Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clever Tricks for Painting


I know I have mostly been doing new uses, but I figured it was time for some clever tricks! Currently, my husband I are painting our house. We bought our house as a foreclosure, and so the walls are just not my kind of colors. They are various shades of orange and yellow, and two rooms are dark blue. Here's some pictures, so you can see.


So here are the tricks:

  • Freeze your brushes, rollers, and trays instead of washing them every time!We can only paint when our toddler is asleep. So obviously we usually cannot get both coats on without a pretty good chunk of time in between them. Between coats we freeze the whole tray with brushes and rollers in our chest freezer. You just wrap them up in a plastic bag, and thaw about an hour before you paint again. It works great!
  • Use an old margarine or tupperware container, or a milk jug for edging in.Don't pay for one of these things at the store (which cost easily $10), just use something you don't care about. It gives you a small container to hold instead of the big can, and you can toss it when done.
  • Use a rubber band to wipe your brush on.Wrap it around the can or container so it sits in the middle of the opening, and use it to wipe your brush! No more drips down the side of the can.
  • Write the paint brand, color, etc. on the back of the light switch plate. This way you can't lose the paint information. Sometimes we end up throwing the cans away or losing the paint chip. If you put it on the switch plate, it will always be there for you to get should you need it. It's also out of site and not cluttering any room up.



I've been learning a lot about painting, so do not be surprised if we get more of these in the future! Feel free to share any tips you know as well!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Ad and Reminder

I Heart Publix


Michelle has this weeks ad posted, you can find it HERE.


Also, we are nearing the end of the month, so if there are coupons you may want online, make sure to print them before they reset!

Monday Money Sense- Credit Scores


This week we are talking about the always confusing credit score. Confusing because a lot of people do not understand it, but I'm here to help with that.

What is a credit score?
 A credit score is a number used to determine your credit worthiness. It ranges from 300-850, with 300 being bad and 850 is good. Most Americans are around around the 720's. Each credit bureau has a credit score, so each person has three credit scores.

How is a credit score determined?
This is a fun one! The actual formula isn't readily known, but there is some general information on how the score is determined.

35%- Payment History- Paying Bills on time raises your score, late payments lower your score.
30%- Credit Utilization- What is your debt to credit ratio? The closer you are to your credit limit the lower your score, the farther from the credit limit the higher the score.
15%- Length of Credit History- The longer your accounts are open, the higher score. The shorter they've been open, the lower the score.
10%- Types of Credit Used- Revolving, installment, mortgage, etc. You benefit from showing responsible usage in multiple areas.
10%- Credit Inquiries- How many times has your credit been pulled to offer you credit? Too many and your score goes down, so don't go signing up for every credit offer you get.

How do I improve my credit score?
It takes time. If it is incorrect information, work to get it removed. If it is correct however, it will take a length of time for your score to go back up. For example, late payments become less of a negative the farther in the past they are. If it's your debt to credit ratio, pay down your debt! People with excellent credit scores, often have been using their credit correctly for many years.

Why should I care what my credit score is?
Although it's possible to do things with bad or no credit, life is easier with good credit. Good credit means good interest rates, good insurance rates, and sometimes if you can have a job. Unfortunately, many companies use your credit score as a means to determine the kind of person you are. Equally unfortunate is that a credit score actually is not a great way to determine who you are. Confusing? The reality is sometimes people with good credit can end up in bankruptcy/foreclosure and people with bad credit can pay every bill on time and just had a series of bad luck several years ago. Credit scores are not an exact science.

How do I get my credit score, and when should I get it?
Most of the credit bureaus will tell you how to get your score when you get your report. It typically costs around $10. You'll also get it if your score has been pulled for a loan. If you have never seen your credit score, it may be wise to get it now, so you know where you stand. If your planning on obtaining a mortgage, car loan, or other types of loans, you probably would like to know in advance. The reason for this is so you can research what interest rate you should be entitled to. It will also keep you from having any surprises, like being denied because of your credit score.

I finally just paid off one of my cards, should I close it?
I put this one on here because a lot of people ask this question. The answer is generally no. The reason is simple it affects your score in two ways. The first is you credit length because it changes the average length of time your accounts have been open. This is usually the only thing people think about when making the decision, and they usually rationalize that it is only 15%.  But closing an account also affects your debt to credit ratio. Closing a card closes the credit limit on the card, so then any debt you have is now closer to your credit limit. This accounts for 30% of your credit! When you add it to the other you get 45%, that's practically half of what your score is made of.
Now here's the thing usually the intention behind this is to keep yourself from getting into it again, and so it's easy to see why someone would want to do that. By keeping the card open with a zero balance, your score will receive a boost because you have now bettered your debt to credit ratio. Don't close the card if it can at all be avoided.


I hope credit scores became a little less mysterious for you. Join me next week for more money sense!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Favorites- Recipe!

I love baking! So since Zucchini is on sale again this week, I thought I would share this recipe for Zucchini bread. But first a little background. I have never liked zucchini or squash, but my husband told me about Zucchini bread. His mother used to make it all the time for him when he was little (she died while he was young), so I found her recipe at his house, and made it for him. It tastes so good, and my toddler loves it too. It's really simple too! I'm going to give you the full recipe which makes two loaves, but I usually make a half-recipe or one loaf. I should also say I do it all by hand, not using a stand or hand mixer.

Zucchini Bread
Ingredients:
-2 Eggs
-3 tsp vanilla
-1 cup vegetable oil (I usually do half oil, half applesauce to reduce the fat)
-1 1/2 cup sugar
-2 cups peeled, grated and drained zucchini. (One of the stryofoam trays of zucchini is about a cup)
-3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp salt
-1 cup (4 oz) chopped nuts (optional) (I use walnuts)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans. Break eggs into bowl. Beat well. Beat in vanilla, then oil, then sugar. Stir in grated zucchini.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into egg mixture thouroughly. Stir in nuts.
Divide batter between two greased loaf pans. Bake in oven 1 hour, or until done. Allow to stand in pans 10 mins, then remove to wire racks to cool.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Publix Trip 8/26/10

I spent $77.25 for $192.27 worth of groceries, saving $115.02 or 60%. I will submit for a $10 MIR bringing it to 65%.

See my original list here.
Added:
(1) Additional Olay Regenerist $4.49
     -(1) $5/1 from $100 of Savings P&G Book
(3)Dr. Pepper
     -B2G1 Publix Coupon Yellow Advantage Buy (Exp. 8/27)
     -(2) $1/1 Target Printable HERE (It's an ad on the page, I found it in Zip 90210)
(1)Venus Breeze $9.99
     -(1)$2/1 from 8/1/10 P&G
     -(1)$5/1 wyb Cartridges Target from paper
     -$10 wyb $30 MIR
(1)Venus Cartridges $17.99
     -(1)$3/1 from 8/1/10 P&G 
     -$10 wyb $30 MIR
(1)Satin Care $2.69
     -Free wyb Venus Razor Store Promotion
(1)Olay Quench Lotion $5.39
     -Free wyb Venus Cartridges from 8/1/10 P&G 
     -$10 wyb $30 MIR
(1)Olay Body Wash $5.99
     -Free wyb Venus Cartridges from 8/1/10 P&G
     -$10 wyb $30 MIR
(1)Tostitos $3.99
     -Free wyb 3 Pepsi Products
(2)Additional Puppy Chow $9.99
     -(2)$1/1 Printable (not sure where from)
     -$5/$25 Pet Purchase Petco coupon


Deleted:
Nothing!

Prices, price changes, and coupon changes:
(2)Bread $1.59
Publix Baby Wipes $1.89
Publix Disinfecting Wipes $2.39
Ziploc Containers $2.99
Juicy Juice Fun Size $2.15
(1)Free Bananas up to 55¢ wyb Nilla Wafers (I found another one at my store, yay!)


-$5/$25 Save-a-lot coupon


Obviously not my best totals ever, but I paid $6.75 in tax because most of my stuff was taxed this trip. I used a different cashier this week (my normal was working the express lane) and she took overages and entered in the highest amount on free item coupons. The main manager wasn't in today, so I couldn't ask about the overages. I was excited about my cheap dog food and laundry products, but I think I'm most excited about the Venus/Olay deal. Here is how it breaks down:
Buy:
(1)Venus Embrace $9.99
(1) 6pk Cartridges $17.99
(2)Olay Regenerist @ $4.49 each
(1)Olay Lotion $5.39
(1)Olay Body Wash $5.99
(1)Satin Care Shave Gel $2.69 (Free wyb Razor)
Total: $48.34

Use:
(1)$2/1 Razor
(1)$5/1 wyb cartridges Target
(1)$3/1 Cartridges
(1)Free Lotion wyb Cartridges
(1)Free Body Wash wyb Cartridges (some stores may only let you use one or the other, mine let me use both)
(2)$5/1 Regenerist
(1)$1/1 Regenerist Target
$48.34- $32.38= $15.96

Submit for $10 wyb $30 of products MIR (pdf)= $5.96

Pretty good for all the stuff you get!

Frugality- Avoiding the Pitfalls of Coupons


Everyone loves a  good deal, and if you aren't careful you may find yourself falling into some coupon pitfalls! Here is a list of things to be careful of:

  • Buying something that isn't actually the best deal because you have a coupon and/or it is on sale. That is the main point of coupons and sales to get you to buy something. Be cognizant of other items on the shelf. Would it be cheaper to buy the store brand? Would it be better to buy a larger and smaller size with the coupon? 
  • Buying an item you wouldn't normally spend your money on because it has a coupon and/or is on sale. You won't be saving yourself any money if you buy something you normally wouldn't even if it is "a really great deal." There are exceptions like free or money makers, but if you spend $1.00 on four frozen meals, but you don't like to eat frozen meals and end up just moving them around in your freezer saying to yourself "I should probably eat this, but I'd rather have _____" then you really have lost a dollar (and your freezer space) in the end. 
  • Buying an item you don't even use because it has a coupon and/or is on sale. This is just a bad idea. You don't need to buy cat food, if you don't have a cat, even if you can get 12 bags for $1. The exception is if you are buying it to give to the animal shelter, than by all means go ahead, otherwise stick to what your family needs. 
  • Buying things you don't want in your household because it has a coupon and/or is on sale. I don't drink alcohol, tea, or coffee. So even if those items are a great sale, I'm not going to buy them. It's part of my religion, and so I won't even buy them if they are free. If you are a diabetic, it wouldn't make sense to buy cookies even if it is the best deal ever. If you have a child with a severe peanut allergy, you don't want to buy peanut butter. If your on a diet, you might not want to buy certain foods (unless you have incredible will power to keep yourself from eating it before you get to donate it...). Again, it's wasted money if it costs you something in the end (more medication, more diets, etc.)
  • Buying an item you couldn't possibly use before it's expiration because it has a coupon and/or is on sale. I discussed this some last week with stockpiling, but it's worth mentioning again. Just because there is a great deal on cough syrup doesn't mean you need to go buy 6 of them. Medicine is one thing you don't mess with expiration dates on, so if you end up throwing it away, you lost money no matter how great the deal was. Medicines are also something that isn't easily donated, especially obscure ones like Vivarin and Sominex. 
  • Buying items when you already have 100 of them just because they have a coupon and/or are on sale. This again goes back to the stockpiling thing. If you have 100 boxes of pasta it would probably be best to sit out on the deal until you've used some of the pasta. Again, if you end up throwing away food, then you have lost money not saved it.
  • Buying items that you have a coupon for and/or are on sale, but then you never cook. Ok, look I know we all have the best intentions to cook lots of great meals and all that, but if you find yourself going out to eat a lot because you don't feel like cooking, then it would be better to just not buy that much in terms of groceries otherwise you end up buying a bunch of food for it to go bad and then paying for more food when you go out. Menu planning is a huge help for this because for most people it happens because they get home and look in the pantry/fridge and just see a bunch of food that they have no idea how to turn into a meal. If you think ahead, then you will be better off.
  • Never splurging because you don't have a coupon and/or it isn't on sale. You could easily find yourself not buying things because it isn't a great deal. Sometimes it is ok to splurge. You also need to know that sometimes the deal won't be the same every time, and so it would be better to use the coupon you have then to wait for it to be the best price ever. 
Couponing can be addicting. So just think through the items you purchase. Don't fall for the thrill of a deal and consciously decide to buy every item you put in your cart. Think to yourself is it the best price, do I need it, do I want it, and will I use, and you will be sure to save money and not waste money.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hampton Hotels


Hampton_logo


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.


Hampton is currently giving away a free weekend vacation to a Hampton Hotels. I know with the economy being the way it is currently a lot of us are choosing "stay-cations," but I would love to get away for a weekend. It is hard for me to justify money for going away and staying at a hotel, but if I won this giveaway I think I would head off to Orlando. I would love to go see the new Harry Potter World at Universal. Or maybe I'd go visit Key West... So many choices!

The best part of this giveaway is it is for you and three of your friends (or family)! So it's a nice way to give a little to those you care about. To enter just click on the following link and enter in your information:
Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes
It's that simple!

Where would you go if you won? Maybe someplace tropical like the Bahamas? Or to one of America's landmarks like the Grand Canyon?

Remember you can't win if you don't enter, and it's free so you might as well try! And remember me if you win (or at least let me know you won)! Good Luck!

Visit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Shopping List for 8/26/10

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


(2)Nabisco Nilla Wafer's BOGO $3.89
  -$1/2 HERE
Bananas
  -Free (up to 55¢) wyb Nilla Wafer's
(2)Dove Chocolate BOGO $4.29
   -(2)$1/1 Printable (Not sure where I got it)
(2)Kraft Cheese 2/$6
   -$1/2 Blinkie
(2)Bread
   -(2) $1 Bread wyb (1) Kraft Singles HERE
Olay Regenerist $2.50 off
  -$5/1 $100 of Savings P&G Booklet
  -$1/1 Target Coupon from Paper
(I'm thinking this will make something free...)
Tide $10.99
  -$2/1 from Sept. Parents Magazine
  -$1/1 Target Coupon from Paper
Downy $6.99
   -Free wyb Tide Peelie
Reach Floss $1.49
  -$1/1 Printable
  -$1/1  Publix $15 of Savings Sheet
Purina Puppy Chow $9.99 (I'm thinking of buying more than one...)
  -$2/1 Peelie
Green Beans 99¢/ lb
Zucchini 99¢/ lb

These ones are maybes, but are coupons that are expiring.
(2) Ziploc Containers (price unknown)
  -$1.50/2 HERE
  -$1/2 Publix Baby Club Coupon
(2) Publix Baby Wipes Refills (price unknown)
  -B1G1 Publix Baby Club Coupon
(2) Publix Disinfecting Wipes (price unknown)
  -B1G1 Publix Baby Club Coupon
(2) Juicy Juice Juice Boxes (price unknown)
   -$1/2 from 8/1/10 RP
   -$1/1 Target HERE

I also think I might be able to work out some kind of deal with the Venus, but I'm still trying to formulate that one. Still haven't heard back from my store on the overage issue, so I may not find out until I get to the store tomorrow.
 

Food Storage- Long Term Storage


We are now back to food storage after our brief side adventure in water storage. We are now going to look at all the fun that is our long term food storage. Most of these items are not going to be ready made meals and will take some learning to get used to using them. Have no fear though, I'll be going over a lot of this information over quite a few weeks.

What is the difference between long term food storage and short term food storage?
This is food that will last for a long time if stored in the proper conditions. Unlike short term food storage, which is made up of foods you eat regularly and often has a short shelf life, long term food storage is often building blocks to food.

What are some long term food storage items and how long do they last?
Again remember this is under proper storage conditions (which will be next weeks post).
Wheat- 30+ years
White Rice- 30+ Years
Corn- 30+ Years
Sugar- 30+ Years
Pinto Beans- 30 years
Rolled Oats- 30 years
Pasta- 30 years
Potato Flakes- 30 Years
Apple Slices- 30 years
Non-fat Powdered Milk- 20 years
Dehydrated Carrots- 20 years
Salt, baking soda, and tablet Vitamin C- have not been studied, but are thought to store well for long term. Many other grains also last for 30+ years.
Cooking Oils can be stored 1-2 years.


So as you can see some foods last a really long time! These foods are also great building blocks to many other foods, so once you learn to work with them they won't be nearly as frightening. There will be much more to cover in the future, so I hope you'll stick around and learn even if you aren't interested in food storage!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Uses for Bread

It happens to all of us. You end up with the two bread ends and you just toss them. Or your bread goes stale and you can't stand to make a sandwich with them. Or the inevitable more hotdogs than buns or vice versa. I just store my leftover bread in a bag in the fridge or freezer and make some of the below recipes as I feel like it. Well here is a great list of things you can do to make sure this bread doesn't go to waste.

  • Croutons 
  • Bread Crumbs- you can either make them from the croutons or toast some bread and then stick them in a food processor.
  • Toast- Use stale bread to make toast. You more than likely won't notice it is stale.
  • French Toast- another great use for stale bread.
  • Grilled Cheese- again you probably won't notice the bread is stale.
  • Bread soups- There are quite a few recipes that call for bread to thicken the soup. 
  • Bread pudding- Yum! There are lots of recipes for this one, and everyone has their favorite way to do it. I have to say though there hasn't been a bread pudding that I didn't like
  • Use hotdog buns to make mini meatball subs. Just cook up some meatballs in some red sauce place on bun and top with some mozzarella (or any other cheese of your choice)
  • Try to refreshen the bread by dipping it in cold water, draining, and then heating in the oven.
  • Garlic Bread- Some butter and garlic powder heated in the oven. Yummy. You can add cheese for some cheesy garlic bread. (Ok so I love cheese!) You could use hotdog buns to make bread sticks.
  • Use old hamburger buns to make open faced sandwiches like an open faced pulled pork sandwich. You can use regular bread too. An open-faced turkey sandwich with gravy or Salisbury steak would be yummy.
  • You could also use old hamburger buns to make personal pizzas. (Or English Muffins or Bagels)
  • Stuffing/dressing. I always use stale bread to make my stuffing for Thanksgiving. Use some chicken broth, sauteed onions and celery, and your pretty much there. (I'd love to give an exact recipe, but this one has been passed down by just eyeballing). 
  • Bruschetta
  • Breakfast Casserole
  • Feed the birds. They won't mind if it is stale. ;-)
Do you have a recipe for leftover bread? Share it in the comments!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix


Sorry this is a little later than usual, but since we are down to one computer in the household, the computer goes to the person with the highest need at the time. Michelle over at iheartpublix has this weeks ad up. Check it out HERE.

Again, I'm not seeing way too much to be excited about this week, but I do see a few things that seem pretty decent. I'll have my list up in the next few days for you to see what I am buying.

Monday Money Sense- Keeping your info safe


I know today was supposed to be about Credit Scores, but since this is fresh on my mind I will write about this instead.

Late Saturday night my personal email was hacked. The email sent out basically said that I was mugged in London and that I needed money to get home. The hacker also changed my password, alternate email, and security questions. 

I must say it feels awful! I almost feel violated in a sense. I was able to gain access within an hour of it happening (thanks to a wonderful brother who txted me at 12:30am to tell me). Because it was noticed quickly, they weren't able to get into other accounts such as my facebook, my other email accounts, etc.

Now when it comes to email hacking it can be the result of a few different things. They are:
  • Malware, Spyware, Virus- Usually the result of downloading something unfamiliar, or visiting suspicious websites
  • Phishing- This is when an email or link is used to collect personal information. Usually they try to be convincing claiming your account needs to be verified or that you need to login to see some sort of material.
  • Key Loggers- these are essentially a form of spyware. Essentially it is program that tracks every single thing you type. It can be done remotely or on your computer.
  • Bots- Essentially the concept here is that a computer (or a bunch of computers) crawls the web and essentially tries various combinations of letters and numbers.
For my personal situation, I know it was one of the last two, leaning toward the bots. The reason I believe this is because I haven't clicked any links or responded to any phishing emails. I've also run several different virus scans (I have a couple because a couple years ago I got a really bad virus on my computer out of the blue that resulted in a complete reformatting of the computer, so now I am extra cautious), and come up with nothing. I don't think it is a key logger because absolutely none of my other accounts have been hacked. Some people have wondered if maybe it was a site I signed up for that may have done it. I don't believe this is so because when I sign up for sites I always use my surveys and offers email address, so if an email address was going to be hacked I would have assumed it would be that one. So this really leaves the bot, which is really quite scary.

So I thought it might be nice to have a great list of ways to keep your information safe on the internet:
  • Use a complicated password. This link shows how long it takes for a hacker to hack certain passwords. The best passwords are a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Unfortunately not every site with a password allows symbols, but use them if you can. (I'll admit my password wasn't the strongest it could have been) 
  • Change your password regularly. I think this was my big downfall. I often forget to change passwords. If you look at that link above again, you'll notice that even the strongest passwords can be hacked in a couple months to a couple years depending on the hackers set-up. 
  • Don't use the same password on every account. Imagine if your email was hacked and you use the same password for everything. From your email they can see where you have accounts, and if the password is the same it's that much easier. (Given enough time they may be able to access all of your accounts). I believe this is the reason all of my other accounts were not compromised.
  • Don't give away passwords. A company will never contact you to ask for your password (this goes for email or telephone). Also, if you arrive at a website via a link and it tells you need to login or re-login, don't do it. Manually type in the website (www.facebook.com, www.yahoo.com, etc.). Hackers are really good at making a login page look just like the real thing. 
  • Have a good spyware/firewall/virus protection. 
  • Make sure on websites that you enter passwords that you are on a secure connection. Depending on your browser you might see locks, have a yellow url bar, etc. But one sure fire way is to look for the https:// at the beginning of the web address.
  • Be careful what you do on public computers or through public internet. 
  • Be cognizant of the emails you send and receive. If somehow you get hacked, you have no idea what they may gain from it. This is what is most unsettling for me right now.
If your account has been compromised, it can take sometime to get access to it again. When you do make sure to check everything, make sure your mail isn't forwarding to some other account, check your filters, etc. This is a good source for gmail.

I hope this may prove valuable for some of you. Hopefully, none of you will have to go through it yourself.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Favorites- Learning about Your Ancestors

I really love doing genealogy. Part of that comes from my church background, but it is also something that I find to be so interesting. So today I am going to share some of my favorite links for learning about your ancestors and the pros and cons to each.

Family Search
Pros
-Free!
-Quite a few resources, including social security death index, and a few censuses
Cons
-Not many sources
-Have to be careful of user uploaded information that may be incorrect.

Pilot Family Search
Pros
-Free!
-More records.
Cons
-Some information is incorrectly indexed due to how it was recorded. (More about this later)
-The search engine isn't always as intuitive as you would like, so you may need to search things a few different ways to find something.
-Is a pilot program, so still has a lot of tweaking to do.

Google
Pros
-Good for general information on surnames, countries, etc.
-Occasionally you'll find a website with complete family trees.
Cons
-It's just the search engine so your results may be muddled with typical search junk.
-A lot of information out there.
-As with all information on the internet, it can be full of mistakes.



Ancestry
Pros
-A lot of resources
-Worldwide Resources
-Lot's of users willing to share their findings
-Good search program
-User friendly
-Save Features
-Free trial
Cons
-Price. I must admit it can be pricey, but I have reached the point where all of the free routes have pretty much run out of information for me. My husband and I both do it, so we share one account (which we both can be on at the same time).
-Need credit card for free trial, which is kind of a pet peeve for me. However, it is very easy to cancel.


Here's a site if you want to help index records to make them free for everyone.
Indexing
Indexing is where you look at a record and type it into the computer, thus creating a digital, searchable copy of the record.
The reason I like to do indexing is it helps me to learn how records were recorded. I learn how census takers writing is sometimes easily confused, etc. It helps me to understand the records I am using to make my records.


Hopefully, you'll find these sites interesting! If you are interested, I can do more entries in the future on this subject. Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Publix Trip 8/19/10


I spent $37.45 for $126.33 worth of groceries, saving $88.88 or 70%. I will submit for another $5 Kellogg's Gift Card bringing it to 74%. (Not pictured Sparkle Paper Towels)

See my original shopping list here.

Added:
(2)Fresh Express Salad BOGO $3.69
(1) Bag Potatoes $3.69
(2) Rico Rice 99¢
(2)Chef Boyardee 10/$10
   -$1/1 Target HERE
(2)Peter Pan Peanut Butter BOGO $2.59
   -$1/2 School Day Savings Booklet 
   -$1.50/4 Conagra Products Printable (not sure where it was from)
Deleted:
Athenos Feta (not BOGO)

Prices, Price Changes, and Coupon Changes
-Changed (4)Frosted Flakes for (2)Corn Pops and (2)Fruit Loops because $1.50/2 didn't say Frosted Flakes, also BOGO $4.39 not $3.99
-Chips Ahoy BOGO $3.69 not $3.25 (but free with both coupons)
-Gallon Milk $3.35
-Store Brand Baggies $1.59 for 50 Sandwich size
-Store Brand Bread $1.59
-Was minus 1 coupon on the Fruit Snacks because the printing messed up on it.

The trip was ok. For some reason my favorite cashier was anti-overage today. I don't know if it was a new rule or what. I didn't get to ask the manager because my toddler was ready to go, but I'll probably give them a call. I think it was only annoying because it was mainly the baggies and bread, which were both manufacturer's coupons that they will be reimbursed the full amount plus 8¢. I probably lost out on a couple dollars of overage. It was also interesting because with the reach she took 2 Publix coupons and 1 Manufacturer's, you would think the store would want it the other way around.... Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Frugality- Stockpiling

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed me talk about food storage before. I realized that what some call stockpiling I call food storage, it's the same concept really. Below I will outline what is and isn't stockpiling, as well as why some people get backlash for doing it.

What is stockpiling?

  • A supply of what your family needs for a specific period of time. This period of time could be a year, until it goes on sale again, or the amount you can use before something expires.
  • Buying large quantities of something at it's lowest point, so that you never have to pay full price.
  • Preparing for a rainy day buy knowing you always have the necessities for your family on hand.
  • Using what you bought!
  • Having a source to help out others in need.
What is not stockpiling?
  • Buying large amounts of things just because "it's a great deal!" even though you already have 100 of them.
  • Buying large amounts of things that you will end up throwing away without using because they will expire.
  • Buying large amounts of things that you have no purpose for. (For example, buying a bunch of cat food because it is a money maker when you don't have a cat.)
  • *The great exception to the above is if you are donating it all, which is definitely ok in my book. (But don't be surprised if people question your generosity if you got the rest of your groceries for free by buying these "donations")
Why do stockpilers get backlash?
A lot of stockpilers get backlash for what they do. I think this is just like everything in couponing, a few bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch. Here is a list of reasons why I we sometimes get backlash for what we do:
  • Shelf-clearing- Whether the person special ordered the item or not, the perception is that the person cleared the shelf. Also, even if you special ordered you can cause a backlog of clear shelfs because the warehouse fills the special order before the store orders. 
  • Buying 50 just for overages- Plain and simple I think this puts a bad taste in many peoples mouths. I occasionally buy something solely for the overages, but it's usually only one or two. But then I see others buy 100 of something really useless (like phazyme, ecotrin, vivarin) resulting in $50 of overage, so they can buy their other groceries cheap. It's worse when they buy something they don't need (like cat food or vitamins), but yet is something you do need and you can't seem to get it. So basically what is your intent of buying 50 of something? To prepare for your family or to get overages? It will probably answer the question of why you get backlash.
  • Buying risky coupons- This may make the store upset, especially if you buy printables because the risk of fraud greatly goes up. You also risk backlash from fellow couponers if you end up with 20 tearpads/peelies/blinkies/booklets because a lot of people believe someone "took" all of the coupons from their store. If you buy these types of coupons, you encourage people to steal all of these types of coupons to make a profit. 
  • Selling the items- This one really bugs me. I was at the Fleamarket this weekend (mmm fresh produce!) and saw a person with a stand called "Half-off Retail." I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that everything there I knew was dirt cheap, free, or a money maker in the past few months. I saw Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo, Sundown Vitamins, Windex, Bic Razors, etc. I'm certain a lot of people would give backlash to this.
  • Being "greedy"- Basically not helping others when you have the means to. 
  • Being a "hoarder," crazy, dooms-dayer, etc- Some people just see stockpilers as crazy. Don't take it personally! Some just don't get it, or can't see a need in having as much of something as you do. Try to teach them or just don't talk about it.
  • Here's a good article that I think show how stockpiling can go wrong.

Hopefully this sheds a little light into the world of stockpiling. Join me next week for more frugal tips.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shopping List for 8/19

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


(4)Kellogg's Frosted Flakes BOGO $3.99
    -(2)$1.50/2 Printable HERE 
    -(2)$1/2 Target HERE


(16) Powerade Sports Drink BOGO $1.25
    -Buy 10, Get 5 free Hangtag


(2) Chips Ahoy BOGO $3.25
    -(1)1 package Free wyb 1 Nabisco Cookie and 1 Gallon of Milk (promotion over)
    -(1) $1 off wyb Cookies and Milk Peelie


(1) Gallon Milk

(2) Hefty Trash Bags BOGO $6.89
    -(2) $1/1 HERE

(2)Kellogg's Fruit Snacks $1.99
    -(2) $1/1 HERE


(1) Angel Soft Toilet Paper $5.49
(1) Sparkle Paper Towels $5.49
    -$2/2 Angel Soft and/or Sparklefrom Children's Miracle Network Donation Sheet


(2) Store Brand Baggies
   -$2 on store brand baggies wyb (2) Kellogg's Cereals Fuel for School Booklet


(1)Store Brand Bread
   -$2 on store brand bread wyb (2)Kellogg's Fruit Flavored Snacks


(2) Sorrento Stringsters 2/$6
   -$1/1 from 8/15/10 RP
   -75¢/1 Blinkie


(2) Reach Floss $1.49
   -(2)$1/1 HERE
   -(2)$1/1 $15 of Saving Sheet


(2) Athenos Feta (reportedly BOGO)
   -BOGO HERE


-$5/$25 Save-a-lot Coupon





Winn-Dixie Trip

I spent $42.43 for $77.32, saving $34.89 or 45%.

I went to Winn-Dixie today mainly because they had some great produce deals, and because I wasn't seeing too much I want at Publix this week. But when I got to Winn-Dixie they were having some great meat deals too. So here is what I got:

(2) Bottom Round Roast BOGO
     (both for $12.16)
(2) Packs Pork Chops BOGO
     (about 7 lbs for $13.65)
(1) WD Hamburger Buns $1
(1) WD Hotdog Buns $1
(2) El Monterey Burritos $3.99 each
     -$1/2 Promotion
(1)Bunch Broccoli 88¢
(1) 3 lb bag onions $2.50
(1)Bag Grapes 98¢/lb
(1)Cucumber 50¢
(2) Apples 88¢/lb
(1) 1lb bag baby carrots 88¢

I think $42 is more than reasonable for a bunch of meat and produce. I think a pot roast is in the near future. I just need potatoes...

Water Storage- Great Resources

For more emergency preparation information, click here.

Below are some great websites for information on water storage with an explanation as to what they share. I hope you will check them out.


Food and Water in an Emergency(pdf)- This is a publication put out by FEMA. It has a lot of concise to the point information on water storage, as well as information on many other emergency prep items.

Calculator- A great calculator for food storage, I believe it is only doing a two week supply of water.

Basic Guidelines- Some basic guidelines for water storage.

EPA- EPA's FAQ on all things water. You can search it for all sorts of info such as emergency water treatment and sources.

Emergency Essentials- One of many sites that sells commercial water storage equipment. You can find containers that are specifically made for long term water storage.

I will bookmark these in my favorite websites tab for future use. Hopefully you will find some use in them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SocialSpark

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


I just signed up for a site called SocialSpark. I think it will be a great way for me to bring more giveaways to you!

What is SocialSpark?
SocialSpark is a website that provides me with "sparks" or ideas for content. These "sparks" may be giveaways, opinions, or samples. Companies use sites like this to get the word out about their products through word-of-mouth marketing. The website then offers me a bit of monetary compensation for taking the time to tell you about their products.

The great part is I will still be posting what I want on my blog because SocialSpark allows me the option to pick and choose the "sparks" I want. You will always get my 100% honest opinion, in fact, that is what the advertiser wants! You will also always see a disclosure on these posts letting you know that I had a little bit of inspiration for the post.

I think it is a great tool for bloggers! Signing-up is easy. You can sign up for SocialSpark through this link. They will ask for the typical information about you and then information about your blog, such as blog category, interests, etc. I am still learning how to use the site, but it seems pretty user friendly.

I look forward to bringing you more word-of-mouth advertisements in the future because I like knowing what other people think before I go and spend money on something. Hopefully you will enjoy some of the benefits too!

For more information:
Visit my sponsor: I Signed Up for SocialSpark!

And the winner is...



The winner of the Go-Gurt Prize Pack is...

Sarah (coupons850@)


Congratulations! 
I will be emailing you shortly!


Thanks for everyone that entered! I hope to bring you more giveaways in the near future, so be on the look out!

New Uses for Milk Jugs

For more new uses, click here.

I love finding uses for recyclable things other than recycling. Here are some great uses for milk jugs.


  • Cut the top off and use it as a scoop
  • Use the top as a funnel (especially great for things you don't want in your kitchen funnels, like motor oil).
  • Cut the top off and use as a container to plant in
  • Make a watering can for flowers. (Your kids can even decorate the outside to make it look pretty)
  • Use it to organize craft supplies (or anything really). Depending on what you are storing, you may choose to cut off the tops or leave the bottle intact.
  • Make a bird house.
  • Use it to collect rainwater, which you can use to water your garden.
  • Cut off the top below the handle and you have a handy scooper.
  • Cut off the top below the handle and you have great container with a handle to pour paint into. This is especially useful for trim work or cutting in.
  • Use them as banks for children (or for a vacation fund, loose change, etc.). Your kids can decorate it for the occasion. Just cut a slit to fit the money through. I especially love THIS milk jug piggy bank.
  • Cut pieces of plastic into large triangles to use as plant markers for the garden.
  • Use jugs filled with water to weigh down. This could be useful for holding down something you are trying to glue or to get a rolled up poster to lay flat.
  • Poke holes in the bottom and cut off the top and use it to rinse fruit and veggies in.
  • Cut the bottom off to use as a plant saucer.
  • Use it as a dust pan. Just cut at an angle, and be sure to leave a flat side.
  • Make a bailer for a boat by cutting the bottom off.
  • Hand Weights. 1 Gallon= about 8 lbs.
  • Maracas for kids. Fill with beans or beads, and you have a fun instrument.
  • Hornet Trap.
  • Fill with water or sand and place into the tank of the toilet to cut down on the amount of water per flush. (A half-gallon would probably be best for this purpose).
Do you have a great use for a milk jug? Feel free to share below and I will add it to the list!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix


Michelle over at iheartpublix has this weeks ad up. You can find it HERE.

There doesn't seem to be much I am excited about, but sometimes when I go back later I find more.

***Don't forget to enter my giveaway for free Go-gurt and a "Keeping Cool in School" gift pack. Click here for more info.

Monday Money Sense- Credit Reports


How many credit reports are there?
In the U.S. there are three: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax

What is in a credit report?

  • Personal Identification Information- This section includes your name, current address, previous address(es), social security, employment, and other names you might have had.
  • Credit Account Information- This section includes all credit accounts (open and closed). It shows the payment history, date opened, credit limit, current balance, and high balance(what is the highest the balance has been). It also includes a pay status which is whether the account is in good standing or not. Each account will also show a type of account. The type can be revolving or installment, as well as individual or joint.
  • Public Records- This will be records of public action, such as bankruptcies and foreclosures.
  • Negative Accounts- This is going to be accounts like collection accounts. Collection accounts can be for anything not just credit accounts. It can be a medical bill, library fine, or anything that you owe money for.
  • Promotional Inquiries- These are people/businesses who have pulled your credit report for promotional items. This might also be inquiries from if you pulled it from a free credit report site. These inquiries can only be seen by you and they do not affect your score.
  • Account Review Inquiries- These are businesses that have pulled your credit for an account review or business transaction. These again are only seen by you and do not affect your credit score. This may be your credit card pulling your credit to change your terms.
  • Inquiries- These are inquiries used to establish your credit. These are often inquiries for mortgages, loans, credit cards, and occasionally land lords and insurance. These can be seen by others and do affect your credit.
How often should I check my credit report?
At least once of year. Many people have mistakes on their credit report, and the only way to check them is to check your credit report at least once a year. It takes time to fix mistakes, so you want to catch them well before you try to get a loan. You are entitled to a free credit report from each company annually. You can get it HERE. If you have never checked your credit report, it would be wise to check them all at once. If you have checked your credit report before, you may want to spread out your free ones across the year.

What if I find an error?
Many of the companies have this information on their website, and many you can do online. When you receive your credit report, there should be information on how to start a dispute/investigation. When you start a dispute or investigation, you may need proof of what ever you are claiming (this is especially true for information such as addresses, names, and personal information). For accounts that have errors they will contact the company and ask them to verify the information on the report. It can be very long and annoying process. Once the investigation is complete, the company will send you a notice of it's completion and you will receive a new credit report. 

What if the dispute comes back and says the information is right, but I know it is wrong?
I definitely understand this one. I once checked my credit report to find two collections on it. Both were from medical accounts that I had no idea I owed money on. They were both due to billing/insurance issues (and ironically neither medical office ever sent me a bill). These took some work on my part of calling the medical offices and the insurance companies. In the end they told me they would remove it from my credit report, but I filed another dispute stating that with the credit bureaus, just in case. Disputes can be very annoying, but stand strong. You should also keep copies of everything concerning your dispute, and make sure that it stays removed.

Hopefully that makes things a little clearer, but feel free to ask any questions! Next week we will look at credit scores.

For more Money Sense, click here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tax-Free School Supplies and Clothes

Just a reminder for those in Florida today begins tax-free school shopping!

From today until August 15th (3 days!) you can get the following tax-free:

  • School Supplies $10 or less
  • Clothing under $50
  • Footwear under $50
  • Books under $50
  • Diapers!!! (I'm serious, it's on the official list)
The following are NOT included:
  • School Supplies over $10 
  • Clothing, Footwear, and Books over $50
  • Anything bought in an amusement park or other "tourist-type" place (hotels, gift-shops, etc.)

Check out the official publication from the Department of Revenue for more information. It can be found HERE.

Friday Favorites- Giveaway!



Ok so a fairly recent discovery for me is Go-Gurt. I knew it was around, but only recently tried it. It's great because you can take it anywhere and you don't need a spoon! I regularly use it as a quick part of an on-the-go breakfast.

I don't have any school age children, but I do have a school teacher husband! Go-Gurt is great to pack in his lunch. The best part is I can freeze it and put it in his lunch box and it thaws by time he eats! In fact, Go-Gurt is specially made to be frozen and thawed.

For those watching their weight (or trying to feed their kids less artificial foods), I highly recommend Simply Go-Gurt. It's only 70 calories and is free of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners (including high-fructose corn syrup). It is so good. My 16 month old daughter begs for it whenever I eat mine, and I feel good about giving it to her.

The folks at Yoplait and MyBlogSpark have supplied me with a great gift pack full of lots of goodies for back to school and a coupon for free Go-Gurt*. Not only that, but they are providing one of my readers with a gift pack as well.


To Enter:
1. Leave a Comment sharing your (or your kids) favorite flavor
2. Subscribe to Frugal and Provident
3. Follow Frugal and Provident with Google Friend Connect (found in the Right Column)
4. Leave a Comment with your favorite lunch recipe.

This means you can enter up to four times! Please leave a comment for each entry. I will choose a winner on Tuesday 8/17 around noon.

Disclosure: Yoplait and MyBlogSpark provided me with info and a prize pack for me and my winner. All comments and opinions are my own.


*Coupon not valid in ID, LA, MN, NV, NJ, ND, and TN.


Good Luck!

P.S. Don't forget about the 85¢/1 coupon HERE.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Publix Trip 8/12/10

I spent $27.43 for $134.19 worth of groceries, saving $106.76 or 80%. But I will submit for the $5 Kellogg's Gift Card which makes my savings 83%.

(Not pictured 1 Reach Floss and 1 Publix Deli Drink)

Check out my original list here.

Added:
(1) Reach Floss $1.49
    -$1/1 Internet Printable (Not sure which site it's from)
    -$1/1 Publix Coupon $15 of Savings Sheet
(1) Publix Deli Soda $1.19
(2) Composition Books 2/$1
     (Applied the $2 off School Supplies to it)
(1) Additional Papermate Pens 2/$1
     -(1) 50¢/1 HERE
(1) Sirloin Tip Steak $2.07
(1)Zephyrhill's 6-pk 2/$4
     -$1 wyb 2 boxes of Cheez-it



Deleted:
(2) Toufayan Pita Wraps because it was bagels on sale
(3)Dr. Pepper because it was coke products at my store
(1)Tostitos for the same reason as above
(4)Sundown Vitamin D because they were out
(1) Stayfree because I did not get the BOGO coupon in my paper (but the pack I got was a bonus pack)
Milk because it wasn't on sale at my store either :-(


Prices, Price Changes, and Coupon Changes:
(2)Busy Bone 2/$7 (free after coupons!)
(2) Ocean Spray Fruit and Veggie BOGO $3.99 not $3.25 (I asked about this one and they said it was included, but then it rang up wrong... but they gave it to me for BOGO anyway... so I would ask)
     -$1/1 Peelie Found on Bottle
(4) Del Monte BOGO $2.45 not $2.75 (I was able to use the Target q's I only had two though because my husband's computer has bit the dust )
(2)Kraft Mac and Cheese BOGO $1.29 not $1.19 (but with my free item coupon both were free!)
(2) Kellogg's Mini Wheats BOGO $4.19 not $3.89
(2)Cheez-it BOGO $3.99 not $3.29
(1)Broccoli 2/$4
(1) Fruit Salad $2.84


-$5/$25 Purchase Save-a-lot Coupon


I had my favorite cashier this week except she changed the way she rings up her coupons this week (she matched coupons to items as she went), so it took a little longer.


For fun here's a list of free items I got:
-Stayfree 32 ct Bonus Pack
-Reach Dental Floss + overage
-(2) Lunchables + overage
-(2)Kraft Mac and Cheese
-(1)Store Brand Soda +overage
-(2) Beggin Strips
-(2)Busy Bones
-(2)Smart Taste Ronzoni +overage
-(2) Packs Papermate Pens
-(2) Pack Bic Mechanical Pencils
-(3)Spiral Notebooks
-(2)Composition Books
-(2)Ocean Spray Fruit and Veggie (The cashier asked and they took both the $2 off wyb Frosted Mini Wheats and the 2 $1/1 Peelies since one was from Kellogg's and the other Ocean Spray)

Frugality- Learning the Sale Cycles and the Best Prices

For more frugal tips, click here.


"Is ____ dollars a good price for that?"
"How often does ______ go on sale?"
"It seems like that never goes on sale, so should I just buy it now?"

I see these questions all the time online! And the funny thing is the answer is fairly simple... learn your sale cycles! Here are the steps to figure them out.

  1. When you first start couponing, don't fall into the urge to buy everything because it is on sale and you have a coupon for it. You could actually end up spending more money that way.
  2. Take some time to learn how things cycle. Some things cycle every 3-4 weeks, some 6, some 12. There are very few things that cycle longer than that. That being said they won't be the same sale price every time. I feel like everything goes on sale at some point.
  3. The easiest way to learn the cycle is just to pay attention to the circular each week. You may even collect them for a couple of months.
  4. Alternately, you can also go to your favorite deal matching site and use their history and/or search function to see how often things go on sale. Here's a link to the archive of weekly ad's on iheartpublix. You can go back pretty far with it.
  5. Make a list of what your family uses most often. Try to find what the frequency for sales is for those items. 
  6. Limit your purchases. You don't need to buy pasta every time there is a good sale if you already have a stockpile of it. Buy a couple to replenish what you've used, but don't go crazy. Pasta cycles fairly often.
  7. Be aware of seasonal cycles. For example, baking sales are best in winter. Grilling sales are best in summer.Currently with the fall we are seeing all the back to school sales on food for lunches. This is sometimes the lowest point you will see them all year (but that doesn't mean they won't go on sale again...)
  8. Establish your stock-up price. While you may see stock-up prices on deal matching sites, it is best for you to be realistic about what you can do. Depending on where you live, prices may just be higher in your area and so you may never reach the price they have as a stock-up price. You may not have enough storage for 100 boxes of cereal at the lowest point, so your stock-up price may be more forgiving. If you only buy organic, whole grain, sugar-free, or gluten free varieties, you may have higher stock-up prices. 
  9. Don't feel like a failure if some weeks you have to buy something at a price higher than your stock-up price! This is why I recommend a weekly budget and not a specific amount of savings.
Below I will list some cycles as I see them. Keep in mind that sometimes things will vary slightly from this list.
Things that cycle fairly regularly:
By this I mean that at least one brand goes on sale about once a month or more often. This does not mean it is necessarily the cheapest you will see it, or your most favorite brand.
-Bread, pasta, pasta sauce, juice, peanut butter, soda, lunch meat, diapers, wipes, baby food, cookies, crackers, cleaning products, salad dressing, bagged salad, cereal

Things that cycle less often:
By this I mean every 6-12 weeks.
-Paper goods, pet foods, cat litter, meats, frozen foods, chips, some personal care items, cheese, yogurt, otc medicines, boxed baked goods, refrigerated baked goods

Things that cycle rarely:
This is a very slim category, and pretty much means anything that happens a few times a year.
-Baking staples (flour, sugar, yeast, salt, chocolate chips, brown sugar, etc.), spices and extracts, seasonal fruits and vegetables, school supplies, specialty items (this is a broad term to include foods for special diets, "green" items, organics, etc.)

Join me next week for more frugal tips!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shopping List for 8/12/10

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


(2)Toufayan Pita Wraps BOGO $1.99 (there seems to be differences on this one on different sites, so we'll see when I get to the store...)

(2)Ronzoni BOGO $1.39
    -(2)$1/1 Smart Taste Coupons from Magazines (if included, I've seen it being reported both ways...)


(2)Tyson Frozen Chicken Products BOGO $6.59
   -(1) $1/1 from newspaper (I clipped it so I'm not sure which one)
   -(1) $1/1 Peelie


(2)Purina Beggin Strips BOGO $3
   -(1) BOGO peelie


(2) Busy Bone
   -(2)Free wyb Beggin Strips from 7/11/10 SS


(2) Ocean Spray BOGO $3.25
    -$2 off wyb (2) Frosted Mini Wheats


(4) Del Monte Fruit  Bowls BOGO $2.75
    -(1) $2/3 from Children's Miracle Network Donation
    -(?) $1/1 Target Coupon (wording says 6-pack, but 4-pack is shown, haven't found a 6-pack)


(2) Kraft Mac and Cheese BOGO $1.19
   -Free Kraft Cheese Explosion from special promotion(if included) 


(2)Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats BOGO $3.89
   -(1)$1/2 HERE
   -(1)$1/2 Kellogg's Cereal Target Q HERE
   -$5 MIR wyb 5 Kellogg's/Keebler/Sunshine/Eggo Products

(2) Cheez-it BOGO $3.29
    -$2 off School Supplies wyb 2 Cheez-it
    -$1 off Bottled Water wyb 2 (not sure if I will do this one)
    - $5 MIR wyb 5 Kellogg's/Keebler/Sunshine/Eggo Products


(2) Arnold Whole Grain Bread BOGO $3.69

(3) Dr. Pepper B2G1 $4.76
     -B2G1 Publix Yellow Advantage Buy


(1) Tostitos
     -Free wyb 3 Pepsi Products Yellow Advantage Buy


(?) Milk $1.99
   (I've read this could be regional so I am crossing my fingers, if it is on sale I may buy a few!)

(2)Bic Pencils 10pk 3/$3
    -$1/2 HERE
    -$1/2 Target HERE

(3) Top Flight Notebooks 3/$1

(1) Paper Mate Pen 10 ct 2/$1
   -.50¢/1 Target HERE

(4) Sundown Vitamin D
   -(4) $1/1 Peelies
   -(2) $6/2 Publix Green Advantage Buy (exp. 8/12)


(2) Stayfree $1.99
   -(1)BOGO Coupon from 6/27/10 RP
   -(1) $1/1 HERE
   -(2) $1/1 from $15 of Savings Flyer


Produce
    -(2) $1 off Produce Target Coupon HERE

(2) Lunchables 10/$10
   -(2) $1/1 HERE
   -(2) 50¢/1 HERE

(2)Land O' Frost Lunchmeat $2.99
    -(2)$1/1 HERE

(2)Sorrento Sticksters 2/$6
    -(1)$1/1 Peelie
    -(1) 75¢/1 Blinkie


(2) Keebler Cracker Packs
   -(1)$1/2 HERE
   -$5 MIR WYB 5 Kellogg's/Keebler/Sunshine/Eggo Products

(1) Store Brand Soda
   -$1 off wyb 2 Keebler Sandwich Crackers Tearpad




May be more coming later... I'm still figuring a few things out. If not on this post, then it will be on the trip post.









Water Storage- Purifying Water

For more emergency prep information, click here.

For whatever reason, you may find yourself at some time with the need to purify water. Remember that this should be used only in an absolute last resort, and that the best idea is to store an adequate amount of water for your family.

There are many ways water can be contaminated, so often the best way to purify water is by using more than one method. I will outline several methods below, and explain what they best eliminate.

Filtration

  1. Using a coffee filter or layers of paper towels, pour water through.
  2. Collect water in a bowl underneath.
  3. Repeat several times.
Pros
-Filters out sediment and hard metals
-Easy
Cons
-Doesn't remove micro-organisms.


Boiling

  1. In a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil.
  2. Boil for 1 minute.
  3. Let cool.
  4. You may need to add oxygen back into the water. This can be done by passing the water back and forth between two clean containers.
Pros
-Kills most micro-organisms.
Cons
-Does not remove large particles, chemicals, or sediment. You will need to use filtration first.
-Requires a cooking source.

Chlorination
  1. First, make sure you are using only regular household bleach. Do not use scented, colorsafe, or bleach with other cleaners. It is also recommended that you use a new bottle of bleach, as old opened bleach loses potency with time.
  2. Add 16 drops (1/8 tsp) of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  3. Stir.
  4. Let stand for 30 min.
  5. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it does not , repeat steps 1-3, and let stand for an additional 15 min.
  6. If it still does not smell of bleach, discard the water, and find another water source.
Pros
-Kills most micro-organisms.
Cons
-Does not remove large particles, chemicals, or sediment. You will need to use filtration first.
-Concerns over potency of bleach over a few days.

Distillation
  1. Fill a pot half-way with water.
  2. Tie a cup (that will not melt) to the handle of the pot's lid. (See image below)
  3. The cup should hang right-side up when the lid is upside down. Also, make sure the cup does not dangle in the water.
  4. Boil the water for 20 min.
  5. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.

Pros
-Kills micro-organisms (more than boiling or chlorination).
-Removes heavy metals, salts, and sediment.
Cons
-Requires a cooking source.
-A little more labor intensive.
-May not produce a large quantity of water.



Hopefully, you will try out some of these methods now to become familiar with them. Next week, I will provide you with a list of great resources, so I hope you will return for that!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Uses for Rubber Bands


For other great uses for everyday things, click here.

There are so many interesting uses for rubber bands. Check out the list below.

  • Open Jars. Wrap the rubber band around the lid for extra grip.
  • Decorate Easter Eggs. Use it to make fun designs on the egg.
  • Use it to keep delicate things safe in the dishwasher. Tether stemware to the rack.
  • Wrap a small gift. Use it in place of ribbon, and you'll have a modern decoration to your wrapping.
  • As an eraser. Make a small rubber band ball and voila erase!
  • Mark the liquid level on paint cans and other things in the garage by wrapping a rubber band on the outside at the level of the liquid.
  • Paintbrush scraper. Wrap a rubber band from top to bottom to wipe your brush off on.(This way you don't end up dripping paint all on the outside of the can.)
  • Pencil grip. Wrap around the bottom of the pencil for a cheap pencil grip.
  • Cord Shortener. Wrap the excess cord with a rubber band.
  • Tie dye. This one is obvious, but tie dye can be really fun to do with kids.
  • Emergency ponytail holder. Again, sort of obvious, but good for listing sake.
  • Organization. Organize pencils, papers, flowers, utensils, just about anything.
  • Thick Rubber bands can be used to make labels on jars. Just wrap it around and label it.
  • Wrap it around disposable razors for a better grip (especially good for the cheap ones...)
  • Keep food fresh by folding over the bag and wrapping it with a rubber band. This works for chips, flour, salad, frozen vegetables, etc.
  • Bookmark. Wrap a rubber band around the front cover to whatever page you stopped on.
  • Storing posters. Kind of obvious, but roll up the poster and wrap it with a rubber band. (Not to tight though or you might damage it).
  • Slingshot/catapult. We all did this as a kid. 
  • Limit the liquid soap dispenser. Just wrap it around the top (under where it dispenses), so that you use less soap. 
  • Keep your cutting board in place by wrapping a rubber band on two ends. It will act as a non-slip grip.
  • Use it as a reminder. Wrap one around your wrist for a reminder to do something, or maybe as an incentive not to do something (as in snapping it every time you bite your nails.)
  • Make musical instruments! Here's a rubber band guitar, but there are many more!

Do you have a great use for rubber bands? Share it below and I will add it to the list!