Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Beginning Challenge!

So, the first thing I want to challenge everyone to do for 2010 to help get a hold on your finances is to start tracking your money. EVERY PENNY including debit card and cash should be tracked... this way, you can see how much of your money is going where!

There are a couple of ways you can choose to do this, but how far you go with it is up to you. The old fashioned way is to keep a small notebook in your wallet and write down every time you spend money. For example:

1/1/09 $2.97 Starbucks Hot Chocolate
1/1/09 $54.75 Groceries at Smiths
1/1/09 $32.38 Gas at Chevron
1/1/09 $1.29 Icee at Chevron

You get the hint! Tracking your money this way helps you see what you are spending on and at the end of a month you can divide it into categories, add it up and see how much you spent on each thing. You would be really surprised how much money you chose to spend on frivolous things!

Now, the extra mile works even better. Most home computers come with some kind of money tracking software. You may have Quicken or Microsoft Money. Any version will work... and it doesn't matter if it is an old one! What I love about this kind of software is that you can set up categories such as gas, mortgage, groceries, eating out, etc., (the more specific the better), and at the end of the month you can run reports where it shows you how much and what percent of your income you are spending on each category.

An important thing about using this software is to first set up how much you have in each of your bank accounts and then to record every deduction and every expenditure. Just knowing you are going to be accountable will sometimes help you spend less! Anyway, this will be a great start to 2010 because it will help you keep it on your mind and be more responsible for your money.

If you don't have any software on your computer, Quicken offers a free online money management tool. It has been rated a top pick on Money Magazine, received an Editors Choice Award from PC Magazine, and was picked the best budgeting site by Kiplingers Magazine. Just click HERE to get started on Mint.com. They can "download and categorize your balances and transactions automatically every day--making it effortless to see graphs of your spending, income, balances and net worth." Give it a try!

Do you have a favorite way of tracking money? Please comment and share. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Here Comes The New Year!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! How did you do? Did you manage to stay out of debt? Did you resist last minute impulse buys? Did you make little cut backs that saved you here and there? Did you find fun, free things to do with your family? Most of all, did you savor the true meaning of the season? Did you enjoy every minute with your family and friends?

Hopefully the answer to all those questions is a resounding YES! :) Christmas may be over, but your quest to be more frugal should not be. 2010 is almost here and THIS can be the year you can finally take a hold of your finances and work in little ways to put money aside to help you get out of debt or just save.

If you are relatively new to Frugalityville, or even if you have been here for a while, take a few minutes over the next week or so to review the introductory posts listed HERE. They will give you a good general knowledge on frugality. Then come back regularly and participate in setting goals each month and learn some new tricks of the trade. If you haven't said hello, start now by leaving a comment and introducing yourself! I look forward to a year of saving with you here at Frugalityville! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

$10 Coupon For Tinker Bell & The Lost Treasure Blu-ray DVD Combo Pack...

Disney is giving you $10 off the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack of Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure. You must have a Disney Rewards Account to print this coupon, but signing up is free and they will just send you other offers like this occasionally.

Just click HERE to sign up and get instructions on how to print your coupon. Apply the coupon somewhere where it is on sale, and save even more! Coupon expires Dec 24th, 2009. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Danger Week!

So this is it... we are counting down the last days before Christmas. Did you know this can be the most dangerous week as far as your budget is concerned? Lots of things can tempt you in to spending extra money this week. There are super bargains out there that don't take a lot of looking for to be found... it can be tempting to purchase extra gifts for people on your list because they are so cheap. It can also be tempting to purchase more gifts for your kids because you suddenly feel like you don't have enough for them. You also start thinking of other people you could buy for... (no need to spend money more money, just bake them some banana bread or a plate of cookies. They will appreciate the thought.)

These feelings can wreck havoc on your wallet. When you start to feel this way, take a deep breath, and step away from the store! You have had this planned for 5 weeks now. You will not be paying off credit debt in the new year. You will not have a drained bank account because you have been smart. Find some cheap or free activities to do with the family to take your mind off of shopping and get in to the true spirit of the season. Bake, be festive, and have a very Merry Christmas. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Barnes & Noble Coupon... 25% off one item...

Click HERE to get a coupon for 25% of one item at your local Barnes & Noble store. Coupon expires 12/17/09. Read the fine print for any exclusions. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bath & Body Works Coupon... now with a working link :)

Yikes, sorry about the link people! Please click HERE for the coupon for a free item (up to a $13 value) with any $10 purchase at Bath & Body Works. (Excludes 3-wick candles, Scentbug and Gift Sets.) Coupon is good through Dec 24th. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kohls EXTRA 15% or 20% off coupon... 3 days only...

Click HERE to get this weeks 3-day shopping pass for Kohls that gives you an extra 15% off the already low sale prices at Kohl's if you spend under $100 and 20% off if you spend $100 or more! This means it is worth doing one big transaction rather than a few separate transactions to get the extra 5%! The coupon is good for every purchase you make between December 10th and December 12th. Don't forget they have extra sales Friday 3pm to midnight and Saturday 6am-1pm. On top of all that, you will earn $10 KOHLS CASH for every $50 you spend in your transaction. (Kohls Cash is yours to spend at a later date.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Free Wall Calendar... Just pay shipping!

Lisa shared a wonderful link in the comments section. If you didn't see it, you can get a FREE customized photo wall calendar right now, (you just pay shipping), by following this link to Vistaprint. This would make a lovely gift for Grandparents or even for yourself. I would hurry if I were you! This offer probably won't last too long!

Thanks Lisa for sharing, and welcome to Frugalityville! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Close To My Heart Scrapbooking...

Do you have a scrapbooker in the family you need to buy for or do you scrapbook yourself? I wish I was creative like that, but as of yet I haven't taken the leap. :( It's on my list for 2010!

However, if you DO scrapbook, you need to check out the Holiday Heyday Clearance Sale going on at my friend Brandie's site. You can get items for as low as a dollar, but you better not wait, it is while supplies last through Dec 17th. Just click HERE to check it out.

Kohls EXTRA 15% off coupon... 3 days only...

Don't you love Kohls sales over the holidays? I DO! I LOOOOOOOVE the Friday Night Owl and Saturday Early Bird Sales especially. But what makes it EXTRA wonderful is when they send out a 3-day shopping pass that gives you and EXTRA 15% off the already reduced sale prices! Woo Hoo!

So click HERE to get your shopping pass. Just print and use Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week (Dec 3rd-5th) on ALL your purchases. That's right, don't let them take that coupon from ya... you can use it the WHOLE three days. Enjoy! :)

FREE Christmas Music From Amazon...

Who doesn't love Christmas Music? As a special treat for holiday shoppers, Amazon is offering 25 Days of Free... A new free holiday song every day through Christmas. Yesterday I downloaded Joy to the World by Casting Crowns. Today it is Snow Angel by Tori Amos... can't wait to see what song they give tomorrow! Just click HERE to get in on the fun. :)

This Week at Smiths...

Some nicely priced items I will be picking up at Smith's this week:
  • Sara Lee Homestyle Pies & Breyers Ice Cream $2.29/each when you buy a combo of THREE

  • Coca Cola 2 liter Products $0.79/each

  • Bananas $0.39/pound

  • Fresh Selection or Dole Garden Salad $1/each

  • 24 pack Kroger Water (16.9oz bottles) $2.50

  • Hot, Lean or Croissant Pockets $1.89/each

  • Kroger Orange Juice, gallon $1.99/each

  • Ritz Crackers $1.99

  • Kroger 8oz cream cheese or 16 oz cottage cheese, sour cream and dips $0.88/each

  • Cross rib roast $1.89/pound

  • London broil $2.49/pound

  • Boneless pork chops $1.99/pound

  • Pork loin roast $1.79/pound

  • Fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast $1.99/pound

  • Betty Crocker Cake Mix $0.79/each

  • Kroger Flour 5lb bags 4/$5.00

  • Kroger Granulated Sugar 4lb bags $1.99/each

  • Betty Crocker Brownie Mix $0.99/each

  • Hershey's Baking Chips 3/$5.00

SATURDAY DEC 5th ONLY 7am-midnight: 50% off Kellogs, Keebler, Kashi or Sunshine regular retail. Combine this with coupons and you could be taking home some stash!

Choose From... * Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies, 14.5 - 18 oz. * Keebler Club Crackers, 9 - 16 oz. * Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies, 8.5 - 12 oz. * Keebler Graham Crackers, 14 - 32 oz. * Keebler Multi-Pack Tray Cookies, 11.5 - 16.8 oz. * Keebler Sandies Cookies, 9.5 - 16 oz. * Keebler Vanilla Wafers, 12 oz. * Keebler Zesta Saltine Crackers, 15 - 16 oz., * Keebler Town House Crackers, 9.9 - 16 oz. * Kellogg's Cereals, 20 oz. Raisin Bran, 11.4 - 14 oz. Special K, Select Varieties, 17 oz. Frosted Flakes, 12 - 12.5 oz. Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks, Rice Krispies, Crispix, 16 oz. Frosted Mini Wheats or 24 oz. Bite-Size Mini Wheats * Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal, 12 - 13.4 oz., * Kashi TLC or Heart to Heart Crackers, 8 oz. * Kellogg's Fruit Snacks or Yogos, 4.2 - 9 oz. * Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Bars, 10.4 oz. * Kellogg's Pop Tarts, 22 oz. * Kellogg's Rice Krispie Treats, 5.9 - 12.2 oz. * Kellogg's Special K Bars, 3.8 - 4.7 oz., Select Varieties * Sunshine Cheez-It or Party Mix, 9 - 21 oz., Select Varieties

(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go here to the Smiths website to look at your local AD's for yourself.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Holiday Stuff For Your Computer...

Want your computer to look more festive? How about free Christmas screen savers, wallpapers, gift tags or cards. Hershey's has just what you need:

My favorite screen savers are the Hershey Kiss "Bells" and the "Find the Kiss" presents.

It is officially time to turn on the Christmas music and get those decorations up people. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend full of fun with your family on Thanksgiving and with your shopping buddies catching the bargains on Black Friday. :)

Don't forget to suss out the ads and then plot your route based on what is most important for you to get. If you don't get the paper or want to take a peek early, you can google "black friday ad's" and find lots of links to the ads online. More than anything, make sure you stay relaxed and enjoy... don't get stressed. My sister used to make us bagels with cream cheese and bacon to munch on while we stood in line at Toys R Us and chatted. Be careful not to pick up lots of extra gifts just because they are cheap... that can wreck havoc on your budget. Just get what you need and head on home.

Good Luck and be sure to come back and tell us what bargains you got this year :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Home Baked Gifts...

Making treats to hand out is fun for the family and certainly yummy for everyone involved, but if you are not careful they can end up costing you more than going out and buying something! Keep that in mind when you are choosing a recipe to mass produce and be sure to work out how much each batch is going to cost you before settling on a recipe.

For example, generally nuts are quite expensive, so if you have to use them, try to choose a recipe that uses them minimally and perhaps even think about substituting a cheaper variety if possible. Pecans are usually more expensive than walnuts per pound, so why not try a batch of your recipe with walnuts instead and see if it is a change you are willing to live with :)

Many baking items such as chocolate chips, cream cheese and nuts come on sale over the holidays, so keep an eye out for savings. Also, store brands of items such as sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk can offer up to 50% saving with no recognizable difference in taste. Stock up with what you will need when the prices are low.

Many websites have fun holiday recipes highlighted at this time of the year:

Whatever you choose to bake for your family or friends, make it extra special by attaching the recipe so that the person you give it to can enjoy your gift for years to come!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Marthastewart.com 74 Gift Wrap Ideas...

I was very pleasantly surprised when I got an email from Marthastewart.com this evening. I almost skipped over it thinking, "oh heavens, I can just imagine the specialty materials needed to do anything of hers!" But I clicked on the link for 74 Ideas for Gift Wrap Tags & Bows and was engrossed for about an hour with how many simple, frugal ideas she had! If you use the link above, just click on the orange arrow box to scroll through the ideas. Or here are a few of my favorites:

Remember, the idea is to use stuff you already have on hand, so raid that craft closet and see what you can come up with to use to save even more :)

Campbells Coupons...

Save up to $15 on various Campbells products by selecting and printing coupons HERE. :)

And The Winner Is...


You have won Chocolate!

Thanks to you guys who posted my button. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seasonal Activities...

Now is the time to look for free or very inexpensive things to do with the family over the holidays. Some ideas include:
  • Rent a movie from Red box for just $1, (just be sure to return it the next day)
  • Go to a sing-a-long, (Some churches or schools do them... keep an eye out for advertisements)
  • Get out board games you haven't played in forever
  • Drive around to see the lights in the neighborhood or at the temple, (there is a neighborhood that does "The Night Before Christmas" in Taylorsville, around 5400 South and 3200 West. If you haven't seen it, your kids will LOVE it... it is easy to find, it is COMPLETELY lit up!)
  • Bake inexpensive treats and take them to your neighbors to spread the joy.
  • Go caroling with friends around the neighborhood
  • Camp out in the living room with sleeping bags together
  • Have dinner on a blanket by your lit Christmas tree

What other things do you like to do around the Christmas Season that increase the size of your spirit but don't decrease the size of your wallet?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Week Pass for Curves...

Don't forget to take care of yourself physically during this stressful time of the year. Click HERE to sign up for a free week pass for Curves and get yourself healthier and stronger before fighting the crowds on Black Friday! ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Wrapping...

Don't waste money on expensive paper, ribbons, tags or bows. Opt for the cheaper stuff... It is all going to look cute wrapped up under that festive looking tree, and it is going to get torn off so quickly that they will not even have time to appreciate any extra cost you spent on it! Some 99c curling ribbon and a bag of 99c bows is really all you need to spruce up your gifts.

I was at Target today and found myself looking at the cutest box of gift tags ever. They were hand crafted and sparkly... I was so tempted. Then I saw the $9.99 price tag and I woke up to the reality that these were something I could most definitely live without. Scratch buying expensive gift tags and get creative by making your own. Even better, why not have the kids hand make them! Family members (especially grandparents) are sure to ooh and aah over their homemade creations. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Before you buy ANYTHING for this year decoration wise, don't forget to get out your decorations from last year, including anything you bought at the after Christmas clearance sales and do an inventory. You will probably find that you already own enough decorations to make your home beautiful for this year without spending extra money in this department.

Decorations are best purchased in the couple of weeks FOLLOWING Christmas. Prices are then slashed 50-90%. Last year I got a six-foot pre-lit white tree and tons of blue and silver lights, tinsel and balls a week after Christmas for just $18 total... This year I will be able to reap the rewards of my bargain shopping by having a Dallas Cowboys tree somewhere in my home. Had I purchased the items at full price I would have spent over $150, but patience paid off in a big way.

So limit how much you spend on decor before Christmas this year. Don't think you have enough lights? Try dimming instead of brightening for a warm, romantic look and use candles to create a Christmas glow. Cut small branches of evergreen trees and arrange in a vase with some red ribbon for a woodsy smell. Fill a clear vase or bowl with Christmas balls for a festive centerpiece. There are lots of things you can do for little to no cost... just be creative! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post my button, win some chocolate!

I had a little play around in photo shop and made this little cute little button... if you so feel inclined, just copy the code below and paste it in to a "html gadget" on your sidebar. It will help guide your friends here to Frugalityville. :) Remember, I have no ads, and don't get any kind of perks/compensation for running this site. I just want to reach as many people as I can and help them save money a little at a time...

I will put a small yummy treat in it for one lucky person. Who can resist Lindt Lindor Truffles? I will do a drawing for a 5.1 oz bag... you can pick the flavor. Just post the button on your blog/site and leave me a comment. I'll do the drawing next Thursday, November 19th... the night of the Twilight premier! :)

A little extra money in a hurry...

I LOVED The Mom @ Babes In Hairland and HollyOaks tips about putting money aside each month for Christmas. Just $25 a month gives you $300 by December. That is no chump change! OK, so that is great for next year and you would be crazy not to get on that wagon, but right now you only have six weeks till Christmas. So what can you do help put some extra cash in your wallet immediately?

Take a look at what you are spending on extras right now... Can you cut in any of these areas? Even cutting once or twice can put some extra cash in your hand right now.

  • Give up the expensive meal date night for a few weeks. I am betting that for some of you, this one little change could save ya between $30 and $50 per trip. Think of it as a short term sacrifice. You will give up Chili's or Olive Garden with hubby for the next few weeks and think of something a bit cheaper, but quite possibly more fun... Maybe you can eat dollar burgers with a bottle of sparkling grape juice and wine glasses at the park with the sun roof open... chatting, laughing, looking at the stars... and then go together to purchase a couple of preplanned gifts THAT ARE ON SALE from your list with the money you just saved. :)

  • Put on hold going to see that new movie that has just come out with the family and rent one from Red Box instead. You can save $35 or more on tickets for a family of 4 alone, never mind what you will save on all that popcorn, candy and soda!

  • Cut down your grocery costs by having pasta a couple of times a week. This little staple is pennies for the pound, and it is filling too! Plus, there are so many different ways you can serve it, and kids generally love it. Need a few recipes to get you started? Start HERE. Eating healthy? Substitute whole wheat pasta... it is a tad more cost wise, but still a very good value and thankfully, there are much better TASTING choices now at the grocery store! Baked potato bars are another cheap choice... 10lb bags of potatoes are selling for under a dollar quite frequently right now, and topping choices are unlimited. Cheese, chopped lunch meat, broccoli, chili, sour cream, butter, bacon, onions... think outside the box for inexpensive dinners.

  • Focus your dinner menu for each week around what is on sale or what is in your pantry or freezer already. Visit your favorite grocery store on line and click on the link for their weekly ad. Plan your meals around what they have the biggest savings on... be flexible. Add clipped coupons to your purchases and you could be taking home groceries for free!

These are just a few things that could help you stash some extra cash quick over the next few weeks. What are some extras you can think of that you can cut out that will help give you a budget for Christmas spending?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Movie Release Deals on Amazon...

Want to pick up a couple of the newest release movies on DVD for Christmas presents this year? Amazon is offering some of them for only $10 if you pre-order them now. Also, they are eligible for free shipping if you put at least $25 in your cart and choose "free super saver shipping" as your shipping method. Don't worry if they have different release dates, they will send them out as they become available, so order a few as gifts and then just wait for them to be delivered right to your house. Here are some I was able to find...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD Widescreen Edition 2009 $10

Star Trek DVD Single Disc Edition 2009 $10

Julie & Julia DVD 2009 $10

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian Single Disc Edition 2009 $10

Terminator Salvation DVD Widescreen Edition 2009 $10

My Sister's Keeper DVD 2009 $10

Angels & Demons DVD 2009 $10

Condensing the Gift List...

Chances are if you are feeling the financial crunch, other families in your extended family are feeling it too and if you have a big extended family, money spent at the holidays adds up mighty fast. There are a few different ways that you can trim your budget a bit. Talk with your family at the Thanksgiving get-together or even beforehand to find out if they are interested in doing any of the following things...
  • Decide with your extended family to give family gifts instead of individual ones... a movie basket with a new movie, popcorn and candy; a board game; a new Wii game (some can be purchased for as little as $15)

  • Encourage family members to get together and draw names at Thanksgiving. Decide on a preset amount for the gifts to make it fair... this way you only need to buy as many gifts as you have family members.

  • Even cheaper, see if the extended family is interested in doing a fun dollar store gag gift exchange with their drawn name. We did this one year for our Christmas In July Family Reunion. The best gift was the person who gave my bald brother a set of combs. It was SO much fun and ended up costing my family $4.

  • Talk to the adults in the family about purchasing gifts only for the children. This isn't my favorite idea because it only works if EVERYONE agrees and NO-ONE goes back on it. Otherwise, the people who stuck to the agreement and didn't buy everyone gifts just end up feeling lame.

  • Agree with extended family to give gifts of time rather than something that is monetary. For example, your family can give Grandma and Grandpa the gift of shoveling their snow or raking their leaves. Or you could invite them over for a night of games! This can take a lot of thought, but with a well planned, short presentation on the true meaning of Christmas delivered to the kids on Thanksgiving, you could get them on board pretty cleverly. :)

What have you done that worked well in your extended family to help trim down gift giving costs?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays...

It is that time of the year! Christmas is just around the corner and many of us are anxious because gifts have to be made or purchased and budgets are tighter this year than probably any other year you remember! It may be a temptation for you to go into major credit card debt to make Christmas "special" for those you love. The problem is, that come January, those "now due" credit card bills are going to put a tremendous strain on you and your family!

With a little planning on your part and a pocket sized notebook to keep everything in order, you can avoid starting off the year going into debt. I propose that this year, we put Christmas in perspective, trim our lists and our budgets a bit and focus on it's true meaning. Does that mean not to buy presents for the people we love? Of course not! But DO sit down and work out how much Christmas you can afford without plastic and then STICK TO IT!!!

There are quite a few reasons people go into debt. Some of them may include:
  1. They want to give their kids every gift they could ever want.
  2. They forget what gifts they have already bought, end up buying extra and never return any of them.

  3. They feel the need to give the biggest, best, most creative presents in the neighborhood.

  4. Lack of planning means too much money is spent on easily remembered people and the forgotten gifts get charged towards the end.

Well, it's time to dump our hangups with a simple, more frugal Christmas. This is a year we all want to be a little more careful. After all, who knows where the economy is going to take us six months, or even one month from now! Today I simply want to get you thinking. It's early enough at this point to make changes that can turn your Christmas around.

The VERY first step to making your holidays (and especially the new year) brighter is to accept this one rule that absolutely CAN NOT be broken.


If you can't afford to pay for it with cash, DON'T BUY IT! No exceptions! So first, get yourself a little tiny pocket notebook that fits in your purse. This will be where you can write anything Christmas related such as:

  1. The EXACT dollar amount you come up with, (include your spouse on this decision if applicable), that you can afford to spend on Christmas Gifts this year. (Remember, CASH ONLY!)
  2. A list of EVERYONE you want to give a present to. Next to the names allocate a SPECIFIC amount of money from the total dollar amount you came up with.

  3. A list of people you want to give baked goods or something, (not too expensive), that you make yourself.

  4. A list of GIFTS you have already purchased to which you will add any and all gifts that you pick up.

  5. Ingenious gift IDEAS that you come up with on the fly.

Now remember... if you forget to put someone on the list initially and add them later that is fine, but you may have to re-allocate funds if this happens and you have already assigned all your money out! Perhaps you should budget to have a little to the side just in case that happens. :)

For the next six weeks my goal is to try and deliver frequent tips and ideas that I hope can make your Christmas a little less expensive and perhaps even a lot more fun! We are going to work at shaving dollars here and there to make your Christmas heavier on the MERRY and lighter on the wallet! Be sure to come back and visit and please share this website with anyone you think could use a little help this holiday season... and as always, don't forget to share YOUR tips for simplifying Christmas too :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Quick Tip: Shopping Lists...

It may sound old fashioned, but a small thing you can do to save money is keep a list of things you run out of on the refrigerator. This means when you go to the store you won't forget anything which will cut down on the number of trips you make. Cutting down on trips not only saves on gas, but also eliminates the temptation to buy other things you don't need during those extra trips.

Be sure to scan your food supplies before you leave to make sure you didn't forget anything, and don't forget to swipe the list off the refrigerator before you walk out the door!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bath & Body Works $10 Coupon...

Get $10 off of a $30 purchase now through November 22nd at Bath & Body Works. Just click HERE for the coupon, print and take it to your local store. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This week at Smith's...

Some nicely priced items I will be picking up at Smith's this week:

  • Extra lean ground beef in 2lb or more pkgs $1.79/pound

  • Boneless whole pork sirloin (sold in bag) $0.99/pound

  • Red seedless grapes $0.99/pound

  • Kroger value russet potatoes 10lb bag $0.79

  • Small avocados 4/$1

  • Medium yellow onions 4lbs/$1

  • Large dozen eggs $0.99

  • Kroger Orange Juice gallon $1.99

  • Kroger mandarin oranges 11oz cans 3/$1

  • Kroger tomato sauce 8oz 5/$1 (limit 25 per shopping order)

  • 8oz kraft cheese selected varieties 2/$3

  • Kroger cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese or dips selected varieties $0.88

  • Kroger 4lb bag of sugar $1.79

  • Country oven breads 24oz 4/$5

  • Keebler Graham Crackers 2lb box $2.99

  • 24 pack kroger water $1.99

These items are this price only when you mix/match in sets of ten, so count carefully. (You don't have to have ten of ONE item... you just have to have ten TOTAL.)

  • Carnation evaporated milk $0.49

  • 2 liter coke products (selected varieties) $0.79

  • Tombstone pizza $1.99

  • Quaker chewy granola bars or betty crocker fruit snacks selected varieties $1.49

  • Large size kellogs cereals or quaker instant oatmeal selected varieties $1.99

  • Yoplait yogurt multi-packs selected varieties $1.49

  • Buttery Spray or spreads selected varieties $0.99

  • Fritos corn chips or bean dip selected varieties $1.49

Prices good through Tuesday, November 10th!

(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go here to the Smiths website to look at your local AD's for yourself.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

$2 Old Navy Halloween Costumes...

Did you procrastinate getting a Halloween Costume for the little kiddies?

Head on over to Old Navy this morning for $2 Halloween Costumes while supplies last. Sale is today and tomorrow. I am sure there will be a mad rush, but you never know what you might find!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Childrens Place Coupon...

Personally I don't have to shop here anymore, (teenagers), but I bet there are a few of you who do!

Click here to get a 15% off coupon for The Children's Place. Good through November 16th :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This week at Smiths...

More good deals this week at Smiths to stock up on:
  • Roast Sale! Rump roast, Cross Rib Roast, Chuck Roast, Boneless Beef, Round or Truck. $1.89/pound (Super Value Pack.)

  • Pork Loin, Rib or Boneless Sirloin Chops $1.29/pound

  • Red Seedless Grapes $0.89/pound

  • Post Cereal, Nature Valley or Fiber One Bars (selected varieties), $1.50 each when you buy 4. (Limit 2 sets of 4 per transaction.)

  • 16oz bars or shredded Kroger Cheese 2/$5 (If you didn't stock up on the 8oz bars last week. )

  • Kroger 8oz cream cheese; 16oz cottage cheese, sour cream or dips $0.88

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast $1.29/pound (super value pack) or $0.99/pound if you buy a 40lb case!

  • Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream $0.99 each LIMIT 4 per transaction!

  • John Morrell Meat Franks 16oz (excluding beef) $0.49

  • Sunny D 64oz $0.83
(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go online here to Smiths to look at the AD's for yourself.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

At Your Service... about coupons!

One reader asked: "I have heard of people buying several papers on the same day to get multiple coupons, but I'm not sure why. Can you use two coupons on the same product?"

The main reason that people buy several papers on Sunday for multiple coupons is so that when there is a good buy on an item, they can buy several of that item at the cheap price. Generally you can not use two coupons on the same single item, (although some stores put out store coupons which they let you combine with manufacturer coupons occasionally), but you CAN buy MULTIPLES of that item and use a coupon for EACH ONE.

For example, if Captain Crunch is on sale for $1.50 a box and I have a $1 off coupon, I can get a box for 50c. If I have four coupons however, then I can get four boxes at 50c each. Expert couponers recommend that you get one paper with coupon inserts for each person in your household.

When you shop this way, it really helps you build your up your pantry as well as save tons of money. You will find that you slowly accumulate a plethora of food which means you don't have to buy items at full price because you can use the ones you got cheaply until they come on sale again! (Remember, sale items rotate... if you but enough of something to last you approx. 6-8 weeks, it should come on sale again before you run out... So if I eat pasta once a week and I buy 8 jars of sauce when it is on sale, I should have enough to last me until the next time it comes on sale.) It also means that you won't have to run out to the store because you don't have something! Additionally, this is a great way to build up food storage... especially if you buy a couple of extra sale items each week. :)

There are websites that do all the work for you and help you match the coupons with the weeks sales at your local grocery stores. Grocery Smarts is a good one, however not every state has this available yet and you have to know that passport number for your state. Here are a couple of passport numbers for states I know they service...

Utah: g84csg
Arizona: g85ro1
Southern California: g92ro1
Eastern Washington: g99ro1
Idaho: g83ro1
Let me know if you have any other questions about coupons! :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't miss these two items at Smiths...

Tuesday is the last day to stock up on two items that I am loving at Smiths this week.

Boneless pork loin roast (in the vacuum sealed packages) is just $1.29/pound. Get a few, cut them up and freeze them! I always post when this comes on super sale because it is so versatile. You can cut it into thick chops and stuff them, slice thinly to quick fry, roast it or do pulled pork, including the cafe rio pork recipe posted here. It's boneless, it's delicious, and it's cheap!

The other item you just have to pick up is the Kroger cheese. It is 99c for 8oz (bars or shredded), and there is no limit. They have lots of different kinds including monterey jack, colby, extra sharp, marbled, Italian blend, pizza blend and nacho blend. You can freeze cheese although it is more crumbly after it has been frozen so it will be better for recipes than sandwiches. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Raincheck please...

How many times have you gone to a grocery store and they are out of the super sale item you wanted? Did you know that most stores will give you a rain check so you can buy it at the same price when they get it back in stock? You can also still use your coupons with that rain check, so don't forget to ask for one next time they are out of something you really wanted. :)

Grocery stores aren't the only places that will give you a rain check. I often have gotten a rain check from Target for super deals that I want that they sell out of quickly. Take for example my panini maker and my counter top griddle, both of which were on SUPER (over 50% off) sale before Christmas last year. They sold out quickly on the Sunday, (which I always miss out on because I don't shop on Sundays), but they gave me a rain check so I could buy it any time over the next few weeks.

Some stores won't give rain checks for certain items but a good rule of thumb is that if it doesn't say in the ad that they won't give rain checks, they usually will. IT CERTAINLY NEVER HURTS TO ASK! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Ever wished you knew how to do something so you didn't have to pay someone else to do it? Findhow.com is the "how-to" search engine that can give you easy instructions for all kinds of undertakings. The information is all gathered from reliable sources and is easy to find. Categories range from arts, crafts and hobbies to home and garden to personal care. If you don't want to browse through the site, then you can use the handy search box at the top of the page to narrow down the list to what you are specifically looking for.

Find out how to photograph a football game, or how to make a pirate sword for a Halloween costume. Learn to make a prom corsage or how to set a table for a buffet or formal dinner. Need a faucet replaced or want to put in a towel bar? Before you pay someone to do it for you, have a look and see if it is something you can do yourself.

Don't forget to check out the wild and wacky category before you leave the site. Where else can you learn how to mummify a fish or dissect a cows eye? Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick tip: Food Storage...

Like to store surplus food, but worried that you will end up wasting because you don't rotate it often enough? Keep a black sharpie in each area you store food and quickly write the month and year (ex: 10/09) on things before you put them away. A quick glance will let you know which can or box you need to use first!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Right now you can get a free anti-bacterial hand soap with ANY purchase. Click here to get the coupon! It is only good through September 27th, so use it fast! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Coldstone's World's Largest Ice Cream Social...

Thanks to my good friend MaryBeth for sharing this. On Thursday September 24th from 5-8pm you can get a free 3oz Make-A-Wish Creation (Sweet Cream, brownies, caramel and sprinkles), with any donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Check out this website for more information. Even though this is a frugal website, I encourage everyone to donate generously for this wonderful cause.

If you want some good reading, head on over to my friend MaryBeth's blog and get to know her. You won't regret it! Read about her own experience with Make-A-Wish, and check out her list of favorite posts. She is one of the strongest, most beautiful people I know. You will fall in love with her and her family and you will laugh and cry as you read about her unbelievable life. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


Continuing our discussion on clothes and shoes and where to find the best deals, today I am going to talk about another favorite store of mine:

You don't have to be turned off by the high sticker prices at Kohls, you just have to know when to shop! Kohls is known for weekend sales, early bird specials and night owl specials. I have picked up shoes here on multiple occasions when they have said specials. For example, you might get 50-60% off on the weekly sale, but then they add an additional percent off if you shop during the special hours. (Kohls usually does this almost every weekend for a couple of months before Christmas!)

Kohls also quite frequently lets you earn Kohls Cash. (Example: If you spend $50, you earn $10 off a future purchase.) Additionally, they have times when they give you extra percents off just for using your Kohls card. (Just make sure you pay it off immediately so you don't spend more in interest than you save in percent!)
The best way to find out about Kohls sales is to sign up for their email alerts. Another perk to doing that is that they will send you a $5 coupon in your email for your next purchase. (Hopefully you signed up for them back in May when I first posted about it, otherwise just click here to sign up now.) Your coupon will arrive in a few days. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At Your Service...

Recently I wrote the post "Curious Minds Want To Know" where I asked you to let me know what kind of information you were looking for when it came to saving money. One reader asked:

"...Do you have any suggestions on where to get stuff for good prices when it comes to clothes & shoes (besides Park City outlets!) I'm afraid our clothes budget is going to be sky rocketing in the near future and any $ I can save would be helpful! :)"

I myself have kids that can be finicky about what clothes and shoes they are wearing. My (almost) 13 year old son thinks he can't wear any t-shirts that aren't Quicksilver, DC Shoes, Hurley, Fox, or one of the other "skater brands". Problem with that is that I am not willing to pay $25 for a t-shirt from the retail stores. So what is my solution? Well one of them is:

I can't tell you how much I love this store. It has all the brands of t-shirts my son loves, but I only pay $7.99-$9.99 for them there. I also am usually able to find a brand of tennis shoes he is happy with (Vans or DC Shoes) for $20-$25 instead of the $50-$75 ones in the retail stores, not to mention very reasonably priced jeans, sweatshirts and shorts!

I also get great clothes for my 15 year old there... dresses, shirts, cute sweaters, pajamas, shoes... you name it. Designer ties, pants and shirts for my hubby, great kitchen ware, picture frames and house decor... all for a fraction of what I would pay at say, Kohls! They also have a kids clothes dept where I have been known to pick up baby shower gifts at good prices. (Just stay away from the small toys dept... it is crappy and usually a GIANT MESS!)

The thing with Ross is that they have name brand stuff for the kids for a fraction of the price. However, it goes without saying that there are a few drawbacks to shopping here. First, they have what they have. You basically go to your size and pick from what they have in. One week they may have Nike's, the next week Reebok's, the next Sketchers. If you see something you like, get it because it probably won't be there the next week. Also, if they don't have something in your size, just move on. They probably won't get it in.

Second, you may find yourself having to sift/rummage through racks to find what you need/want. They also have some really crappy stuff, just as every store does. Also, some Ross' are more organized than others... you need to try different stores to find which ones you like.

Third, with bargain shopping can come bargain customer service. Depending on when you go, you may find yourself rolling your eyes at unhelpful employees and the lines can be a bit long to check out. However if you are willing to sacrifice these things to save some money, take a trip over and have a look.

There are MANY Ross' in Utah. Some are better than others. Our family has been known to drive all the way to Provo to shop before school starts at the end of summer because they always have a really good, big selection of things. I also like the American Fork store. If I have to stay in my area, the District isn't bad and neither is Draper... however, I am not particularly partial to the one in Taylorsville.

Finally, many people think Ross and TJ Maxx are the same thing. I beg to differ. I much prefer Ross and find a lot more there than I usually do at TJ Maxx... although with letting this little secret out of the bag, I may find less in the future! :)
Hope this helps.

Monday, September 14, 2009


If you live in the Salt Lake City area you can visit one of 31 of the areas finest restaurants between September 11-27 and ask for their "dineoround special". Depending on the restaurant, you may get a three course meal for either $15 or $30 per person. (Some even offer a 2 course lunch for $10).

Visit http://www.dineoround.com/ to see which restaurants are participating in which price range and then give them a call ahead to see what their special includes. I called the Garden ($15 for dinner) and they don't give you a choice... their entree is the 3 cheese ravioli with lobster sauce. You also get a tomato and cheese salad and an ice cream dessert. Still, for $15 a head, it's a nice way to try out a restaurant that you might not try otherwise. Having eaten at The Garden before, I can tell you their food is very good quality and the atmosphere is just wonderful.

Check our dineoround.com to set up a dining adventure for you and that special someone this month!

Bath & Body Works Coupon...

Right now you can get a free Signature Collection Body Care Item (up to $12 in value) with a $10 purchase while supplies last. Click here to get the coupon! It is good through September 27th. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This week at Smiths...

Have you looked at your Smiths Circular this week? Smiths is introducing "Fresh Values Rewards" where you get money back for every dollar you spend!

Take a look at your Smiths Card. If it doesn't say "Fresh Values Rewards Card", you need to upgrade so talk to a Smiths associate next time you are there. Every dollar spent earns you a point. Bonus points can also be earned by filling prescriptions, bringing your own bags and signing up for email bonus offers. 500 points gets you a $5.00 reward certificate with $1 extra for every other 100 points you earn. Rewards certificates are sent out every three months and the certificates spend just like cash at Smith's. Click here for additional information about the program.

This week at Smiths you can take advantage of their case lot sale while supplies last! The idea here is that you get a better price because you are buying a case instead of just one or two. (A good way to build up your food storage.) Here are some examples of this weeks potential savings:
  • Betty Crocker Cake Mixes end up $0.90/each when you buy a case of 12. You CAN mix and match flavors.
  • Kroger Boxed Macaroni & Cheese end up 3/$1.00 when you buy a case of 48
  • Maruchan Ramen Noodles end up 8/$1.00 when you buy a case of 24
  • Kroger Value Granulated Sugar 4lb bags end up $1.89 each when you buy a case of 10
  • Hunts Pasta Sauce ends up just $0.69 each when you buy a case of 12
  • Duncan Hines Regular Brownie Mix ends up $0.90 each when you guys a case of 12
  • Kroger Chicken Noodle Soup 10.5oz cans end up 2/$1.00 when you buy a case of 24
  • Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix ends up $0.33 each when you buy a case of 24

Get the point? Take a look at your local smiths Ad here to see what else they are offering in their case lot sale and take this opportunity to build your food storage by at least one or two cases of something. But don't forget to make sure you have a fresh value REWARDS card first so that your purchases go towards your rewards certificate. :)

(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go online here for Smiths to look at the AD's for yourself.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Curious Minds Want To Know...

As I sit and write week after week, I often wonder... What areas are my readers PERSONALLY looking for the most help in when it comes to being frugal or saving money? Leave a comment asking your best questions or letting me know what your favorite things to read about are! I'll spend some time doing my best to answer you or focus on your area of need. After all, it's all about YOU. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sams Club HOAD...

I was in the Jordan Landing Sam's club today and they have BONELESS pork loin (you know, those big, vacuumed sealed packages which usually have at least 5 lbs of meat in them), for just $1.38/ pound. This is an amazing deal. $1.79/pound is a rare find, but $1.38 is just plain fantastic! I got a very large pork loin for just over $11.

Just open the package, cut into roasts and freeze individually or slice up for pork chops. I repeat, this is BONELESS, good quality meat. The date has not expired... there was a lot when I was there, but I am sure it will go fast so get over to Sams and stock up while you can! :)

Need ideas on what to do with this meat? Well if you want super simple, you can just put one of the roasts in the crock pot, season with salt and pepper, cover with large chunks of raw onions, then add chopped potatoes and mini-carrots. Pour a can of chicken broth over the top and cook on high for about 6-7 hours. Yum.

However, my all time favorite recipe for pork loin is the Cafe Rio Sweet Pork recipe:

1 good size pork loin
2 cans coke (I use caffeine free)
1 16oz jar of salsa
2 cups brown sugar

Put the pork loin and 1 can of coke in the crock pot. Cook the roast on high for 5 hours. Drain off coke and mix together the other can of coke, the jar of salsa (I blend it to get rid of the chunks), and the 2 cups of brown sugar. Cut the roast in half, and pour the mixture over it. Cook an additional 3 hours on high and then shred the pork with two forks. Put the crock pot on low until ready to serve.

Serve on tortillas with rice and veggies... or go the whole mile and make all the salad toppings including the Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing:

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pkg dry ranch buttermilk dressing
2-3 medium tomatillos (remove outer leaves)
1 tsp crushed garlic
3/4-1 bunch of Cilantro
2tsp green Tabasco sauce
Juice from 1 lime
Salt & pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve. (At least one hour.)

(*HOAD=heck of a deal)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bath & Body Works Coupon...

This weekend you can get a free lip item (up to $7.50 in value) with ANY purchase while supplies last. Click here to get the coupon! They usually have a couple of little knick-knacks you can buy for about $1 if you aren't interested in anything else, so head on over and get one and pick up a nice lip gloss for free! Be fast because this coupon is only good through August 30th. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shop alone...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. A fast way to save major money when grocery shopping is to LEAVE THE FAMILY AT HOME!!!!

The more people you take shopping with you, the more likely you are to come home with extra items you weren't planning on buying. You know... the items the kids toss in the cart when you aren't looking, or the ones they beg to try when you're just too tired to say no. Or how about the items hubby wants that you would feel guilty saying no to?

Shopping alone helps you keep a firm grip on your budget while getting some much needed, peaceful, YOU time... it's a win-win situation! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unplug it...

Did you know that there are many items in your home that are still running even when you think they are off? In fact, "of the total energy used to run home electronics, 40% is consumed when the appliances are turned off". (http://www.kiplinger.com/)

Here are some electronics that you may want to consider. All of these appliances use electricity even when they are off. Naturally, some fancier appliances use more energy than others, so test it for a couple of months and see how it affects your personal energy bill. :)
  • Mobile Phone Chargers (these continue to use electricity even when your phone is not attached!)
  • Computers/Laptops
  • Monitors
  • Speakers/Subwoofers
  • Fax machines
  • Copiers
  • Cable Boxes
  • DVRs
  • Video Game Systems
  • Stereos
  • Televisions
  • Radios/Audio Systems
  • Microwave Ovens (if you leave the door open, you are burning about 8x as much energy.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This week at Smiths...

Wow, I am impressed with some of the items on sale at Smiths this week. The sale just started today so you have until August 25th to take advantage of their Founder's Days Sale. (You need to have a Smiths Card to get all these deals.) Don't forget, these are the prices BEFORE coupons. If you have coupons, you may find yourself taking home some of these items for little to nothing! Here are just a few of the items that will be on my shopping list:
  • Petite Cut Sirloin Steak $1.99/pound
  • Boneless Pork Loin Chops $2.29/pound
  • Tyson Fresh Chicken boneless, skinless breasts or tenderloins $1.99/pound
  • Tomatoes on the vine $0.99/pound
  • Peaches or nectarines $0.89/pound
  • Kroger Value 10lb Bag Russet Potatoes $1.79
  • Kroger Orange Juice 1 gallon $1.99
  • Speed Stick or Lady Speed Stick $0.88

The following items are parts of the Save $5 instantly Mega Savings Event. You have to buy a combination of 10 items to get the listed price for each item. However, you can buy 5 of one item and 5 of another, or 10 different listed items... however you want. (Check with your store to see if there is a limit on how many of combinations of 10 you can purchase.)

  • General Mills or Quaker Cereals selected varieties $1.49
  • Progresso Soups selected varieties $1.00
  • Sobe or Sobe Life Water $0.39
  • Quaker Quakes Rice Cakes $0.49
  • Nature Valley, Fiber One, Quaker bars & oatmeal selected varieties $1.99
  • Quaker chewy granola bars $1.49
  • 24 pack Aquafina Water 16.9oz bottles $2.99
  • Hamburger helper $0.89
  • Betty Crocker cookie pouch or premium brownies $1.49
  • Pillsbury Toaster Strudels $1.49

(*Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any misprints by the grocery store chains OR by me. Check your mailers to confirm prices, or go online here for Smiths to look at the AD's for yourself.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Which way are your ceiling fan blades rotating???

So you have a ceiling fan that is helping you save money, or so you think! Did you know that ceiling fans have a little switch on them that determine which way the blades are going to rotate making your home warmer or cooler?

The blades are tipped slightly up for a reason... during the colder months, you should have them rotating clockwise which circulates the air in the room making it warmer, but during the hotter months you should have them rotating counterclockwise which will help push the air down to make you feel cooler.

Check your fan to see which way the blades are rotating to save big time on your energy bill. You may be costing yourself unnecessary money by running the ac when you really don't need it or even worse, making your air conditioner work harder to cool your home! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tip of the day...

Going on vacation for a week is NOT a good way to save money... however, it was a heck of a lot of fun. :)

Now... back to frugal living!!!! :)