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5 Tips and Tricks to stress-free couponing!

couponing

  1. Make a separate email address: many of the coupons we can get access to require us to sign up for newsletters and emails from companies…if you don’t want your mailbox cluttered with junk mail…use a separate email address. You may even want a couple of email addresses…because sometimes you can get multiples opportunities for high value coupons if you have different email addresses for the coupon to be mailed to!social media
  2. Use social media: to be honest most of the best coupons and freebies come from Facebook and Twitter. So you want to be able to quickly snatch up that next high value coupon or free item mailed to your home…make sure have social media sites up and running.PS: you can “unlike” all of those companies you “like” on Facebook as they appear on your newsfeed and annoy you. There are two options you have to not have to “see” the posts and updates by those companies we often times “like” to get coupons.facebook hide

    a.  you can click on the little downward facing arrow next to the status update of the company you are wanting to hide and click “hide all from…”facebook unlikeb. you can hove over the bolded name of the unwanted company on your newsfeed…a box with the logo or image of the company will come up…underneath the image it will say “liked”…hover over the word “liked” and a drop down will appear…on the bottom it will say “unlike” click that and you have “unliked” and “unfollowed” that company. And if they come up with a new coupon you want…all you will have to do is “like” them again :)

    binder

  3. Use a Zipper BinderIf you use the binder system…make sure you use a Zipper Binder. I will tell you from experience that using a normal trapper keeper open folder will not work! You will only end up dropping coupons out of your binder constantly…and believe me that’s just no fun at all!!! Eliminate a lot of stress and lost coupons with this one simple tool!
  4. Take advantage of the free trial offers: I honestly sign up for ALL of the free trial offers I find. I do this for a few reasons…first of all I never promote something on my blog without trying it out first. Secondly, why not try it if its free?!?! The one thing I have to tell you…it can get confusing and frustrating if you sign up for monthly club or month long trial product and forget to cancel and get charged for something you weren’t planning on paying for. SOOOO here is my little trick…I put an alarm in my calendar on my phone to remind me to cancel 2-3 days before my trial time ends (make sure to set the time for a time you will most likely be at able to call or go online to cancel).  I also usually use a reloadable visa gift card to put in a credit card number on anything that requires a credit card number…this way my personal debit/credit card is not floating around out there…and I don’t have to worry about my own bank account being affected.amazon prime image
  5. Take advantage of online deals: To be quite honest…I don’t always have the time, will or motivation to go out and chase down all those awesome deals. However…many times I can find similar deals online (especially on Amazon)! One of my favorite things about shopping online is that I can combine promo codes, with a good deal and then also shop using Ebates or ShopAtHome to get cash back on my shopping…plus most companies offer free shipping anymore!***Go HERE and find out why I highly recommend Amazon Prime!

Another online “deal” that you should definitely take advantage of…are all those points/rewards programs…I have gotten TONS of free products and gift card by using the following rewards programs: (I use ALL of these following rewards programs)

Top 5 Couponing Mistakes New Couponers Make!

couponing mistakes

  1. Many people are excited when they see an “extreme couponer” and think “awww this will be easy” they go and get their newspapers, clip their coupons and head to the store. Next thing you know they have a cart full of items that they have coupons for. The problem is they have a cart full of items they will never use or were not on sale (or a stock-up price). They have now used coupons on items they don’t need and spent way too much money for dust collectors on their shelf!
    My tip is to make sure to try to match coupons with store sales or promotions. Just because you have coupons for products doesn’t make them a good deal. Be sure to only buy products you can actually use (unless the coupon makes the item free and then you can donate them!)
  2. It is really easy to use a coupon wrong. What? Wrong, you say? Yes that’s right! Coupons come with guidelines, restrictions and expiration dates. Just because a coupon “works” or “scans” at a register does not mean you have used the coupon correctly.  Make sure that if a coupon has a specific size requirement that you follow that guideline and buy the correct size required. For example, if a coupon says “$1 off 2 Palmolive dish soaps 20 oz or larger, with a limitation of 4 like coupons per transaction” you must buy two Palmolive dish soaps that are 20 oz or larger and you may not buy more than 8 dish soaps in a single transaction (even if the coupon scans for the smaller dish soaps or for a larger quantity).
    My tip is to make sure you take the time to read ALL of the fine print on each and every coupon you use! (Remember if you follow a blog, we are all human and make mistakes so always double check the coupon, even if a blogger says you can use it!!!)
  3. You can’t simply walk into a store and expect that just because you have a coupon you will be able to use it. Many stores make restrictions of coupon use. For instance, some stores will not allow you to use a Buy One, Get One FREE coupon when the store is running a Buy One Get One Free promotion (which would result in two items free!!!). There are also often restrictions on internet printable coupons.
    My tip is to read your stores coupon policy and carry it around with you when you shop.  If you use a coupon binder, make a special section just for store coupon policies…this way you can always refer to it to make sure you are following the rules, as well as if you ever have a disagreement with a cashier in regards to the coupon policy you can simply pull it out and see what it says, problem solved. J
  4. “Stacking coupons” is a great way to maximize your savings. This is when you take a manufacture coupon for a product and a store coupon for a product and use both of them in order to save even more money! Now, the important thing to remember here is that you cannot use two manufacture coupons on the same item.  Many times I have seen people take a manufacture coupon on $1 off 3 items and try and combine it with another manufacture coupon that is for $1 off 2 items…simply because the coupons look different. But that is not “stacking”! In order to “stack” coupons you have to be combining a manufacture coupon with a store coupon…never can you use two manufacture coupons for the same product!
    My tip is if you want to “stack” coupons make sure that you are not trying to use two different manufacture coupons. Just because the coupons look different does not mean they can be combined. You can only combine or “stack” a manufacture coupon with a store coupon!
  5. It is easy to get stressed out, overwhelmed or frustrated while checking out at the register. Many times your cashier will tell you that you can’t use a coupon that you were planning on using or you forget to put the right quantity of items in your cart, or you plan out your transaction and then forget something  in that transaction. Remember it’s not the cashiers fault! They are only trying to do their job, without getting in trouble.  If a coupon won’t scan for an item that you are trying to get…even if you are using the coupon correctly have patience with the cashier.
    My tip is to be respectful and patient with your cashier. Let the cashier check out the items the coupon is for…if they are still uncomfortable with accepting the coupon, ask for a manager or simply cancel the item and come back and try to purchase the item at another time with a different cashier or at a different store.

How, where, when and what…finding, using and organizing coupons!

print coupons home

First things first, where and how are you going to get your coupons? Here are a few option for you: (1) Buy them on Sunday from a local grocery store or gas station, (2) Subscribe to either the “Times” or your local newspaper to get 1-5 delivered to your house, (3) Ask your family and friends if they would be able to give you their inserts if they are not going to use them! Now that you know your options for getting your Sunday papers, there are many other ways to find coupons, tear pads, peelies (please do not take these off a product unless you are buying the product), internet printable coupons, and you can register to have coupons delivered to your home through various websites.

Ok, so now you know how to get your coupons….now where are you going to keep them? What sort of organization do you want to use? There are many different theories as to how to sort and organize your coupons; there is the box, binder, folder system and more. I personally use a coupon binder and a filing system. I clip about 5 sets of inserts on Sunday and put them in my binder. If I have more newspaper inserts left to clip I file them by date. This way I am not separating and clipping for as long and if there is an excellent deal on something later on I can just go back to my file and clip more of that specific coupon! Now you can’t just put your coupons in a binder without anything to put them in! So I recommend using baseball card invisible/clear sheets (ebay, Target, Walmart…).

Now you have your coupons, you have them sorted and put away where you can easily find them again, it’s time to find the deals!!!! This is where I can help you the most!!! Follow a few blogs and check on them daily. Let the blogs do the work for you!!!

Just remember it is not going be a walk in the park the first time out…it is gonna take time and energy to get started. You are going to mess up (yep I made many mistakes as a beginner couponer), you are going to miss deals (I miss them all of the time!), and you are going to get confused. You do not need 20+ inserts a week…you can build a stockpile with 5 to 10 Sunday inserts easily! Just remember to be respectful to your cashiers, kind to other shoppers and try not to clear the shelves! If there is an awesome stock up deal try to special order or get a rain check!!!

Good luck! Have fun! And do forget that I am here to answer all your questions!

Mobile Coupons/Rebates/Rewards:

Printable Sites:

Free Dave Ramsey book download for a “Guide to Budgeting”!!!

guide to budgeting

Looking to get on a Budget this year? Dave Ramsey is the best teacher out there on this topic!!! Right now you can download his Guide to Budgeting for FREE!!!

I have always been a very frugal person…obviously clipping coupons, buying used or clearance clothing and what not…but one of my favorite quick pieces of information that Dave Ramsey talks about in his book Guide to Budgeting are the “Five Money Gotchas”! They go perfect with my already present lifestyle but serve as a great reminder for my family answering the always present question of “where does all that money go”?!?!

Five Money Gotchas:

• Eating out. Start eating leftovers. Staying away from restaurants can
literally save you a couple hundred dollars a month.
• Car payments. You can buy a quality car for $2,000, and it will get you
around town just fine. And you won’t miss that $500 payment.
• Groceries. Clipping coupons, waiting for sales, and buying generic
brands are huge difference makers in your spending plan.
• Utilities. Shut the lights off when you leave the room. Entertain yourself
with a book instead of the TV. Those are just a couple of ways to save, but
they are big.
• Clothing. We don’t need new clothes as often as we think we do, and
buying from garage sales and consignment stores can save you enough
to make your jaw drop.

To see more budgeting and money saving tips from Dave Ramsey go HERE and checkout all the amazing products he has to offer….custom wallets for using the envelope system, amazing books, and several other great budgeting tools!

Thanks MoneySavingMom!

Is your Rapunzle TANGLED?!?! How to detangle/restore a dolls hair!

rapunzle before after

Is your Rapunzle TANGLED! Don’t mind the pun…as I am being very serious! My daughter absolutely loves her Rapunzle doll but within ours of opening the box her doll was a hairy mess! The more we brushed it the bigger the mess it became! Now I am sure I am not the only this happened to…so with that I decided to try out a little theory on how to detangle a dolls hair…and it worked!!! See how it only took me a matter of 20 minutes to go from disastrous to beautiful!

rapunzle 2

Materials you will need…

  • Fabric Softener ( I used a Downy trial packet I had on hand)
  • Wire brush (a Wire Wig Brush on Amazon cost only $2.99)…I actually didn’t have one so I just used a regular hair brush for today
  • Bowl of water or spray bottle
  • Towel

rapunzle 3

How to get this thing done…

  1. First using a 50/50 mixture either add water and fabric softener to a bowl and place all of your dolls hair into the bowl…or you can put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it into the dolls hair. Make sure that either way your drenching your dolls hair all the way through!
  2. Let the magic begin as the mixture soaks into the dolls hair for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Take your wire brush and comb out the dolls hair…this process took me about 5-10 minutes to get it perfect!
  4. Finally let the dolls hair air dry and then style to your delight!

IMG_1345

My daughter was so excited when she got home from school that her dolls hair was pretty again that she begged me to braid it for her and she has not put her down since!!!!  Oh how I love to see how the little things can make my kids so happy :)

What are the best ways to print and access FREE coupons from home you ask???? I’ve got answers!!!

print coupons home

Ok first of all everything I promote to you I have tried or currently use myself…I try to only promote products I myself would like. I am not here just to blabber your ears off….I truly want to help you!!!

Many of you have asked or wondered “why is the coupon in the post I want not there when I try to print it?” Well unfortunately coupons have a print limit. Once the coupon has reached the number of prints the manufacture has delegated to that coupon the coupon gets removed.  Also at the beginning of each week often times there are coupons that get added…and of course coupons that disappear. Then there is the month end…on the first day of every month the coupons get reset, deleted off the site and/or new coupons are added!!! This is why I when you see a coupon for a product you like it is important to print is right away! Also at the end of every month make sure to print any and all coupons that you like as they could very possibly be gone by the 1st of the next month!!!
“How do I up keep the cost of paper and ink?” This is another very common question I hear. The answer is quite exciting if you ask me!!! Because we are in the perfect season of the year to follow this advice. I always try to stock up on paper, ink, office supplies and all those goodies during the summer when there are so many HOT back to school deals. Luckily right now we are right at the beginning of all those SWEET deals and you can still score big. For instance, this week at Staples you could have grabbed a box of printer paper for only $0.01 after rebate!!! There are also also sorts of additional coupons for $5 off of $30 or percentages off for the office supply stores right now that will help you get your printer ink at a rock bottom price!!!
printer

So with that said…here are a few of my favorite printable coupon sites!!!

More AMAZING coupon resources that I use….

  • Ibotta…Sign up and redeem coupons from your phone! SUPER EASY (I have earned ALOT of money with this app already!)
  • SavingStar.com…Sign up and earn the savings with your store membership cards
  • Cellfire.com…Sign up and earn the savings with your store membership cards
  • Shopkick…Sign up and redeem coupons from your phone…plus earn points to redeem for FREE gift cards! (I have earned over $100 with this app already!)
  • Target Cartwheel…This is an app that you sign up to redeem Target coupons on your phone at the register!

All You
There is also All You magazine which you can have mailed directly to your home…which comes with $100′s of great rare coupons! Plus you get the bonus perk of all the great recipes and tips in the magazine! I have been getting my All You magazine subscription for 2 years and LOVE IT!!!

*****Ok so that’s all I can think of right now…but if you have any further questions please ask!!! Like I mentioned above…every single coupon resource mentioned above I use and sign up for and print from…they are all awesome and I HIGHLY recommend checking every single one out!!!

Stay at home mom VS the Working mom…which is better?

mom card

As a mommy of 4 beautiful children I have always struggled with this one question….which is better being a stay at home mom or a working mom? Believe me when I say I do not have the answer…in fact I am still struggling with knowing what to do in my very own life. But I thought if I have struggled so deeply with this concept I am sure there are other mom’s out there with the same struggles and questions as me.

So from years of personal experience I have come up with a Pro’s and Con’s list…just to see if I could come up with a definite conclusion to my years of questioning

stay vs work

My final conclusion after creating the pro’s and con’s list…there is no perfect situation! Unless of course you are doing exactly as the Lord has directed you to do and are at peace with following His direction. In all other cases…the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side!

So what to do now?

Don’t ask me I am still praying that the good Lord gives me direction and peace in my own decisions! Good Luck and please share if you have any further input, advice or prayer support! Because whether we are stay at home moms, working mom’s or a combination of them both…we could all use some prayer and support!

Planning a road trip? Here are a few fun ideas for keeping the kids happy and entertained!

family road trip

It’s summer time…which means park dates, water slides and long road trips! If you have kids the idea of taking a long road trip can be daunting. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to turn that miserable trip into a fun, educational and lifelong memory extravaganza!!!

paper bag

  1. Make travel bags for each kid. There are two ways to do this the first way is take paper sacks and number them for each day you will be on the road. If your road trip is not “days” long but rather just one LONG day label your bags with times. At the specific time or date each bag is labeled…surprise the kids with the “NEW” bag! It will keep the kids on their toes :)
    In each bag place fun little trinkets  (the dollar section is GREAT for this) to keep the kiddos busy. For example, books, crayons, match box cars, coloring books, travel games, snacks (lots of these) for a little older kids I like to put in a few dollars…this way they can choose a pit stop to pick out their own snacks or souvenirs. 
  2. The second way to make a travel bag is to simply pack a single backpack with all sorts of fun games, toys, snacks, treats…whatever your kids will enjoy!

    usa map

  3. Print out a picture of a United States map…give each kid a small pack of crayons…as you are driving down the road your kids can look for different states licence plates…when they see a “new” states licence plate they color in that state! You can turn this into a contest and say the kid who colors in the most states wins a prize!travel bingo
  4. Travel BINGO. This is definitely a family favorite for us (my kids even use their BINGO cards for just everyday around town errands)! You can purchase these easy BINGO cards with sliding windows at Walmart, Target, or pretty much any book or toy store. The best part about these little games is that there are NO small parts to drop or lose!
  5. Give your child a new pack of markers to color an intricate coloring page. I used to use this trick in my classroom as a teacher for kids who finished their work early…it’s great! Go HERE to check out a great site with TONS of coloring pages to choose from.
  6. Play “I Spy”. My kids do nearly every time they get in the car. One child chooses something they can see from their seat in the car that will stay constant…then the rest of the car takes turns guessing what it is.

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Spring Cleaning Project: Week 1 (Before and After)

kids before after

Last week for our Spring Cleaning Challenge we started with the bedrooms…now I won’t lie…I got my daughters (and babies) room done!!! Every single part of that room got taken apart, cleaned and organized! But I didn’t get to my room or my sons room….due to having a VERY sick baby and ending up in the ER.

So as a result my Spring Cleaning this week is gonna be a little extra….I need to clean my closet in my own bedroom and also finish my son’s bedroom downstairs. (I am pretty sure I can whip these rooms out in 1-2 days)

CLOSEST BEFORE AFTER

I did however go through ALL of my kids clothing and found all the clothes that will no longer work for this new Spring Weather and pulled out their summer clothes…which means I have created PILES of clothes that need to be either donated…given away to a friend…or sent to ThredUp.

ThredUp will pay you for your used clothing for any AGE (0-100 years old)!!! It’s awesome…it’s like getting paid to clean! Plus if you are new to ThredUp you can also replace some of those clothes that no longer fit with new or barely used clothing from ThredUp for FREE when you use promo code THRED10 (you will get $10 off your order…and you will just pay shipping)
****Valid through Wednesday 4/10/13 at 11:59PM PST.

Stay tuned…Spring Cleaning Week 2 is about to begin!!!