Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frugal Finds

Considering that the better part of the past couple weeks has been spent miserable with the never-ending cold, the best deal of the week had to be my new stockpile of NyQuil at CVS! I had a $5 off $30 purchase coupon that I used at CVS, which came out to about $0.71 off each of 7 items (toothbrush and floss not pictured). Note: If you're using a $5 off $30 coupon, be sure to hand that to the cashier first so that it comes off the pre-coupon total!

Here are a few of my better finds:

4 NyQuil - 2/$9.98, used 4 $1.50 coupons & received $10 ECB
FINAL COST - $0.29 ea.
Centrum 130 ct. Vitamins - $6.99, used $3 coupon

3 HoneyNut Cheerios - $1.67 ea. w/ $1.50/3 coupon
FINAL COST - $1.17 ea.
3 Cottonelle - $0.99 ea. w/ $0.25 Cellfire, $0.50/2 doubled, & $0.50 doubled
FINAL COST - $0.16 ea.
Warm Delights Cookie - $1.99 w/ $0.50 Cellfire & $0.50 doubled
FINAL COST - $0.49
2 Hormel Chili - $1.00 ea. w/ $0.55/2 doubled to $1
FINAL COST - $0.50 ea.
2 Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes - $0.92 ea. w/ $0.40/2 doubled
FINAL COST - $0.52 ea.
2 Grands Biscuits - $1.00 ea. w/ $0.50 Cellfire, $0.50 SCuts, & two $0.25 doubled
2 Purina One Dog Food - $1.19 w/ 2 free item coupons which rang up $1.45 ea.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tired of Cooking?

If you're going to eat out, here are some coupons to help you keep a bit of that hard-earned cash in your pocket.

Free Dollar Menu Item at Wendy's
Sign up for Wendy's emails here and receive a coupon for $1 off any item, including those on the dollar menu!

Buy 1/Get 1 Free at Denny's
Here are some buy one/get one free coupons good at Denny's until this Friday.

Free Chips & Queso at Chili's
Score a coupon here for free chips and queso by signing up for Chili's email club.

(Thanks Money Saving Mom for pointing out these great deals!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Frugal Find - Free Lumber

Apparently the frugal bug is catching because my dear husband came home with his pickup bed full of free white pine lumber. The lumber was courtesy of an 11' x 7' pallet used to ship machinery to his employer.

Rather than see all that go to waste, he claimed it with visions of his summer tool shed project. Altogether, he got 58 linear feet of 4x4s and 63 linear feet of 2x12s.

Estimated Value: at least $250!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frugal Valentine's Day Gifts for Him

Release Your Inner Bombshell – Have your sister or a friend come over for a pinup-inspired photo shoot. The key to getting a suggestive (yet tasteful) picture you love is variety. Even if you have the perfect outfit that you know will rock his world, don several outfits anyway. And don’t forget to experiment with poses and backdrops. You may luck out and get the perfect shot on the first snap of the camera, but if not, you’ll have enough to choose from to ensure at least one keeper from the bunch. If you're thinking no way am I donning lingerie, try Marliyn Monroe flirty for inspiration. Find a pretty frame, and you’re set!

Let Me Count the Ways – Last year, after my husband’s scoffing at my announcement that I could easily list 100 specific things I loved about him, I took up the challenge and comprised the list in time for Valentine’s Day. Now admittedly, the last 20 were much harder than the first 20, but the look on his face was definitely worth the struggle! If the thought of listing 100 is too overwhelming, try 25 or any other random number that speaks to you. Just be sure to be specific. When you’re done, print it on nice paper and roll up like a scroll, securing it with a bit of leftover ribbon.

Scratch and Win – Here’s a great idea for creating your own scratch and win ticket. All you need is some cardstock or other heavy paper, a black permanent marker, and a red crayon. How easy is that?

Treats and Eats - You might want to test that old adage that the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If he has a favorite meal, especially if it’s something you don’t make often because you’re less than fond of it, a home-cooked meal might be the perfect gift. And for a terrific dessert to cap off the night, melt some chocolate and hand-dip some strawberries to feed each other.

Sports Talk - Rose petals and moonlit strolls might top many women’s romantic lists, but to speak your guy’s love language, you might want to break out something comfortable, something salty, and something sweaty. Of course, I’m talking about sports. If your love is fanatical about football, if he never misses a baseball game, or if he’s hooked on racing, why not look online and find some highlight clips of his favorite team. Youtube has a plethora of tribute reels compiled by dedicated fans. Even if he’s seen them a dozen times, throw in your undivided attention to the game, some tasty snack food, and a back rub, and he’ll swear it was the best Valentine’s Day ever.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family Movie Night - The Frugal Way!

We’ve started a relatively new tradition of having a family movie night on Sunday nights. The promise of a movie is good incentive for me to get supper on the table early and, more importantly, for the kids to get bathed and don their PJs without a peep of protest. It’s a nice way to make us look forward to the end of the weekend as much as we do the beginning of it. The challenge, however, has become finding free or nearly free family movies to watch each week. Although we’ve done Netflix in the past, we found that we simply didn’t watch enough movies to make it worth it. If you have a service like Netflix or Blockbuster online, you’re already set. But if not, here is a short list of movie sources that you may want to check out if you haven’t already:

1. Your local library – Our library has a modest selection of DVDs for checkout. There are several oldies in the family section (for the sake of simplicity, I’m counting anything more than 2 years old as an oldie). They also have a constant trickle of new titles coming in so it’s worth checking back if we don’t find something we like one particular week.

2. Your TV! – Sounds obvious, right? But if you have even basic cable like we do, you can often find good family movies playing. If you do a quick search at the beginning of the week, you can always record something for later in the week.

3. Online - is an excellent site full of current television shows and old favorites, with a few full-length movies thrown in for good measure, all absolutely free for the watching.

4. Redbox – If you’ve got a redbox location nearby, it’s a great source of cheap movies. All the movies are a buck (plus tax), and the boxes are usually located in highly frequented areas like grocery stores, Walmarts, and McDonalds. To make a good deal even sweeter, go online and sign up to get a free movie rental code. Once you sign up, you’ll get regular emails with free movie codes. If you’re willing and able to move movie night to Mondays, you could score a free rental almost every week by doing this!

5. Half-price Books - If you're lucky enough to have a half-price books in your neighborhood like I do, you need to check out their clearance movies. Our store regularly rotates the movies in this section, and I've nabbed countless family movies for $1, cheaper than cost of renting it from most places! Of course, if books are your weakness as they are mine, you might want to bring your kids along to discourage browsing the book aisles...

6. The Great Movie Swap – Why not suggest a movie swap with your friends, family, or neighbors who have kids? Not only will you get to watch movies for free, your kids will love selecting and trading movies with their friends for the night. And while you’re at it, maybe you could invite each other over and share movie night sometime. The more the merrier, right?

Know of another great movie source I’ve left off my list? Be sure to chime in and share your insight!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Frugal Finds

This week, I spent just under $90 between grocery stores and CVS and Walgreens stops. At Hy-Vee, I loaded up on boneless/skinless chicken breasts that were on sale for $1.59/lb, nabbing almost 20 pounds for my freezer. I also bought 4 pounds of hamburger marked down to $1.69/lb, chocolate ice cream on sale for $0.99 with store coupon, and a 5-lb bag of potatoes on sale for $0.99 with store coupon. And I used a $4 Purina printable coupon on a bag of Friskies cat food, making the final cost $0.58 for the bag!

Here are some of my better scores at Dillon's this week:

4-pk Cottonelle - $0.99 w/$0.50 coupon doubled

1 can Del Monte vegetables - $0.95 w/$0.75 off coupon here doubled

2 HoneyNut Cheerios - $1.67 w/2 $0.55 coupons doubled to $1 each & $0.50 cellfire coupon
FINAL COST: $0.42 ea.

1 Multi-grain Cheerios - $1.67 w/$0.50 coupon doubled & $0.75 cellfire coupon

1 Yoplait Yo-Plus yogurt - $2.00 w/$1 coupon & $1 cellfire coupon

6 Gogurt pks - $2.00 w/$0.50 coupons on 4 & $0.35 coupons on other 2, all doubled
FINAL COST: $1.10 ea.

4 Nestle chocolate/butterscotch chips - $1.88 w/2 $0.50 off 2 coupons doubled
FINAL COST: $1.38 ea.

For the Walgreens part, I used a $25 gift card that I earned for a transferred prescription, and I earned $22.46 in rebates from there for the month:

Fructis Conditioner - $3.99 w/$3.99 rebate FINAL COST: FREE
Zucol Cold Medicine - $7.99 w/$2 coupon & $7.99 rebate FINAL COST: Made $2

and not pictured
2 Theraflu Medicine - $5 ea w/2 $2 coupons & $6 rebate FINAL COST: FREE
Thermacare - $2.49 w/$2.49 rebate FINAL COST: FREE
Contact Solution - $1.99 w/$1.99 rebate FINAL COST: FREE

At CVS, I spent $7.99 on an ear rinse and got $7.99 in ECB and bought 2 boxes of Wheat Thins for $1 each and used a $2/2 coupon, making them free also.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Food - Leftovers to Chicken Noodle Soup

We took advantage of the rare warm February weather and grilled chicken breasts last night. Since I had all the necessary ingredients on hand, I decided to make good use of the leftover chicken breast and make chicken noodle soup for lunch today. The grilled chicken, seasoned with poultry seasoning and seasoning salt before grilling, really added nice flavor to the soup.

Here's what I used:

1/2 c. sliced baby carrots
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/4 c. diced red onion
2 T. vegetable oil
1 large grilled chicken breast, cubed
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. egg noodles
salt & pepper to taste

First, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, chicken, and thyme. Bring to simmer, turn heat down to medium, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Family Fun - Kids Valentine's Cards

This year, the kids and I made Valentine's Day cards for their classmates. We surfed the Family Fun site to come up with J's googly-eyed fish idea. We used some red construction paper from my stash and white cardstock that my husband claimed from work as it was on its way to the trash pile, and we skipped the googly-eyes in favor of drawing the eyes. On the back, we wrote one of the following fish-themed greetings:

  • I'm hooked on you this Valentine's Day!
  • Best fishes this Valentine's Day!
  • You're oceans of fun!
  • Hope your Valentine's Day doesn't flounder!
  • You're the catch of the day!

Coming up with a Valentine's Day card idea that passes an 11-year-old boy's inspection was a bit more challenging. We settled on a card theme. First, we sorted out all the hearts from our mismatched decks. Then, with a permanent marker, we wrote messages that had underwent an exhaustive search designed to eradicate any word or phrase that might remotely indicate romantic interest toward a girl. Or a boy. Here's the phrases that passed our 5-point-inspection:

  • You're a real ace!
  • From one card to another!
  • To the King/Queen of hearts! (notice, no "of my heart" here)
  • I'm lucky we're friends!
  • You're a trump card!
  • Betting on a Happy Valentine's Day!
  • You suit me! (this one was a hard sell, but I managed)