Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Walgreens, a gift idea, & more

Sorry for my negligence in posting. We continue to stay busy!
In my last (long time ago) post, I mentioned shopping at Walgreens to earn Register Rewards. I wouldn't want to be guilty of not practicing what I preach, so I took my own advice and went.
It turns out, Wal's had some other great RR items last weekend as well. They had men's deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo as well. All of them were items that you receive the full amount back in RR's for your next purchase.
Now, if you are wondering what in the world we would do with so many deodorants/toothpaste etc...well here's the answer.
Our church has different times of the year where they collect items for various people in need. A couple of items always on that list are deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes. I'm sure many organizations collect items like these. Our girl's SS classes also collect items at varying times of the year for children, Operation Christmas Child, and missionaries.
Anyway, I used my coupons and racked up some sweet RR's and was able to enjoy the bounty of my RR's by getting items that we use all of the time for almost free.
I used RR's and got Tide, toilet paper (big pack), York peppermint patties, yard spotlight stake and a couple of other items that now escape me for $1.90!!!!
Yesterday, I went and got $40 in stuff for $5.00!
I'm hooked.
Our 7 y/o received her Clubhouse JR. mag today in the mail. Her grandma purchased her a subscription for her birthday. She absolutely loves it and just reads and reads. I think a 1 year subscription was $20 and it included two Adventures in Odyssey Cd's. It is wholesome reading with great character buildling stores, a few clean jokes, cute artwork, little recipes and more. On top of that it helps to support a great organization (Focus on the Family). This is a great gift idea for children. They have different versions of the magazine based on age.
More ...
I signed up for a Sunday only subscription to the newspaper. The only reason I did was for the mass of coupons that come in it. It was 21.06 for 13 Sundays plus I got a $5 gift card to Kroger and a scratch off coupon card thing to use at places around town. This will help save even more $$ at the grocery store and Walgreens.
Think about it...the way you manage/spend your money can determine your wealth more than your the number of dollars you make. For e.g. someone who makes $25,000. and spends it wisely could have nicer things than someone who makes $50-$75k who doesn't know how to spend/manage properly. When you spend wi$er, you have/make more!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

$ave $ome Dough

I would say that I am a deal finder who uses coupons. Usually, that means that I find wonderful things that we were going to buy anyway on wonderful clearance. Those items are not typical items that have coupons anyway.
I love using coupons, but I haven't honed my skill to the level of some--particularly at the grocery store. What I mean is, I have to learn this magical Walgreens coupon, RR, almost free experience.
A board that I visit has some regular Walgreens coupon experts and I am determined to do it!
From what I gather, I need to purchase some items (that are on sale and that have current coupons running from the paper) and earn Register Rewards. RR's cane be used on a future purchase like cash. Once I earn these, I can earn them on future purchases and get items for free or close to free.
The first big item that I'm going to try this on is the Dove deodorant that is going to be on sale on Black Friday for $3.99 with a $4.00 RR on each one. I have some $2.00 off coupons (and there are printable ones available online as well). I will pay $1.99 cash for each one, but I will get $4 per item in RR to use on a future purchase. I will come out $2 ahead on each one. I can't wait!!
We have a Walgreens very close by and another right across town. This is very convenient!
Our trip to Walgreens the other day was profitable. I was only going to get lawn bags for leaves and we found several great items on clearance.
Target is getting BIG into the coupon game as well. They now have their own coupon printers at the register. We noticed that once you swipe your debit/credit card, the coupons begin spitting out based on your buying habits. The cool thing is that Target lets you stack coupons (which I've mentioned before). The other day we used $50 in coupons there and another $5 off coupon spit out of the coupon printer which they used on that order as well =).
I will also add that Target is really competing BIG TIME in the toy price war. Not only do they have toys on sale, they have published coupons ON TOP OF the sale price!! From what we have seen thus far, they are cheaper than Toys 'R Us and Wal-Mart (at least on the items we have been looking for. Toys 'R Us does not price match and W didn't carry a few of the toys we were looking for that Target had. The problem now is they are running out so quickly.
Word is that it is better to buy toys before Thanksgiving rather than wait for Black Friday. I have already seent this to be true as our local Target was sold out of several items.
Anyway, go save some $$. You can always use the extra!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas gift idea for smaller ones

We already have the girl's Christmas shopping completed, but it is always nice to have an idea for whomever may ask what they want for Christmas.
Last year, Wow Wee came up with the live cubs. A was absolutely sure that she wanted the lion. They were and still are $59.99. We purchased hers for like $38.99 so I felt pretty good about that. She was delighted to get it. I never felt like I wasted one penny on it because that child played with it daily for five months... and I mean PLAYED. The playing slowed down once the weather got nicer and once a sweet kitty named Tufsey came to our home. That said, A's lion "Bouncy" still sleeps with her each night.
This year, Wow Wee has live cub mini's. Of course, the girl's are wanting them. Having learned from last year's hunt to find one when the cubs were close to sold out...we went and found them locally a few days ago. They range from $14.99 to $19.99. That's a pretty decent price if you ask me. Our girls are in love. The white tiger, leopard, and lion were their favorites. We picked them up for gma/gpa to give to them.
I must say, they are pretty adorable. I like the fact that it is a toy suitable for both boys and girls. Personally, I think there are way fewer items for boys than girls when it comes to toys and clothes. I don't know why that is, but it the girl's toy aisles far outweigh the boy aisles.
My advice: buy early and find it on sale rather than having to purchase on ebay or amazon when the price is sky high closer to Christmas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Be Intentional

Our self-imposed "cook at home" challenge is going well. Here is what we have done to be successful.
Two posts ago, I mentioned that I added up what we spent on eating out and my jaw hit the floor. Since then, I resolved to eat many more meals at home. What kept playing over in my head was that I have to "be intentional" to do this.
I sat down, made a list of meals that we like (we tend to be picky). I made a second list of items that we needed to make things on the list. There were only probably five or less items needed to make the list. Since the day I made the list, I have added new dishes to the list--yay! Variety is the spice of life!
The next thing I did was to set a goal to meet on the eating out front. It is to eat out twice per week--once fast food and once sit-down. This may seem like a lot of eating out to some, but truly it does cut back a lot for us. It wasn't uncommon for us to eat out all meals on Sunday (or at least two). Since we have a good 7 or 8 roasts in the freezer, it is time to use them for those Sunday meals.
Josh laughed at me tonight when I told him to google "dinner ideas". He was no longer laughing and glad once we clicked the first link. It was chicken/potato bake. We did modify it a tiny bit. If I remember correctly, it was on kraft dot com. The dish was super easy and a huge hit!!! The modifications we made...we used chicken breast which I cut into cutlets and I used more italian dressing (in packet) and spice than called for. In order to make sure everything cooked in the time recommended, I kept it covered until the last 10 minutes as well as cut the chicken and the potatoes into small pieces.
Thus far, we are successful this week.
A few other tips:
I have always hated dishes and that keeps me from cooking with busy schedules. We use foam plates for many meals to cut down on dishes.
I try to think of things that we can make where we like the leftovers so that we can eat those for lunch/dinner on the fly. For us, lasagna is great for that purpose.
I know these are not new tips by any means, but this is something that is working for us right now.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Closet Cleaning = Ca$h

This h as been on my list for a bit. Unfortunately, other projects take precedence. Finally, when I couldn't squeeze anymore clothes into Josh's and my closet, it had to be done. I took out the things we don't really like or are "tired". "Tired" means I'm sick of seeing Josh wear them =).
I took several things over to Plato's Closet and they bought some items for $26.50. I have done this before and it is much easier and better moneywise than garage saling them. I haven't tried it yet with the girl's clothes because you have to have an appointment at some of the various children's shops. I may try it in the near future, though. It is far easier than putting them in a garage sale or ebaying them.
The three advantages:
my closet has room
I have more hangers =)
I got some cash!
Try it--there are Plato's Closets all over the place across the US. They are more geared toward trendy teen clothing. Don't be discouraged if that isn't what you have, there are many other used clothing shops that specialize in other age groups that will buy clothes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Preachin' to the choir

This post is more for me rather than at anyone else. I'm just here to remind me. Whoever reads it, well you are reading about me needing to do this.

I'm pretty sure every household in America probably has something to trim out of the budget. Let's face it, we are spoiled and so many other things. Yep, we are.
Today, the lovely bank statement came in the mail. As I was checking things off, I got this idea to add up what we spent over the last month on eating out. YIKES--you didn't think I was going to share that number did you?? Cuz, I'm not. The grocery bill is very low and the utilities are very low. We get things on sale everywhere we go, we shop at garage sales, but we CLEARLY should cut back on the eating out.
By the same token, I'm glad to have taken notice and hopefully next month will be different!! Believe me, I'm not perfect when it comes to money (far from it), but I do know that I like to save and be frugal (while still being fru-fru) LOL!
Yes, that's my challenge to me, myself, and I this month and going forward--CUT out the extravagance on that aspect. It's not what is spent each time, it's the amount of times we eat out!!! Yep, too much!
It will also be neat to re-direct that money somewhere else. My first thought is to Amazima ministries. They feed hungry children hot meals almost daily for mere pennies. The horrid amount of $$ that we spent last month on eating out would do so much there.
If you are interested in reading about Amazima go visit www dot kisses from katie dot blogspot dot com Beware: your heart will be moved and you will feel compassion! That's okay, it's a great thing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brands & Confessions

A few years ago, I developed a penchant for a certain brand or two of purses. Okay, okay at the time it was Coach and Dooney & Bourke. Buying the first Coach purse was a bit difficult for me, but I did find it on sale and carried it for quite a long time which justified the money we forked over for it. After that, it wasn't difficult. Every single time I have ever purchased a Coach, it has been with some type of discount. A local department store that sells them, has a sale twice a year that allows you to take 20-25% off anything in the store PLUS one time we opened a credit card and saved an additional 20%.

Last year, the Coach store began sending me 25% off coupons at intervals starting around Christmas. I had fun with those, yes I did. I still love Coach, however I am cured of my "little addiction" of buying them at the Coach store. Why??

Early this Spring, my parents who were going to garage sales found me several C items that were almost new for really cheap at this one sale. Yes, they are the real deal! I carried my $5 purse all summer long! This fall, I went to a garage sale of a local contractor's wife who is also a fan of Coach. She had a bag for sale that I really liked. In fact, I almost had purchased one very similar a few months back. This purse was barely used for $45. The bag retailed for $398. In Chicago, where it was purchased, the tax alone would have been almost $40!!! So yeah, there isn't any need to buy them at the Coach store anymore for me.
Coach wouldn't like that, but to be honest I think their quality has dropped and the price has increased even within the last year. Actually, I did tell them that in a survey they sent me.
The bags have lost some of their appeal since they are pretty mainstream now. Maybe that is why they increased the price--to make them less mainstream--IDK. Sadly, the quality didn't increase along with that large price increase. They claimed to have dropped them, but for the ones that did drop...ugh!
For me, I'm still like the bags, however there are many cool brands/bags out there now and you can purchase them at good prices especially if you shop around!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Go Visit the LIST

Yes, I'm talking about Craigslist. It has been around for awhile, and finally people in our area are beginning to catch on and use it.
I have used it personally to advertise a garage sale and now I use it to look for garage sales. This is a great place to advertise (for free) or find sales that others may not know about if they are not also advertised in the paper.
The other thing that I think it is going to be great for is selling larger items that are a pain to ship if sold on ebay. It is cool because the other night, I noticed a section for items that people are looking for. The wheels in my head began turning. I noticed that many people advertise clothes, toys, and collectibles that they have for sale. The best thing about these ads--free!!
So, I am hoping to start selling a few bulky items using the LIST!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Punishment for those who pay on time

Bank of America has announced that it will begin charging fees to certain customers who carry their cards. I'm sure you are wondering who the lucky winners of the fees are???? Yes, that's right the ones who never carried a balance and/or always paid on time. So, why are they the ones that get slapped with a $29-$99 fee?? Well, they have to get money from somewhere.
With all of the new cc regulations going into effect VERY SOON, banks are scrambling to find ways to pull in some extra dough. The thought process must be...go after the ones who pay since they must have the money.
I am not sure how they determine where in the $29-99 range you fall in the fee to be charged. If you decline the fee, they will simply close your account. Maybe not such a bad thing, but maybe...it affects your credit score.
I'm curious since we have 2 BOA cards if we will get hit with a fee on either one?? It's a possibility since we don't even use them. They didn't start out as BOA cards, they were originally MBNA who was bought out a few years ago by BOA. I have heard less than stellar reports about BOA which is probably why we have not chosen to use them.
Our card of choice these days---Discover. From personal experience and even what I have heard, it is one of the best.
If we get the fee notice in the mail soon, we may choose to simply close the accounts.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Ways to $ave

How many Target shoppers out there??

Did you know that at Target you can use BOTH a manufacturer's coupon AS WELL AS a store coupon on the same item. That's some $erious $avings folks!!

Target often sends coupon books in the mail in addition to the Target coupons that print out after you checkout.

Here is their coupon policy:
Target Stores Coupon PolicyCoupons are a great way to save even more when shopping with us, and it's easy to use them at our stores
.• Target accepts one manufacturer coupon and one Target coupon for the same item (unless prohibited)
• Super Target coupons can be used in any Target store if the store carries the item
• We gladly accept valid internet couponsBecause of the variety of coupons available to our guests, we do have some guidelines for how coupons can be redeemed at Target.
When accepting coupons, we use the following guidelines:
• We accept two kinds of coupons: Target-issued coupons and manufacturer-issued.
• We'll accept one Target coupon and one manufacturer coupon for the same item, unless either coupon prohibits it
.• Coupon amount may be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied.
• We can't give cash back if the face value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item.
• We can't accept coupons from other retailers, or coupons for products not carried in our stores.
• All valid coupons should be presented to the cashier while you're checking out.

So, take advantage of the coupons that you get. One of my favorite items lately to use coupons on at Target has been the Tide Stain Release in wash booster. They are WONDERFUL!! They have it in liquid as well as packet form. I highly recommend--they are amazing. There are $1.50 coupons circulating for this item as well as Target coupons for $1.00. The 10 pack is $3.79 which translates to a great after-coupon price of $1.29. They are WELL WORTH IT!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Save it for something better

I'm not here to tell anyone how to spend their money, however I'm going to give my opinion and what I would do or would NOT do.

**Don't spend money on something that you can easily do yourself.

Case in point:I know someone who has 3 children. One boards the bus daily around 7:40 am. Why do I know this? He stands on the corner (my house is on that corner). The younger two children (aged 7) go to school (by bus) at 8:30 am. How do I know this? I see the bus come to their house.Their school is 2 short blocks up and 2 blocks over. This would be a 5 minute walk and a 1.5 minute car ride. The girls and I walk by this school on our walks all of the time. They PAY MONEY for the 2 younger children to ride the bus to school. WHY?? I don't know. The mom is a SAHM. She told me she pays so that they can ride the bus to school.

Okay, once again...how you spend your money is totally your business, but WOW I would save that money for something fun =).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grocery shopping and other stuff

So, I do not use a shopping list at the grocery store. Why? Because I'm pretty sure that I can remember milk or bread. This has been the case for quite awhile now.
What I have done is to kind of amass a supply of things that I use. Do not get visions of pantries, extra freezers, or refrigerators in the garage or even shelving. We do not have any of the things I just listed. Don't imagine floor to ceiling extras either. Everything is put in my normal kitchen cabinets with the exception of paper towels and laundry soap which go into the basement.
I do not buy at full price either.
What we do is when Kroger or Target (in our case) has a particular item on sale, I buy several. Take for instance spaghetti sauce. I know that they run a pretty good sale on it a few times a year. If I buy enough, it lasts until the next time it goes on that sale (usually $1 per jar). Sometimes, I'm lucky enough to have a coupon.
I did the same thing with my very favorite laundry soap, Tide Total Care. Target had it on clearance last year for like $6.46 per bottle AND I had coupons for $1 off. Anyone who buys Tide knows that $5.46 is a SUPER deal on Tide. It was the 40 load bottle and it had a little sample of Downy with it. I bought several bottles and still haven't run out.
I kind of have mental notes of what we are starting to run low on so that I know what to buy when the sales come around.
A typical trip at the grocery store for us runs $30-$40 and includes toiletries. This is because we have items stocked up and have gotten them at great prices all along the way.
Oh yeah, did I mention that we have a still have a supply of baby wipes from almost a year ago? They were such a great deal over 1/2 off and my favorite kind--Huggies, so we stocked up. You can always use wipes. They are great for stain removal on clothes as well.
I went and tried out the grocery game dot com and found that what I have been doing in stocking items when on sale is one of her big things that she suggests. Since I already do on my own what she suggests, grocery game didn't help me. However, it may help many others.

Monday, October 12, 2009


My husband tells me that people do not think like me when it comes to deal finding. I don't know really. I figure that most people do the same things that I do, but maybe not.
Hang around long enough and you will become part of the deal finding craze as well.

I don't think it can be categorized into one main thing such as coupons or garage sales. My deals range from garage sales, clearance, coupons, saving money, tips, free samples, and the list goes on.

Why "Fru Fru Frugality"? Sometimes being frugal or thrifty can get a bad rap. Not so much right now because it is COOL to be frugal in the economic times in which we live.
Fru Fru came because I like a lot of people like my particular brands. Here's a secret, I rarely shop at Wal-Mart. Honestly, only a few times a year. So, in my desire for certain brands and labels I set out to get deals on that as well!

This is in no way to be considered to be financial advice in any way shape or form.

I will be back to post here at "Fru Fru" soon!