Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Legs: Leg Warmers 3 for $10!!! (today only)

Love this Cyber Monday deal: BabyLegs is offering 3pks of newborn & infant leg warmers for $10 & $12... If you spend $30, you get free shipping! Since the leg warmers are normally $10-$12 per pair, this is a 66% savings.

I ordered leg warmers from BabyLegs a few months ago and have been using them on Sweet Pea the last few weeks, and I LOVE them! Makes diapers changes (and quick diaper checks) so much easier, while keeping her warm and toasty. And we get so many compliments on them when we're out and about!

Friday, November 25, 2011

FREE Magazine Subscription at Plum District

One of the deals being offered by Plum District today is a 1-yr magazine subscription for $10. Use promo code "ENJOY10" to get $10 off, making this completely FREE! The promo code is valid today (11/25) only.

There is a wide variety of magazines to choose from, like:
Better Homes & Gardens
Whole Living
Family Fun
Everyday with Rachael Ray
and more...

Sign-in or sign-up to grab this deal today! (this would make a great gift for someone!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

FREE Sample of Seattle's Best Coffee (Facebook offer)

seattles best free sample black friday
Head over to Seattle's Best Coffee on Facebook to request a free sample of coffee, as well as print off a $2 coupon (you have to click "working on Black Friday" to get the sample... I work every day since I'm a stay-at-home mom, right?). Enjoy!

Target Shopping Trip: 50% Savings

Yesterday I sat down and clipped coupons (I haven't done that in over a MONTH!!!) and set aside coupons that were expiring soon. This morning while my toddler son was on a playdate with a friend, I took Sweet Pea to Target to get some necessary items, as well as see what we could score with our coupons. Here's what we got: (and sorry, for a lot of them I can't tell you exactly what SmartSource I got them from--and since most of them are expiring this weekend, this is more of an encouragement on coupon shopping than a resource of where to get these coupons!)

MAM Pacifiers (2pk): $4.49 (my son did not like pacifiers, but my daughter DOES! We got one as a gift that she likes, and these are the closest I saw to the one we have)

Swiffer Dust & Spray: $3.49
- used $2/1 Swiffer Dust & Spray (from a home mailer maybe?)

Mentos UP2U Gum: $1.24
- used $1/1 one UP2U pack (SS ?)

(5) Swanson Chicken Broth, 15oz.: $.59
- used $.50/5 Swanson broth (SS ?)

Dr. Pepper TEN 2-Liter: $1.79
- FREE Dr. Pepper TEN 2-Liter coupon (SS ?)

J&J Red Cross Travel Kit: $.97
- used $1/1 Johnson & Johnson Red Cross or Neosporin item (SS?)

(2) Schick Quattro Razors for Men : $6.99
- used $5/1 Schick Quattro Razors for Men (printable, no longer available)

(2) Men's Schick Hydro Razor Gift Sets: $9.99
(included 1 razor, 5 cartridges, and Hydro shave gel)
- used (2) $5/1 Shick Hydro Razors for Men (printable, no longer available)

(2) Schick Quattro for Women disposables, 3 pk.: $6.79
- used (2) $5/1 Schick Quattro for Women (printable, no longer available)

Skintimate Shave Gel: $2.24
- Buy 2 Schick Quattro for Women razors, get Skintimate shave gel FREE (Target weekly promotion)

Huggies Little Swaddlers: $9.49
Huggies Natural Care Wipes Refill, 216ct.: $5.89
- used $4/1 wyb one Huggies diaper & one Huggies wipes (Target coupon) stacked with:
- used $2.50/1 Huggies Little Swaddlers (manf. ?)
- used $2/1 Huggies refill, 180ct or higher  (manf. ?)
so $.10/diaper, and $.017/wipe, which beats Amazon prices recently!

(5) Glade Holiday Candles, 4oz.: $2.50
- used (2) $2/2 Glade seasonal items coupon (Better Homes & Garden magazine)
- used $.75/1 Glade seasonal items coupon (Better Homes & Garden magazine)
- received $5 Target gift card, when you buy 5 Glade items, so $.55 per candle after coupons & gift card

TOTAL before coupons: $92.59 pre-tax (gasp! choke!)
Total AFTER Coupons: $40.81, a 56% savings 
(MUCH better!)

This is the first big coupon trip I've had in months. I know I used to get Gillette & Schick razors for FREE at Rite Aid, but right now I can't play the "drugstore game". $1 a cartridge is a good price for our household on quality razors. I'm going to give my husband one of the gift sets for Christmas (cheesy, I know, but we're going really simple & frugal for Christmas, so I figured this would make another practical gift but that was already in our monthly budget) and stash the other one away as a gift for another male relative.

How have you been doing with couponing and staying within your budget?

(I had to include this picture of my son trying to help me stack the items to take a picture... popcorn snack abandoned and everything! He's such a good helper for mommy, and has been a really good big brother, too!)

Snapfish: Buy 1 Calendar, Get 2 Free!!! (HURRY, ends Nov. 22nd)

Here's a fun holiday gift idea: personalized photo calendars (you can even put pictures on special dates like birthdays or anniversaries!) Snapfish is offering Buy 1 Calendar, Get 2 FREE through November 22nd, with promo code "3Calendars". Desk calendars are $14.99, and 12 month calendars are $18.99. All three calendars can have different photos, but must be the same price to get the promotion (so 3 desk calendars, or 3 wall calendars...). Have fun!

But what if I can't play the "Drugstore Game"?

I'm going on 1 1/2 years of my adventure with coupons. Last spring, I braved the "deep end" in couponing and decided to play the "Drugstore Game". I chose Rite Aid as my drugstore of choice... We have several within a few miles: one by my church, one by the grocery store, and one by the mall. I wanted to see if shopping at a drugstore was actually worth it, so I kept an Excel sheet with the items, total OOP (out-of-pocket) spent, and value of the items if I purchased them somewhere like Walmart or Target (since the shelf price at drugstores can be ridiculous sometimes).

In a six month time period, I stockpiled name brand household & toiletry items like toilet paper, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, household cleaners, laundry detergent, paper goods, etc... When I reached a six month supply of items in a category (I do NOT want to be a hoarder), and if I could still get more for "free", I donated them to groups from our church working with homeless or people in need. After six months, I had spent $94.96 OOP (including our 6.5% sales tax) on 256 items valued at $914.18 (including 6.5% sales tax), making each item approximately $.37 each (since I still had to pay tax on "free" items and you can't use Rite Aid UPR on tax, my balance was never $.00). This made for a 90% savings on those items.

Was playing the "drugstore game" worth it for my family? Yes, for us it was.

But what if you can't play the drugstore game? Maybe you live in the country and don't have any drugstores around. Maybe you have small children who would not make the trips peaceful encounters. :-) Maybe your physical health doesn't allow it. Maybe your budget truly doesn't allow you to stockpile things right now, because every week pinching pennies just to get through that week. Or maybe there is nowhere in your home to "stockpile" right now.

I posted on this blog and talked to friends last spring about the deals I was getting at Rite Aid. I often heard "I wish I could do that... I wish I could get those deals... When I hear stories like that, I feel guilty that I pay too much for household/personal items..." As I talked to them, I saw something that I often got myself: "Drugstore Deal Envy" (you know what I'm talking about, those moments when get a little jealous at the amazing deals others get, but that we never come across!)

If you noticed above, I said "in a six month time period". When I found out that I was expecting our second child, and was battling pregnancy related sickness & fatigue, the "drugstore game" quickly started being put on the back burner. When Rite Aid changed some of their coupon policies in June, I decided it was my time to "cash-out" (bought items eligible for check rebates and used my UPR to buy them, so I got cash back at the end of the "game") and quit.

For our family personally, the "drugstore game" was for a season. I might be able to enter that game again sometime, but right now I have other things I need to focus on: cuddling with my precious little newborn girl. Reading books with my toddler son. Washing laundry. Meal plan & grocery shop. Preparing healthy snacks & meals for my family. Listening to my husband after a long day at work and encouraging him in what he's doing. Call my family that lives out of state. Take a shower (moms, you know how vital this is, but how hard it can be to have time to do it without kids hanging on you!).

Have I felt guilty about using our stockpile? No, very grateful that those items are there. Have I felt guilty about not replenishing it, as well as having to pay much more for items only a year ago I could get for "free"? Yes, I have. Do I get jealous when I hear about great deals online or from friends? Mmm-hmm. Sure do. Do I wish I could still do it? Yep, sure would!

Here's the thing: I'm learning in my many adventures as a wife, mom, & couponer that I have to focus on what I CAN do, not what I CAN'T. Here are some of the things I CAN do right now to save our family money, so that we can live within our monthly cash budget, stay debt-free, have fun, and have money to give to others in need:

- Meal plan, so I buy only the things on my list when I grocery shop
- Watch sale flyers to know who has the best price, then price-match at our local Walmart to save myself from making so many different trips
- Shop for my grocery basics at Aldi's (a small local chain store that primarily carries produce and generic pantry items)
- Still get one Sunday newspaper and clip coupons for items I need to buy ($.50 is $.50)
- Follow other money-saving bloggers for the heads-up on fantastic deals for my family or great printable coupons that are available (again, I don't have time to check my email/Facebook all day long, so I don't get as many amazing deals, but I still get some of them)
- Plan at-home family fun nights that reduce our expenses (rent a Redbox, make a frozen pizza, or just have a "pajama & play" night with our toddler)
- Trade babysitting with friends so my husband & I have an occasional date night

So if you've been feeling guilty for not getting in "the drugstore game", DON'T. Your husband, kiddos, or job (or all of them!) need you as least stressed-out as possible. And if taking the guilt off your shoulders from not playing the "Drugstore Game" lightens your mental stress any, do it. You can find other creative ways to save money and live well. I've been learning that. Maybe at some point in the future when you start having a few hours of wiggle room in your week, you can try it out. I definitely recommend it. But not at the expense of my family's or your family's sanity!

You can do what you CAN do. And don't fall prey the the "Drugstore Game" or "Deals" envy that has captured me at points during this last year!

O'Charley's: Coupon for $5 Off Your Order of $20 or more (this weekend only)

If you're headed to O'Charley's this weekend, print this coupon for $5 off your purchase of $20 or more. This coupon is good through Sunday, November 20th. I really like the yummy dinner rolls at O'Charley's that just melt in your mouth!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LANDS' END: 40% Off One Item (Men's Snow Coat only $59!), plus 6% cashback!

So I admit, I like "window-shopping" at Lands' End. And when they keep offering promo codes like the ones they have recently, a few of the items on my wish list become reality! (I LOVE the toddler camo backpack I got in the mail this week for my son and the black cardigan for me!)

Through tomorrow, 11/17, you can use promo code "SNOW" and pin "1174" to get 40% off any one item, making the new Men's Snow Squall Insulated Jacket only $59 +tax SHIPPED!!! (marked down to $99 from $139.50). You get free shipping on all orders over $50. Any other great deals you see?

Even better, sign-in and shop through Ebates to earn an extra 6% cashback at Lands' End! (new to Ebates? Sign-up and get $5 added to your account to start you off with... then find your favorite store and start shopping... When you shop through Ebates, you earn cashback while shopping online, and get mailed a check straight to your home!)

Starbucks: B1G1 Free Holiday Drinks (starts tomorrow, 11/17)

Yummy! Starbucks is offering a B1G1 Free promotion on their holiday drinks (Gingerbread Latte, Caramel Brulee Latte, and Peppermint Mocha) from 2pm-5pm starting tomorrow, 11/17, through Sunday, 11/20.

So which friend will you invite? Or will you drink them both?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free Freezer Cooking E-Book (by Money Saving Mom)

The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year
One of my absolute favorite bargain & mommy bloggers, Money Saving Mom, is releasing her book "The Money Saving Mom's Budget" January 10th, 2012, with practical tips about "slashing your spending, pay down your debt, streamline your life, and save thousands a year." You can pre-order it on Amazon now.

This one blog alone has greatly changed various aspects of my home, kitchen, and budget. While many of the principles she blogs about I was already familiar with, or even implementing, reading about another mom (and thousands of other readers) also trying to make similar choices has encouraged me so much to stick with it! Living within our means, living simply, and living for others is completely worth the cost!

Crystal at Money Saving Mom is a woman of honesty & integrity who not only shares great deals to help others live within their budgets, but also encourages others with her faith, openly sharing the importance of God in her life. I am almost always refreshed by her posts (sometimes mom bloggers make it seem like they have a perfect life and I feel like I can never catch-up or live the same way--Crystal is honest with her successes and failures, and challenges me to focus on the things I enjoy or am good at, versus comparing myself to other moms and their gifts).

Through Thursday, Nov. 17th, if your pre-order her book, or do one of the other things mentioned here (like blogging about it, or even pinning it on Pinterest), you can also get her new Freezer Cooking E-Book for FREE. I started freezer-cooking this fall and it has made such a difference with the stress of mealtime!


Monday, November 14, 2011

OneKingsLane: $15 = FREE French Press or Tea Pot (just pay shipping)

Here's another deal for those of you who haven't used your $15 One King's Lane credit yet. (If you haven't signed up with One King's Lane yet and gotten your $15 credit, you can sign up here) Right now in the BonJour sale, there are 8 cup French Presses on sale for $15 (in blue or green), and Flavor Lock Teapots for $14 (in red, blue, or green). So either of them would be FREE after the $15 credit. Just pay shipping (Shipping for me is showing up as $6.95). 
Another fun find is this Red Stoneware 9x13 Casserole Dish for $20, so $5 +shipping after your credit.
Have you already used your credit or would like to earn more? Share One King's Lane with your friends, and not only will you give them a free $15 credit, you will earn a $15 credit when they make their first purchase*. It's a win-win! Just make sure to log-in to your account and get your referral link, don't use the link in this post, which is my referral link

*I included my referral link in this post to share the $15 credit with you, so when you make your first purchase, I will also earn the $15 credit I mentioned above. I am committed to always letting you know if I will be earning any kind of referral credit with each deal I post. Many of the deals/coupons I don't receive anything from, but I just want to pass on the things that help our family save money. But when there is a referral program, I want you to know about it, as well as share how you can earn referral credit, too!

Book Review: The Christmas Singing

I love the Christmas season, for so many reasons! Of course I love the spicey scents of the holiday scented candles, all the baking, etc... I also love Christmas lights & Bing Crosby crooking "White Christmas" on my iPod. I also love the holidays because it's when all the heart-warming movies & books come out. I'll admit, I like a good movie/book with happy endings, even if it sometimes predictable.

I just finished reading "The Christmas Singing" by Cindy Woodsmall. Like her other books, this story is about a young Amish woman's life in Berlin, OH (I've had the pleasure of going to Berlin, and it is a beautiful area!). Mattie moves away from her Amish home in Lancaster County to start her own bakery in Berlin, OH after her fiancee, Gideon, abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Three years later, Mattie has a successful bakery and has met another Amish man, yet Gideon once again surfaces into her life. Will their paths crossing again bring more heartbreak or will it bring healing from the past?

This was a light read, but it contained many of the basic truths of how we truly need to trust God with every aspect of our lives. It isn't a simple story, but is simply written, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you live locally and want to borrow it, just let me know! And reading it makes me want to plan another road trip back to Berlin!

Don't forget, if you rank this review, you will be entered to win a copy of this book! Rank my review here:

* I received a copy of this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review as part of their "Blogging for Books" program.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LANDS' END: 25% Off Entire Order & Free Shipping (no minimum) + 8% cashback

Lands' End is again offering 25% off your entire order (including clearance) plus free shipping (no minimum order) with promo code "FamilySave25" and pin "1142". This offer is good through Tuesday, November 15th.

I'm looking at ordering my husband some new polo shirts... I've never ordered him anything from Lands' End, but I just discovered they sell "tall" polo shirts that are an extra 2" long, and since my hubby is 6'2", shirt length is always tricky. He doesn't need "big & tall", just "tall". Some of the men's regular polos are on sale, as well as clearanced ones, making them only $7.50-$10 each!

Sign-in or sign-up for ShopAtHome and when you shop through their link and you will earn 8% cashback at Lands' End. Go to "Online Coupons", then "All Stores", select Lands' End, then "Shop Now"--a new window will open and you will be at Lands' End... make sure to stay in that window to complete your purchase to get the cashback credit! We've been using this for awhile and have had some fun checks come in the mail unexpectedly!

Plum District: $15 for $30 at Simply Been ($10 for new members)

Through Sunday, Nov. 13th, Plum District is offering a $30 voucher for $15 to Simply Been, an online store that offers beautiful personalized silver jewelry. I really want to order one of these type necklaces sometime! Trying to decide which style though is hard! This might be my chance because I have some referral credit I've been waiting to use!

Plum District is another daily deal site (don't you fell like there are a gazillion of these now?), and offers a $5 credit to new members. Sign-up or sign-in here. Once you've signed up, I recommend finding your referral link (under your account, then "refer my friends") and passing it on to your friends, because you not only give your friends a $5 credit, but when they make their first purchase, you get a $5 credit added to your account*, too

*Yes, I included my referral link in this post.

Toys 'R Us: FREE SHIPPING (no minimum order!)

Toys 'R Us is offering FREE shipping on everything (some exclusions apply), no minimum order. Here is more info on the offer (and what doesn't count... like baby stuff and furniture).

15 FREE Holiday Cards from Rite Aid

Let's keep these photo card deals coming... You can also score 15 free 4x8 cards at Rite Aid with promo code "FREECARDS". And I'm pretty sure you can choose in-store pickup to avoid the shipping cost!

Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher! (one of my favorite bloggers to follow because HALF of all her blog proceeds go to support a missionary family in Costa Rica!)

10 FREE Cards from MyPublisher (still available)

You can still order 10 FREE photo cards from MyPublisher, plus free shipping, with promo code "HAPPY10FREE".

Seriously, we seriously might not have to pay anything, or very little, for Christmas cards this year!

Thanks, Hip2Save!

TinyPrints Christmas Cards Review (+ bloggers can earn 50 FREE cards)

I don't think I will ever be able to send boxed Christmas cards again, because so many online photo places offer personalized cards for free or relatively inexpensive! Tiny Prints, one of the many online photo companies, is offering 50 free Christmas cards to all bloggers (sign-up here) in exchange for posting a review of their Christmas cards.

As I browsed the TinyPrints Christmas Cards, I immediately spotted that there is a section of "Religious Christmas" cards, so I started looking through them... the cards weren't necessarily covered in Scripture verses, however, they were able to say "Merry Christmas" on them, as well as several other phrases that are being removed from our politically correct culture (the one that makes me laugh the most is stores selling "holiday trees" for Santa to put "holiday gifts" under!)

I loved the card above, because of the recent blessing of our daughter joining our little family. As the busyness of the holiday season is already starting, I'm trying to take time daily to count my little blessings! My favorite cards are typically photo collage style because then I can choose pictures from throughout the year, or of our various family members. Last year our Christmas cards from Shutterfly got a lot of compliments because I put pictures of all of us, not just our son. People loved getting to see our entire family in the various adventures of the year (like camping, swimming, etc...)

If you have a blog (of any size), fill out the form here (no longer available) to get more information about earning 50 free cards... If you post before Nov. 14th, they are offering an incentive of 24 free address labels. Spread the word to friends, and you can get an additonal 24 labels for each friend who signs up. So if you are a blogger and sign-up by Monday night, would you mind posting a comment with your blog address below and letting me know so I can claim labels? No big deal if you don't, but figured it's worth mentioning!

Introducing "Sweet Pea"

I get to proudly introduce "Sweet Pea" to all of you! Her official name is Eliana Ruth, and we affectionately call her Ellie. She joined our little family on October 24th, and was a healthy 6lbs. 14oz. and a petite 19.5in (my son was almost 8lbs. & 21in, so she feels very tiny!). Such an adorable blessing from the Lord!

So as I adjust to my new role as a mommy of two under two (yes, there are some crazy days ahead!), I look forward to jumping back into blogging, especially as the holidays quickly approach! We can all encourage and challenge one another on ways to find great gifts within our budgets, at the same time continuing to remember that spending quality time with friends & family sends the message of our love for them the best!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

LANDS' END: 25% Off Entire Order & Free Shipping (no minimum)

Head over to LANDS' END where you can use promo code "DISCOVERLE" & pin "6702" to get 25% off your entire purchase + free shipping (no minimum order). This includes clearance items in their Overstocks section, which is where I always shop. I ordered the Boy's Camouflage SmallHaul Backpack to stash away as a Christmas present for my son's 2nd birthday in January for just $7.50 shipped (it should last him several years). They also have the adorable Girls' SmallHaul backpack in pink, purple, or aqua hearts.

Check out backpacks, beach towels, swimwear, winter outerwear & accessories, jeans, shirts, and so much more! The possibilities are endless! Get an additional 8% cashback when you sign-in or sign-up with ShopAtHome and then shop through the Lands' End link. (We've been using ShopAtHome for over a year now. It adds up quick and then you get a check in the mail! Sweet!)