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.