Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty."

"A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him."

"He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe."

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

home hair cuts, weekly update

Today, I cut Mike's hair and he cut the boys' hair. Don't laugh. This was something he made me start doing within a month of our marriage to help save money. He was right. I figure I do a conservative 6 cuts a year at a conservative savings of $10 a cut. Then add the 3 boys X @15 cuts a year. Total saved so far: @$3000.00 in haircuts alone. We don't usually think about things like this, but all those little savings really add up over your lifetime.

Total groceries this week,Feb 21-27 $91.00. Weekly average since January 24: $97.00. Meals this week: beef stew, chicken/rice, white chicken chili, pizza...and I lost my list, so I can't remember the rest.

For my southern readers, check out this site: This lady is a SERIOUS couponer. Good stuff.

Free food: Get a free $10 Bahama Breeze Restaurant gift card @  This restaurant is found in limited areas of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Nevada, Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio. Be sure to request one if you are going to DisneyWorld as there is one near there. Other Darden Restaurants include Red Lobster and Olive Garden. No promises, but the gift card might be accepted at them.

Off to a worldview THAT'S serious good stuff!

Friday, February 26, 2010

photo shoot, tax man, free zaxbys meal!

Sorry this is so late today...I spent the whole day getting stuff ready for the "tax-man" visit....oh yeah, I know you're jealous! Mike has always done our taxes, but this year, we had a lot of weird things going on, so we decided to get help. (Oh, and for those of you who read my original "full-disclosure" back in January...I overshot our projected income by thousands...ha!...and that is why I don't do the taxes!!) So, anywho, off we went, and the guy is soooo nice and found lots of deductions and things I didn't think I'm glad that's over for another year!

Great Deal for those of you in states that have a Zaxbys: Go to and click on their "join the club" tab. Fill it out and you will get a coupon emailed to you for a free meal deal. Sweet!!

 And here's the inspriation for the day: Back in December, we drove back to Cleveland to visit at the hospital. (see Parable of the Chocolate Santa in the archive.) We had a great visit and lots of fun experiences(like the photo shoot-hence the picture) but I wondered if we really made a difference in someone's life...which was what I hoped for. I had really wanted to spend more time visiting families and we were so rushed that I only got to actually spend time praying with one family, and truthfully, it was the highlight of my visit. The daughter had been in a bad car wreck, was about Abby's age, and had a poor prognosis. Just this week I was thinking about her and actually thought she probably hadn't made it. I was also thinking about the whole visit in general and prayed that God would let something good come from it, even if we never knew. Today,  I got this email from one of the ladies at the hospital who had received it from the trama care coordinator:

"Sally (name changed), as you may recall, was the Amish girl in PICU during the Cliff's visit. Much like Abigail she had been in a car crash, was tubed, and had a dismal prognosis. The two families had a chance to meet and pray for a miracle. This is a story to celebrate! I just received a call from Sally's father. She has been discharged from therapy and is back to her old self. She was washing dishes and doing housework this morning. She has two follow-up appointments this coming Monday the 15th and would like to go up to the PICU to visit. Based on the Cliff's visit and the hope they provided, Sally wanted to, in essence, follow in their footsteps and do the same thing! Now that's an answer to prayer!"

Is that not the coolest thing made me cry (not that it takes much, I'm such a sap)!!! God doesn't have to let us know what He's up to or how He uses us...but sometimes He does...and so I pass the blessing on to many of you who prayed for us!!

More deals tomorrow! If you like the blog, help spread the word!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

new credit card laws, free meat!

                 "The borrower is slave to the lender."

And that is a sad reality. I'm sure you've heard about the new credit card laws that went into effect this week...well, at least part of them went into effect. We have a few credit cards, but we never carry a balance and I use them to my advantage. I paid for all our hotel stays this summer with reward points. I've been getting letters from all my card companies--even store cards like Home Depot and Sears. Sadly, I don't usually read them. They go into a nebulous "to keep" file. But I have been reading about the laws. Here are a few "good things:"
1.) folks under 21 will need parental permission and proof of ability to pay. 2.) Companies will have to spell out in understandable terms just how long it will take you to pay off your loan if you only make your minimal monthly payments. 3.) Companies will be required to forewarn you of impending rate increases and give you an opt out. 4.) If you have a card that has 2 different rates (say you had a 0% interest on balance transfers for the life of the card but your rate on purchases is 10%) then any extra you pay has to go to the higher interest portion. And there are more...

However, if you think that the credit card companies are going to take this 12.5 billion dollar loss of revenue lying down, you live on Mars. They had 10 months to come up with ways to make up the difference. Here are a few of those: 1.) Look for more cards to start charging annual fees & drop rewards programs 2.) Be on the watch for fees if you don't use the card often (Like my LLBean card that I just keep to get free shipping) 3.) changes in the fine print that make fixed rates of my cards did this....that's how they get around not being able to bump rates 4.) This can be seen as positive or negative: it will be harder to get the card in the first place. (I personally think that's a good thing!!)

So there you have it. I know many tightwads swear off credit cards altogether. That's especially good if you have no will-power. I like the convenience and the rewards...but if I start getting issued fees for under-usage or annual fees...I am SOOOOO gone!

Good Deal Alert: Register with and get a $5 mail in rebate on any Jennie-O turkey product. This is available for the first 25,000. There are lots of Jennie-O products that are right at $5 or less than, so this will make for FREE meat

Daily Buck: Today I had a 3.5 hr class at the hospital. They always have snacks. Coffee and scone for breakfast, juice and yogurt for lunch. Score!!

And today is the 2 year birthday of Swagbucks. I just signed up. (put REFUNDCENTS in the code box and get 60 extra swagbucks if you are a new user). I know nothing about it yet...anybody have any thoughts on this one way or the other???

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Friends of Gevalia Offer Awaits You

"always a great way to get wonderful coffee...and you can cancel at any time!"
Join us for our special Friends of Gevalia offer and enjoy a premium coffee kit including a stainless steel coffeemaker, scoop and a pound of Gevalia coffee-Just $12.95 (a $100 value!) Gevalia’s guarantee-you’ll love your coffee or it’s free!

$44 freebie, cost of working

"A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."

It's snowing. Again. We moved back to the South for a reason and this ain't it. I mean, it's 38 is this even happening? Ugh.

Great deal but ya gotta be fast, this will be gone in minutes: 12 pm EST (11 am CST, 10 am MST, 9 am PST), the first 1,000 to sign up @  will get a free Olay Regenerist Starter Trio Set valued at $44.00. I'm going to try for it!

Also, is having a fantastic up to 75% off outer wear sale that reportedly ends TODAY. Use code 3018849 to get free shipping to boot.

Sending in my Oil of Olay rebate and another for some Ren-Ux Organic shampoo I happened to see at CVS yesterday with a "Try me free" hangtag around the neck. ALWAYS look for these when you shop. It's nice to find unexpected free stuff.

Stupid Tax: Maybe there were a half dozen eggs boiling on my stove last night to be used for egg salad. And maybe I was so into the Olympics that I forgot said eggs until I heard this strange popping sound coming from the kitchen, followed by a weird odor. Maybe the eggs were exploding all over the stove and the pot was ruined. Maybe I am a half-wit. Maybe.

Daily Buck: I picked up a like-new bright yellow #2 pencil lying in the ditch yesterday on my way home from work. I realize this isn't going to make a big difference in my budget, but it was satisfying and made me smile.

Yesterday I had to stop at the library to return one book-on-CD disk that had inadvertantly been left in the CD player. I had received the letter from the library stating that the charge would be $55.00 if it wasn't returned. Yikes! Anywho, when I was walking into the children's department, I passed one of the regular librarians as she was going out and smiled a greeting. This lady is there often, and I recognize her, but can't even tell you her name, nor did I think she knew me by name. She looked back over her shoulder at librarian #2 and said, "This is Patricia Cliff, she's here to return Artemis Foul disk #4. Make sure you take it off her record." I turned, jaw slightly agape, and managed to stammer, "Wow, impressive." She just smiled and walked on. I stood staring at the door before finally turning back around to see L2 sitting there with outstretched hand. I fished out the CD and handed it to her, still stunned. "How did she DO that?" I asked, wondering if she knew the ages of my kids and my SS# too. L2 laughed, "Oh, she just REALLY knows our patrons." I'll say. That she knew my name was impressive enough, but to know I had disk 4 still kinda whigs me out. It's not like our library is that small either. High Point is bigger than the biggest city in Maine. Obviously, I am still in awe.

My point? I think wonder-woman librarian REALLY likes her job. I always get the feeling that she enjoys helping me and my kids. "Familes choose a two-income lifestyle for a variety of very good reasons. In the lowest income groups, it is usually an economic necessity....usually [however] the purpose of the second income is to elevate the standard of living." Amy Dacyzyn

I'm not here to tell you that SAHM are better than working moms. I'd be slamming myself. I work part time as an RN. I am blessed to have a job that I like on a floor with co-workers who are phenomenol. But I would be lying if I said I love to work. There are many aspects of nursing that are incredibly rewarding...not the least of which is that I can work part time and make the same amount of money as a full time minimum wage earner. I also don't fret much about not being able to find work. Nursing is one field where experience really pays and, let's face it, we'll always have sick people. So let me just say it this way: I like my job, I don't like working. If the truth be told, I'm kinda lazy. I would rather find ways to cut back and eat ramen noodles for lunch again than pick up extra hours at the hospital. In fact, even as I was typing this,one of co-workers called and asked me if I wanted her to pick up my 4 hour Thursday shift. Census is down this week and she wanted the time. "Yes, Ma'am!" I said gleefully. "Are you sure?" She asked again, "I know we're all short this week." "NO, really, have fun." Will I regret this on pay day? Maybe. But right now it feels great, and I just saved $75.00 shopping the salvage good store yesterday,  so it's all good. This is my life. I've always been this way. The one thing that I really do enjoy is getting a good deal...even though I loath shopping in general.

I just want you to think for a minute about whether or not you love what you do and how much it costs you to work. A second income often puts you in a higher tax bracket. You buy nicer clothes, pay a day care, eat out more and generally spend all the extra you make. If you're like me, working stresses me out, leaves less time with family, and adds a new level of tension. If you both love your jobs, great. If not, think about ways to cut back instead of ways to make more.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

cheap baby stuff, sara groves, kiwi mag

"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint."

Some good deals for those of you with ankle biters still in diapers...or, if you are like me, a chance to pick up some good baby shower gifts.

Rite Aid has their store brand diapers BOGO (well, actually buy one, get one for 1 cent) this week. This doesn't happen very often and it's a great deal. CVS is advertising Huggies wipes tubs for $2.50...that's not a great deal. However, the Huggies refill pack that has 216 wipes is reportedly ringing up for that price also. AND if your CVS has a scanner for your card, you can scan it and possibly get a $2 Huggies ECB to use, making a big refill 50 cents. SWEET! I'm going to try it this afternoon on the way to visit a friend.

Get a free magazine subscription to Kiwi mag. Click here:

One reader sent in a link to I have never bought anything there, but have checked it out. It's worth your perusal. Some great deals to be had.

Stupid Tax: As a treat for my boys doing scouting for food, I bought them Mickey D's $1 sausage biscuits. I ordered the water. Now, this has been 5 cents a cup, which I can stomach. But it was 25 cents a cup...75 cents for 3 cups of H2O...eegad!!! Never again. We'll be carrying bottles in the car for back up.

Daily Buck Update: all 18 tomato plants are now up. And guess what? 9 of the old seeds came up 4 weeks after I planted them. Strange. Be nice to me, I'll have lots of 'maters to share!

If you are in the area, Sara Groves is going to be in concert at our church on April 25th. Sara's newest album was voted "Best Christian Album" of the year by Christianity Today Magazine. I've seen her before, she's wonderful. Tickets are $15, but all the money goes to a home for pregnant moms. Email me for details or go to and click on the e-letter update. Check out one Sara's songs (you'll need a box of tissues):

We are also having a conference this Saturday with speaker Regis Nicholl, who write's for Colson's Breakpoint. It is 3-9 Saturday and features a concert with Mosaic from Anderson University. Dinner is included and the cost is only $2.00. Theme: Transformed People Tranform Culture. Call the church office at 292-7788 to sign up.

OK...have a great day! My blog buddies are the best and I appreciate all the emails and good deal links you send my way. I don't always have time to respond to each one, but I do THANK YOU!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

test drives, free Bible, "satan's sittin' heavy"

Sorry I'm late getting this out to you today, I had to work and run kids hither and yon...
Test drive a Kia Sorento and get a $25.00 prepaid Visa card. Click here:

Get a free Busy Mom's Bible from have to upload a family picture. Click here:

CVS freebies this week:

$2 ECB wyb Colgate MaxFresh 4.6-6oz or 2-in-1 Kids 4.6oz. $2.99 limit 1

- $0.75 Colgate Max White, Max Fresh, Total, Sensitive or Kids 4 oz+ (S 2/21)
- $1 Colgate Max Fresh or Max White IP FP = $0.01+ Profit

BOGO Bioluxe shampoo or conditioner $9.99
-$9.99 mir attached to bottles in most stores FP = FREE

$2 ECB wyb Mennen Speed Stick + Lady Speed Stick Stainguard Deodorant $2.99 limit 2
- $1 lady speed stick 24/7, speed stick 24/7, or speed stick pro (reinventing beauty magazine 11/09)
- $0.50 speed stick or ladys speed stick deodorant, excludes .5 oz (ss 1/31) FP = FREE

$7.99 ECB wyb EARinse cleansing spray $7.99 limit 1 FP = FREE

Feb 23 is National Pancake Day with free pancakes at IHOP. Everyone gets a free short stack. Contributions to Children's Miracle Network are appreciated.

The 80% off code is back @ Code is: SAVOR , expires (2/28) Get a $25 restaurant certificate for $2. As soon as you order, you can print the certificate and use it immediately. It's good for a year. Check by zip to see what restaurants in your area participate. Coming up this week: insurance deals for the self-employed, great fabric store and what's the fuss about swagbucks and slick deals.

Inspiration for the day: Last night one of my boys came home very angry. I stopped him in the kitchen and asked him why he was mad. Someone had done something to him and he was (justifiably) angry because the person had acted like "it wasn't a big deal." I asked him if he thought having rotten attitude, being unforgiving himself and annoying the rest of the family was the right response. "What am I supposed to do, be happy?" Defiance was etched all over his face. I watched him for a few seconds and realized we weren't going to get anywhere at that moment. I told him to go to his room and not to come down to watch the Olympics with us until he got his attitude under control. He turned and walked quickly upstairs, being very careful not to stomp/slam, knowing that would have sealed his fate. I said a quick prayer, wondering- as every parent does- if I was doing the right thing and making a mental note to go up and talk to him later. 

A half hour later, I was busy in the kitchen. Suddenly these arms grabbed me and turned me around. My son buried his face in my shoulder and hugged me so tight I couldn't even lift my arms. This is what came out between sobs: "I'm so sorry, Mom. Will you forgive me? ("Yes") I was laying up there and I was so mad and just told myself I wouldn't come down ever. But the longer I laid there, the worse I was like Satan was sittin' heavy on my heart. I knew I was wrong but I didn't want to pray and then my verse from school (see DOES make a difference) just came into my head that says 'hold fast to God and serve him with all your heart and soul' and I knew I couldn't do that and be mad and then I knew I had to come down here." I peeled his face off my shoulder and looked at his tears through my own. "And you feel better now, don't you." A smile broke out on his face, all defiance melting. I told him he was doing well to learn the lessons of forgiveness early and that his mama had a hard time with that too. It was one of those moments you just want treasure forever...and you wish every conflict ended that way.

So there's the life of value lesson for you...are you holding on to unforgiveness that eats away as bitterness in your soul? Do you hide it and even forget about it for weeks at a time? Oh, believe me, I was VERY good at pretending everything was OK...after all, it wasn't my fault the other person was a jerk. But that bitterness is NEVER worth it....and my son is right, you can't hold fast to God and carry that bitterness too...cause Satan does sit pretty heavy.  Out of the mouths of babes... 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Thoughts....

"In all thy getting, get understanding." from that wise sage, King Solomon, and often quoted by one of my economic heroes, Steve Forbes

And more from Solomon:

"The sluggard's cravings will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work."

"Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome, ill-tempered wife."

"He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich."

"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has."

There are 31 chapters in for each day of the month....good stuff!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday update's the latest update from the Cliff homefront:

Grocery bill this week: $121.00 (to WM, CL, RA, Aldi, Wags, DT and CVS) making the weekly average $98.00 since 1/24.  Higher than I thought I was actually, so this is good for me. I have debated on whether or not to include pet food (I do include cleaning products, toiletries and paper products). If pet food was out, my weekly average right now would be $90. Semantics, I now, but most people who share averages like this only include food items.

Dinner meals this week: pork stir fry, burgers/fruit, lasagna/green beans, pot roast/taters/corn, pizza/salad, taco casserole.

I have been asked to teach some classes on saving money/couponing. I'm needing to have a "show of hands" many of you in the area think this is a good idea??  Email or post to the blog.

Not a lot of freebies this coming week: RA has NYC cosmetics, BIGI, with a c/o they would be free and lamisil is free with SCR and c/o. Walgreens has Excedrin menstuel cramp express gels 20 ct free with RR and c/o. Will have to let you know about CVS.

What a gorgeous day here in NC...went for a run (50 degrees, finally) with Mike and Lee and saw my first crocuses. Had soup for lunch, which has to be the absolute best tightwad meal...I dug around in the frig and used cut up spaghetti noodles, chopped turkey lunch meat, a 1/2 bag of corn and some onions. Kids scarfed it.

Gonna go do some research...happy savings!

Free concert tonight in High Point by the Air Force Band. Always phenomenal!

Friday, February 19, 2010

It doesn't hurt to ask....& my HT deals.

Conversation in our van:

Abby: "I like your jacket."
Abby's friend, "Thanks! I got it on sale at Wal-Mart!"
Abby: "Girl, you just rose several notches up the ladder in my book. Anybody that shops at Wal-Mart and isn't afraid to admit it is truly awesome!"

Man, I love that kid! Funny, in our famlily, it's the people who tout thrift that are venerated, not those who make a show of their money.

Whoa...what a day! I started out this morning representing the nursing profession at the high school college fair. Not a lot of interest, I must say, which doesn't bode well for us nurses. I recently read that the average age of RNs is We need lots of folks coming in...

Then a load of laundry on the clothesline (thanks, Debbie!) and off to do super doubles at HT. So, here's what I got: 6 four-packs of yogurt for $.50 ea, guacamole for free, 7 packages of rice-2 for free and $.12 for the others, chocolate cheerios for $1.50, 2 packs of instant oatmeal for $1.49 each, box of wheat thins for $.99, bananas for $.34#, fresh green beans in the mark down bin for $ paid, $12.79, total savings, $33.81. Nothing remarkable or that I couldn't have lived without. I turned down a bunch ot items, because even though the savings was significant, the item was still cheaper at Aldi.

A cheery story: back in November, my oldest son broke his wrist while on a scouting trip 6 hours from home. Long story short, it required surgery and was going to cost us @ $1000.00 out of pocket. (@ $9000.00 total-crazy!) The bad news was that it healed wrong. So we go to our doc here and find out that we now have to go back every 3 months for x-rays (@$50.00 a crack) and see what happens. I paid the hospital and anesthesia bills, but when the Dr. bill came, I wrote the guy a letter and told him what happened. I was VERY nice-- really. I told him I wasn't upset or anything and that I realize "stuff happens, " but asked if he would consider reducing the $550.00 bill in light of the fact that we will have to do follow up here. I also said that if he wouldn't I understood and would pay it. Guess what? HE DROPPED THE CHARGE COMPLETELY!  I think I might send him part of it just for being so nice! It always pays to ask!

And then I got our bi-annual car insurance bill. I was shaking when I opened it because my daughter is now driving and I had heard a lot of horror stories...but it only went up by about 25%, which is high, but not as much as I had anticipated. Woot!!!! (Farm Bureau, BTW)

I am working hard on compiling a comparison list of 20 most purchased grocery items among different stores. I knew there was a diffrence, but WOW! Wait until you see it. You will be shocked. Should have it ready by next week.

There's a new recipe on the blog site: instant cappacino (I know that's spelled wrong...hate that there's no spell check on my blog!!!)

The boyscouts in this area are in the middle of a food drive. If you got one of their little bags on your door...please consider throwing in a few cans and putting it on your porch for pick up. It means so much to the scouts and even more to the needy in the community!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harris Teeter

OK, as most of you know, I lovingly refer to Harris Teeter as our friendly neighborhood yuppie mart. (If you think this article doesn't apply to you, just replace HT with your most expensive grocer--Shaws and Kroger come to mind...) I really don't go to HT very often. I shop mostly at Aldi (Sav-a-Lot has similar prices) and Wal-Mart. But, there are times when HT has items that I just can't find anywhere else. And the samples of their bread with olive tapenade? To die for. And let's face it? Where else can you find an olive bar with over a gazillion varities? Olives you never knew you needed but now cannot live without! Olives that will change your life!!! Sorry, got a little carried away:)
But seriously, HT does offer some bang-up deals occasionally. Make sure you have signed up for their VIC customer card (and if you haven't linked it to a school, link it to HPCA please!!) They always double coupons to 99 cents and I'm already hearing some smashing good reports from you regarding the super double coupons this week...up to $1.98. I plan to go today. Two things about these deals: 1. Last time I went in with coupons to double,  I didn't find ONE item that wasn't cheaper at Aldi, in spite of  using the double coupon. Now, granted, the items that would have been free after the coupons were sold out. But still. Don't just think about how much you can save. Think about how much you can get the item for elsewhere...or what you you can use instead of that item. 2.  I have the tendency to get things that I don't really need just because they are cheaper. Now, if they are free, that's different. Even if I can't use it, I'll give it away. But that $20.00 cleaner I've been dying to try that is BIGIF and I have a $1.00 coupon doubled...and now it's only $8.00...see what I'm saying? I really don't need it. My off-brand dollar store cleaner works just as well. That being said, I'm off later today to see what I can get. Will let you know...and you let me know your good deals! Here's a list of free items with the double coupons...if they aren't sold out:

Jell-O Gelatin 3 oz., 57¢ ea

-$1.25/3 Any Participating Kraft Dessert products tearpad (makes 3 FREE)

Marie Callender’s Home Style Creations $3 ea

-$1.50 off Marie Callender’s Creations home mailer

Franks Red Hot Sauce 4.5 oz $1.25

-.75/1 Franks Red Hot Sauce SS 1/24 (would be Free on normal weeks)

Prego Sauce - Heart Smart Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic, 26 oz, $2.00*

-$1 off Prego Heart Smart Italian Sauce, any SS 2/07

Kraft Ranch Salad Dressing $2.75

-$1.50/1 Kraft Dressings tearpad

Keebler Wheatables Nut Crisps-Roasted Almond $2.99

-$1.50 off Keebler Wheatables Tearpad

Starbucks Frappucino 9.5 oz. $1.99

-$1 off Starbucks Frappucino printable

Philadelphia Cream Cheese $1.79

-$1 off Philadelphia Cream Cheese Grape Magazine from Publix

-$1/2 Philadelphia Cream Cheese tearpad (makes it 79¢)

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate 4.25 oz $1.49

-$1 off Hershey’s Dark Bar or Bag SS 1/10

Hunt’s Tomato Sauce 8oz 45¢

-$1/4 Hunt’s Products in store dispenser

Free Hunts Diced Tomatoes wyb (3) Hunts Sauces SS 1/24

Nasoya Silken Style Creations, 17 oz, $2-$2.49

-$1.25 off Nasoya Silken Style Creations, RP 9/27

Wholly Guacamole 7oz $1.99

-$1 off Wholly Guacamole RP 1/31

B1G1 Wholly Guacamole or Salsa SS 1/03

(buy 2, use B1G1 and $1 off makes 2 FREE)

Smart Balance Sour Cream $1.79

-$1 off Smart Balance Sour Cream RP 1/10

8th Continent Soymilk, 64 fl oz, $2.99

-$1.50 off 8th Continent Soy Milk Product, printable

Muir Glen Tomato Paste $1.49

-$1 off Muir Glen printable

Fisher Fusion Trail Mix $2

-$1 off Fisher Product, Any 4 Oz. + SS 2/07

Dannon DanActive Probiotic Dairy Drink, 4 pk 12.4 oz, $2*

-$1 off DanActive 4-pk or 8-pk, any SS 2/07

Dannon Dan-o-nino $2*

-$1 off Dannon Dan-o-nino product, any excluding 24-ct SS 2/07

Dannon Danimals $2*

-$1 off Dannon Danimals Coolision 6-pack, any SS 2/07

Dannon Yogurt - Activia $2*

-$1 off Dannon Activia, SS 2/07

Chobani Yogurt $1.45

-$1 off Chobani Yogurt SS 12/13

B2G1 Chobani Yogurt printable

Oikos Yogurt 5.3 oz $1.89

-$1 off Oikos SS 1/3

Chinet Napkins 40ct., $1.40

-$1 off Chinet product printable (IE) or printable (FF)

Revlon Nail Clippers or File. $1.99

-$1 off Revlon Beauty Tool SS 1/17 (makes it FREE)

Degree Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, 0.5 oz, (trial size) $1.50

-$1 off Degree Men or Women Deodorant or Body Mist products, any RP 1/31

G.U.M. Kids Flossers, or Orthodontic Wax $1.99

-$1 off G.U.M. Accessory RP 11/15

Bayer Aspirin 32 ct $1.99

-$1 off Bayer Aspirin 10 ct + RP 1/3, 1/31 or printable

Band Aid Travel Pack 8 ct $1

Band Aid Butterfly Closures 10 ct $1.79

-$1 off Band Aid product RP 1/03

Rolaids 36ct $1.99

-$1 off Rolaids RP 12/13

Soft Scrub Cleaner $2.50

-$1.50 off Soft Scrub printable
Dawn Direct Foam $1.99

-$1.50 off Dawn Direct Foam “Home Made Simple” mailer

Bounty Paper Towels 1 ct $1.50

-$1 off any Bounty Towels “Thank You Mom” home mailer

Lip Smackers $1.99

-$1 off Lip Smacks
Johnson’s Baby Powder or Oil 4 oz $1.79

-$1 off Johnson’s Baby Product RP 1/3, 12/13

Johnson’s First Aid Gauze or Tape $1.99

-$1 off Johnson’s First Aid RP 1/3

Bistex 99¢

-$1/2 Blistex SS 12/13 (makes 2 free)

Glade PlugIns Scented Gel Warmer 2.19

-1.50 off SS 1/24

Reach Dental Floss - Clean Burst Waxed Icy Spearmint $1.79

-$1 off Reach Dental Floss RP 1/3

Sure Deodorant for Men $2.89

-$1.50 off Sure Deodorant for Men SS 1/24

And if you are getting this via email...go check out the blog site. I've added some permanent pages (coupon lingo, recipes, and CVS strategies) and will be adding and updating more on a regular basis.

11 days until the drawing for a $20.00 Home Depot card. Get your friends to sign up!
Happy Savings!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

travel zoo--great travel deals

I really like to travel, but with 4 kids, it gets a little expensive. We go to Michigan every winter and visit Mike's family. We go to Maine every summer; we have a "camp" there. I use camp loosely because I don't really know what to call it. It was originally my great grandfather's barn. In the mid 90s, my Uncle fixed it up and turned it into a hunting camp...but it's pretty nice. When my Uncle died in 2002, we offered to buy it...and well, the rest is history. We try to incorporate our side vacations into the Maine trip...this year we are planning to stop in the Boston area on the way up. Anyway...I have looked (and continue to look) at a bazillion different discount travel websites on a regular basis. is one of the best. If you sign up to get thie weekly top 20 deals e-mailed to you, I think you will be as shocked as I was. Here is this weeks sample:

$799 -- Spring in Ireland: Ritz-Carlton Package w/Car & Air

Source: Sceptre Tours

$99 -- Cancun Beachfront Resort incl. $200 Credit, 65% OFF

Source: Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun

$44 & up -- Fly from Southeast into May; Sale Ends Thursday

Source: AirTran Airways

$1199 -- Vietnam: Saigon & Hanoi Tour Package incl. Air

Source: Friendly Planet Travel

$99 -- Boston Landmark Hotel incl. Upgrade (Regularly $249)

Source: Omni Parker House

$299 -- Caribbean 5-Night Spring Cruise


$599 -- London 6-Night Vacation incl. Air

Source: Virgin Vacations

$315 -- Vegas: Stay at New 5-Star CityCenter Hotel incl. Air

Source: Delta Vacations

$60 & up -- Fly to Texas from Across the U.S. (each way)


$379 -- Williamsburg: Weeklong Stay in 2-Bedroom Suite

Source: Endless Vacation Rentals

$99 -- San Francisco from Newport News (each way)

Source: Frontier Airlines

$89 & up -- Weekends on Sale at Marriott Hotels Nationwide

Source: Marriott International

$549 -- Hawaii: Waikiki 6-Night Vacation incl. Air

Source: Apple Vacations

$36 -- Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Hotel w/Upgrade

Source: Grande Shores Oceanfront Resort

$119-$139 -- This Weekend: NYC from the Carolinas (R/T)

Source: Continental Airlines

$37 -- Atlantic City All-Suite Hotel incl. Weekends, 80% OFF


$233 -- Historic Paris 4-Star Hotel w/Breakfast (Reg. $400)

Source: Hotel Lutetia

$112 -- Niagara Falls Dinner Package, incl. Weekends

Source: Sheraton Fallsview Hotel

$1999 -- Italy 3-City Upscale Escorted Tour Package w/Air

Source: Gate 1 Travel

Now, obviously, I won't be using any of these anytime soon...but you get the idea. And if you are willing and able to travel in the off seaon, so can get WOW deals. I mean, even right now, roundtrip tickets from NC to Boston are $112.00. Makes me want to jump on a plane!

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

samples, blogs,

"To secure the greatest amount of pleasure with the least possible outlay should be the aim of all economic effort." Francois Quesnay (1694-1174) French economist

I've always known there were many frugal/thrifty blogs out there, and I subscribe to several. Last night, however, I decided to dig around and see what I could find. OH MY WORD!! There are hundreds, if not thousands. Google them sometime. As far as I could tell, I'm the only way who is consistently going to give away free stuff every month get your friends to sign up! There are even several sites that look almost exactly like mine. That's OK, though. I've made a commitment to do this for a year and see what happens. (Digression: I just got a call from work that I am off for low census today. I know I shouldn't be doing the happy dance, BUT I AM!!!) Where was I? I love to write....I really do. And I love to save money- this just seems like a good combination for me. So, on January 25, 2011, I'll reevaluate. I'm just happy doing my little thing! I'm just so thankful that God gives us not only what we need, but often what we want. Thanks for reading!

Freebies: Remember my comment about those free samples that don't really give you much? Well, here's one that gives you 4 or 5 feminine products, click here: . You can choose what you want.
Also: free pretzels are coming to Auntie Anne's on Feb 20, 10 am to 3 pm. That's a Saturday. Choose original or cinnamon, one per person.
And: BOGOF coupon for Quiznos subs click here (expires 2/21):

If you are near CVS, you really need to get in on the extra care bucks deals this week (see Saturday's post). They paid me to take about $30.00 worth of stuff home (I got 2 Crest toothpaste, 2 Crest mouthrinse, Aussie shampoo, and 2 Covergirl foundations.  All for free with some overage. And the toothpaste had a bonus whitestrip pack stuck to it!) Definitely worth your time.

Be watching for some permanent pages on the actual blog site (if you are getting this through email). I'm going to be adding a recipe page and a few others soon. OK, going to make some of that crockpot granola and sew patches on my kids scout uniforms. Update: 5 tomato plants now up. Why should you care? Hey, if I have lots, I might just share some with you!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

must haves, great deals, living on the edge

"We all know people who arrive late...who arrive early...who arrive right on time. Your personal inner clock functions in the same manner as your sense of where you are in relation to "the financial edge." You have an inner sense of how close you can come to meeting your financial obligations and still feel comfortable." Amy

Amy goes on to explain what that looks like for different people. I personally like to have a cushion. A cushion that keeps me from whigging out when... my kid has a broken arm and we are in the new insurance plan year and have to fork over $1100.00 husband tells me the new tires for the car can't car insurance jumps because of teen drivers.  If you are a Dave Ramsey fan, it's one of the baby steps-get your emergency fund in place. Mary Hunt calls it a contingency fund. But whatever you call it, you need it.  So many live one paycheck away from disaster. Don't be that person. Live UNDER you means. Don't rely on credit to bail you out. Most of us think we can't cut back much, but let me tell you, I have lived among some of the poorest in the US (in rural Maine), and without exception I have seen ways they could cut back, from the cigarettes to the Mountain Dew to the Satellite dishes in the yard. And I sure can cut out some things. So, given the current economy, think about ways to "live like now one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow." (thanks, Dave)

Daily Buck (how I saved $): I colored my own hair with on sale "Perfect 10". $3.99. Kick Butt! I started going gray @14... and yep, I'm vain, I color it. But my husband thinks that's a good idea. I put away 2 more school freebie planners for next year. I watered the new tomato plants and talked to them a little. And I got about $25.00 worth of rebates out for the mailman to pick up.

Deals: News on the street is super doubles at the yuppie mart this week (Harris Teeter). That usually means double to $1.99. That will start Weds...get the coupons ready!  There are great winter clearance deals going on everywhere right now...Sears, Penneys, Belk...they all have up to 80% off. Now is the time to get next year's Christmas gifts.

Free Entertainment in the Triad: Air Force Band will be at High Point Theatre Saturday night.@7:30 pm. It's free, but you do need a ticket to get in. They were sold out, but there are usually no shows if you want to wait. This is an incredible performance. Also, there will be a free play "Blood Done Sign My Name, " at Wesley Memorial Sunday at 3pm. An offering will be taken. 

And just FYI, Town and Country magazine just issued the 60 "must-haves" for spring. The cheapest is a $98 J Crew sweater; the most expensive a $6500.00 Gucci clutch. I added up everything. $80,953.00. Start saving now!! (Why do I have T&C mag? It was a freebie, of course, and provides me with rich entertainment, pun intended!)

Tell all your friends about the blog! Happy Savings!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Indescribable, St. Augustine

Thought: "There is a restlessness that will not find its rest until it finds its rest in God." St. Augustine

Song: Indescribable by Chris Tomlin

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Verse: Luke 15:6 "...Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep."

Thought: That God loves this lost sheep (who seems to get lost daily)...that He see the depths of a heart that is shamefully evil every day (greed, pride,anger, jealousy...just to name a few) and loves me the same...that, my friends, is truly the most valuable lesson.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

this week's freebies, updates

Happy Olympics to you...and especially to my Canadian friends, eh!!! Thanks for hosting them. I like the always gives me that warm-fuzzy-everybody's-happy feeling.

Anyway, on to the great deals this week:

Rite Aid: first, you should know that Rite Aid is offering a new card to replace the old Rite Rewards card.
The "RiteAid Wellness program" is officially available for 4 cities, Buffalo NY, Greensboro NC, (and I'm there, so I already have my card!) Harrisburg PA, San Diego CA, but it will accept sign-ups from anyone in any area, plus it should be expanding soon. Some people report that their out-of-area RiteAids are accepting the cards now, others say no. Go to this link to sign up whether you live in the 4 cities or not. You’ll get the card in the mail. Have the cashier scan it before each purchase. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll get a $5/$25 coupon.  Sign up now, then when it goes national, you'll already have the card in hand. When the card is swiped, you get coupons printed on your receipt.

There are some good freebies out this week, but it's going to take a little work on your part:

Rite Aid: Promo for Oil of Olay Skin and Bath Care products including Facial Cleanser, Complete or Active Hydrating Moisturizer, Ribbons Body Wash, or Bar Soap 6 pack. They will be 3/$18, minus a $15/3 'manufacturer's on-line rebate' = 3/$3. Wow. Here is the link for the rebate: Combine with coupons for some free stuff!!  Void in ME. (italics info from Refundcents)

CVS: free after extra care bucks (ECB): soy joy bars 6 pack; free after ECB+coupon: aussie products, crest prohealth toothpaste and certain covergirl products

I could spend a lot of time telling you about other good deals, but for now I will focus on the freebies and leave the rest up to you!

Daily Buck: ( how I made or saved a buck today)  I replanted 16 of the 18 tomatoes. Them ol' seeds didn't come up. I bought a new pack at Wal-Mart. I picked out my own VD gift choice (Mike was there!) I bought a candle and movie=romantic night in:)!! And for the record, I bought him Ralph Lauren cologne at TJ Maxx for half price!!

Weekly Update: Total grocery expenditure week of Feb 7-13: $35.00. Weekly average since I started keeping track on Jan 24: $91.00  Remember, I include food, paper products, pet food, toilettries and cleaning supplies for my family of 7 (one exchange student). Recent Meals: sloppy joes, pulled pork BBQ, spaghetti, homemade pizza, shrimp stir fry, cube steak/rice/corn, chicken/taters/salad, and tonight a big ol' pot of bean soup with cornbread.  YUMMMMM.

Happy Savings!

Friday, February 12, 2010

walgreens, red cross, excedrin deal

Good Morning! I'm going to give blood in a little bit, hence the Red Cross Heroes logo...if you live in my area, our school, High Point Christian, is hosting a blood drive, so come on by!

Good deals today: Today is Friends and Family Day at Walgreens. You'll get 15% off eligible store items and 20% off Walgreens and W brand products. Go to to print a coupon. You have to check out at the photo or cosmetics counter. Also, get a free 8x10 collage print on Friday Feb 12 only. Order it online, use code VDAY, and pick up in-store.

Here's a sweet offer if you are an Excedrin fan. Fill out the very short survey (one question) and they'll send you a coupon for a free bottle. Actually, if you check that you use Excedrin, you'll be linked to coupons, if you check another brand, you'll get a coupon for a free bottle. Click here:

Ohio Readers: Kroger is having triple coupons Thurs- Sun. Be sure to confirm with your store; it may be limited area. I miss Kroger here in NC.

This morning as I was sitting on the sofa drinking coffee and reading my Bible, I heard a sparrow singing. I looked out and saw him on the hedge in front of my window; he had puffed his feathers out, presumably because it's cold (OK, you northeren readers, I know 20 is nothing for you, but for us with thinned blood, it's dad-blame freezing down here!!!). He just sat there, singin' his little heart out. I thought of that verse that talks about God knowing when every sparrow falls and how He cares for each of them. Then I looked at the maple tree on my lawn. There was a big fat red-headed woodpecker banging away, along with 2 chickadees and a beautiful red cardinal. A fluffy gray squirrel jumped out of the hole in the tree and ran to the top to eat a nut. I sat there, in my warm house and just listened and watched. I could hear the dishwasher and washing machine, the coffee percolating and the furnace running...and WOW! I just felt SOOOOO blessed!! I thank God today for my husband and four healthy kids (you have NO idea!!) and all the things I take for granted every day. I prayed for my Maine neighbor who is in ICU ( love you Joan!!) and so many others on my list. I prayed for the future spouses of my kids, so watch out whoever you are!! And I thanked Him for this blog and all of you who have encouraged me and made me feel like this is a worthy effort. (don't stop! I need lots of scooby snacks (aka encoragement) This morning,  my kids took in 40 cans of food for the food drive. (when you coupon shop and stock up, it's not hard to find these in the pantry), and now, I am going to give blood. I watched my daughter walk out the door this morning and thought of the Ohio people whose blood is surging through her veins, and it gives a whole new meaning to giving myself. So today, right now, think of 5 things you are thankful for and vow not to complain about anything for the rest of the day! Do something nice for someone...even if it's just taking that beautiful smile of yours and sharing it with everyone you meet!!! And know that you have blessed me by reading my blog!! 


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's update,

Just an FYI for Valentine's Day. The grocery ads came out yesterday, and every single store has a dozen long-stemmed roses for less than 20 bucks. In the triad area, Bottom Dollar has them for $12.97 a dozen. Sweet! A rose, by any other name, is still a rose, no matter how much it costs!

I'm sure most of you know about It is a site where you can print off certificates for really great deals on area eateries. You just type in your zip code and it brings up restaurants in your area. Typically you pay say $10.00 for a $25.00 certificate. However, there are always codes to use and I will try to post them for you: The current 80% off code is : HEART (until 2/14) Get a $25 restaurant certificate for $2, and a bonus $15 FTD reward with every order.  Cheap flowers and meal!!

And for candy check out this yummy deal at Walgreens (my favorite drugstore!):
3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp and Three Musketeers are .49 with an in-ad coupon from the weekly flier. Buy 3, and get a $1 RR. Buy 4, and get a $1.50 RR.  The coupon you're looking for in the flier is good for any Mars candy bar for .49. In the 12-page flier, it's on page 3. 

Gotcha covered for a frugal, fabulous Valentine's Day!! Tell all your friends about the blog. It's nearing time for a monthly gift card drawing!!

Happy Saving!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what you already know, paper deals

"Telling you how to save money is like telling you how to lose weight. Everybody knows how to lose weight. You need to eat fewer calories than your body uses.  To save money, you need to spend fewer dollars than you earn. In both cases you need to adjust your rate of consumption to your rate of work. The 'Don't save more, earn more' philosophy is a very one-sided approach. And it has one big flaw. Nearly everyone that earns more automatically spends more. For this reason, most families seem to have exactly enough to get by. There is a point at which the quality of life and the standard of living depart...where earning more results in a personal cost and erodes the quality of life." Amy Dacyzyn

Is it true with you? The year Mike and I were married, he had just graduated from college and I still had two years of nursing school left. We moved into a little 2-room apartment above our landlord's garage in July. Neither one of us had a job. We had just vowed that we would not take the $3000.00 pell grant offered to us because we didn't want the government to pay for our education. We were staring at $11,000.00 tuition and we had a couple thousand dollars in the bank, most of that wedding gifts.  So we prayed. Hard. My husband had a teaching degree, but we knew that we were not going to be staying in IN after I graduated, so he didn't really want to pursue a job in teaching at that point. He had grown up in a family that had a construction business and applied at an excavating company. He got a job digging ditches at minimum wage. I remember the day he came home with news.  He was so discouraged. We pressed on. I got a campus job and a job as a nursing assistant at a local hospital. Then Mike got on preload at UPS. So he worked 4-8 am at UPS, then went immediately to the excavating job from 8-5. I was in school full time and working two jobs. But we paid those school bills every time they were due and didn't take out any more loans ( I had one from my freshman year-Mike had none.) And guess what happened? Our plan to wait 2 years for kids didn't exactly pan out. 6 months after we were married, I got pregnant. The summer between my junior and senior years, I rode my bike 2 miles to work 7 months pregnant under the hot Indiana sun because Mike needed the car to get to his job. But I worked hard all that summer and we paid cash for a used car in September. Let me tell you car has ever been as special to me as that one! Abby was born over Thanksgiving break of my senior year.Now, let me be honest here. It has not been easy. But it has been worth it. Mike and I are generally on the same page when it comes to money. That helps. But even so, just as happens with most families, the more we have earned over the years, the more we have spent. It just happens. We justify it in so many ways, and they are not necessarily bad decisions. So what is the point of all this?

"You will learn some nitty-gritty strategies and will bring into focus what you already know. But I hope you will come to regard this as a national tightwad network, providing support as you reach your goal."  Amy D. And that is exactly how I feel!

Daily Buck (how I saved or made a buck) I REALLY wanted to buy lunch at work today. But  instead I ate a very spotty banana and some leftover soup. Blogging helps me be a better tightwad! I need to have something to write about! And if you ever need paper,  LOTS of paper, go to your local newspaper. They sell end rolls of newsprint (off white) cheap. (Just FYI for you triad folks, the HP Enterprise doesn't print anymore, so go the News and Record in Greensboro) I bought 5 end rolls 4'X hundreds of feet for $10.

Happy Saving!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the parable of the chocolate santa

"This article is really about creaitng something from nothing. The process is the same as creating a gourmet meal from leftovers or building a wheelbarrow from scrounged materials." Amy Dacyzyn

It's much to do with thinking outside the box. It's about not wasting your chocolate santas.

Once upon a time there was a family that was in a really terrible car wreck. A year after the wreck, they went back to hospital to give out gifts and just say "thanks." As they were getting ready to leave, the lady in the Ronald McDonald Room handed them a 3.5 foot tall, 35 pound chocolate Santa. That's a lot of chocolate! No flimsy body on this Santa; his sides were 2 inches thick! First reaction was, "No, thanks, we don't have another seat for this hunk-o-candy the size of a small child." But the four children in the family begged and pleaded, and so did the hospital volunteers, and so that is how it happened that the chocolate Santa ended up wrapped and raffled off under the extended family Christmas tree. And that is how the eldest uncle in the family won the raffle and promptly smashed the chocolate santa with a birch log in a effort so grand that the chocolate santa was immediately decapitated and dozens of hands swarmed around him to partake of his chocolatey-goodness. But when the party ended, the then 34 pound santa was left to his own defenses in the grandfather's garage. Unwrapped in the freezing cold, he started to get white patches and the oldest brother threatened to take him into the woods for both target practice and for use as a deer lick. The children in the family continued to break pieces off all week, but still, at the end of the week, there was still 30+ pounds of chocolate santa left. And so it was the frugal mama in the family began to to think about how she could utilize the chocolate santa. Thoughts of late night PMS chocolate binges filled her brain, but she knew better than succumb to that temptation. (And her husband refused to bring the decimated carcas all the way back to North Carolina anyway). So, that frugal mama came up with another strategy. She busted that santa up-yes she did-into 6 ziplogs of 4"X4" chocolate chunks, and she tucked them into a big bag to take home. Now the chocolate santa resides on the top pantry shelf. And the eldest daughter in the family used him for the first time three days ago. She smashed one of the bags of chocolate into little pieces and made the most delightful double-chocolate-chunk cookies the family had ever eaten. The little chocolate shreds that were left over went into some homemade granola. And everyone (except for the legs and feet of the santa, which were left to face the unknown in grandpa's garage) lived happily ever after. And there are still 5 bags left!

And the moral of the story is: use your chocolate santa!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

life frugal, freebies and frappes

As I sit here sipping on my free mickey-d's frappe, I've been pondering a lot about my blog and why I feel so compelled to do this. I think I've hit on the main reason(s) why: I like to write, but after trying my hand at the book thing (at least the self-published type), I much prefer this venue. I can (and do)make typos and say things that I might change tomorrow, but that's OK here. I also really like to save money and I REALLY, REALLY like to teach other people how to save money. Call me lazy, but this would appear to be the easiest way to reach the greatest amount of people. I've taught classes, and even wrote a book about my frugal life, but in this venue I can just hit send and update daily to an infinite number of folks. Honestly, how cool is that?? I have also been frustrated by the lack of websites that let you in on the "good deals" without paying. They entice you in but then you have to pay to get into the "member's only" section. There's nothing wrong with that. I pay several of these sites and even recommend a few of them, but I wanted to offer something different. I want to be able to share my tightwad lifestyle but also laugh about my not-so-frugal faux-pas. What's it in for me? Quite a bit actually. While I will never charge for a glimpse into my frugality, when you post an idea I didn't know about, or share how something on the site made you laugh or change in some way...that's very fulfilling. How can you help? Get all your friends on board. Talk about the blog and tell them to sign up. The more ideas we have the better.  I will, as I learn more about the web, add links to sites that may be of interest to you. Feel free to check them out or not. Overall,  I've just decided this is a good, productive way to spend my time. Tomorrow I may change my mind. So there you have it. Philosphy Fru-gal.

Daily Buck (how I made or saved a buck to day): This morning I went for a run in clothing that was all puchased at yard sales. No gym fee. I ran 2 miles and it was only 32 outside. I'm patting mayself on the back because I've only excercised MAYBE 10 times in the past 10 weeks and I ran the whole way. (OK,maybe the 2 cups of Chock Full o' Nuts helped and  I was sucking air when I was done, but still.) I had a patient once of European descent...I add this because I am going to try to "write" her accent.... (My kids tell me all my accents sound the same)...Anywho, another nurse and I were helping her get cleaned up. She was a rather large lady and was getting very short of breath as we moved her. As we settled her in her chair and hung oxygen on her, she wagged her finger at us and said: "I useta take-a care of people justa like you are. I tolda myself I'd never get thisa way. You girls-- take-a  care of your bodies, hear me?" " Yes, Maa'm", we answered in unison, because that's what you say in the South. But I've not forgotten it. She's right. And exercise shouldn't have to cost you a thing.

Freebies this week: go to for a rebate form good for a 7lb bag of cat litter. I picked mine up today. The rebate is good until 12/10. Walgreens has Dove's mens body wash and super polygrip free with register rewards this week and RiteAid has the same body wash also with rebate. (If you are new to all this, I'll explain all the store programs in the near future.)

Stupid Tax: Confession: I like long very hot showers. Esp. when it's cold outside. I know it wastes time and energy and I do it anyway. There, I said it. I feel better.

Happy Savings!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

a life of value

Since my blog is about living a life of thrist and value...for Sunday: a thought, some lyrics, a verse--

If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them.   C.S. Lewis

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Austin Carty, blogger,

Last night, for our date, Mike and I went to a book signing by one of Mike's former students, Austin Carty. Austin was on survivor a few seasons back. He's been an aspiring author like myself for quite some time and has finally published his first book High Points and Lows: Life, Faith and Figuring it All Out. It's a good little book from a 20-something Christian guy who is being pretty honest about life in general. Find it on Amazon.

As you will see today, I have been playing around with my website today trying to figure out how to put ads on. I want to put items that seem to be relevant to saving money, so be patient with me while I figure it all out.

Go to to file your taxes for free! I haven't used this, but friends tell me it's wonderful.
Daily Buck (How I saved or made a buck today): I recieved a box of Chocolate Cheerios and 10 $1.25 coupons for the same in the mail...a BIG box...not some queasy little sample. This was for signing up at You know how some places only send you a small sample, like one tampon, or a 10 cent coupon...well, not here. Go sign up, definately worth it. And my kids loved the cereal. Also got a McDonalds coupon for a free Frappe. I read on another site that mickey d's is offering free iced coffee every Weds for the month of February and they have free wi-fi now also. I work all day Weds, so let me know what you find out. Bought a Word program on ebay for half the Staples price and also bought a kayak from a guy I went to HS with in Maine. Good day on the money front.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

sanctioned trash picking, posting/following/subscribing

No, that isn't me hanging out of the dumpster...but I have been known to scrounge in a few. When we lived in the country, we had this recycle center that we use to go to. It was really just a bunch of dumpsters with signs: brown glass, clear glass, newspaper, get the idea. These were not your average small dumpsters, they were big hummers--if I did manage to get inside, you couldn't even see me...but they were clean. My kids were really little then, and they cheered me on while I "dove" for coupons in the newspaper bin. That's been the extent of my dumpster diving...not that I am against it. I know several people who practice this fine art on the sly, and you would never know it if you saw them. I, however, am a bit more subtle in my acquistion of other peoples' junk. I practice "sanctioned trash picking."

I suppose this started when I was very young, growing up in rural Maine. We had dumps back then where everyone just dropped off their own garbage and no one was round to supervise. It was burned every few years and all kinds of nasty toxicity seeped into the ground. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Anywho, I digress. I LOVED the dump. I actually don't ever remember taking anything, but my dad let me set on the back of the pick-up truck and throw food to the black bears who hung out there. Yep, he sure did!! So it was kinda like going to the zoo but with none of those cages, and it was free!!

On to the grown up years. Many areas that don't allow you to leave big items beside the road for pick-up chose one or two days a year when they will come by and pick up all manner of big ticket items. If you can find out when this is, you can beat the garbage trucks and score big. Cities actually encourage this because then they don't have to get rid of the stuff. Where I live now, we can set out any items on trash day-Monday-so this is the night when my husband and I walk through our little burg. He doesn't carry stuff home...I do. Although, to his credit, he has gone with me to pick up a few bigger items. My kids get in on the action also. So what, pray tell, do we find? I have brought home 5 bookcases, a rocking chair, two benches, an aquarium, several cement planters (with the patina of a bygone era), matching quilts that had nothing wrong with them, and a myriad of other items. But you get the idea. I look at it like I am saving a landfill...not to mention a bunch of cash. One friend of mine who makes very good money has a yard sale every year with stuff she's picked up beside the road. She usually makes $800-$1000. Yep, people are wasteful.

Good news, I figured out today how to get to the page that lists all of you who are susbscribing by email, so you will be included in the monthly giveaways!! However, you really need to post some of the ideas you have sent me because they are great and I just don't have the time to cut and paste them all. Get all your friends to sign up! The more ideas the better!

Daily Buck (KB, how I made or saved a buck today). I had to take a required class at the hospital, 2.5 hours of paid time. Great. I also took pictures of items I plan to post on ebay. I think I can figure out a way to link my ebay account to the blog, so be on the lookout and you can buy my junk!!! And my hubbie and I are going on a real date tonight. I will use a buy one get one free coupon, of course.
Happy Saving!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

stupid tax, groceries, pets,

Financial guru Dave Ramsey has a term for the stupid things we spend our money on: stupid tax. I agree, so I'm stealing the term and will add it to my let you know that we do stupid things with our money too.

Today I did the BIG grocery shop : $168.00 out this week to Harris Teeter, Aldi, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Clover Leaf and Petsmart. I did have to buy pet food and paper goods, so next week the total will be much less.

So let me touch on the pet thing. We have a cat who has urinary tract issues and a dog with REALLY bad allergies (as in he gets a rash, dandruff and is super stinky!!!) The vet, of course, said we needed to buy this outrageously priced food to take care of the problems. After talking with a friend who is an animal lover and knows her products, I learned that Purina ONE has almost the exact same ingredients as Mr. Vet's food for about half the price. Now, granted, it costs about twice as much as what I was buying, but it is worth it to me after forking over $300.00 for kitty kidney stones. I usually find it cheapest at Walmart, but today they were having a sale at Petsmart, woot!! And how about flea meds and heartworm pills?? Crazy. Check out for the cheapest prices I've found. I buy pills rather than chews, but the cost savings is quite significant.

Daily Buck (a term stolen from Karyn Bosnack) : today I returned a tube of lipgloss to Walgreens because they overcharged me for it. I hate that, even if it was only 3 bucks. I traded it even for a clearanced 5-pack of boys underwear for my kid. Sweet. I also stopped at Starbucks to use the last of a giftcard. The line was out the door. I left. It appears that the economy isn't bad enough to keep folks from buying $3.00 coffee.

Stupid Tax: I may or may not have been dumb enough to dip a hot fish tank heater into the aquarium. And if I was that dumb, it may or may not have exploded into chards and smoke. But if I did that, I may have had to pick up a new heater to keep 8 silly fish alive and if I did that I might have had to spend $22.00 in stupid tax. If I did that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

valentine's day on the cheap, grocery costs

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you're not careful, you'll wait until the last minute and spend too much money. I'm jumping around in Amy's book to share some of her ideas and then I'll add some of my own. Lady's, we all know that we can make this day much too difficult for men. Give him a break and always an "A" for effort!! I am the mother of practical gifts, and I absolutely loath whoever came up with the crazy notion that "real" gifts shouldn't be something we need (or have an electrical plug...same idea). That is just silly. Don't let some notion of romanticism give you or your poor significant other cause for overspending. I gave my husband permission to give me practical gifts when we first married. For our first anniversary, he bought me a little notebook because I was determined to create a "price book" (you'll read about it soon). He found exactly the one I wanted and set it on the table with a vase of wild flowers and a card to greet me when I came home from work that day. I was sooo excited...seriously, weird, I know. It remains my favorite all-time gift, even though he has been more extravagant over the years.

OK...some frugal ideas for the big day:
1. Bake a cherry or strawberry pie and cut a heart design in the crust.
2. Make a simple but MEANINGFUL homemade card...those store bought puppies are SOOO overpriced.
3. Pick a bouquet of flowers and/or pussy willows/winter growth if you live up north and tie with a red bow.
4. Make a heart shaped pizza and red jello for dessert.
5. Have a home date. We did this often when the kids were little (we had 4 in five years and money was REALLY tight) We'd get a romantic movie from the library and, after feeding the little ones mac and cheese and getting them in bed by 7 (oh, yes we did!!!), I'd make a nice dinner for the two of us, complete with candles and music.
6. I've always kept VD small for the kids...a little bag of candy (usually Christmas candy bought on 75% clearance with just whatever was wrapped in red...awesome excuse for mom to eat all the green wrapped reeses...) and sometimes a note about how much I love them.
7.Heart shaped cookies (cutter shaped from a tuna can, if you need one.)
8. Men, if your wife insists on flowers, scrounge the basement for a vase and buy the flowers at the grocery store...they have such great deals on roses, much cheaper than the florist.
9. Do a job that you've been meaning to do for a long time and leave a special note there.
10. Call your spouse at work and tell them how much you love them, and mean it!!

There you go...feel free to add your own ideas.

I've been meaning to add our weekly grocery expenditure, so you can see how we really live. The first week I tracked was Jan 24-30. You need to know that groceries for me include: food, toiletries, paper goods, cleaning products and pet food. Some weeks will be higher than others, as you will see. Our average for 7 people remains around $80-$90 a week. This week was: $71.00 ($64.00 at Aldi and $7.00 at Dollar Tree.) I'll always round to the nearest dollar. This doesn't include eating out, which only included one $2 breakfast for me at work, if I recall correctly. That comes from the entertainment budget, but we rarely eat out.

Daily Buck (how I saved money today): I walked to work in the icky rainy cold at 7 am and drank some coffee that had been sitting far too long...uck.

Many of you have been emailing great ideas...try to get added as a follower so we can all share them!

Monday, February 1, 2010

snow days, freebies and not-so-full-disclosures

Snow days in the south are fun. Everything shuts down and neighbors hang out in the streets and play. Yesterday the kids and their friends all gathered at a local sledding hill and enjoyed the rare treat. The roads today are sheets of ice...that's what happens when they are not plowed and cars pack the snow down. But it's fun all the same.

Daily Buck: This morning my husband and I walked (no gas expenditure, free exercise) to Walgreens and CVS to pick up the good deals and freebies: Walgreens has the following free with register rewards: Zicam cold sore swabs 10ct, vitamin schtick lipcare.14oz, Blink gel tears.34 oz, Joint Juice 30pk and Scalpicin wipes 12 pack. CVS has Doves men care body wash and Riteaid has Blink Tears or AMO contact solution (one or the other). I could list a whole bunch of other deals, but I'll stick with the freebies for now. I usually buy freebies whether I can use them or not, then I either sell them at a yardsale or donate them to someone who can use them.

I've been thinking about what it means to be frugal quite a bit the last few days. Mike and I will celebrate 18 years this summer, and up until 2003, our combined incomes rarely hit $40,000.00, and some years that was much less. The first year we were married, Mike hired in as a teacher making $17,000.00 ---that was 1994. We have always tithed at least 10% of our gross income; we have incresed this amount as our salary has increased. Several years into our marriage, we started taking advantage of the retirement plan through Mike's and then my work, increasing slowly the amount we put in until we were at 10%. I have always strived very hard to save money. When Mike was at a different Christian school, we had to make a choice. Either I could work full time and enroll the kids there, or I could work part time and homeschool (public school is not an option for us). I chose to homeschool and really loved it. I clip coupons, shop at yard sales and frequent thrift stores. We've always saved for and purchased used cars and bought houses that were valued considerably less than what we qualified for. Even though we make more money now, our lifestyle hasn't changed. I don't care if you make $12,000.00 or $200,000.00, you should still learn to be a good steward with what God has given you. That's really what this frugal life is all about and that's what I want people to walk away with.

Any thoughts?