Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clipping for College Week One

Week One of Clipping for College went well! It is my goal to keep track of all the money I save using coupons and apply it to my children's college fund. This week I used $83.02 in coupons.

At the grocery store I saved $26.03

At the drugstore I saved $56.99.

I know the drugstore number will always be inflated. The drugstore has great deals for me to stock up on items we use. Most of these items turn out to be completely free. I would not normally shop at the drugstore and pay full price for anything because the prices are so high. We do save alot of money with sales and coupons at the drugstore and sometimes I can snag a "moneymaker."

Pictured above is our wonderful dog Roscoe. We usually feed him Pedigree. A few weeks ago, I saw on one of my favorite coupon blogs Hip2Save that I could get a free bag of dog food, so I signed up. I received a coupon in the mail for a free bag of dog food. When I got to the super fancy dog store to redeem the coupon, I found that it was for a bag of dog food valued at $17.25! Wow.... and our dog had been eating Pedigree that I bought on sale with a coupon. Score!

I did not count the dog food in my Clipping for College total because I would not have paid that much for dog food, but I am super happy to have the great freebie! Who knows, if he likes it, I might find a way to get the "high dollar" dog food a little cheaper!

Leave a comment if you are interested in Clipping for College.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Finals 7/30

I scored some good deals this week at Publix. Four of the items were FREE! And I got a 6 pack of water for a penny (not pictured.)

Total before savings: $88.80

Paid = $33.57

Coupons used= $26.03

Sales savings= $29.20

Another store had some great sales on produce. If you bought $10 worth then you could buy milk for $2.50, so of course I got my limit of 2 milks. My grocery total for this week was $50 for the 4 of us... not too bad considering all the produce and milk.

Check back tomorrow for a "Clipping for College" update.

This post is linked to Friday Finals . Thanks to Southern Savers for the coupon match-ups!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mystery Fruit Revealed

Since we used compost to plant our garden, we sometimes get "mystery plants." Several weeks ago, a plant started growing in our garden that we had no idea what it was going to turn out to be. We had several people guess what it was. The guesses included: watermelon, pumpkin, and acorn squash. Being the rookie gardeners that we are, it was not until the outside really started looking like a cantaloupe that we knew what it was.

We are really enjoying our garden. The compost has given us additional fun. Several times we have had to guess what was coming up. It has been great to get some FREE plants!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clipping for College

After 4 months of perfecting my coupon clipping game. I am ready to keep track of all of my coupon savings. Over the past four months, I have saved lots of money... probably over a thousand dollars with sales and coupons.

While saving all of this money, I have been kidding my husband that I could save enough money to send our kids to college. So, I have decided to keep track and see how far I get. We currently have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and a 6 month old which means that we have several years to save, but we will need alot of MONEY all at one time!

My totals will include coupon and rebate savings only. I will update you weekly on money I have saved. The totals will include Extra Care Bucks, Up Rewards, and Register Rewards... as I use them, not as I receive them. Remember, they are only savings after you redeem them... not while they are in your wallet. I will also include Single Check Rebates, after I cash my check and include any gift cards that I receive as a result of a SCR promotion. I will also include rebates from other companies.

I will start my totals as of today, instead of pulling out all of my receipts to calculate. We can start together. I will count my SCR check that I will receive later this month from the July SCR. My savings update will be every Saturday.

I hope you will join me on my journey to save for my children's college education. Leave a comment on our blog to keep us updated on your success! Let's show everyone that it IS worth your time to clip coupons!

If several people comment, I can start a blog carnival for all of us to share our savings.

Clipping coupons to pay for college Works for Me!


Note: I will not deduct the cost of my newspaper, printer ink, or copy paper. These items will cancel out with the use of sales. As you will see, we will be saving far more than the cost of these items.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuffed Banana Peppers

We have picked lots of banana peppers from our garden this year. I really didn't know what to do with all of them. I frozen some for pizza toppings, gave some away, and we have tried to eat the rest. I have been making stuffed banana peppers. You could change the recipe as you like.

Stuffed Banana Peppers

8 Banana Peppers - free from the garden

1/2 c. Sour Cream - $.10 (using a sale and coupon)

1/2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese - $.90

Make a slice all the way down the length of the pepper. Remove all seeds. Mix cheese and sour cream together and stuff into pepper. Bake on 350 degrees for approx. 15 minutes.

Approx. $1

I am going to try to freeze some peppers that are ready to stuff, so that we can unthaw, stuff, and bake them sometime this fall.

Happy Menu Plan Monday!

This post is linked to $5 Dinners.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden Tomatoes

A few weeks ago, we got the first tomato from our garden! Here is a picture of our little beauty! Yummy salsa!


Friday, July 23, 2010

A Great Week at Rite Aid

This was a great week at Rite Aid! I bought everything pictured and made $2 after rebates. My purchase included $30 worth of Procter and Gamble products, so I will send in for a $10 rebate.

Some of the moneymakers were out-of-stock when I got there, so I asked for a raincheck. I have never had a raincheck from Rite Aid before, so I hope it works.

I also finished a Skin Care Rebate. We bought lots of sunscreen over the last few weeks and will receive $30 in gift cards to Rite Aid!

Check out Friday Finals for more great deals.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tips from the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

I just finished the ALL YOU GROCERY Challenge $172.72 under budget! Yeah!

Saving money has become a way of life for me and my family. I once joked with my husband that I would pay for our children's college tutition with the money I save. As time moves on, I find that I get more and more frugal... it's almost like a game and it's fun!

Our budget for the month was $400 and we spent $227.28. We only counted groceries, but even with counting health and beauty aids, we would have had the same outcome. I get all of my health and beauty aids at the drugstore for free or for tax only.

Here is a recap of tips to help you spend less a the grocery store.

ALL YOU has some great recipes and tips for saving money. I also learned a lot from the ALL YOU blog. A few of my favorite tips from the ALL YOU Blog:

Ask your butcher to call you when they have meat that will be expiring soon. According to a fellow blogger, you can get meat at 75 % off. It will expire soon, so you just bring it home and freeze it!

Write the date of expiration on your stockpile items with a sharpie marker, so that you will be reminded to use it before it expires.

Check the clearance shelves

Thanks ALL YOU for the great challenge! I'm always interested in learning new ways to save!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Peach Pie

On Saturday, my family and I traveled to a nearby peach farm. We picked 1 1/2 bushels of peaches. When I got home I started working on peach jam and preparing the peaches to freeze. Yesterday, I remembered that I had homemade pie crusts in the freezer, so we made a peach pie. Here is the recipe that we used.

I hope you have time to make a good peach pie while the peaches are in season.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

ALL YOU Grocery Challenge Totals

Ok, the ALL YOU Grocery challenge is over! Here are my totals:

Week 4

Grocery: $68.29

My total included stocking up on 1 1/2 bushels of peaches that I froze, pureed for baby food, made pies, and made freezer jam.

Check out Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge.

My grand total for all 4 weeks of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge is


The budget for our family of 4 eaters was $100/ week. We were under our budget by $172.72!
I have learned so much over the last four weeks. Thank you ALL YOU!
This post is linked to Friday Finals!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Couponing with Kids

A few months ago, I dreaded to even go to the grocery store with a 3 year old, 2 year old, and then 3 month old girls. The task of grocery shopping with 3 littles made me exhausted at the thought of it. Then, I started couponing. Of course, my first thought was, how am I going to coupon if just going to the grocery store seems like a challenge?

Knowing that the task at hand would not be easy, I clipped some coupons and headed to the grocery store. It was a rough first few trips, but after we got into a routine, our trips have been easy. I'll share a few tips with you.

Tips for Couponing While Shopping with Kids

1. Organize your coupons and list in the order of the store.

2. Take only the coupons that you know you are going to use

3. Go by the bakery to get the kids a free cookie... most grocery stores give them away. I tell my girls that they only give cookies to good little girls.

4. As you put an item in your shopping cart, put the coupon in a place that you will remember to use it!

5. Give the kids a small list and let them find the items and put them in the shopping cart.

6. You keep the coupons. Do not let the kids hold them... the coupons might disappear.

7. Stick to the list. If the kids ask for items that are not on sale, tell them that you will get them that item when it goes on sale. As the kids grow up, it becomes a good lesson in life.

8. Tell them that you need them to be quiet while checking out. It is very important that you watch all the prices and make sure that all of your coupons are given and come off the order.

9. Don't use the kids as an excuse not to coupon. As a mom, when faced with a challenge, you can do it!

As a mom that has 2 toddlers in her BIG heavy shopping cart (the huge one that looks like a car and seats two kids) and has a now 5 month old strapped on, I feel your pain. But, believe me, the kids get used to your new techniques. We actually shop quicker now that I am more organized and I often get complements on how well my kids behave!

I hope that you are encouraged that you can juggle your kids and your coupons!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Free" Coupons

Over the last few months, I have been able to obtain a number of great "free" coupons. "Free" coupons come in handy for a few different purposes. The first purpose for a free coupon is the obvious.... getting an item for free! I also, use "free" coupons to increase my order so that I can use a money off coupon. For example, I have a coupon for "free" Suave shampoo. I'm saving this coupon to use at Rite Aid. There is a number of available $5 off a $25 order for Rite Aid, but some weeks I don't see enough items that we use on sale. If I use my "free" Suave coupon when I have say $22 worth of sale items, then I can increase my order to $25 by purchasing a Suave shampoo. Then, I will use my $5 off $25 and my "free" Suave coupon. With all sales, coupons, free coupons, and money off coupon, I am sure to get a great deal.

I have also used "free" coupons at Piggly Wiggly. Piggly Wiggly often runs a special where you can get a greenbax for using a manufacturers coupon. This is a great deal! There are not a lot of coupon match- ups usually, but since the "free" coupons are manufacturers coupons, then you can get a greenbax for them. There are a few things that you can do with greenbaxes, like buy food, purchase movie tickets, or get park passes for parks in your town. A greenbax can be worth up to $1.50. So, not only do you get the free product, but you get a greenbax!

The question is... Where do you get "free" coupons? I have obtained several free coupons from Kraft. There website is Kraft First Taste. You need to register and check back to participate in surveys and activities. Every so often (I don't know how often) you will have "offers" for "free" coupons that they will send to you in the mail.

I have received free coupons from manufacturers after I "like" them on facebook, when they are running a free promotion.

Sometimes, Rite Aid will have rebates to get a free bag of Huggies after you have purchased a few bags of huggies.

Of note, any coupon that says "free" on it is only good if it comes directly from the manufacturer on their printed paper.

If you get "free" coupons on items that you do not use, I encourage you to pick up the item and donate it. I'm sure some would be happy to have the item.

I hope you find some "free" coupons!

Free coupons Work for Me!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Serial Meals"

A great tip for saving money is using the food you have and not wasting it! One of the ways that I do this is by making "serial meals." Serial meals are meals that I make in a row that use the same ingredients. For example, last week, I had a bag of hamburger buns in the freezer that I had bought on sale for $.89, so I waited until hamburger was on sale and made hamburgers. Knowing that my family would not use all 8 buns, the next night, I unthawed some shredded chicken and made barbecue chicken sandwhiches. The 3rd night, we had one bun left and some chicken, so I made chicken salad. We used the one remaining bun and some bread to finish off the chicken salad.

Even though I am able to make food for really cheap by buying at the lowest price and using coupons.... I still can not stand to waste food. Making "serial meals" is a good way to make meals and leave no waste!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Fresh Tomato Salsa with Banana Peppers

As our garden tomatoes start to come in, I'm trying to think of some new ways to use our produce. I had never made salsa before, so I've been excited to try. I picked a banana pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes from our garden and got started. Here is what I came up with after using a few recipes as guides.

Fresh Tomato Salsa with Banana Peppers

4 beefsteak tomatoes
1 small vidalia onion
1 banana pepper (I took most of the seeds out)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime concentrate (you could use lemon concentrate)
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of cumin

Add all ingredients to blender. Pulse until desired consistency.

Serve with your favorite chips and guacamole.

The salsa was yummy! I used whole tomatoes. For a thicker consistency, you could deseed the tomatoes (freeze the insides to throw into soup later).

For more great recipes go to Menu Plan Monday!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Week Three ALL YOU Grocery Challenge Totals

After week 3 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge, I still seem to be on track! This week, we had the joy of sharing our food with some visitors from out-of-town. Let's see how we did during week three.
Our family budget is $100/ week.

Grocery: $68.84
3 Week Grocery Total: $158.99

This post is linked to Friday Finals!



I'll have to admit that I was a skeptic about couponing.... but, I have seen the light. My family and I have saved lots of money on couponing. I have been super suprised at how many items that you can get for free and sometimes make overage! I thought that some of you, who might also be couponing skeptics, would like to see a list of items that I have been able to get free over the past few months. Some of these items I have picked up to make overage! Making overage helps to decrease your over all bill. I would suggest picking up anything that gives you overage. If you do not use the item.... donate it! I'm sure many people can use free stuff! I have also included some penny items from Publix. Some of these are from rebates and some are free after extra care bucks.

Valasic Sweet Pickle Relish
Combat Ant Killer
Mac and Cheese
Depends Underwear
Publix Apple Juice
Publix Toilet Paper
Lots of Kraft products
Body Wash
Femine Products
Dip for chips
Frozen Vegetables

Frozen Pizza

Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Sauce
Therma Care
Dawn Dish Soap
Publix Glass Cleaner
Publix Vanilla Wafers
Sobe Life Water
Cool Whip
Imitation Crab Meat

Is there anything on this list that you would like to buy for free? Sure there is... I hope this post encourages you to try couponing.

Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite "free" purchase.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

I know that laundry detergent is not a part of the grocery challenge, but I have to mention it because the savings is amazing! My family and I made our first batch of laundry soap in October 2009. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was super easy. Even if I would have messed it up, we would have only wasted a few dollars. It was worth the try!

Before using laundry soap, I was buying store brand eco friendly laundry soap at a wholesale store. We were paying around $17 for laundry detergent every 2-3 months. The homemade laundry detergent costs only about $.05/ load. It would be even cheaper if we had an energy saver washing machine. By using homemade laundry soap, we are saving about a hundred dollars a year. So, by the time our kids graduate from high school, we will have saved around $1800 on laundry soap!

I use the Duggar's recipe (scroll down) and found all the ingredients at Publix. My family of 5 will only need to make this recipe 2 times per year.

If you are new to homemade cleaning products, you are probably wondering what you are going to do with the leftover ingredients. After all, you will probably not have to make the laundry soap very often. I use the leftover borax and washing soda in my dishwasher.



1/2 tablespoon Borax

1/2 tablespoon Washing Soda

Main Wash:

1 tablespoon Borax

1 tablespoon Washing Soda

I use white vinegar for the rinse.

The eco benefits of homemade laundry soap are that it's all-natural and it cuts out having to recycle those large laundry detergent containers (not to mention the ones not being recycled).

As and added price reducer, there is usually a Borax coupon (scroll down) for $.35 off, which will double at a lot of grocery stores.

After using homemade laundry soap, I will likely never buy regular laundry detergent again... unless it's free ; )


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Freezing Meat

I try to buy all of my meat at the lowest price. We usually have whatever meat is on sale for a meal or two and then I will stock some in the freezer for later. Last week, I bought cubed steak and pork chops. After having the steak for one meal. I froze all the pork chops and rest of the steak. If we are going to eat the meat in the next two months, I will store it in freezer bags. If it will be longer than two months, I package it with our food saver (this was a great Christmas gift for us a couple of years ago). A few months ago, we purchased a whole sirloin (they cut it whatever way you want it) and we packaged it with the food saver. We were able to get a great deal at a locally owned grocery store and paid only $1.79/ lb... we should have bought more for that price!

I make sure to write the date packaged, number of steaks, and what it is, on the package. It should last at least 3 months in freezer bags and much longer when packaged with the food saver. Sometimes, I will take the time to package the meat in a marinade or make it freezer meal.

Buying meat at it's lowest price is a key to big savings!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buying at the Lowest Price

ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

A few months ago, I started wondering how we could save more money. We don't spend money on extravagant things, but I was sure that we could do better as far as our weekly grocery, personal, and household supplies. After some research, I decided to start couponing. I had heard about a site called Southern Savers. It's a free website that does the coupon match-ups for many grocery stores and all of the drug stores in our area. As I looked on the Southern Savers site, I found some very beneficial information about how to buy things at the lowest price, how to use coupons, and where to find coupons. Southern Savers has some great tutorials with all the information you need to know about buying things at the lowest price.

I use the Southern Savers buy price list to keep me on track at the grocery store and I am filling out my own blank buy price list as I find great deals! When I first saw the Southern Savers buy price list, I could not believe all the items that I should be getting for free. After couponing for just a little while, it became clear to me that the savings was going to be BIG! I have not only "bought" items for free, but sometimes I "get paid" to buy them ; )

Buying items at the lowest price has been the key to my success. A big thanks to Jenny at Southern Savers for doing all the coupon match-ups and teaching me how to save LOTS of $$$!


PS. I will never buy another tube of toothpaste with cash again : )

Monday, July 5, 2010

Banana Pudding (Pudding Made from Scratch)

I have posted many times about how I love to make my own mixes. One of my favorite mixes is pudding mix. They are easy to make and easy to store. You can make them for about the price of pudding on sale with a coupon, which was $.34 the last time I bought it.
Pictured above:
Top - Mix (only use 2/3 c. of it per recipe)
Middle- Making the pudding
Bottom- Banana Pudding
It is nice to make things from scratch and have them on hand when you get a craving for it. The recipe I use comes from my Make-A-Mix book.
This recipe was made with Publix Vanillla Waffers, the penny item a few weeks ago.
Bananas $.33/ lb
Milk- Free
Whip Topping- Free
Vanilla Wafer- $.01
A large Banana Pudding approx. $.40


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Week Two ALL YOU Grocery Challenge Totals

ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

The girls and I were able to hit a few stores and our local farm this week for some great deals! We are having visitors next week, so we will be feeding 4 extra people. Knowing that we were going to have company, I have been stocking up for the last few weeks. Surprisingly, I have been able to stay on budget! Our ALL YOU weekly budget is $100 for the 4 of us... let's see how we did!

Grocery (including our Publix trip): $58.62

Non- Grocery (those pictured: spray and wash, charcoal, and glad trash bags): $6.36

Total for everything: $64.98
This week's savings after coupons and sales according to receipts for all items: $111.14

Wow! A great week to stock up on fruit, eggs, and some cool treats to serve when our visitors arrive on Monday!
2 Week Grocery Challenge Total:
Groceries: $90:15
This post is linked to Friday Finals!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Free Milk

ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

My best buy this week came early. On Sunday, I went to Publix to pick up a free Smart Balance milk deal that
Jenny had posted on Southern Savers.

Smart Source Milk was BOGO $3.59. I used two $2 coupons and picked up 5 ears of corn for $.15 each to take up the overage.

Total: $.41

A great deal 2 weeks in a row on milk! See last week's
milk deal.

This post is linked to Friday Finals!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Making Your Own Mixes

One of my favorite frugal things to do is make my own mixes. Making your own mixes cuts down on preservatives in convience foods and helps keep your cabinets stocked so that you don't have to run to the store for anything. I have found that if you have stocked cabinets, you rarely have buy things at regular price when you need them. The key to making your own mixes is buying flour and sugar at the lowest price. Recently, I even bought flour in bulk to make several of my mixes. Flour in bulk is about $1.25/ 5 lb.

Most of the time, I buy staples with sales and coupons from the grocery store. I found a great buy price guide for staples on Southern Savers that I use to ensure that I am paying the lowest price. If a staple is at a low price, I stock up and make a mix.

Here are a few of my favorite mixes that I keep on hand:

Hot roll mix for pizza crusts

The Make-A-Mix book is a great guide to making mixes. It's cheap and easy!