It is the end of the month, don’t forget to print your coupons! Coupon sites often refresh coupons at the first of the month. If there are some you want to be sure to snag, print them before it is too late.
October 31, 2010
You can’t see this photo very well, but I wanted you to see the jack-o-lantern that our daughter helped her daddy to carve this year. She drew the face. Too cute!
Have a happy and safe Halloween!
October 30, 2010
Tis the season for the flu and colds so stock up the medicine cabinet now. Get a Free Sample of Emergen-C Mixed Berry Drink Mix to help give your system a boost.
Thanks Mojo Savings!
Is it just me, or do there seem to be an abundance of freebies today?? Maybe it is because I haven’t updated the blog in a while, but this week the freebies have seemed to be abundant.
Walmart is offering up a FREE sample of the new Tena Ultra Thins (lower left corner). If you requested this sample previously, you should still be able to request it again. Allow up to 4 weeks for delivery.
Barnes & Noble has a new Kids’ Club for children ages 12 and under. Member benefits include:
- 30% off list price on any one kids' book or toy for your children
- $5 reward for every $100 you spend on kids’ stuff
online and in stores
- Free cupcake from our café for all your children's birthdays, and a
- Free Tikatok create-a-book project to inspire your children's creativity
- Monthly email newsletter featuring even more savings
- 25% off every day on books created by your child on Tikatok.com
Thanks Together We Save!
Go here to sign up for a free sample of Ideal Sweetener. When I found out that this free sample was made with Xylitol, I was very excited. If you’ve never bought it before, it can be very pricey so a free sample of it is a awesome!
Ideal® no calorie sweetener is the ideal replacement for your sugar bowl!Ideal® has fantastic taste which comes from its unique combination of ingredients. Ideal® contains more than 99% natural ingredients (Natural Xylitol and Natural Maltodextrin) by volume (with a small amount of non-natural sucralose-a concentrated sweetener), and it keeps its sweetness, volume and texture in baking as well as dissolves quickly and completely in hot or cold drinks. It measures cup for cup like sugar, and Ideal® is delicious for sweetening fresh fruit or cereal to satisfy that sweet tooth. Ideal® is a great sugar alternative for the whole family!
Thanks bunches Becky!
Info from the All You site:
To request your free sample, fill out a short form on the Gas-X® Web site. If you've recently requested a sample from Gas-X®, you may not qualify for this sample.
* Request your free sample of Gas-X® Thin Strips™ now while supplies last!
Disney Movie Rewards members can print a $8 off Blu-ray combo pack to Toy Story 3. Watch for some matchups with this coupon soon. Usually Target has some fantastic deals on these combo packs. This would make a great gift for someone this holiday season!
My cousin reminded me that I hadn’t posted this yet. She said that these apples are all that she buys because they are so yum. I agree—they are delicious and being free makes them even sweeter! Make a $5 purchase at Earth Fare and receive a 3 lb bag of Honeycrisp Apples FREE. Thanks Sisse!
With coupon code 3HLLWN, you can rent 1 DVD at any Blockbuster Kiosk and receive another free. Valid through 10/31/10.
Earlier in the week, I wrote a post about discerning needs vs wants. Today I’ll give you an example a friend told me this week that reinforces the importance of calculating your purchases.
A close friend has been wanting to buy new dining room chairs for about 10 years now. Yes, you read that correctly 10 years. She looked around to see what would best fit her decor and needs. She waited until she had money saved so that she would pay for it with cash rather than put it on a credit card. This not only eliminated the possibility of debt but it also saved her money on the purchase because no interest was involved. She waited until the chairs she wanted were on sale AND she had a store coupon of 10%. If she had been impulsive with her purchase it might have cost her hundreds of dollars more and she might still not have what she really wanted.
October 29, 2010
If you are planning a trip to Regal anytime soon, you might want to pack this coupon for a free small drink with popcorn purchase.
Or this one for $2 off Nachos at Regal valid only 10/29/10.
If you work at a business that employs large numbers, ask your human resource office if there are any discounts available to you. Many larger employers offer discounts to local attractions, gyms, and other businesses. State and federal employees also receive discounts to state and national park campsite rentals.
One of my employers, for instance, sends employees a book with discounts that we can receive to local businesses by showing our employee badge. It is a nice perk that only a few employees take advantage of.
Another option for a discount is if you are a member of an organization or church. You might check with local attractions about group buy rates. At some places, you can receive a discount when you buy a certain amount of yearly passes or tickets.
October 28, 2010
October 27, 2010
This is a little off of the subject of couponing, but I’m hoping that it will help someone out there reading. Nursing home placement is never an easy choice. It is even more difficult when it is a decision that must be made in a very time limited way. Unfortunately that is a situation that all too often occurs for older adults after hospitalization.
In simplest of terms, there are two levels of care—skilled and long term care at nursing homes. Many times an older adult who has broken a bone or had a fall will go to a nursing home for what is called “skilled care”. Skilled nursing home care involves very active therapy and rehabilitation. For the first 100 days, a person with Medicare is covered for skilled nursing home care. The person must show a benefit from and compliance with therapy to remain eligible. If at the time of discharge from skilled the person is unable to return home or to a lower level of care (a retirement home or assisted living facility for example), long term care at a nursing home is another option.
I highly recommend speaking with a good elder law attorney to help secure assets and pay for care in nursing homes. See this great resource called "Saving Momma’s Home” for more information. Click this link for more information on Veteran’s Benefits. For the purpose of full disclosure, I work with Monica Franklin, CELA, here in Knoxville. Because I’ve seen her at work first hand, I know how good she is and how well she knows this stuff. If you are outside of this area, I recommend looking for a certified elder law attorney, as the certification requires extra training and expertise in this area of practice.
When an older adult is admitted to the hospital and there is even an inkling that nursing home care (skilled or otherwise) might be needed, contact the discharge planner immediately. If there is an especially good nursing home in your area, know that they might have a long waiting list. People on that list are given priority in the following order—hospital patients, skilled patients, and everyone else. If the discharge planner gets your loved one on the waiting list early, there is a better chance of he or she having pick of a nursing home rather than having to settle for what is available. If it is a weekend or a discharge planner isn’t available, you can call the nursing home yourself, but be sure to make note that your loved one is a hospital patient when doing so. Know that sometimes hospitals try to push family members to take a patient home if nursing home placement cannot be found immediately. To better understand your rights and how the discharge planner is meant to help you not dump the process of finding placement on you, read this article.
When choosing a nursing home, be sure to ask if the nursing home accepts Medicaid as a payment option. If your loved one enters the nursing home in skilled, but later needs long term care, it is important to have an option to pay with Medicaid if there are limited assets and income.
I hope some of you will find this information useful either for you, your family, or a friend who might be dealing with the difficult decision of nursing home placement. Please also know that this is a short explanation of some of the points to consider and each situation has its own special issues. I’m not offering any legal or professional advice, only making resources available so that you can do your own research and speak with qualified health or legal professionals to help you through the process.
October 26, 2010
To request your free sample, just fill out your contact information on the Thomas Coffee Web site. Go here to request your free sample oh Thomas Premium Blend Coffee now while supplies last. This will go great with all of that free coffee creamer I scored at Kroger during the last Mega Event!
I couldn’t get on right now, and I’m guessing that their website is bogged down with multiple hits. If you have the same problem, wait a few hours and try again.
In searching the blogosphere this morning, I was starting to think that there weren’t many great deals out there to be had. Then I found these 3 on the All You site:
You can still sign-up for the FREE $5 Gift Card to Groupon.
Sun Crystals: Get free packets of Sun Crystals® All-natural sweetener by filling out a short form on the Sun Crystals® Web site.
Poise Pads: Sign-up to get your free sample of Poise Pads from Sam’s Club, currently, no membership I.D. is required.
John Frieda is offering free samples of their Root Awakening/Strength Restoring shampoo, conditioner, and "smoothing lotion”. Thanks Becky for the freebie info! Both she and I think that they should change their name to John Free-da. ;)
I can’t tell you how often I’ve found great coupons, deals at stores and restaurants, sale info, and freebie deals by reading the newspaper. For a long time I didn’t subscribe to the paper, but now I do. I’ve been pleased with how much I enjoy reading through the paper and working the crossword puzzles.
Also don’t forget that your local newspaper can be a resource for you to get the word out about programs and projects that you or your organization might be hosting. Many papers offer a free community information page or calendar in which you can give notice and details to help you promote your event.
If you are unable to subscribe or want to read the paper a few times before you do: If you are a local, on Fridays Pilot stations offer their customers a free newspaper when you come into the store. Many fast food restaurants keep newspapers available for their customers to read. You can also read the paper at the public library.
October 25, 2010
Food City (Check out the Mega Savings Sale similar to what Kroger has with their Mega Events)
What to watch for at local farmers markets: fresh eggs, milk, meats, greens (think turnip and collard greens, arugula, kale), bok choy, Chinese/Napa cabbages, head cabbages, edible flowers and cutting flowers, lettuces and spinach, garlic, storage and green onions, hot peppers, bell peppers, winter squashes/pumpkins/gourds, apples, dried corn/cornmeal, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, herbs, potted plants and flowers (think perennials for fall planting and ornamental flowers for fall decor), honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.
We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.
Today it is rainy in our area with a cold front moving in this week. I might be pulling the rest of the green tomatoes to preserve if frost is threatened. It has been so warm this fall that I still have plenty of tomatoes rolling in, and I’ve been hesitant to call it quits yet.
Plant— Nothing planted this week
Harvest—Bell peppers (red and green), tomatoes, onions, green onions, a few okra, a few green beans, herbs, lima beans
Preserve—In the freezer—two quart bags of tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, chopped green onions, chopped parsley. The butternut squash picked last week were added to dry storage after they cured outside.
Waste Not/Reduce Waste— Our church held the annual Wienie Roast and Bonfire, and many of the foods that we used were leftover from our Faithstock event. Waste not, want not.
Want Not/Prep/Storage—I worked on cleaning and organizing our home this week. I’d been doing bare minimum for the last few weeks because life has been so busy. It felt so good to have the house clean and tidy. Decorated for fall and Halloween using many natural things and decorations we use year after year.
Building Community Food Systems— I’ll be buying for the church food pantry this week, as it is getting a little low. We had been trying to keep most of the dried goods at a low amount so that they wouldn’t go to waste before distributed. Now that the weather is cooling, we’ll begin the process of stocking back up. We find that more people are in need of food baskets during the holidays.
Eat the Food—I spent most of Sunday afternoon baking—two cakes for my hubby’s birthday (the two cake idea was our daughter’s), casseroles, muffins, and cornbread. I made pasta with veggies from the garden this week that was so good. I’ll miss the crispness of fresh vegetables when winter rolls in. Hubby noticed that I even added chopped okra to the recipe, a veggie not normally added to pasta dishes. It was quite good with the lima beans, herbs, green beans, peppers, chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions and broccoli.
I know that I’m a little late on this post, but since one of the ways that I save on Halloween is buying a year ahead, I’m hoping this still helps.
- Buy on Craig’s List, eBay, or at consignment shops—We’ve bought and sold costumes online, making the cost very little each year. Resell your costumes next October online to recoup most of the money you spent to buy them for you. We bought a costume for our daughter this year at a local consignment sale for only $6. The original price of the costume was $15, and we plan to resell it next year to make back most of our money spent.
- Let costumes double as dress up—Wearing an outfit only once or twice a year seems wasteful. Instead, pick costumes or accessories that can be added to your child’s dress up box. This won’t save you money, but it will make the money you spend seem a lot more worth it.
- Make your own—Buying material/fabric and sewing a costume can sometimes be cheaper than buying one in a store or used. Even cheaper, though, is finding a way to make a costume out of something you already own. A sheet turns into a ghost. A scarf, some jewelry, and a long flowing skirt turns into a fortune teller. This year, I’m dressing as a really bad lunch lady. A friend and I make the meals for the children at church on Wednesday nights, and we thought it would be funny for both of us to be lunch ladies. One year my cousin’s family all dressed as character’s from Little Red Riding Hood, using clothes that they already owned (Grandmother, Little Red Riding Hood, Wolf, Lumber Jack/Woodsman, and a little Woodland Fairy as an extra addition to the story).
- Keep it clean—I recently read on an online forum suggesting to put on the costumes after supper to go trick-or-treating to avoid the risk of spills and stains.
- On November 1st, buy for next year—pencils, erasers, stickers, toys will all keep fine for another year. Buy them when they are 50% off or more to save next year.
- Use coupons and search for sales—Look through coupon matchups and hone in on candy sales and coupons.
- Buy in bulk—I like to hand out Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops. They are free of the major allergens and are a slightly healthier option to the other candies. I buy them through Frontier co-op when I catch a sale. While they are a little more expensive than other candies, I feel a lot better about handing them out. Yes, I have some mainstream candies included in our trick-or-treat bowl too, as I don’t want to get egged or toilet papered.
- Homemade—I only recommend homemade for children you know personally. Having a few homemade cookies and apple cider on hand for friends is a nice touch. A batch of sugar cookies cut in pumpkin or ghost shapes costs next to nothing to make.
- Reverse trick-or-treat—last year we had such an abundance of butternut squash from our garden that we brought each of our neighbors one when we visited. There was absolutely no cost because even the seeds were saved from the previous year and were free. It was so nice how everyone was surprised and pleased with their treats.
- Decorations are another case for buying after the holiday—We opt for fall decorations as opposed to Halloween decorations for the most part. This helps because I can leave them up until Thanksgiving, taking down just a few Halloween items and adding in a few more Thanksgiving items here and there. Almost all of the decorations we have are either repurposed, homemade, or bought after the holiday at deep discount prices. See the link for more tips and ideas on ways to save money on fall and Halloween decorations.
- Opt for a pie pumpkin—What is better this time of the year than homemade pumpkin pie? Make use of the meat of the pumpkin by roasting it for a pie. Make pepitas out of the pumpkin seeds for a salty treat.
- Support a good cause—Some of the best prices I’ve seen have been at church pumpkin sales and fundraisers. Search those out for a good price on your pumpkin as opposed to shopping at the grocery stores. A friend who works her church’s pumpkin sale says that this week they are deeply discounting their pumpkins so that they sell more. Being late can sometimes be best.
- Make it an experience—When you visit a pumpkin patch, you’ll usually get a hay ride of some sort, a pumpkin, and some other activity or treat, depending on the farm. Look for coupons in school coupon books and in mailers to make it a little less expensive. Some farms give discounts for large groups so be sure to call ahead and ask.
Crafts and Activities
- Search www.parents.com , www.janbrett.com , or www.doverpublications.com for FREE coloring pages and craft ideas.
- Ask teacher friends for ideas—teachers are some of the most creative people when it comes to crafts for free or cheap. Ask for their help in getting some ideas together.
- Search local moms groups and forums for activities. Knoxmoms.com is one of my favorites in our area for the most up-to-date information about family friendly and free activities.
- Visit your library—Each year we check out Halloween themed books from the library to read on the week of Halloween as a way of celebrating. It is fun, educational, and completely free. Don’t you just love the library?
On a personal note, please, please be safe on Halloween. A loved one was killed by a drunk driver on Halloween so I know first hand how dangerous the roads can be. Please wear reflective gear, bring flashlights, obey traffic laws, stay off the roads if possible, and for Goodness sake, please don’t drink and drive. Our family only trick-or-treats in the early evening and only visit houses in our immediate neighborhood. We want our daughter to know the fun and festivity of Halloween but to be safe at the same time. Have a safe and festive holiday!
This meal plan is for 2 adults and 1 child and the occasional guest to dine with us. NOTE—I often make enough food to freeze or have for another meal. Because of this, leftovers are counted as $0 on the menu. If we go to a restaurant, it counts in a different part of our family budget.
Today is Hubby’s Birthday. Happy Birthday to my best friend!
We’ll be going to a new restaurant to celebrate his birthday tonight.
Approximate cost: $0
Sausage dressing (last week I switched a couple of meals around, and when I made this recipe I decided to double it so that we’d have the second dressing this week) $1.50
Green beans and Lima beans from the garden (there aren’t enough to have a full side dish out of either, so I’m going to try and combine the two together) $0
Sliced tomatoes (free from the garden) $0
Cooked carrots 50cts
Leftover birthday cake
Approximate cost: $2
I’ll be helping to make supper for the children’s program at church. We’re having a Halloween party with hot dog mummies, hot dog octopi (for the kids who don’t want crescent rolls on their hot dogs), crushed bones (homemade popcorn), brains (noodles), eyeballs (two side dishes, one of grapes and another with “eyes” on crackers/cheese and olives on crackers), ghosts (nutter butters covered in white chocolate), jello jigglers in Halloween shapes, party punch with frozen hands (ice made in a clean glove), and whatever else we come up with for the night.
Approximate cost: $0 (church budget, though this will be an inexpensive meal thanks to leftovers, coupons, and low cost ingredients)
Venison Steaks (free from my sister and brother-in-law) $0
We still have more potatoes to dig, and yes, I know we should have dug them by now. If the ground dries enough, we’ll have roasted herbed potatoes. (potatoes and herbs free from the garden, olive oil bought on sale with a fantastic coupon) 25cts
If we don’t have potatoes, I’ll make rice (free after coupon, Land O’ Lakes butter with olive oil free after sale and coupon). $0
Summer Squash from the freezer (free from the garden this summer) $0
Sliced tomatoes from the garden $0
Pickled beets (from the garden this year, pickling ingredients only expense, jar lid was free) 25cts
Approximate cost: 50cts
Vegetable soup from the freezer (leftover, free) $0
Cornbread (mix was free after coupon at Kroger) $0
Baked potatoes 50cts if ones from the store, free if from the garden
Baked potato fixings--salsa (free after coupon and Mega Event earlier in the year), butter (Land O’ Lakes butter with olive oil free after sale and coupon), green onions or chives (both free from the garden) $0
Approximate cost: free-50cts
Salad with leftover venison steak from Thursday night (some lettuce and most other vegetables from the garden. I’ll buy extra lettuce at the farmers market to add to the dish) $3
Salad dressing (bought on sale with coupon) 25cts for 3 servings
Homemade whole wheat bread (wheat bought in bulk and home milled for flour, yeast was a money maker) 50cts
Approximate cost: $3.75
Pumpkin shaped pizza (homemade dough, cheese bought with sale and coupon) $5
Approximate cost: $5
This week's Produce dept. specials at Three Rivers Market are a troika of fall goodness. Fuji apples, multiple varieties of pears, and a root that tastes like celery - sans strings. Popular in Europe, the root has fans here as well. Here's more info and some recipe suggestions for the culinarily curious about Celeriac.
• Organic Fuji apples, $1.19/lb. (reg. 1.99)
• Organic Celery Root, $1.79/lb. (reg. 2.29)
• Organic Pears, $1.99/lb. (reg. 2.49)
I’m an experimental eater and one of the few fruits and vegetables that I’ve never tried is celeriac. I might give it a go this week if I make my way to Three Rivers.
This recipe is super simple, though I’ll admit that it took a little longer to make them than I remembered in the past. I think that I saw this on an episode of Paula Dean’s cooking show, but I’m not completely certain. Regardless of the source, they are super fun to make for the kids, and I hope you enjoy them.
Green Olives with pimento
1. On a floured board, roll out the crescent rolls and pinch the dough together where it is perforated so that there will not be holes in the dough.
2. Add the lunchmeat of your choice and cheese to the dough, paying attention to stay towards the middle and to not overstuff the dough. If you overstuff or get too close to the middle the cheese will ooze out. If desired cut a few strips from the ends to use for decoration and patch jobs if you find holes later.
3. Roll the dough together in a snake form. Add the extra crescent roll strips to make decorations on the snake if you like.
4. Crack the eggs in small bowls (as many eggs as you want color). I used two eggs and stuck with green and red. Mix the coloring into the egg until you get the hue you want. Then brush the egg wash onto the snake in the pattern of your choice.
5. Place snakes on a greased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the dough is light brown and set. Approx 15-20 minutes, depending on how big your dough rolls end up being.
6. In the meantime slice the olives in half and the bell peppers in the shape of a forked tongue.
7. When the snakes come out of the oven fit the tongue into the dough while it is still hot. Use toothpicks to affix the eyes. Voila! You are ready to slice and eat!
Percentage discounts can be a little tricky.
- Buy one, get one 50% off—this discount only means that you’re getting 25% off each item. This isn’t that great of a deal, and it is meant to look better than it is to draw you in.
- Buy one, get one of equal or lesser value 50% off—this could be even less of a discount if your items aren’t equally priced. If you buy one item at $20 and another at $10, you’re only getting $5 off.
- 50% off—divide the price of the item by 2 to know how much you’ll spend.
- 10% off—Move the decimal point to the left and you’ll see how much you’ll get off. If your item costs $12.00 originally, by moving the decimal point to the left one you see the discount of $1.20. To make things very easy, you can use this to determine other percentages. 20% off is two times that amount ($1.20=10% off, $2.40=20% off). 30% off is three times that amount, etc, etc.
- 25% off—Divide the original number by 4 to see your discount.
- 33% off—Divide the original number by 3 to see your discount.
- Keep in mind that many stores don’t want this to be easy for you unless they are truly trying to liquidate what they have. Rarely will you see charts in stores with percentage discounts and final pricing, and when you do, take advantage of the sale. It is usually a sign that the store wants the sale.
- Check to see what the percentage is off of full price verses waiting a few weeks for the item to go to mark down. I rarely buy anything full priced at stores like Gymboree or Old Navy because their sales are so regular and they mark down their products so quickly. 25% off an original price might not be as good of a discount as waiting until it is on sale and you have another coupon.
- When using percentage off coupons together, ask the clerk if they will be used separately or in conjunction with one another. Usually they will take off one coupon, get a total, and then take off another coupon. In other words, a 30% off coupon and 10% off coupon do not equal 40% off. Original price of the item--$10. Thirty percent ($3) taken off of that amount=$7. Then the clerk will take off another 10% off of that price (70cts)=final price of $6.30.