Thursday, July 29, 2010

Publix Trip 7/29/10

I spent $31.74 for $111.21 worth of groceries, saving $79.47 or 72%, but there will be a MIR for the Cinnabon Cereal for $2.99 so that will bring the savings to $82.46 or 74%.

Check out my original shopping list here.

Green Beans 95¢
(1)Publix Cheese 2/$7
(1) Kellogg's Smart Start Cereal $3.49
  -$2/1 donation sheet

(1) Cinnabon Cereal (I figured I'd try the smart start since there is only one rebate per household)
(1)Lea and Perrins Worcestershire (the coupon expired, oops!)
(4)Coke and (1) Snyder's Pretzel (I decided I didn't need any more soda, so I'll wait for a better sale)

Prices and Price Changes:
Knorr Sides were BOGO $1.45 not BOGO $1.49
Yoplait Gogurt was BOGO $2.49 not BOGO $2.79
Totino's Pizza Rolls were BOGO $3.99 (price wasn't listed in the ad)
Cinnabon Cereal $2.99 not $1.99
Dozen Eggs were $1.09 not 99¢
Whitehouse Cider Vinegar $1.89
Whitehouse White Vinegar $1.39
Mott's Apple Juice $2.99
Publix Apple Juice $1.66
Barnum Animal Crackers $1.39
Publix Animal Crackers $1.79

Coupon changes:
No Free Bounty Extra Soft WYB Bounty because they don't have extra soft.

When I got home I realized she missed one of the 50¢/1 Cole's bread coupons, but being that it is only 50¢ I'm not going to go out of my way (besides in the past they have accidentally rang up a coupon twice and left it even after telling them, so I feel like we're even)
I'm going to BJ's later to buy milk and probably diapers, since it will probably be more cost effective there (somehow we got down to one jumbo pack without noticing or I would have stocked up on one of the better weeks... oh well)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shopping List for 7/29

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

Toufayan Pita Wrap BOGO $1.29

(6) Knorr Sides BOGO $1.49
   -(3) 55¢/2 Publix Coupon from Unilever Smart Start Booklet

(2) Nature Valley Granola Bars BOGO $5.49
   -(2) $1/1 Peelie
   -(2)$1/1 Target Coupon HERE

(8) Sprout Baby Food BOGO 99¢
    -(4) B1G1 Coupon from Publix Smart Savings Booklet

(2)Gogurt BOGO $2.79
   -(2) $1/1 Printable HERE

(2)Totino's Pizza Rolls BOGO Price Unknown
   -(1) $1/2 Coupon HERE  

(2) Poptarts BOGO $2.39
    -Free Ice Cream Shop wyb 2 Kellogg's Cereals
(2) Kellogg's Cinnabon Cereal @ $1.99
   -$1/1 HERE
   -$1/2 Target Printable HERE
   -Try Me Free MIR on Box (possibly)

(2) Dozen Eggs 99¢   

(6) Yoplait Yogurt 20/$10
   -(2) 3 Free wyb one box Nature Valley Granola Bars

(1) Bounty Paper Towels $6.99
   -(1) $1/1 Coupon from P&G $100 of Saving Booklet
   -(1)75¢/1 Target Coupon from Paper
   -FREE Bounty ExtraSoft wyb one 6-pk or larger or Bounty Paper Towels  
   -50¢/1 Upromise Coupon 

(2) Cole's Mini Loaf $1.79
   -50¢/1 HERE
   -B1G1 Yellow Advantage Buy Flyer    

(1) Lea and Perrins Worcestershire $1.99
  -$2/1 from 6/27/10 SS

(4) Coke 2 liters 3/$5
  -$1/4 Coke Summer Booklet

(1) Snyder's Pretzel's
  -Free wyb 3 2 liters
  -$1/1 Target Coupon HERE

Zucchini 99¢/ lb
Mango BOGO $1

(2) Whitehouse Vinegar
   -(2)$1/1 from Smart Savings Booklet

(1) Mott's Apple Juice
(1)Publix Apple Juice 
   -Buy Theirs Get Ours Free Promotion
(1)Barnum's Animal Crackers
(1)Publix Animal Crackers
   -Buy Theirs Get Ours Free Promotion   

(2) Stouffer's Meals $3.99
   -(2)$2/1 HERE 

-$5/$25 Purchase Save-a-lot Coupon   

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Publix Ad, Coupon, and a Publix trip.

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has this weeks ad up, you can find it here.

Also, check out her post here to score 85¢/1 go-gurt which will be BOGO this week!

I also went to Publix yesterday for a few things, no pic, but here's what I bought.

(2) Nabisco Graham Crackers BOGO $3.99
  -(2)$1/1 Tearpad

Snausages $2.89
  -$1/1 Peelie
  -$1/1 Publix Pet Days book

Rightguard BOGO $2.79
  -BOGO MFQ from 7/25/10 RP

Hoagie Rolls $1.99

Nylabone $3.99

Spent $9.45 for $23.72 worth of groceries saving $14.27 or 60%. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Less Posts this Week

I'm just letting everyone know there may be less posts this week because I have a lot going on and might not get a chance to do them, but I will definitely have the shopping list and trip posts and maybe a few more in there.

If you are new here, check out some of the past weeks in each area by clicking below:

Monday Money Sense
New Uses and Clever Tricks
Making it Do or Doing without (emergency prep and food storage)
Friday Fun

Also, if there is anything specific you'd love to know or learn about, share with me and it may be the basis of a future post!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Fun-Volunteer

I'm going to be out of town today and tomorrow because I will be at Youth Conference for my church (for those that don't know I am very much involved with the Youth at my church). So for today it is really quick post for Friday Fun, and that is go volunteer. Here's a list of just a few places that love volunteers:
  • Nursing Homes
  • Animal Shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Soup Kitchens
  • Food Pantries
  • Schools and Daycares
  • Churches
  • Wildlife Organizations
  • Clean-up groups (for cleaning litter off of streets or from rivers/canals/lakes)
  • Other non-profit groups
Volunteering is a great way to bring some goodness into your life, it's hard to think about things bothering you if you are serving! I've also learned that serving others can be a lot of fun especially if you do it with a group of people.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Publix Trip 7/22

I spent $42.07 for $96.73 worth of groceries saving $54.66 or 57%, but I also have two rebates one for a $10 Publix Gift Card and one to try the Keebler cookies free, so after rebates it will be 71%.

For my original shopping list, click here.

(1) Doritos $3.99
(3) Pepsi Products B2G1
    -Additional Free Mtn Dew wyb Doritos and Tombstone Tearpad
    -$10 GC MIR wyb $15 worth of Frito-Lay and/or Pepsi products tear pad.
(2) Bush's Baked Beans @ 89¢
(1) Keebler Baker's Treasures
   -Try Me Free Tearpad
(1) Land O' Frost Lunchmeat @ $3.49
(1) Iams Puppy $16.99
    -$3/1 Homemailer
    -$1/1 Publix Pet Days booklet
    -$2 off $10 Pet Purchase Petco Coupon
(2) Pedigree Jumbone (not pictured) BOGO $3.59
    -(2) $1/1 Blinkies 

Kraft Deli Deluxe because I realized the 1 coupon was for 16oz and 1 coupon for 8oz, so it wasn't a match. 

Price Changes:
Kraft Miracle Whip BOGO $4.89 not $3.99
Pepsi Products B2G1 $1.79 not $1.75

Shopping list for 7/22

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

(2) Kraft Miracle Whip BOGO $3.99
    -(2) $1/1 Facebook Coupon HERE

(2) Tombstone Pizza BOGO $5.79
    -(2) $2/1 Facebook Coupon HERE

(2) Campbell's Chunky Soup BOGO $2.39
    -$1/2 HERE     

(3) Pepsi B2G1 @ $1.75
    -Free Mtn Dew wyb Tombstone and Doritos


(1) Cottonelle
    -$1/1 Homemailer
    -75¢/1 Publix Smart Savings Booklet

(1) Glad Cling Wrap 10/$10
   -75¢/1 Simple Entertaining Booklet

(1) Kraft Deli Deluxe 
   -$1/1 HERE  
    -$1/1 from Newspaper (I don't know which week) 

     -$1 off produce wyb Kraft Deli Deluxe HERE  

-$5/$25 Purchase Save-a-lot Coupon 

Frugality- Saving Money for College While You Shop

For more frugal tips, click here.

If you have kids (or even if you don't) you should sign-up for Upromise. Upromise is a great program that helps you save for college by doing something you already do, shop!

What is Upromise?
Upromise is a rewards program that's purpose is to help save money for college by rewarding you for making purchases of participating products and through participating retailers.

What are participating products and retailers? 
Too many to name! Pretty much every online retailer you can think of (Target, Home Depot, Lowe's, JC Penney, etc.) as well as a lot of products you buy at stores like Beech Nut Baby Food. You can search their site for more info.

How will they know I made a purchase of a qualifying product or through a qualifying retailer?
There are several ways. If you install their handy tool bar, you will automatically be redirected through the upromise link to receive your savings for purchasing from an online retailer, or you can choose to go through the upromise site to link to retailer if you do not wish to install the toolbar. You can register your credit card with upromise so purchases at qualifying stores can be rewarded. For those wary about entering credit card information online, you can also choose to apply for a upromise credit card and it will automatically track your purchases. For stores and grocery stores, you can enter your store rewards card online to receive credit for purchasing eligible products. *For Publix you will need to go to customer service to ask for a Upromise card, since they do not have a store card. They will give you a card/ key fob for you to scan when you purchase groceries.

What can you do with the money you earn?
There are a few options. You can do nothing and leave it there until you decide, you can transfer it to a 529 plan, you can use it to pay off a Sallie Mae loan, or they can send you a check to pay for college expenses.

What if I don't have kids?
That's fine! You can set yourself as the beneficiary, and if you have kids change it later, or if you don't have kids later, you can use it toward your past or future education plans.

What do I need to do to sign-up?
  1. Click Here
  2. Enter in all your info
  3. Add a store card or credit card now, so you can start saving!
  4. Download their toolbar for even more ways to save!
My favorite part:
Their e-coupons!  They don't count as money off your purchase, but you can earn some money for a lot of common grocery items. Sometimes the item may be completely free when you purchase it and then you make $1 in Upromise rewards. You can also check out different retailers on their site for promotional codes to reduce your online shopping totals or get free shipping.

They are also running a sweepstakes right now, so you could even win $10,000 for signing up! So click below to sign-up and don't forget to add your cards so you can start saving now. It's free money, so don't wait, start earning now!

Save for College the Smart Way!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Emergency Prep

Ok, so I know that this week was supposed to be more on water storage, but I went to this really great Emergency Prep Activity at my church, and I wanted to share what I learned! The people there were Fire Fighters, Emergency Management Center workers, and a worker for the Chief Financial Officer for the state of Florida (their office oversees insurance and banks). So here is what I learned:
  • Have a 72 hour kit! I did learn about these nifty meals called Heater Meals. They aren't terribly expensive ($17 on Amazon for three, if you are doing swagbucks you could use some of those Amazon gift cards you earned on them), and they are an option for those who like to think less about how to come up with a meal for your kit.
  • Have a document toolkit. Basically a box of all important documents for you. Birth Certificates, marriage licenses, deeds, etc. One thing they mentioned that I thought was pretty smart is your child's most recent report card. The reason for this is that if you become displaced by a disaster (Katrina is a good example) and your kid needs to go to school somewhere else, they may not have access to your child's old school records to determine what classes (or grade!) they need to be in.
  • Have appropriate insurance. Remember you need to have insurance for the rebuild value of your home, not it's current value. Also, flood insurance is a very wise idea anywhere you live. As we've seen in the devastation of the flooding in Tennessee, you don't just need to live on the coast to have flood insurance. Also, be advised there is a 30 day waiting period on flood insurance and they won't write new policies with a named storm that could effect your area. If you rent, you should consider renter's insurance to cover your belongings.
  • Check insurance values. Make sure you know whether you have contents coverage and whether it covers the actual value or the depreciated value. See if you have law and ordinance coverage (a coverage to bring your house up to code, should you have to rebuild). 
  • Make a written home inventory which lists items, date of purchase, and value. It is also wise to take a picture or video inventory of items so that you can be sure you can prove you actually had those items and their previous condition. (You don't need to show every piece of clothing, book, etc. show that there is a closet full of clothing or a bookshelf full of books and show anything worth some money)
  • Have a weather radio. How will you know a tornado is headed your way at 3am? A weather radio is a great way to know. Also, emergency service centers can use them to relay any emergency information you need to know.
  • Evacuate when they tell you to! Don't delay, you should be ready to go when they say go (hence the need for document toolkits and 72 hour kits). Their advice for where to go? First a relative, then a hotel, and last a shelter.
  • Make plans for your pet! Don't leave them home! Be aware that most shelters do not house animals, so have a plan in place for what you will do. Speaking of pets, also make sure you have their immunization/vet records in your document tool-kits.
  • Have maps. You may know how to get someplace, but in a disaster situation you have no idea what roads may be destroyed or inaccessible, and you may not have phone signal to look it up.
  • If disaster strikes you, be sure to check out anyone offering to "help" you rebuild or repair. A lot of people like to take advantage of those who have suffered great loss. Make sure they are licensed and insured, and check with your state to be sure the info they have given you is valid.
  • If you are having trouble with your insurance, find out what state office governs insurance in your state and contact them, they can be a wonderful advocate for you!
  • Have a good medical history. If you are forced to relocate because of disaster, there is a chance that you will be unable to obtain medical records from your doctor, so have a personal medical history with you.
  • If you have a small business, make a document toolkit and an emergency plan for your business. Approximately 50% of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster because they do not have what they need to re-open. 
I hope you've found some of this as interesting as I found it to be.
If you'd like to see some of my other post on emergency preparedness, click here. I'll be back next week to continue the series on water storage.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Uses for Phone Books

For past entries in this series, click here.

Ok let's be honest here, most of us get at least one phone book yet most of do not use them even once. So here is a list of things you can do with a phone book.

  • Store one in your car in case you need to look up the phone number of a business. (For those of us who don't have iphones or internet on their phone)
  • Art projects for kids. They can cut out pictures, etc for all sorts of things.
  • Use them to help your kids learn skills like finding something alphabetically or by category.
  • Impromptu booster seat.
  • Permanent booster seat. Get crafty and cover it with some fabric and batting, and voila booster seat.
  • This one is cool. Turn it into a pen organizer! 
  • Use them as a trivet under a hot pot.
  • Fire starter for camp fires.
  • Use it as a door stop
  • Rip it up and make it into packing material.
  • Use them to press flowers
  • Use it as a kneeling pad in the garden
  • Make a book to hide things in.
  • Use the pages to make paper airplanes or origami
  • Use them to prop up pictures, decorative dishes, etc. on really high up shelves (this may be a good idea for some of the plant shelves in my house...)
  • Opt-out of getting them in the first place. Call the companies that send them to you and ask if you can opt-out. Some will and some won't.
  • Recycle. This used to be tricky, but now a lot of places to allow you to recycle them. Check with your local recycling company to know for certain. (The reason some do not allow you to recycle them is because of how thick they are. All places can recycle them if you can make them smaller by cutting or ripping them.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Money Sense- Intro to Emergency Funds

For Monday Money Sense, click here.

What is an emergency fund?
  An emergency fund is an account used to save money for emergencies.

What isn't an emergency fund?
   It is not your credit cards, personal loans, home equity lines of credit, your retirement plan, or your possessions. 

What is an emergency?

  The term emergency does not necessarily mean disaster or medical emergency in this situation. This could be money to use when your car battery is dead and you need to buy a new one. This could be money to pay the deductible if your house is damaged in a storm. This could be money to live off of should you lose your job or become injured. This money could pay for unexpected medical bills.

Why do I need an emergency fund?
  So you don't end up in debt. Also, so you have a safety net should something happen to you. Here's a personal story about why I love having an emergency fund. Last month our air conditioner stopped working right. We figured it was just a minor problem. The repair people came out and found that our compressor had died. As it turned out federal regulations had changed and in order to repair our air conditioner they would need to put a brand new one in. It was going to cost a lot of money. We thankfully had enough money in our emergency fund to cover it. We didn't have to worry how we were going to pay for it, if we could pay for it, what would we have to do without, etc. It was such a relief. I can also attest to not having an emergency fund and being afraid that something would go wrong. Having been on both sides, it's much better to not have to worry about it.

How much money do I need in an emergency fund?
  Well the financial advice varies on that one. I've seen anywhere from 3 months to a year. It also varies between your take home income and your expenses. I personally would do at least 8 months of expenses, but ideally a years worth would be the best. A lot of guidelines base it off of if you lost work. It used to be that it would take about 3 months to find work again, but as we know that isn't always the case. So the correct amount for you is all about your comfort level, and how much you would be willing to give up if you lost your source of income. Use your budget as a guide to figure out an amount for you.

Where will I find money for an emergency fund?
  The same place you find money for anything else! If you were in debt and paid it off, then that's an easy place to look for money. Take those payments and put them to your emergency fund. Ideally you are already budgeting money for savings. You can find money in all sorts of places if you make it a priority.

What should I do with the money? 
   I'm not a financial planner so I can't tell you what to do, but I can give you ideas. Don't put it in your mattress or anything like that (although it is a good idea to have cash on hand...), put it someplace it can make some interest. However, don't put it someplace that isn't liquid. By that I mean don't stick it into your 401k or CD's or stocks. You need it to be in something that you can access at any moment without penalty. A good option is a savings account or a money market account. Check with your bank or a financial planner for more options.

Can I use the money in my account for other things?
   It's your money, I can't tell you what to do with it. What I can tell you though is if you use your emergency fund to pay for a vacation, and then you have an emergency you probably will wish you didn't go on a vacation. Think in terms of how long it will take to regain all the money you use, and never deplete the whole account on something other than an emergency.

What do I do once I have my emergency fund?
  Whatever you want to do with your money, some suggestions are funding your retirement to the max, saving for a down payment on a house, saving for a child's college education, investing, or saving for a major purchase. It all depends on what your personal priorities are.

Join me next week for more on emergency funds.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fun- Get Outside!

It's summer! Get outside! There is so much fun to be had outside. Any of these things would be fun for you (and your family to do), and nothing beats fresh air!
  • Go for a picnic. I know I've mentioned it before, but it's a fun idea for the whole family or just for you and your significant other (this makes a romantic, low cost date). Make sandwiches or make it fancier.
  • Go to the beach (or lake or river). I don't know many people who don't like to at least go to the beach. You can play in the water, read a book, or just relax. You can add the first tip for a great time.
  • Go to a park. Parks are fun for all ages. Parks today can be really nice. In my area, there are a ton of parks with everything imaginable. There are playgrounds for all ages, various sports areas (tennis, soccer, softball, basketball, etc.) There is workout equipment (bars for pull ups, upper body machines, sit up tables, stair stepping areas). There are nature trails to walk on and look at wild life. There are lakes to walk around and sit by. There are even water playgrounds around me, which are playgrounds with fountains and other water shooting devices. You'd be surprised what may be located in your city.
  • Go for a walk/bike around your neighborhood. You may discover things you never knew were there.
  • Play games outside. Kick around a ball, play catch, street hockey, kickball, or hopscotch.
  • Have a block party. A great way to get to know neighbors and have fun.
  • Have a neighborhood yard sale. It will attract lots of people, and you'll make some money.
  • Go camping or hiking.
  • Visit national parks.
  • Just sit outside and enjoy. You can see a lot of spectacular things by just being outside. Sunrises and sunsets, rainbows, wildlife,  and nature. It's good for the soul to just sit once in awhile.
What do you like to do outside? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Publix Trip 7/15

 I spent $11.46 for $72.99 worth of groceries, saving $61.53 or 84%

 Click here for my original shopping list.

I added:
(1)Stonyfield YoBaby 2/$5
    -$1/1 Publix Baby Club Coupon
    -50¢/1 Manufacturer's Coupon from their website HERE
(2) Eckrich Sausage 2/$4
    -$1/2 Publix Q from newspaper (can't remember which week...)
(6) Hershey Syrup BOGO $2.19
    (2) B2G1 Tearpads
I deleted:
Pedigree because I know I have seen them put it on sale for $10.99 and we still have food left to make it another month (and if not it is regularly $12.49 at SuperTarget).
Cheerios because I did the math and realized it would be a better deal to save my peelies for a BOGO sale.

Price Changes:
Olive Oil was BOGO $6.65 not $6.99
Milk was $3.35 not $3.39 (I know pennies, but in my world every penny counts)
Chips Ahoy were BOGO $3.69 not $3.25 (thankfully they were both free for me!)
And the price for the Digiorno Deep Dish was $2.50

My favorite cashier had a back-up in her line, so they asked me to go to another line. That cashier was ok, but she asked the manager about every free item coupon I had. She also muttered something about using 2 of the B2G1 tearpads because I was already getting them free with the BOGO, but that she would "let me do it" because there wasn't a manager around at that minute to ask one. It took much longer than normal to check out because of this (I should add, had they left me in my original line I would have been done sooner), but what I learned is they are indeed very worried about coupon fraud right now.

How did you do?

Frugality- Mail in Rebates

Click here for more in this series.

Mail in rebates are probably one of my most favorite things about being frugal. If I'm going to buy something anyway, why not make some money from it.

Where to find them: a lot of the deal match-up sites list them on their site. But rebates can come just about anywhere a coupon can be found. They can be in Sunday inserts, found in product boxes, found as peelies or tearpads, mailed to you in a home-mailer, or they can just simply be found on the products website.

How to best use them: The best time to use a MIR is when you are buying something at the lowest it will go. However don't rule out using them when you already have to buy the product. On the other hand, you probably shouldn't buy something just because there is a rebate, the only exception to this rule is if you will make money on the deal (after including postage into the equation). You can then donate the item.

Receipts: You will more than likely have to surrender your receipt to the rebate, so you have a couple options. You can ring up your items separately or you can ask your cashier for a duplicate receipt (I know they can do this at Publix). At Publix, it will say "duplicate receipt" at the top. This may conflict with the advice in the next  paragraph, so send in the original, however I have sent in the duplicate one several times to several different companies and never had a problem. So basically do so at your own risk, but send the original if at all possible.

Pay attention to the fine print: Read the entire rebate form. Some want UPC's, some want purchase prices circled, some want purchase date circled, some want the store name circled, some have minimum purchase requirements, so always read the whole form.

Make a copy: It is wise to make a copy of everything you send in for a rebate because sometimes things happen, and this is the only way to prove you did things right. I just scan them into my computer.

Keep Records: You should keep a list of MIR's you've submitted, complete with the date sent in. This way you know what you should be expecting, and which rebates to check up on. If you made a copy of the rebate form it may include a way to check the status of your rebate.

Follow Up: Follow up on your rebates. Check their status often so you can catch any problems early. 

How long does it take to get the rebate? That depends entirely on the company. Many rebate forms give you an idea of what to expect.

What will you get? Rebates rewards are pretty varied. You may get a check, a generic gift card, a gift card to a specific store, or coupon book full of high value coupons.

What items have rebates? Just about everything! I've done rebates for cleaning supplies, cheese, diapers, personal care items, paint, and many other things. I've seen them for milk, medicine, movies, and everything else you can imagine.

My favorite website: My favorite website for rebate match-ups is Friend Family Savings. She does a weekly rebate round-up that matches current rebates with current sales to maximize your rebate efforts. She also has a master list of rebates (so does iheartpublix for that matter). For future reference, there is a link to her blog in my "favorite links" tab.

Why I LOVE it: Because I have since March (prior to March everything was in storage as we relocated and bought a house), received $115 in checks, a $10 Publix Gift Card, and one P&G high value coupon book. I'm awaiting on another $38.99 in rebates to come in the next few weeks.  Most of these things were complete money makers or close to it, and were often items I was buying anyway (like diapers!). A few were just things I was buying anyway, like paint for our house, that there was a rebate for. I used my rebates to buy a black and white laser jet printer a couple of weeks ago, so that I can spend less money printing all those coupons I use.

Once you get good at saving with matching coupons to sales, I hope you will add some MIR's to the mix. Join me next week for even more frugal tips!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shopping List for 7/15

Blue- Manufacturer's Coupon
Green- Publix Coupon
Red- Competitor Coupon 
Chips Ahoy BOGO $3.25
   -Free Cookies wyb 1 package of cookies and 1 gallon of milk Facebook Coupon (promotion ended)
Finish Dishwashing Detergent BOGO $6.99
   -$1/1 Printable from their website HERE
   -$2.50/1 from 6/27/10 SS
Pompeian Olive Oil BOGO $6.99 
   -(2) $1/1 Printable from their website HERE 
Buitoni Refrigerated Pasta 2/$6 (ends 7/16/10)
   -$1/1 Printable from their website HERE
   -$1/1 Target Coupon Found in July Real Simple Magazine
Top Sirloin Filets $4.79/ lb
   -$1 Fresh Meat Purchase Publix Baby Club Coupon
Pedigree $12.99
    -$2/1 Printable from their website HERE
Cheerios $1.99
    -$1/1 Peelie
Milk $3.39
Digiorno Deep Dish
   -Free Product Coupon

-$10 Publix gift card from KC MIR

Still deciding on a few more things, but if I buy them I will give the match-ups in my "Publix Trip" post.

Water Storage- Step Two: Bottling Your Own Water

For more on water storage, click here.
For more emergency prep and food storage help, click here.

So now that we know the proper storage for water, let's talk about storing your own water. You have water in your house, so why not make water storage free (or very close to it)! Below are the steps to bottle your own water.

  1. Choosing Storage Containers. Never use any container that has held chemicals or other hazardous material in it. Even if you think it has been cleaned very well, there is always the chance the chemicals are in the plastic. It is better to find other options. Never use glass or cardboard (such as OJ cartons) containers, glass breaks easily and cardboard does not seal well enough to keep out contaminants. Avoid the use of milk jugs (or any jug that looks like a milk jug) as they are brittle and break down quicker. They also don't seal as well.  However, you can use them as a short term solution until you can collect better containers. Choose soda bottles or other bottles of similar plastic such as juice bottles and sports drink bottles , or you can purchase commercially manufactured water storage containers (these are made specifically for long term water storage).
  2. Cleaning the Container. Clean the container (including lid!) with soap and water, and thoroughly rinse it so that there is no soap residue left behind.
  3. Sanitizing the Container. To sanitize the container, with a solution of 8-10 drops of chlorine bleach* in two cups water. Swish it around so it touches all surfaces, including the lid. Thoroughly rinse the container with fresh water. If you will be sanitizing many containers, you can also mix a tsp of bleach in a quart of water.
  4. Filling the Container.  Fill with tap water all the way to the top. If you have commercially treated water, such as through a utility provider, you will not need to do anything else to it as your water has already been treated with chlorine. Skip to step 6. If you have water from a private water source, such as a well, you will need to treat your water continue on step 5.
  5. Treating Your Water. Again, this step only applies to those who obtain water from water sources not commercially treated. To treat your water, add two drops of bleach to the water.
  6. Sealing the Container. To seal the container simply replace the lid and screw it on tightly. Be sure not to touch the inside of the cap when handling it. (If you do, just clean it again.)
  7. Labeling the Container. Label your container with the words "drinking water." 
  8. Dating the Container. Date the container with the date that you bottled the water. This will help you with your rotation. (Remember to replace or use it within 6 months.)
  9. Storing the Container. Store in a cool, dark place. 
  10. Using the Water. Use as you normally do. Sometimes it will taste a little off, if this happens just pass the water back and forth between two containers. It usually is just in need of oxygen.
*The term bleach means non-scented liquid household bleach.

See how easy that is? I hope you will consider getting started on bottling your own water. Next week we will look at finding sources of water in your home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Uses for Dryer Sheets

For more new uses for other common things, click here.

Here are some great uses for dryer sheets!
  • Use a used dryer sheet to wipe your television or computer screen (or any electronics). Dryer sheets will help reduce the static cling of electronics.
  • Use a used dryer sheet to clean blinds and baseboards. It's the same concept as above!
  • Place a unused sheet in your drawers to help clothes smell great.
  • Run a threaded needle through a fabric sheet before sewing and to help keep thread from tangling.
  • Freshen smelly shoes.
  • Clean pet hair from furniture, clothes, or carpet. Just run a used sheet over it and it should attract it.
  • Loosen stuck on food from pans. Place an unused sheet in the bottom of the pan, fill with warm water, and let sit over night. It should be easier to clean in the morning. (I've never tried this, so I wonder if this really works!)
  • Eliminate car odors by tucking new sheets under seats to help eliminate musty odors.
  • Use a used sheet to clean soap scum from shower doors. just dampen it and wipe.
  • Make that wet dog odor go away. If the dog comes in smelling awful, just wipe him down with a used dryer sheet.
  • Repel mosquitoes. Hang used dryer sheets in your patio or pin them to your clothes. (I haven't tried this one either, but have heard it works.)
  • Use it as an air freshener. Stick them under furniture and in closets to make the house smell fresh with out costing a ton.
  • End static cling. Carry a dryer sheet with you and just dampen it and run it down static-y clothing to rid it of the static. (I wonder if this would work for hair...)
  • Dusting in general.
  • Clean paint brushes by soaking the brush in water with a dryer sheet. 
  • In your gym bag.
  • Hang them near your garden to keep rabbits, deer, and other creatures from munching a way.
  • Dust your washer and dryer when you are finished with the laundry.
Do you have any uses for dryer sheets? Please share below and I will add them to the list!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has the next Publix ad up, check it out HERE.

I see a few things I'm excited for(free cookies!), I'll have my shopping list up in the next few days so you can see what I'm buying.

Monday Money Sense- Staying out of Debt

For more on this series, click here.

I know I said I was going to start a series on how to build up a money reserve, but I figured it might be important to first discuss how to stay out of debt. The last thing you want once you are free from debt is to end up shackled right to it again. So here's a little crash course on staying out of debt.
  • Good and Bad Debt. There are two kinds of debt: good and bad. Good debt would be classified as mainly things such as a mortgage, student loans, and if necessary car loans. Bad debt is credit cards, store cards,  personal loans, etc. The main difference between the two is that with good debt you gain something with long term value and with bad debt you generally gain something for short term happiness. A good way to know if something is worth the debt you will incur is to figure out how much it will cost when the interest over time. For example, you are probably willing to pay the interest on a home loan because you will have a place to live and you have an asset in home. You probably think the interest on a student loan is worth it because it allows you to gain education and hopefully increase your earning power. You probably won't be willing to pay interest on a candy bar or a movie. 
  • Whenever you can, pay for something outright. This applies to "good" debt and big ticket items. You should always pay for regular purchases in full. If you have enough money saved, and a good reserve it is better to pay for things in full. Cars are a prime example of this. Cars depreciate the moment you drive off the lot, so it can become very easy to become upside down in a car loan. It would be better to buy a used car that you can pay in full for than to buy a brand new car that you end up with a large loan for. At the very least make a large down payment and opt for shorter terms. The same is true when you want to remodel your home or buy a big ticket item. Financing may seem like a good idea, but inevitably you will pay double the amount it cost in interest, and you generally will not make that much in interest if it stays in your bank account and you may not make back the amount of money you put into (with interest) it if you sell it. There are reasons why one would choose a loan over paying in full, but they need to be carefully selected, usually after consultation with a financial expert.
  • Using a Credit Card Properly. Believe or not there is a correct way to use a credit card. The correct way is to pay off your balance in full before you have to pay interest. You shouldn't buy anything that you can't pay for from your bank account right then. You need to still stick to your budget. There are many advantages to using credit wisely. Your credit score will increase. You may also acquire some sort of points for a reward program. For example, my husband and I have a credit card that offers 1% of every purchase as payment to our mortgage. Used wisely this can be a great benefit as it will help to pay down our mortgage faster just from making our regular purchases. Used unwisely and we end up losing all the benefit in interest payments. 
  •  If you can't control yourself, don't use it. If you know that the moment credit cards are in your hand you will use them, then don't. I would recommend a cash system where you can't spend more than you have budgeted for the month. I wouldn't even use debit/check cards. Once you can live by a budget, you may be able to then slowly work toward using a credit card in the right way. Until then it would be better to just do without.
  • Have a financial reserve! Most people end up back in debt because they fall on hard times or end up having to pay a large amount of money for an unforeseen event (air conditioner breaks, car breaks down, medical bills, etc.). I will begin a series on this next week.
So basically, think! Think before you buy, think before you take out a loan, think about the true cost, think if it is worth it!

Do you have any tips or tricks your family uses to stay out of debt? I'd love to hear them! Please comment below!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Some good coupons I saw.

    So if you know me than you know I love cheese! Well there's a great coupon out for $1 off 2 lbs of cheese any brand, brick, cubed, or shredded, only valid in Florida.

    Also saw a coupon for $1 Dove Promises, and I've seen those go on BOGO in the past.

    Check out all the coupons out right now on

    I was under the zip code 33567.

    BTW I did go to Chick-fil-a and am happy to report that we got two adult meals and one child meal absolutely free.

    Cow Appreciation Day

    In case you haven't heard it's cow appreciation day at Chick-fil-a. If you dress like a cow you get free chick-fil-a, kids too! For more info and a starter costume, click here.

    I'm thinking about doing it because hey, it's free food!

    Friday Fun- The Library

    I know I've mentioned the library quite a few times, but the library really is a wonderful place to go. They aren't just for books either. Here's a list of things your local library may have.

    • DVD's (even the new releases)
    • CD's
    • Books! On probably just about anything imaginable. I love checking out DIY books. That way I can see if it is cheaper to do it myself or pay someone to do it. I also check out bestsellers.
    • Magazines. Libraries have subscriptions to many magazines that you can read for free!
    • Downloadable materials
    • Internet Services. Many libraries have subscriptions for sites that cost money. Your library may be able to provide you with a list of these services.
    • Family Events such as story time.
    • Events for children like "kids read down fines" or special classes
    • Classes. Libraries often host public classes like hurricane prep, tax planning, etc. as well as other classes like crafts.
    • Book Clubs.
    • Author events like book signings and readings.
    • Exhibits. My library currently has an exhibit about Lincoln.
    • Many more! Librarians are very helpful. If a book you want isn't there, ask. They can sometimes put a hold on it so that when it comes in you can get it, or they may be able to order it from another library (this is generally called interlibrary loan). They can also put a request for certain programs or subscription services when funds become available. Just ask!
    What does your library offer? Do you use the library? Share your stories below!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Publix Trip 7/8/10

    I spent $21.55 for  $51.40 worth of groceries, saving $29.85 or 58%. So not the best, but I bought mostly staples and diapers of course (but $10.99 for a box of diapers is not too shabby).

    See my original list HERE.
    So there are definitely quite a few additions:

    (2)Musselman's Applesauce BOGO $1.89
       - (2) 75¢/1 MFQ from Publix Smart Savings Booklet
    (2) Nature's Own 100% Wheat BOGO $2.63
       - (2) 75¢/1 IP from HERE
    (1) Hormel Bacon $4.99
       -(1) $2 off wyb Nature's own and Hormel Bacon Publix tearpad
    (1) Watermelon 81¢
    (1) Publix Turkey Lunchmeat $3.69
    (1) Eggs $1.29
    (2) OM Deli Creations @ 2/$5
       -(1) BOGO Publix Printable (if still available) HERE
       -(1) 75¢/1 Publix Printable HERE
       -(1) $1/1 from 5/16/2010 SS (I wish I had another, but I had used a lot awhile ago, so I just had one)
    (1) Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese $2.99
       -(1) Free product coupon from Kraft Summer Savings Promotion (promotion over)
     (2) Suave Professionals $1.39 each
       -(1) Free product home mailed (rang up as $3 off so made both free really)
       -(2) 55¢/1 Publix Beautiful Benefits Booklet  

    Frugality- Hot button Topics of the World of Coupons

    Click here for more on couponing.

    Sorry this is a little late today, somehow the time on the post got changed to later in the day! 

    You realize there is a great deal to be had that isn't listed on your favorite deal site, so you share it in a comment. Next thing you know someone makes you feel like you just committed a serious offense. That's what this entry is about. We'll look at both sides of a few key issues to help you establish your own coupons ethics code.

    Taking Peelies off a product that you are not purchasing in that shopping trip
    Against- Some say it is stealing as the manufacturer placed them on that product to be used when you buy it.
    For- Some say that these are just another manufacturer's coupon that the manufacturer's don't care when you use it as long as you buy their product.
    My view- Taking one or two is fine, as the reality is most peelies are placed by third party groups and therefore may place them on only one type of an item (for example recently there was a $1/1 Ritz Cracker Item peelie that at my store was only placed on the cracker chips, but at another store were on the Ritz crackers.) When manufacturer's are serious about a coupon being only for that item the coupon usually says "Coupon must be removed by cashier" or something to that effect. People who take all the peelies though are not cool in my book.

    Buying, trading, and selling coupons.
    Against- Some feel it is a violation of the fine print on the coupon.
    For- Some feel it is a way to gain coupons not found in the paper or larger quantities of coupons they want. They also say they are not selling coupons, but rather charging for "clipping."
    My view- I tend to fall more against it. I feel like companies spend a lot of money to print coupons only in certain areas for a reason. However, if a family member or friend offers me coupons that's fine. I also feel that obtaining coupons through sources other than original ups the chance for fraudulent coupons. I don't go out of my way to get coupons I don't have. All of my savings come from printing from two computer's, one newspaper insert, and home mailers, and I do just fine that way.

    Buying large amounts of items to get overages.
    Against- Some feel it is misuse of the system to do it this way, and often results in a bad taste for coupon users.
    For- Some feel there is nothing wrong with it because they're manager lets them.
    My view- I'm against it. Buying one or two items to get an overage is fine. Buying 50 to get $100 overage is not fine. I've seen some people buy 50 of an item to get overage to buy everything else on their list. Some of these people claim to donate it, which is great, but this also happens to cause problems with stock at other stores. To me it is also not realistic for others to reach the same savings. These people also often buy coupons from online to do so. Rather than going for the highest percentage of savings I just try to spend under my grocery budget.

    Shelf-clearing (essentially the same concept as above)
    Against- Save some for the rest of us!
    For- If my store cared, they would limit me.
    My view- If you are going to buy a lot of something, then order it at customer service. However, unless you have a large family or need a lot of the item there isn't many cases I could see for shelf clearing. Ordering it does help so that other people can get some, but sometimes it also causes a depletion of stock at the warehouse. I also feel like most things go on sale about once a month, so really I don't think there is that great a need.

    Taking as many booklets, tearpads, and blinkies as you want
    Against- Save some for the rest of us.
    For- They are there, so why not!
    My view- Only take a couple, and certainly never take the whole stack. Greediness with these items has led a lot of stores to keep them behind the customer service counter and only give you one per visit. And it's definitely not cool to take the whole stack and then sell it online.

    Using a coupon not for the item listed (for example a coupon for Tide with Febreeze for regular Tide)
    Against- It's coupon fraud
    For- It worked when I used it. 
    My view- This is called coupon decoding. I think it is complete misuse of a coupon. A lot of coupons work for different items then the one listed because of their coding and how the computer reads them, but it is still misuse of a coupon.  Some deal sites will show these in match-ups, but I don't think they are trying to misuse the coupon, but rather do not know exactly which items are on sale. For example, the ad may say Mueller's pasta, so they list one for Smart Taste, but it turns out not to be in the sale. They listed it because they didn't know not because you can use the coupon.

    The best advice is to decide what is right for you and check with your store on things you may be worried about. There is a spectrum of opinion in the coupon world on what is and isn't right. Keep in mind that abusing coupons or coupon policies only ever leads to higher prices, less coupons, and stricter policies.

    Come back next week for more frugal tips, as I talk about one of my favorite things: mail in rebates!