a three month supply? Please ask so I can help you build your food storage, and you'll get to see your questions answered in future installments.

      That's it for today, join me next week as we work on storing water.

      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      A fun website I found.

      So I was reading Real Simple magazine (my favorite magazine) the other day, and they had a review of a pretty awesome website. It's called Quizzle and it is by the makers of Quicken Loans.
      So why do I like it?
      • Free credit report every 6 months from Experian
      • Free credit score every 6 months
      • Money Tools and calculators
      • Did I mention it's free?
      I looked into it, and the main reason it is free is because they have lots of little services you can pay for (credit monitoring, identity protection, credit boot camp, extra score reports, etc.), but you don't have to buy any of it. It's not a free trial, and you don't enter in your credit card information.

      So go check it out!
      *Remember you can always request your free annual report from each of the three major bureaus HERE.*

      New Uses for Aluminum Foil

      Click here for previous posts in this series.

      Aluminum foil. We all know it is great for covering food to keep it warm, and lining pans for easy clean-up, but there are so many more uses for it.
      • Sharpening scissors. Cut through 6-8 layers and your scissors will stay sharp.
      • Make your soap last longer. Put a piece on the bottom of the bar so it doesn't sit in a puddle of water and wear away quicker
      • Re-soften brown sugar by wrapping the block in foil and bake at 300 for 5 min.
      • Place a piece under your iron while ironing. It will reflect heat and make it like ironing both sides at once.
      • Use it as wrapping paper in a pinch
      • Keep pie crust from burning by wrapping the edges of the crust with foil near the end of baking.
      • Cover doorknobs and hinges to save yourself from removing them to paint.
      • Ball it up to clean off the grill
      • Ball it up and use it like steel wool
      • Use it as curlers in your hair.
      • Use it to keep pets off furniture. They hate the sound, and soon enough your pets will be trained not to go up there.
      • Place a piece under a napkin in a serving basket to keep rolls warmer
      • Curl it into a cone for a make shift funnel
      • Line a glass pan with foil, add several spoonfuls of baking soda, fill the pan with boiling water, and drop in tarnished silverware for a quick cleaning.
      • Place it on the rack under a casserole or other messy food to catch drips. Never put it on the bottom of the oven as this is a fire hazard.
      • Gardening. Add it to mulch to keep slugs away. Hang it from fruit trees to keep birds from eating the fruit
      • Crafts! There are so many crafts you can make from foil, I couldn't possibly name them all.
      Do you have any clever uses for aluminum foil? Share them with me, and I'll be sure to add them to the list.

      *As a side note, I know you may suggest wrapping drip pans in aluminum foil, but I've heard from quite a few sources that this is actually a fire hazard. Actually when I first moved into my house we had to replace the receptacle (the part the burner plugs into) on our stove top because they had wrapped the drip pans improperly and caused it to melt the receptacle. In my opinion, it is easier and takes less time to wash them in the dishwasher regularly. 

      Monday, June 21, 2010

      Publix Ad

      Michelle has the ad up over at iheartpublix, so go check it out HERE

      Publix Trip 6/21

      For the other trip this week, click here.
      I spent $22.27 for $51.70 worth of groceries, saving $29.43 or 57%! This brings the percent of savings of the week down to 73% which is definitely still great in my book.

      So I originally was only going to head back to the store just for the Huggies diapers and wipes and lemonade, but then some other deals surfaced that I had to get in on, and well I'm making nachos for dinner tonight, so I needed a few things. Here's the match-ups for those things.

      (1)Blueberries $1.50
       -$1.50 off berries coupon HERE. (One coupon per customer)
      (2)John Frieda $3.99 each
       -(1)$3/1 Root Awakening 6/6/10 SS
       -(1)$2.50/1 Any HERE (must complete product advisor)
       -(1)$3/2 Target Coupon HERE
      (2) Muir Glen Pasta Sauce 89¢ each
        -(2) $1/1 HERE (you may need to register) 
      (1) Green Beans 95¢
      (2) Black Beans 85¢ each
      (1) Lettuce Shreds $1.99

      Money Sense- Step three of getting out of debt

      Click here for previous weeks in this series.

      Step Three- Creating a Debt Pay-down Plan
       Even if you are living within your means and have created a budget, you will not get out of debt unless you come up with a plan to do so. Below are the steps to create that plan.
      1. If you haven't done so already, lock up your cards. One popular way is to freeze your cards in ice. Do whatever you need to do to stop using them.
      2. Collect information on all current debts. You will need current balance, minimum payment, current payment being paid, and interest rate.
      3. Head over to this calculator and enter in all of your debts. I'd enter all debts including credit cards, loans, student loans, lines of credit, mortgages, car loans, personal loans, etc. The reason I include "good" debts like student loans and mortgages is to show you how much time you can cut out of paying debts, however it is entirely your choice on paying down these debts sooner than their terms based on personal preference or circumstances (for example you may not want to pay off your mortgage if you know you will move in a year). 
      4. Click the submit button. You will see the results of a roll-over plan. The basis of the roll-over plan is once you pay off one debt, you roll-over the payment from that debt to another debt. 
      5. Play around with the additional payments section. Enter in different values of money into the extra monthly payment. Press the submit button again and see how they affect the results. You may be surprised how much an extra $5, $10, $20, or more a month could do.
      6. Play around with the one-time payment section. This is a good section for unexpected sums of money such as bonuses, inheritance, or gifts. You can look at the detailed section to see where it places the payment.
      7. Play around with the assumptions. It assumes you want to pay down the highest interest rate first. The reason for this is to save you money in interest over the long run. You can also choose to pay off the lowest balance first. This is a good choice if you need to see results to stay motivated. The final option is shortest to longest payoff period. This one is very similar to paying to lowest balance first. The only difference in this one is if for some reason a card has a higher minimum payment ratio you will end up paying it off faster than one with a smaller balance. 
      8. Play around with the interest on savings. This will show you what you will make on the money once you pay off the debt and put the same amount in savings. 5% is an average, your interest will vary depending on how aggressive or conservative you are about your savings.
      9. Make a decision on all the options. (Whether you want to add more to your minimum payments, add a lump sum payment, and which order of pay-off you prefer)
      10. Print (ctrl + p) the page.
      11. Voila! You now have a debt pay-off plan!
      12. Return to it regularly to update and adjust. You'll want to come back if you ever receive a lump-sum of money, if your interest rates go up, or if you can find more money in your budget to add to your monthly payments.

      Saturday, June 19, 2010

      Service Idea- Animal Shelters

      Animal shelters are always in need of help, so I've compiled a list of things many animal shelters/humane societies need. Remember many are non-profit organizations and therefore depend largely on the donations of the public. Also keep in mind as the economy soured many people left animals behind in foreclosed homes, or simply gave them up as they were unable to care for them. Because of this many shelters have a surplus of animals. Some shelters have also started pet pantries realizing it would cost them less to give out pet supplies (and also make some owners very happy they can keep a source of joy in their life) then to deal with more pets in the shelter
      • Pet food. Whenever you see a deal for free or cheap pet food consider buying it to donate to a local shelter. Also, be on the lookout for free samples. These are also great to give to shelters. They usually accept both dry and canned food. Some shelters may also need bird, rabbit, and other types of animal foods.
      • Cat litter. 
      • Blankets, towels, sheets, pillowcases, basically any kind of linen you can think of. 
      • Cat Carriers. 
      • Trash bags
      • Clorox wipes
      • Toys
      • Pet treats
      • Money for all the things you can't donate (such as veterinary services).
      • Time. Many shelters are staffed by volunteers. They need people to walk dogs, clean cages, wash animals, feed animals, and plenty of other things. They also need foster parents for animals who need a little bit of special attention. Please check with your local shelter for specific details.
      Go here to locate a nearby shelter (this isn't a comprehensive list, so you can also do a google search of your area). Most shelters have a wish-list, but are more than happy to accept donations for things they typically need. I hope you consider helping out some furry friends.

      Friday, June 18, 2010

      Two food recalls- Campbell's and Marie Callender's

      The first is for Campbell's Spaghetti O's with meatballs. The basis of the recall is after a routine inspection by the company, it was discovered that the machines were not cooking the meatballs fully. Currently there are no reports of illness.
      For more info check the USDA website or Campbell's Website

      The other recall is for Marie Callendar's frozen cheesy chicken and rice dinners. It has been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. There have been reports of illness with this one.
      For more info check the USDA website or ConAgra's website

      So check your pantries and freezers, and stay safe!

      Friday Fun

      Last week I talked about how awesome Swagbucks is! So really if you haven't joined you are missing out. Click the image below to join and start earning Swagbucks!

      Search & Win

       This week, I'd like to talk about another Points Program which is Tropicana Juicy Rewards.
      I like it because they offer a lot of redeemable rewards and also special feature rewards. You may have noticed the free OJ coupons I had. They were a special promotion, for 5 juicy reward points you got a coupon for free OJ and one of their other offers free. They've also done other special promotions in the past to receive any of their rewards free or certain categories for free. The prizes are quite varied. From BOGO bowling or mini golf to discounts at stores or museum admissions. You can also enter sweepstakes or donate to save the rain forest with your points.
      Many of their regular rewards are 1-3 points. Each carton of  Tropicana is 3 points, but I also have some codes for you. Let me know if any of them do not work so I can remove them.
      • DOUBL-TTKFR (2 pts.)
      • DOUBL-HTREW (2 pts.)
      • YAHOO-34765 (1 pt.)
      • LA73E-CL9W4 (1 pt.)
      • FBOOK-TROPI (1 pt.)
      • MOTHE-RHOOD (1 pt.)
      • BLOGG-HER11 (1 pt.) 
      So go ahead check them out! 

      Thursday, June 17, 2010

      Recall of Note- OTC Medicines

      McNeil Consumer Healthcare is expanding their recall. McNeil is the manufacturer of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. The recall is not life-threatening, and has to do with quality control issues.
      For more information, see their website HERE.

      For what's it's worth, I filled out their form for a refund. I had two bottles of infant's Motrin. Last week I received a check in the mail from them, for more than I probably paid for them. So they are definitely keeping with their word. So check your cabinets for the recalled items, and then head over to their site to choose between a coupon or a refund.

      Publix Trip 6/17

      I spent $12.31 for $75.68 worth of groceries, saving $63.37 or 84%!

      I'd say it went well, the only downer was somehow my $3 off Huggies coupon did not make it to the store, so I didn't purchase the diapers or wipes.
      Here's a list of changes from the original list.
      Nature's Own bread was not BOGO at my store, but Arnold's bread was BOGO at $3.69
      Hamburger Buns 89¢
      Dan-o-nino $1.67
       -$1.50/1   SS 6-6-2010 
      As mentioned Huggies diapers and wipes
      Country Time (I somehow completely forgot I wanted to buy it, it's been one of those weeks...) 
       I'll probably pick up these on another day this week.

      Frugality- Organizing Coupons

      What is the best way to organize coupons? I see this question come up all the time on the various blogs I follow. So I figure first I'll go through my method, and then share some other methods of organization.

      My method
      Items Needed: 1 large binder (at least 3"), several dividers (25-30), a ton of page protectors (50-100 based on personal preferences). The following is a description of each divider with what is in that section.
      • The 12 months of the year. I have one divider for each month. Within each month I have several page protectors. I section each week into a page protector. I then either hand write or find a print out of the list of coupons in my paper and place it in front of the page protector. As I use a coupon I cross it off, so I know not to bother to look for it. 
      • Publix Advantage Buy Flyers. I have one page protector for green flyers and one for yellow. 
      • Publix Booklets. This is wear I put any of the booklets found at Publix, such as "Summer Savings"
      • Publix Blinkies, Tearpads, Peelies, Mailers, or Printables. This section houses all other Publix coupons.
      • Competitor's. This section houses all my competitors. I am unfortunate where I live that we don't have very many competitors, so mainly this section contains Target coupons, and occasionally some others.
      • Tearpads, Blinkies, and Peelies- This section houses any manufacturer's coupons generally found at the store. It may also include single page flyers or small booklets of manufacturer's coupons.
      • Online Prints- For this section I cut out my internet prints and organize them by month. I stick them in a page protector for each month. I then write out each coupon with expiration date and put it in the front of each page protector. That way I can add to each month when I print them.
      • Other Coupons- This section houses mostly coupons that I clipped from the weekly ads and might not of used (if the product wasn't in my store, for example), or coupons I clipped from other sources (found in a magazine or newspaper).
      • Home Mailers- These are coupons I receive from requesting samples or joining a company's "club." This mostly houses coupons from baby companies, but also houses most of my free item coupons (coupons a company sends you for a free item to try their product, in hopes you will buy it again in the future and spread the word)
      • MIR- Mail in rebates. This houses forms, receipts, upc's, or anything needed to complete a MIR. 
      • Local Coupons- This is where I keep coupons local to my area. This will be things like auto shops, cleaners, etc.
      • BJ's- Coupons for BJ's wholesale club. 
      • Restaurant- Coupons for places to eat.
      • Previous Year's Newspaper- Most coupons in the inserts expire within a month or a couple of months. This is where I can put those random coupons that happen to last a whole lot longer (which is rare). So that way when I see a deal that says 5/10/09 SS, I'll look in this section.
      • Non-grocery Major Stores- I keep my coupons for Lowe's, Home Depot, Office Max, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Bath and Body Works, JC Penney, etc. here. 
      My binder has 2 pockets in both the front and the back. In one of my front pockets I have a guide to my Publix (it shows what the aisles are in the store). I also use a front pocket for coupons I need to sort into my binder. In my back pockets I keep any pieces of paper I can print on the back of or make lists on.

      Other Methods-
      • File Method- Similar to my method, but with file folders instead
      • Clipped Method- Clipping all coupons and sorting them either by expiration date or category (frozen, baby, pet, produce, etc.) into a coupon organizer.
      • Combination of Binder/File and Clipped- A mixture of the two where you file the weekly Sunday inserts and booklets and sort all other coupons into a coupon organizer. 
      Dealing with the pesky internet prints-
      This is a tough one. I choose to clip them and sort them by date as explained above. You could also leave them full sheet and punch holes in the side. The reason internet prints are so hard, is because we tend to print them in hopes of a sale. Internet coupons seem to appear and disappear quickly, so if you don't print them right then, they might not be there when you want them. I prefer to clip them as it is one less step when I want to use them. With the list I put in the front of each page protector I can just look down the list for what coupons I have and can cross them off when I've used them. Having them sorted by expiration month helps me to decide if I should use them on a sale right now or hold off a little longer for a better sale.

      Why I use the method I use-
      Because I feel like it works well for the deal sites I use. When they say "6/6/10 RP". I can flip to June and find the page protector with the week of 6/6/10 in it. I can than scan my sheet to see if I received the mentioned coupon in my ad. I don't have to spend 15 min going through the pages 3 times to realize I must not have received that coupon. When the site says "Green Advantage Buy," I go to my advantage buy section. When it says tearpad, I can check my tearpad section. Because of the clear page protectors I can also glance through many of mine to catch a coupon match up they might not of seen. The reason I choose a binder over a file system is simple. I can take it with me. I can lay it out on my table to work.

      What methods do you use? Please feel free to share with me what method or tricks you use to organize your coupons.

      Edit to add pictures.
       These are the dividers (specifically for the newspaper inserts)

      My lists of coupons to make searching for coupons a breeze.

      Edit: I generally only go to Publix, but if you shop at multiple stores or do the drugstores, you could add a tab specifically for each store's coupons instead of doing a competitor's section. You could also for the sections with individual coupons buy baseball or photo pages and show each coupon individually or organize by category. There's a lot of room for personal preference.

      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      Shopping list

      So here's what I'm planning on buying tomorrow.

      Blue- Manufacturer's
      Red- Competitor

      (2) Nature's Own Bread BOGO $2.85

      (2) Tostitos Tortilla Chips BOGO $4.99
          -(2) $1 off 1 family size Target Printable HERE (if included)

      (2) Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream BOGO $3.79
          -$1/2 Printable (I can't seem to find it for a link?) or $1/2 6/6/10 RP

      (6?) Kellog's Eggo Waffles BOGO $2.49 (It depends on my Target coupons how many they will take)
          -(3) $1/2 Blinkie
          -(6) $1/1 Target Coupon HERE or HERE

      (1) Huggies Wipes $5.99
         - 50¢/1 home mailer
         -$3.50 off wyb Huggies Diapers and Wipes Target Coupon

      (1) Jumbo Pack Huggies Diapers
          -$3/1 printable (I don't think this one is available anymore)
          -$2/1 In Ad Coupon

      (2) Tropicana OJ
         - (2) Free Juicy Reward Promotion (promotion over)
         - $1 on produce wyb 2 Tropicana products

      There are a few more items I'm considering. I'll update if I do them.   
      Check out the full-ad with match-ups at iheartpublix or southernsavers.   

      (1) Gallon 1% Milk
      (1) Gallon Whole Milk
      (1) Schick Hydro Razor
         -(1) $2/1 Blinkie
         -(1) $1/1 Publix Green Advantage Buy
         -MIR for purchase price HERE
      (2) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
         -(1) BOGO Internet print from cooking with Kraft (unsure if still available)
         -(2) $1/1 Internet Print HERE
      (1) Country Time Lemonade Mix (My husband has been asking for it, and it's on sale)       

      Introduction to Food Storage

      Last week I discussed making 72 hour kits for disasters or other emergencies. This week we are going to begin a series on food storage, and what better way to start than an introduction to what food storage is all about.

      What is food storage?
      Food storage is a supply of food for a given length of time, ultimately one year.

      What is the purpose of food storage?
      The purpose of food storage is for it to be a safety net for hard times and major long-term disasters. One example might be if you become unemployed. With a supply of food, you'll still be able to eat, and can use the money you would of used for food toward other expenses, such as the mortgage/rent. It is also good for long-term disasters in an area, examples would be after an earthquake strikes an area. Some times when a natural disaster strikes, your house may receive little to no damage, however forms of aid for the area may be cut off due to problems with roads and airports. You may need food storage for a variety of reasons, such as serious illness or loss of a loved one(especially if they were the breadwinner). It will be a source of comfort to know that even if something unexpected happens, you still will have food for your family.

      How much  food is one year's worth of food?
      Well it depends on the size and needs of your family. 2 adults and a toddler is much less than 2 adults and a teenager. But have no fear, I found a handy online calculator for you to use to get at least an idea of how much you need. Head on over there and check out the numbers.

      Wow that is a lot! How on earth will I ever acquire that much food?
      A little at a time. It would completely defeat the purpose of food storage if you go into debt to obtain it. The easiest solution is to set shorter goals and work up to the ultimate goal of a year. Probably the best way to do it is to work toward a 3 months supply with foods you eat normally and can rotate through. At the same time you can work toward your year supply by buying an item here or there that lasts longer (like flour or sugar).

      300 lbs of wheat? What would I ever do with that?
      This is where some fine tuning will come in. If you have no idea how to use wheat or what to make with wheat, don't store it for now. It will do you no good to do so. For now substitute or for things you do no how to work with such as more flour, whole grain flour, wheat flour, etc. A good tip with the calculator is to look at the overall category, and try to meat that goal. So instead of 300 lbs of wheat, try to meet the goal of 600 lbs of grains. In future editions we'll look at how to work with some of the lesser used foods on the list, as well as some recipes for food storage items.

      So there is a difference between the short term and long term food storage?
      Yes. The short term storage (about 3 months worth) is generally food you eat normally day in and day out. You would rotate through it, and restock it from the grocery store as needed. Short term food storage is things like canned soups, mac and cheese, and other convenience foods. Longer term storage is made of things that will last for longer periods of time when stored in ideal conditions (more on that in future posts in this segment), and is made up of things such as flour, sugar, oats, dry beans, etc.

      Where will I store all of it?
      You'll have to be creative. I'll do a whole post on ideas in the future. We'll focus on getting the food first.

      That's it for now. Please feel free to ask if you have any burning questions. Next week we will look at some easy ways to get started on the first 3 months of food storage.

      Tuesday, June 15, 2010

      Weekly Publix Ad

      I meant to share this with you earlier, but my air conditioner broke and I didn't want to be anywhere close to the hot computer. Anyway, Michelle over at iheartpublix has the new Publix ad up, you can find it HERE

      New Uses for Clear Nail Polish

      This week I am going to focus on the ever handy clear nail polish. Not only is it great for nails, but here is a list of other clever uses.
      • Stopping a run in panty hose
      • Keeping tiny screw in place, such as those on your eye glasses
      • Securing a button in place (just a little over the center to keep the thread in place)
      • Avoiding rust stains in the bathroom. Who hates when the shaving cream can leaves a ring on the side of the tub? The solution is to paint the bottom to keep it from rusting!
      • Sealing an envelope. Did the glue not stick? Don't want to cover it with tape? Use clear nail polish!
      • Extending the life of costume jewelry. Ever gotten that green ring on your finger (or on your ears). Give the jewelry a coat of clear nail polish and voila.
      • Keeping labels readable. Ever had the labels on medicine or toiletries get smudged and unreadable. Give it a coat of clear nail polish.
      • Prevent rusting screws (on the toilet seat or other water prone areas)
      • Closing holes on a shaker. Does the shaker give too much salt, or are you trying to cut back? Paint some of the holes shut.
      • Keep laces from unraveling
      • Threading a needle. Drag the cut end through the brush of the nail polish.
      • Keeping frayed fabric or ribbon from fraying more.
      • Filling small knicks on the floors or glass
      • Resetting a loose jewelry stone
      • Keeping chipped car paint from rusting
      • Keeping the hole in the screen from getting large (same concept as runs in the panty hose)
      If you have any ideas for clear nail polish, comment and I will add them to the list!

      Monday, June 14, 2010

      Schick Hydro Rebate

      Go here to print a form for a MIR for Schick Hydro. If you were lucky and got the $5 off coupon in yesterday's paper this will be a great money maker. Especially if you pair the $5 off coupon with the $1 off found in the new Green advantage buy flyer at Publix.

      There are also many other stores that have it on sale right now, so be on the look out!

      Now if only my paper had included the $5 off coupon. :-(

      Monday Money Sense- Step Two of Getting Out of Debt.

      Last week we discussed becoming honest with ourselves about how much money is coming in and going out. Today we will move on to steps two and three.
      Step Two-Establish a Budget
      During last week's exercise, you laid the foundations for creating a budget by looking realistically at your income and expenses.Using that information you can now create a budget.
      • Go here for a simple printable budget worksheet in pdf format. You can also choose to create your own on a computer program such as excel, or search the internet for other templates.
      • Choose a time period for your budget (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly). I like doing a monthly budget, but you can choose whichever is easiest for you to realistically track based on your pay schedule and/or bill schedule.   
      • Fill it in using the information you gathered from last week (and taking into account any changes you've made or want to make in your lifestyle since doing the exercise last week).
      • Use it as a guideline for purchases/bills throughout the week throughout the week.
      • At the end of your specified time period, evaluate your budget. Did you spend more than you budgeted in certain areas? All areas? Did you spend less in a certain area? Several areas?
      • Use what you learned to create your next budget. Remember though that you can only spend as much as you make. 
      One tip I have is budget money for fun things. It is hard to feel successful about getting out of debt if you feel like you never get to do anything fun. It doesn't have to be a lot of money. Even $10-$20 can be enough money to do something fun (picnics and parks anyone?), it may not be what you currently are accustomed to, but remember you are now living within your means and changing your spending habits.
        I hope you'll take some time this week to create your budget if you don't already have one or tweak your budget if you already do . Join me next week as we create a debt pay down schedule.

          Sunday, June 13, 2010

          Service Idea- Lunches

           Many people may not realize it, but when schools are out for summer, many children are also without lunch at the same time. The reason is simple. During the school year the children were eligible for free and reduced lunches at school, but in the summer they are not at school and therefore do not receive lunch. There are several government and community initiatives to help provide free lunches in the summer, but sometimes they need a little extra help, especially considering the greater need currently for these programs.

          This last week in my local paper, there was an article for a food drive happening next week to collect food to serve for lunches in the summer and also to help restock the food banks. Perhaps think about taking stock of your pantry this week to see if there is anything you can give away. Then look around for local organizations that may need food to provide lunches to children (local church ministries are a good source), or just donate to a local food bank.

          Please remember that this is a service idea, and is not meant to be a forum for a debate on free lunches, government assistance, or anything of the sort. Thanks!

          Friday, June 11, 2010

          Free Redbox Codes

          Remember how I said I loved Redbox because they give out codes all the time? Well here are some other ways to get codes right now.

          Head on over to their Facebook page and "like" them, and you'll get a free code valid for June 21st.

          Also, if you rent two movies on the same transaction between June 1st to June 30th,  you will receive a code for a free rental.

          And on top of that, if you purchase Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's during their Shrek promotion, you will receive a code on your box to enter on the McDonald's website and one of the rewards you can claim it for is a free redbox code!

          Fun Finds

          I figure I'll get this one out there early on, and relive it many more times in the future.

          Swagbucks. I love Swagbucks. Why? Because you earn rewards for doing something easy, searching the internet. Right now they are doing a promotion called summer of swag, where they are giving out swagbucks more often. I've been doing it for over a year now, and it's great.
          So click the banner below to register.

          Search & Win

          What can you redeem your swagbucks for? Tons of things! My favorite are Amazon gift cards because you can buy just about anything from Amazon.

          Want to improve your chances, download the toolbar and type in every website in the search box.

          So do it, you won't be sorry you did!

          PS Enter the code SUMMEROFSWAG when you register for some starter swag!

          Thursday, June 10, 2010

          Publix Trip

          I did well with my Publix trip today. I'll update with a picture later, when I upload it to the computer. They did not have the Benefiber, which was sad, and my Cheerios were more expensive than I expected too, but I needed them for my toddler!

          But I spent $11.74 for $59.12 worth of groceries, saving 47.38 or 80%. I purchased everything on my list, but added bananas. I wanted the Pantene, but unfortunately they were all gone! The Beggin Strips 25oz bag is actually $10 at my store, so even with the coupon not so great. Hate when that happens.

          I may make another trip on Monday depending on the coupons that come in my paper Sunday.

          Edit: Here's the pic
           I forgot I bought some Deans Dip and Damp Rid.
          Here are the match-ups for those.
          (2) Deans Dip $1.59 each
          (2) $1/1 Publix Yellow Advantage Buy
          (1) $1/2 for registering with their website
          Damp Rid
            $3/1 Publix Green Advantage Buy (exp. 6/11)
            $1/1 SS 5/23/10 (alternately there is a $3/1 in the same ad, I already used this one)  

          Not the greatest week ever at Publix, but still some good deals out there.