Monday, August 27, 2007


My freezer is stocked with frozen convenience foods. They're not something I normally buy since they're overpriced and generally less healthy than other options. But, they are convenient! And since I used coupons, I got great prices.

Totino's frozen pizzas are an occasional treat for the boys. Last time we bought them, they had coupons on the back of the boxes. For 99c, I got the frozen pizza and more than 99c in coupons! One of the coupons was 50c off Totino's pizza rolls. Our local grocery had the pizza rolls on sale for $1.39 last week. After they doubled my coupons I spent 39c per box! Adam is in heaven. Another coupon was 50c off Toaster Strudel. Toaster Strudel were also on sale last week. After my coupons were doubled, I paid $1.oo per box. It's not as good a deal as the pizza rolls, but I love Toaster Strudel.

Another great deal I got last week was on Honey Nut Cheerios. All the males in my family adore Honey Nut Cheerios. They eat at least one box, sometimes two boxes, every week and it must be General Mills, no store brand. Honey Nut Cheerios are not the most expensive cereal, but they're not the cheapest either. When I see coupons for HNC, I stock up and wait for a sale. In July, it was Kroger that had HNC for $1.69 plus you got free milk if you bought a certain amount. Then, they had blinkies for $1.00 off two boxes. I stocked up!! But those boxes ran out and it's time to restock. Our local Foodland had the bigger boxes of HNC for $2.50 last week. I had a stash of those blinkie coupons that I got a Kroger in July. That brought the price down to $2/box. It's not as good a deal as Kroger in July, but good enough for me to buy eight boxes of cereal. I just hope there's another sale in October! ;)

It takes some effort to save money with coupons. Couponing is more than just clipping the Sunday inserts and remembering to take it to the store. It's even harder now than it used to be. Manufacturers aren't putting out as many higher dollar coupons as they used and the coupons now have shorter expirations. I've never been one of those people who purchased an entire cartload of grocries for $1.67, but I have gotten a lot of free and almost free stuff.

My advice:

Don't limit yourself to Sunday inserts. You can find some good coupons
in there, especially for new products, but the better coupons are from other
sources. Check your food packages before you toss them.
I get tons of coupons in the mail b/c I'm on every mailing list in the
country. Request free samples on-line. They usually come with
coupons AND you get added to the mailing list. Join the diaper
clubs. Be alert at the stores. Grocery stores often have coupons
right there in the aisle. Don't just use them today; get enough to last
you through the expiration period. Don't forget on-line coupons! You
can find tons of printables or just add coupons to your shopping card at Upons.

Maximize your savings by waiting for a sale. That's double savings and
that's where you wind up getting your free or practically free items.

Shop at stores that double coupons. Same amount of work, twice the

Store you coupons so you can find them when you need them. I carry mine
in a brag book photo album. Each page holds a coupon, or multiples of the
same coupon, and they're arranged in the order of the aisles in my favorite
grocery store. It's much easier to flip through the book, than to sort
through a coupon file or, gasp, envelope stuffed with coupons.
Sort them regularly and pull out the expireds.

Don't use coupons to buy things you don't like. You'll hear a lot of
people tell you to only use coupons for things you're already buying. But
I don't regularly buy pizza rolls and I got them for 39c! Don't overlook
things you like, but don't normally purchase. Coupons can be great way to
afford that extra treat or try something new. But, be selective.
You're not saving anything if your family won't eat or use the product.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's a Contest

I just love Sandra Boynton. Our favorite book is The Going to Bed Book. We love it so much we don't even need the book anymore. LOL I just recite the poem as I put Matthew in his PJs and he knows it's time to snuggle down and go to sleep.

Loni, at Joy in the Morning, is giving away a Sandra Boynton calendar! My SIL has one of these and it's very handy for organizing a big family. There's lots of space for writing down everyone's plans so you can cross reference which parent is taking which kid where! I hope I win!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Backyard Barber Shop

My sister was not impressed with my butter tip. But now I'm going to tell you how I save $50 a month. Who can not be impressed with $50 a month? That's $600 dollars a year! With five heads of hair to be cut at $10 a pop, the local barber was really making some dough from this family. We always had to wait FOREVER in this tiny little room with stuffed squirrels on the wall, sports on the tv, and only car magazines to read. Most of the time, he didn't even get the little ones' haircuts straight. They tend to wiggle and slouch.

And so, I opened my own barber shop on the back deck. I just needed a clipper donated by my mother-in-law and a plastic box to seat the victim, er... I mean customer. At first, I wasn't very good at it. There was a very memorable incident with a tick on Adam's head and a lot of screaming that made me question the wisdom of this plan. But, for a $10 per head savings, I kept practicing. My boys don't really care what their hair looks like yet so I have plenty of time to perfect the art.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waste Not

Okay, I know it's just butter, or more accurately, margarine, but the laws of frugality still apply. My kids seem to think the bowl is empty when you can't dip in and get a knife full. But I can't stand to let the stuff on the sides go into the trash, or, more accurately, down the drain when I stick that bowl in the dishwasher. My newest trick for getting every last drop of margarine is the microwave. Just stick the seemingly empty bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. The margarine will melt and form a puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Just pour it over your vegies or into the measuring cup. Depending on how well you scrape the bowl beforehand, you may end up saving a 1/2 cup of margarine. Just think about how much you'll save over the course of a year. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Who's Scared of Godzilla?

I'm boycotting Wal-Mart's Bakery for birthday cakes. This was a hard decision for me. I dearly love the icing but, lately, I'm not too impressed with their artistic vision. I admit to not having any cake decorating skills but *I* do not work in a bakery decorating cakes!! It doesn't take much skill to stick a cheap plastic toy on top of a sheet cake!!

And so, for this weeks Make It From Scratch, I submit this not really made from scratch, but decorated at home, Godzilla birthday cake. I used a cake mix and canned frosting. BUT, I decorated it myself (as if you can't tell from the picture LOL).

It all started when Ryan requested a Godzilla cake for his 9th birthday. I'd already decided I was not buying any more $25 bakery cakes. I googled Godzilla birthday cake and came up with two ideas. One was far, far beyond my capabilities but I decided to tackle this skyscraper. I baked two cakes and cut them in graduated square shapes. I stacked the cakes and iced the tower, to the best of my limited abilities, to look like a skyscraper. Then I rammed Godzilla into the side of the cake so he could climb the building. It came out a little more "art deco" than I intended but Ryan loved it.
An added bonus was the cost savings. Instead of $25, I spent $7 on cake mix and icing, including a fancy can of spray icing to do the windows. The Godzilla was another $8 but that's a toy Ryan will play with for a long time, unlike those cheap cake kits you get at the bakery. Even including the toy, I spent $10 LESS than the bakery!
Now, if I could just get some of that bakery icing. Mmmmmm.