Friday Finals

Friday Finals

Once again, I went to Publix, and I also went to Kroger early in the week to stock up on some P&G deals, especially some of my husband’s favorite deodorant! I totally stocked up on that!

Here’s what I got:

Kroger:

Water bottle x2 (summer clearance)

Sippie cups x3 (summer clearance)

Dawn 24 ounce x 4

Old Spice deodorant x 8

Febreze spray x 4

Apples x 3.5 lbs

Carrots x 8 lbs

Milk x1

Total before coupons/sales : $75.42

TOTAL AFTER = $29.14 or 61% savings (the apples were $1.99/lb, which totally threw my savings off, but we love them!

Publix

Betty Crocker potatoes x 4

Pears x 3 lbs

Birds eye veggies x12

Chex mix x 6

Bugles x 6

Hamburger helper x 6

V8 Splash x8

bananas x 3 lbs

pickles x1

Jolly Time popcorn x6

Cheerios x2

Degree deodorant x3

Bic lighter x1

Granola bars x1

Total before coupons/savings = $158.30

TOTAL AFTER = $39.52 or 75% savings!

 

Welcome!

Welcome!

Christmas gifts: starting early!

In the past few years, I’ve seen the real benefit in starting early when it comes to Christmas presents. One of the goals I have made for myself is to significantly cut our Christmas spending. I want to try to shift the goal of Christmas away from the monetary things as well as work harder to finish our last steps towards being debt-free.

Anyway, the best way to cut costs on Christmas, other than making all of the presents, some of which I may be doing as well, is to start early and shop deals! As I find some of these deals, I’m going to post them here, hoping that it will be helpful to you as well!

The best deal I see right now is for a FREE negative-ion band OR two FREE expandable vases at Save More! They’re free (completely free, including shipping) because right now when you sign up, you get a $10 credit and both of these items are under $10, which means FREE! So, check SaveMore for those deals. They’d make a great Christmas present, or possibly hostess or house-warming presents!

Here are some of the best deals I see right now:

Mamasource

$30 worth of Hero Huggers kids’ belts for $15 (these are super-cute and easy for kids to use!)
$50 worth of PAK (personal accessories kit) bags for $25 (these would be great for a sister or friend who loves to stay organized and look stylish at the same time)
$20 worth of books from the Slimy Bookworm for $10 (this is good if you have a couple of specific books you’re looking for!)

Zulily

NOTE: Zulily is a deal site where most of the deals are from upscale companies, so many of them aren’t ‘deals’ to me. The ones I list are good quality and what I would consider a good price, but they have MANY more sales if you are looking for a deal on some upscale clothing or furniture items.

Wooden toy collection 50% off
Momo Baby boots and soft shoes from $9.99
Neat Solutions table-topper, disposable potty-toppers and floor toppers (really cool, I swear!) 40% off
Neat-Oh! convertible storage bins (AWESOME!) from $7.99

Through midnight tonight, if you sign up for Eversave (another deal site) through this link, you’ll get $10 in your account for future use! They periodically have some pretty great deals that can be used no matter where you are located, and they also have local deals for a few of the larger cities. You don’t have to buy anything right now, you just have to sign up before midnight tonight to get the $10 credit! This is a great way to score a free gift!

Eversave does have one interesting deal available right now for older children. For $26 (only $16 after your credit if you sign up before midnight!), you can get a three-month subscription to Little Passports. Once a month, you’ll receive a package with letters, photos, souvenirs, stickers, and access to online games featuring one country. The entire package, including a story, is focused on two kids making a trip to this country and their adventures as they explore that country! If I had older children, I might consider this gift, especially since it’s something that comes over the course of a few months. Usually at Christmas, my children are pretty overwhelmed with stuff (and I’m overwhelmed with plastic!). I love these types of gifts! According to Little Passport’s website, you can renew your gift at a later date if you love it so much that you want to continue it!

Friday Finals: Burning out!

I’ve been feeling pretty burnt-out lately with coupons. I think it’s mostly that I have so much else going on right now, and I’m just not feeling it! I don’t think I’ve been to a drugstore in about a month actually, and it’s not because of a lack of deals, because they’ve had some great deals! I feel pretty well-stocked, at least for my immediate family, and I am just… tired! Tired would probably be the best word for it!

I still hit up Publix, and occasionally another store, but mostly, I’ve been keeping to myself for the past few weeks to recharge!

So, this week I only went to Publix… and that’s it! I still hope to make it to CVS to get Revlon lipgloss for $.99 and to Walgreens to get a handful of back-to-school stuff ($2-3 tops), but that’s it! We’re eating from our stock, taking care of appointments, I’m focusing on cleaning the house, training my children, and a couple of my other projects, and it’s nice! It’s nice to have time to bake a triple batch of breakfast cookies, make some new activity bags, read a little bit of a book (GASP!), enjoy a baseball game with my family, and waste some time with friends! It’s also nice to have a laundry room that looks like this

(note the FOLDED and HUNG UP clothes in place of a foot deep pile on the floor that used to be there)

a bed that looks like this

and a kids room that looks clean and organized, though I won’t dare wake up the napping children to take a picture!

Don’t worry though, I still have this (from lunch),

this,

and this

to take care of in the next few days! This weekend I’m going to focus on family time, yard work, and the last three photos I showed you! Couponing will wait! My sanity usually wins out and this week, it wants order and not couponing trophies, though I have a couple of those too!

Here’s a re-cap of my Publix trip(s):

Total before coupons/sales = $164.23
TOTAL AFTER = $17.81 or 89% savings

I have no picture because my 1-year-old started to break the eggs on his stomach before I could find my camera and I had to control the mess before it got out of hand!

So for this week, here’s to faith, family, priorities and avoiding burn-out!

Publix trip 08/24 and coupon ettiquite

Apparently I’ve been much more out-of-it than I realized because I planned my day, cancelled a meeting and hauled all three boys across town for a doctor’s appointment that isn’t scheduled until tomorrow! *sighs* The thing is that I SWEAR it was for today and that the reminder call even said it was for today! Well, making lemonade out of lemons, I was able to make a second trip to Publix (since there’s one right by the doctor’s office!) and got twice the number of deals that I was going to get, since I didn’t want to wipe anyone out of anything!

Even if I have enough coupons, I really do my best to practice restraint/good judgement and NOT clear the shelves or take more than I feel like is fair. I don’t have a specific number in mind, but I judge based on the number of deals I could get, the number of items on the shelf, and the hotness of the deal. I don’t want to completely pass up a great deal just because there’s only two left on the shelf, but I don’t want to stop others from the opportunity to get the deal as well. It’s a judgement call usually, and if I want more than I feel is fair, I may make a second trip or go to another store.

The ‘extreme couponing’ phenomina that’s been spreading encourages taking all you can get, and that’s the wrong attitude to have. It should be more like stocking up when the price is at its lowest without being greedy.

Sorry for rambling!! Now, back to Publix shopping!! ;)

I made two trips and got the following:

Whole Fruit Sorbet x5
Publix Greenworks double toilet paper x1 (penny item!!!!!!!)
Fruit in gel cups x4 (school lunches!)
A1 Steak Sauce x6
Fresh Express salad x1
Fresh Express spinach x1
Crest kids toothpaste x1 (clearance shelf)
18 ct eggs
Advil liquid gel and regular tablets x16 (with a deal like this, four different kinds of Advil were included, each of which has a normal stock of around 20-30 bottles, so buying 8 bottles at each store isn’t a huge chunk off the shelf!)

Total before coupons/sales = $164.23
TOTAL AFTER = $17.81 or 89% savings!

I will probably be making a run to CVS and/or Walgreens to get a few items, and possibly grab some more fruit when I go pick up a prescription at Publix (and another $25 gift card!) in a few days, but this will be the bulk of my shopping this week!

Anyone else get some great deals you want to share?!

DIY: Aromatherapy vapor rub

One of the joys of having a big(ger than most) family is that when one gets sick, we all get sick, and it lasts a good week at least! We’re fresh off the latest sickness, which seemed to be just a very nasty cold, and thankfully my husband and I seemed to get the worst of it. It’s hard to see your babies miserably sick, especially when you can’t do much for it.

I can deal with just about any illness, but a cold really gets me, mostly because I can’t just take something and keep going. I’m a difficult patient in that I like to take something to help with the symptoms and not stop. In fact, the few weeks of bed rest that I had with my last pregnancy were some of the worst I can remember. I’ll take needles, and even childbirth, any day over the agony of long-term forced ‘rest’.

Anyway, the only relief that I can find when I have a cold is in aromatherapy. Along with a box of lotioned tissues, my sinus bath and my vapor rub are my only relief during a cold. With this last bout, I found a way to make my own vapor rub, and it’s so easy!!!! In fact, I think these may find their way into the Christmas presents (close friends, FORGET that part!).

Basically you use petroleum jelly and essential oils and THAT’S IT! The cost of the essential oils is a little steep up-front, but you use so little for something like this, and you can make so many things with it! I’m researching other ways to use it right now, especially since I’m on this DIY kick, but I wanted to share the recipe I found for the vapor rub! Feel free to try it and I swear, it works so much better than most of the cold medicine out there!

Publix preview 08/24-08/30

I Heart Publix has the new preview up for Wednesday’s new sales. One of the biggest deals is FREE ADVIL!! Here are some of the highlights:

A1 Steak Sauce BOGO $3.31
– $1/1 from 08/14 SS insert
= $.65 each

Del Monte fruit or fruit in gel 4 packs BOGO $2.65 (school lunches!!)

Fresh Express salad BOGO $3.99
– $1/1 Vocalpoint mailer (LOVE VOCALPOINT!)
– FREE product coupon from Vocalpoint mailer

Wholefruit Sorbet BOGO $2.99
– $.50/1 from 06/26 or 07/24 RP inserts
= $.49 each

Advil 40-50 count $4.49
– $2/1 from 08/14 RP insert
– $5/2 from Publix green advantage ad
= FREE!!!!!

Fruit, salad, steak sauce and pain reliever… once again, these will make for a very random shopping trip, but that’s the point of couponing, to get it when it’s at the lowest, not necessarily when you immediately need it!

For the full match-up, go HERE.

Bi-Lo and Publix ads

Just a quick link to the Bi-Lo and Publix ads this week!

Bi-Lo has a few nice deals. Be sure to check out the $.64 Hillshire Farm sausage links, the $1.50 NutriGrain bars, and the $.99 dozen eggs (only Friday-Sunday). I’m also going to get a couple of bottles of Mott’s juice for $1.40. I usually don’t spend more than $1 for a bottle of juice, but I think the prices going up will make me change that! I haven’t seen a bottle of any kind of juice for less than $1.50 in quite a few months, so I’ll take what I can get!

Publix had some great deals (as you can see HERE), especially the $.14 Nature Valley granola bars, the FREE plus overage Resolve, and the $.62 Suave kids shampoo/conditioner!

Busy Bags

Inspired by this, I sat down last night and started making ‘busy bags’ or bags of activities for kids. I started with this, and ended up with this:

Some of them are really simple little activities (like the ‘Body and Blood’ bag with foam cutouts of a cup and a few Eucharists to pretend with) and some are more complex. I put together make-your-own rosary kits, a bag with various fruits and vegetables to group and sort, make-your-own pizza kits, make-your-own cupcakes kits, fall leaves to make a thanksgiving craft, and green leaves to make a family tree craft. I also drew letters on the sides of the noodle pieces so that they can be strung in alphabetic order. I think I’m going to make a couple of other varieties as well, but I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet.

Basically I cut up every piece of foam that I had in and around the house and ended up with some fun little activities! I’m so excited and I hope that they kids will like them as much as I think they will. For me, the challenge of doing fun stuff like this is the lack of planning. I want to do it but the day just gets away from me and I can’t do any of the prep work when they’re all awake and wrestling each other and I need to cook dinner!

I have a few more ideas that I’ve found online that I want to do, but I need to make a Wal-Mart trip for those!

I think my ideas started when MoneySavingMom posted about participating in a Busy Bag Swap a couple of months ago. I looked into it and was about to sign up for it when I realized the cost would be upwards of $60. I just couldn’t do it! Now, that would include 30 bags, which is great, but I just made 14 individual bags last night for my kids and it was all from things that I already had that cost about $2 to begin with, and it took an hour or two! It was totally worth the time, especially since some of them will be good for quiet church-attending activities!

Maybe eventually I’ll be inspired to organize a local swap to cut out most of the cost of a long-distance swap (since half of the cost was for shipping).

Publix trip and surprise deal

Fresh off of a cold (FINALLY!) and back to shopping (and blogging)!

Apparently my family LOVES Nature’s Valley granola bars, because they’ve all (husband included) been asking for them for about a month now. I’ve been waiting and waiting for a sale, because over $3 for six servings was a lot more than I wanted to pay. One of the coupons in this week’s Publix ad was for $2 off of Nature Valley granola bars, and, I was thrilled to see, it included both the big box AND the smaller box, all of which had $2/2 peelie coupons attached to them! So… they were only $.14 PER BOX! At that price, I’m going back tomorrow because I didn’t want to clear the shelves, though I was slightly tempted when I consider the rate at which my boys inhale these granola bars!

Anyway, with the amazing deal on the granola bars and a few other nice deals, I left with quite a good result!

Nature Valley Granola Bars x6
Seattle’s Best decaf coffee x4
Publix Big Roll Paper Towel (penny item) x1
Hefty trash bags x2
Resolve x4
Suave kid’s shampoo x2

Total before $83.66
TOTAL AFTER = $17.66 or 79% savings