Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | No Coupons on July 20, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be NO INSERTS this week (July 20, 2014). Enjoy the week off from clipping!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

How To Get Started With Meal Planning

Getting started with meal planning

How to Get Started on Meal-Planning

Meal Planning is one of the biggest ways you can save money in your family’s food budget. The problem is, for  someone who has never made out a meal plan, the idea can be overwhelming. You may not know where to start or how to do it effectively. Here are some tips to get you started on meal-planning

How to Get Started on Meal Planning

Get the right tools together. You will need a weekly planner, either one that is on paper in a book or one that is on a dry erase board and a notebook to jot down ideas and shopping lists. You will need this to be able to effectively organize and make sure you plan meals and snacks for all days.

Sit down and make a list of all meals your family loves and that fit within your budget. Ask them for input if you need ideas. This is not for scheduling, but more so you have a group of recipes to choose from for your planning. Make sure you include snacks, desserts, breakfast, lunches and dinner. Don’t worry if you don’t make it very often, this is more for brain-storming.

Now that you have those two things in order, these are the steps you should take each week you meal plan:

  1. Check local ads for what is on sale so you can build your meals around that. Make sure to include any coupon deals as well.
  2. Make sure to take into account any leftovers you could have from these meals and make plans for them either this week or the next (stick them in the freezer if you can to save them for when you need them).
  3. Note days that will be especially busy. Make sure to plan for fast meals these days.
  4. Make a list for what you will need from the store. Note amounts you will need so you don’t buy too much or too little.
  5. Make out your weekly plan. You may want to display it where others can see so you won’t have to hear the, “What’s for dinner?’ question every night.
  6. When you get home from the store, do some of the prep work for meals (you might want to check out my Freezer to Crockpot series!). This will save you time in the evenings and for meals like breakfast as well.

To make it easier to plan meals, try doing daily themes. You could do Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesday. This just means you will be rotating something into that slot for that day each week and it will cut down on the time spent figuring things out. If you are making family favorites on those days, your family might even look forward to those days!

If you are stumped on meal ideas, try searching online. There are so many recipes to make that fit a budget-minded meal planner. Just follow me on Pinterest for so many meal ideas!

Don’t make too much work for yourself to start. Coming up with a whole month of meals can be daunting. Instead, pick a day each week to plan the meals your family will be enjoying for the following week. Once you have that mastered, if you still want to, move onto monthly planning.

What are your best tips for meal planning?

Ways To Save Money On Your Cell Phone Bill

save-money-on-cellphones

Save Money on Cellphones

Want to find a way to cut your expenses in your budget but you aren’t sure which part to look at? Maybe it’s time to take a good look at that cell phone bill.

Don’t just look at the amount, look at what you are spending money on; the breakdown of the bill. Do you pay for a data package? Do you pay for texting? Do you pay for extras like games and other apps?

Did you know that if you pay $30 per month in “extras” on your smartphone or cellphone including a data package or any of the above, that’s costing you an extra $360 per year! Do you really use that data package that much to be needing to spend that much per year on it?

Consider Your Extras

Take a good hard look at those extras on your bill. Do you need to download 3 new games a month? Are you really using that data package? Let’s look at the numbers…if you download 3 apps a month for $3 each, spend $30 a month on a data package, and spend $15 a month on a texting package, that adds up to $648 a year! Look over all of these things and decide what you could possibly cut out.

Look at a Different Plan

You may have a commitment to your cell phone provider until your contract is up but after that, all other plans are free game. Straight Talk offers a monthly plan as low as $30 (including texting and data!), Verizon offers a pay as you go plan that starts at $45 per month and also includes data and texting. Would something like that be something you could get by on?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are getting the best deal for your dollar and you are getting all the things you actually need!

Which cell phone provider do you use? How much do you spend on your cell phone bill in a month?

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | July 6, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 1 insert this week: a Proctor & Gamble insert

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: Proctor & Gamble Coupons

Pantene coupons: 3 nice high-value coupons!

Tide coupons: there are some nice high-value coupons that we haven’t seen for a while, including a B1G1 Tide Oxi coupon with a maximum value of $12.99!

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 4 – 5

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 3 – 4

If you use Tide, you are going to want to pick up extra copies of the paper. The B1G1 Tide Oxi coupon can make for for SERIOUS savings!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

Simple Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

Simple Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

Have you ever left home for work only to find a sock clinging to your pant leg, or perhaps your skirt clinging to your slip so you couldn’t pull it down? We have all suffered at one point or another from static cling, but we have also suffered from scratchy stiff clothing as well. Fabric softener is a staple item in most pantries, but it can become a costly thing to have.

This simple homemade fabric softener recipe is a great cost effective solution that allows you to save money while continuing to provide your family with soft and pleasant smelling clothing fresh from the dryer.

This recipe is widely popular and has been found all over the Internet and Pinterest over the past few years, and we have tested it out and adapted it to suit our preferences. Using Hair Conditioner as a base in this solution gives you the opportunity to choose a different scent with every batch you make, and to use up those bottles you had picked up for free using coupons. {We prefer Suave or VO5 for this as they are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of scents.}

SIMPLE HOMEMADE FABRIC SOFTENER

INGREDIENTS
6 Cups Water
3 Cups Vinegar
2 Cups Hair Conditioner

DIRECTIONS
Mix all ingredients together well in air tight container or empty bottle.
Use 1/4-1/2 Cup per load of laundry.

We tend to stay with a little less at 1/4-1/3 cup at most in our laundry but some prefer using the larger amount of ½ cup per load. If you have a fabric softener ball from past purchases, you can pour it into that and toss directly into laundry. Otherwise pour into the fabric softener slot on your washing machine. The clean or rain scents are the most popular in our home to make this with, but we have also used the strawberry and peach scents of hair conditioner and loved the fresh smell it added to our clothing as it washed.

Have you ever made your own fabric softener?

15 Unique Uses For Baking Soda

uses-for-baking-soda

15 Unique Uses for Baking Soda

Baking Soda is an amazing little thing to have in your household. Not only can you bake with it and clean with it, the possibilities with it are almost endless!

And one of the best parts is that little box of Baking Soda costs less than $1. Inexpensive and so useful! Sounds like the perfect thing to keep in your stockpile! But if you are stuck to find uses for baking soda beyond those mentioned above, keep reading! Below you will find 15 unique uses for baking soda I bet you never would have guessed existed.

  1. Use baking soda to get the onion smell out of your hands. Simply sprinkle some baking soda over your hands after you cut up an onion and scrub with water. Then wash off and your hands will smell no more!
  2. Use it to clean the top of your stove. Mix baking soda with a little bit of water to form a paste. Rub over the top of your stove to remove any grime. Wipe off with water and follow by wiping with a little bit of vinegar to remove any leftover streaks and make it shiny.
  3. Use it to clean baby and toddler toys. Fill a sink up with warm water and add 1/8 cup of baking soda. Wash and rinse off the toys.
  4. Keep your shoes smelling fresh. Have someone in your household with smelly feet? Simply sprinkle a little baking soda inside their shoes to keep them fresh and odor free.
  5. Save yourself from itchy bug bites. Did you get bit by a wasp, bee, or mosquito or get into some poison ivy? Make a thick paste with water and baking soda and spread over rashes and bites to keep them from itching.
  6. Have heartburn? Mix 4 ounces of water with a half of a teaspoon of baking soda and drink. Heartburn gone!
  7. Gargle with it! Use the same mixture as the above (1/2 teaspoon baking soda to 4 ounces water) and use as a mouth wash. It will not only keep your breath fresh but it will help relieve the pain from any canker sores you have.
  8. Keep flowers fresh. The next time you get fresh flowers, add a teaspoon of baking soda into the vase with the water to keep your flowers fresh longer.
  9. Un-smell your dish rags. Pour a little baking soda into a sink full of warm water and soak your dish towels and rags, they should lose that “dirty” smell!
  10. Stop the rabbits. Sprinkle a little baking soda around your garden or your flowerbeds to prevent rabbits from entering and eating all your plants and flowers.
  11. Make fluffy omelets. Add ½ teaspoon to each 3 eggs that you scramble and they will come out fluffier!
  12. Clean up greasy stains. Have some oily or greasy stains on your garage floor? Sprinkle baking soda over them and it will absorb the grease.
  13. Use while soaking beans. Do you make homemade beans by soaking dried beans? Next time, sprinkle a little baking soda in with the soaking beans and it will help with the digestion issues such as gas and bloating that sometimes come along with beans.
  14. Remove water rings. Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub onto water rings on wooden tables. It will take them right off!
  15. Get rid of ants. If you are having a problem with an ant invasion, mix one part baking soda and one part salt together and sprinkle where ever the ants are entering your home.

As I mentioned above, one of the best things about baking soda is that is very inexpensive, and yet still can do all of these things and more!

What are you favorite uses for baking soda?

Make sure to check out my Uses for Vinegar and my Homemade Cleaning recipes posts as well for some more frugal and unique ideas!

What Is On Sale The Month of July

What Is On Sale in July

July is a hot month in more ways than one. This month is all about enjoying the warm summer weather. Vacations, cookouts, fireworks, and outdoor fun are on the menu. You may not want to spend a lot of time shopping, but the deals you can catch this month make it worth getting out of the bathing suit and into the store!

Here is what is on sale in July:

:: Grocery and Drugstore Deals in July

In- season produce: apricots, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, corn, Crenshaw melons, cucumbers, green beans, figs, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons yellow squash, zucchini. Farmer’s markets are overstocked during July and you will find wonderful deals.

July 4th Sales: Charcoal, hot dogs, hamburgers, burger and dog buns, corn on the cob, chips, sodas, patriotic décor, citronella candles, paper plates and red Solo cups as well as anything else that will be used for cookouts, Fourth of July and being outside.

Summer Fun: swim rings and water wings, sunscreen, bug spray, lawn darts, Frisbees, swimming diapers, sun hats.

:: Other July Sales

Mid-Summer: look for low prices as stores try to get rid of summer products before marking them down for clearance after Labor Day. Since July is considered the peak of summer, all kinds of things will be considered seasonal and holiday-related. Take advantage of these great opportunities to shop on seasonal items. Food products, sunglasses, and bathing suits are often on sale during the month of July.

In the Home: kitchen gadgets (ice cream maker, ice pop molds), food storage, and cleaning products. Retailers know that you aren’t spending much time in the house, so they aren’t offering a lot of in the home sales during July. You’ll find the biggest savings on anything related to the holiday and being outside.

Gym Memberships: Since so many folks are out and about during the summer, gym attendance drops. You can get great deals on memberships when gyms are actively recruiting!

Fireworks: If fireworks are legal in your state, you can get great deals for next year during the week after the 4th of July.

Garden Clearance: Springtime is when most people buy seeds to plant in the garden, so you can find great clearance prices on seeds, seed starting kits, and other garden supplies in July.

Camping Equipment: This is the season when vacations and camping are most popular. Retailers know that unless they want to mark down these items for clearance after Labor Day, this is the month to offer good deals and sell as much as possible.

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | June 29, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 2 inserts this week: a SmartSource and a Redplum insert.

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Hawaiian Tropic $1/1 sun care product 4oz+ excludes lip balm and trial: we are still seeing some great deals on sunscreen and this coupon should come in handy

Infusium 23 $2/1 shampoo, conditioner or leave in treatment: goes on sale for about $4 or less, making this a nice coupon!

Popchips $.55/1 3-4oz bag: Love these things so any coupon is sweet!

Trojan coupons: they only put coupons out a few times a year. If you need these, grab these coupons while you can!

:: RedPlum Coupons

Wet n Wild $1/1 product: you can usually use this coupon to get some free nail polish, after rewards with the drug store deals.

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 2 – 3

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 1

It’s another boring week, which is typical for the summer.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | June 22, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 2 inserts this week: a SmartSource and a Redplum insert

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Bull’s Eye $1/2 bbq sauce 17.5oz+: we are starting to see plenty of sales on this for the summer – so this coupon should make for some good deals!

OGX $3/2 hair products 3.3-25.4oz: I love this line of hair care and they don’t put out many coupons!

Tom’s of Maine coupons: I always like to see these

:: RedPlum Coupons

nothing exciting

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 2

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 1

It’s a boring week

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule

How To Green Your Laundry Routine

How to Green Your Laundry Routine and Save Money

Laundry is one of the biggest ways we impact our environment. There are chemicals leached into our water supplies that are potentially damaging, running the machines themselves are often huge drains on our energy resources and the amount that we do each week really can make this all add up. If you are trying to get more eco-friendly, starting with your laundry routine is one of the best ways to make a big impact. Here are some tips for greening your laundry routine.

How to Green Your Laundry Routine

Don’t automatically think you need to replace your appliances. Sure, there are eco-friendly versions out now that use less power, but throwing out your old machine may be damaging as well since it adds to the waste and some of the really old machines contain mercury. If you really want to get an energy efficient model, make sure to donate your working model or sell it to someone who won’t just be trashing it.

Use the weather to your advantage. Before the days of dryers, people hung their laundry to dry. On the warm summer days, do this and you won’t even have to turn on your dryer for most of the season. If you belong to a homeowners association that won’t allow a clothesline (like I do), you can still buy some inexpensive drying racks and dry as much as possible on your back porch or deck. Who doesn’t love how great clothes smell that come off the line?

Start making your own laundry soaps. You can make it with some naturally derived ingredients that are also very low cost to boot! Look for recipes on Pinterest for your best bets. I will be making my own soon (just need to go through what I have now), but you can also try my simple homemade fabric softener recipe!

Stop using dryer sheets. They are wasteful, hard on our environment and full of chemicals! Instead, if it is the scent you are craving, use an old rag, put some essential oil on it and toss it into each load that you dry for a great clean scent! Lavender oil is great for this!

Don’t use hot or warm to wash your clothes. Unless your clothing items are heavily soiled, there really is no need to use the heated water. Cold water washes just fine and as an added bonus, you will see less running of colors as well. This one is a little harder for me since I have 3 kids and they generate plenty of stains, but I will at least stick to only warm water loads. I only do hot water about once a month when I give their socks the “serious treatment”.

Stop doing small loads. Only do a load if it will be full. If not, you are wasting water, soap, electricity and time.

Wash some things by hand. You would be amazed at how clean you can get things when you wash them by hand. Rather than throwing things like greasy shirts, or jeans in the wash, do them by hand. You will find that they hold up better as well. Things like bras and other delicates often need to be hand washed in order to maintain their shape. You will use less water and no electricity if you do things this way!

Stop being so “wash happy”. Most things we wear, other than work clothes, undies and socks, can be worn more than once before needing to be washed. In fact, it is often recommended that you don’t wash things like jeans every time you wear them to make them last longer. So not only will you be doing less laundry, but you will also be saving money by not having to replace things as often.

Do you have any other tips for how to green your laundry routine?

4 Spices You Shouldn’t Be Without

spices you need to have

4 Spices You Shouldn’t Live Without (And Why)

Head over to the spice selection in your local grocery store and you may be overwhelmed with the choices. Thyme, Marjoram, Fennel Seed…how is a person supposed to know which spices they should choose to keep in their pantry and which spices are more of a one-time-use spice?

Here are 4 great spices that no spice cupboard should be without. These can be used for so many dishes you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

  1. Onion Powder. Onion power is awesome because it allows you to have the flavor of onion in your dish without having to actually have fresh onions to chop up on hand. It’s also better than Onion Salt because you can add in the onion flavor without the addition of extra salt for those that might be watching their sodium intake.
  2. Garlic Powder. The same idea applies here as it did with the Onion Powder. Garlic Powder is a great way to add garlic flavor to your dishes without having to chop fresh garlic. Both onion and garlic powders are so versatile and can be added to most soups, casseroles, or other baked dishes.
  3. Seasoned Salt. A good seasoned salt without any added sodium can really bump up the flavor in many dishes instead of adding plain table salt. Adding seasoned salt and more flavoring to a dish will also help you from adding too much salt at the table since the dish will already have enough flavor. Seasoned Salt is great in taco meat, fajitas, grilled foods, and more.
  4. Garlic Salt. Now if you’d rather add the garlic and the salt in one additional, Garlic Salt will be your go to spice.  Garlic Salt is a great one to add into fresh homemade salsa.

What are your favorite go-to spices? Which ones are your must haves in the spice cupboard?

Sunday Coupon Insert Preview | June 1, 2014

As a reminder, the value of the coupons that you find in your newspaper may vary from the value in the provided link! In addition, all of the stores in my area double coupons up to $.99 (so a $.75 coupon has a value of $1.50). If the stores in your area don’t double or your paper is more expensive, you may not find the coupons as valuable as I do!

Check out Sunday Coupon Preview for the complete listing of coupons. There should be 4 inserts this week: a SmartSource, a Redplum, a Proctor & Gamble insert and a Target/P&G insert!

Don’t understand the terms or abbreviations that I use? Be sure to read my Coupon Lingo post!

Coupons of Note

:: SmartSource Coupons

Alberto V05 $.50/2 shampoo, conditioner or body wash: use this coupon to get it for just $0.50 each at CVS this week!

Raid coupons: we are seeing plenty of good deals on insect repellents right now!

:: RedPlum Coupons

Gelusil $2/1: use this coupon to get it for FREE at CVS this week

Organic Valley $1/1 regular or flavored half & half: they don’t put out many coupons, so this is a nice one!

:: Proctor & Gamble Coupons

the standard coupons (although I notice that there are no Pampers coupons this month except in the Target/P&G insert)…and there are not any Aussie/Herbal Essence coupons!

So how many copies of the paper would I buy?

If I were building a stockpile: 2 – 3

Now that I am in stockpile-maintenance mode: 1 – 2

It’s a boring week!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2014 Coupon Insert Schedule