Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to Save Over $3000 A Year On Groceries

Couponing 101: Build Your Coupon Binder!

Supplies Needed:
- 3-4" Binder
- Scissors
- Clear binder sheets
- Baseball card holder sheets (located at the front of your local big box grocer, usually near magazines, baseball cards, and/or As-Seen-On-TV merchandise) or 8.5" x 11" clear photo divider pages
- Calculator
- Binder Organizing Pages --> I use this one:
- Store Coupon Policies (Print from store websites)

- Sale Ads for all local stores (for price matching when possible)

- Computer with administrator rights
- Printer
- Printer Paper
- Printer Ink Cartridges

Optional Supplies:
- Pencil cases for 3 ring binder
- Smartphone ( for calculator and/or internet use in store for coupon match-ups)
- Notebook
- Mini pair of scissors
- Envelopes
- Paper clips
- Pen/marker
- Clear Tab dividers

Basic Directions:
1. Obtain Coupons: Purchase multiple Sunday newspapers. Separate the coupons by page and stack them up with like pages. Print coupons from the internet, facebook, and other coupon sites.
2. There are 2 methods for detailed coupon organization. You can store them uncut and cut them as needed. Or you can organize them by coupon for easy retrieval in store.
3. Match coupons with sales for the lowest price possible. Stock up based on your need until the next sale cycle begins.

Since I don't consider myself a coupon blog, I will not go into the step by step details, but I will tell you this: There is a plethora of resources out there that makes couponing very easy. Once you get yourself organized, it will become second nature.


Beginner Couponing:   <-- This is where I learned how to coupon.

Coupon Match-ups:

Printable Coupons:

** Coupon match-up sites will list links. I just follow those links, unless it is a site I have not heard of before. Make sure it is a reputable source.
This is what I use most:

Other Ways to Receive Coupons:

- Newspaper subscription/ in store newspapers (check for all coupon inserts)
- "All You" Magazine
- Sending emails/letters/phone calls to companies
- Join Customer Review sites or P&G sites which send periodic coupon mailings
- Social Media "Likes" & contests
- Contests
- Visiting recycling centers
- Collect from friends/ start a coupon swap

Money Saving Mindset:
My new blog: (I don't post coupon match ups, but I will post basic couponing how-to's and resources to other sites as well as other ways to save money and get into the money-saving-mindset)

Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon until Nov 3rd

Sorry for the late post. I normally post this on Sunday or Monday. Things have been hectic around the holiday.

Here's your link to 40% off savings, good until November 3rd, 2012.

Hobby Lobby Sale Ad & 40% off Coupon

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perspective: What is Money?

Besides paper pulp,ink, and a mono-filament security strip, money really isn't much of anything. It is not backed by gold or silver anymore. It isn't made of precious metals or rare valuable paper (although the paper itself is a special formula).

Money is simply a socially acceptable transference of power based on a system of trust.

All the same, it is neither right nor wrong to have money vs. have very little money. I don't write about saving money because of wanting more money or wanting to spend less.There are some who hoard money and there are some who un-wisely choose poverty. Both are wrong. The reason I choose to be frugal is not about the money itself- it is about retaining the power of money over my own life. It is about not letting the importance of money get in the way of the really important things in life. It is about saying "No" to the voices of society which scream in our brains that we need this or that thing to be happy.

The most valuable money lesson we can learn is that the dollar is really simply a tool to achieve goals. As I said before, money is a socially acceptable transference of power. Therefore, gaining and retaining money is a skill worth seeking out. However, this should always be balanced with moderation. The purpose behind seeking out money is a more important factor in the right or wrong of having and keeping money. Intention is key.

In the end, no amount of money or power or piles of things, gold or silver or diamonds can ever compare to the value of love, friendship, and charity. What is valuable? The pride of a good and honest day's work. The feeling of tiny hands and toes and the laughter of a baby. The warmth of an embrace. The honesty of a friend. The love of a soul mate. Waking up every morning to the person you love more than anything in the world. The pride of knowing that you lived up to your potential. The joy of love. These things have no price and are worth far more than rubies or gold.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Free Eucerin Lotion Sample! (GONE)

Get your free sample here:

Answer a few questions, fill out your basic info and your sample will arrive in 4-6 weeks. I just love receiving samples in the mail. It's like a mini Christmas! :)

I store away little samples like these which are perfect for traveling. Happy Sampling!


Free Cream of Wheat Chocolate Sample! (GONE)

Cream of Wheat is giving away 10,000 samples each and every day until the end of the month. Today's batch was all gone when I got there, but perhaps you will get one tomorrow! Let me know if you do!

Here's the link:


Four Free Airborn Samples! (GONE)


It's autumn cold season. What a perfect time to stock up on vitamins and cold medicine. Here's a great deal from Airborne for 4 free samples. Fill out some information, "like" them on Facebook, and answer a few questions, and you'll receive your free samples in 6-8 weeks.


Friday, October 12, 2012

FREE Nescafe sample, today!! Hurry! (GONE)

Nescafe posted this on their Facebook page today. Follow the link below to get a free sample!
 Request a free sample of NESCAFÉ® MEMENTO™:

Get things FREE with Listia!

Listia is a barter service where you earn points for each item you give away. Members bid on the items and the highest bidder gets the prize. You can then use the points you earn to "purchase" items from other "sellers." Little to no money changes hands, depending solely on the shipping arrangements (and then of course if the item is a gift card that might count as cash tender). What is great about this is that it really encourages sustainability and works outside of the economic system ( avoiding the concerns of money changing hands over the internet), yet still provides incentive for participation by earning points which can be used to receive other items and each trade is backed by Listia assurance.

Here are  the rules:

"Buyers get a FULL REFUND of credits:

  1. If an item won on Listia is not received or significantly not as described in the listing.
  2. If a seller changes the listing terms (as outlined in the description) after it ends, and the buyer disagrees.
Sellers can KEEP ALL credits:

  1. If a winner does not pay shipping, is non-responsive, or otherwise experiences buyer's remorse.
  2. If a winner claims they did not receive an item, but the seller has provided a valid tracking number."

A few weeks back I wrote about bartering. This service is the modern day version of that. I am looking for seeds... perhaps the old man I met at the store with a strange idea was not so strange after all.

Receive 100 BONUS points by following this link to sign up:

Would you participate in something like this? What items would you give away? What items would you look for?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eat Cheaply: Home Made Gourmet Popcorn

There's nothing like the scent of the salty buttery goodness wafting through the air at a movie theatre. In fact, sometimes I think I enjoy that more than the movie experience itself. Back home we had The Art Theatre in the middle of town and it was a tradition for my girl friends and I to go once a month. Now that I've moved several hundred miles away, I sometimes get bitten by the nostalgia bug whenever I smell the scent of buttered popcorn.

These days I prefer to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix or Hulu and make my own popcorn. You don't need a fancy popcorn machine. All you need is some popping corn, a little oil, a pan, and a lid. At home you can tweak the recipe!

Popcorn is rather bland on its own so it can be flavored anyway you want. If you forgo the butter, and avoid salt you can make it a really healthy snack! Or slather it on for a more traditional treat!

 Here are a few easy recipes:

Basic Ingredients & Tools (plain popcorn):

- 2 Tbs Oil
- 1 handful popping corn
- 1 large pan or pot with lid (the lid is very important!)
- Stove

Flavor options: 

Photo: CC Andy Nguyen

Curly French Fry:
- Butter, melted (optional)
- Garlic powder
- French Fry seasoning (Oops! Don't get Encore brand. Turns out it has MSG!)
- Cayenne pepper

Photo: CC edkohler

Cheese Puff:
- Butter, melted (optional) 
- Salt
- Macaroni and Cheese Mix Cheddar Cheese Powder (a little goes a long way!)

Photo: CC Geishaboy500

- Butter, melted (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt (optional, as the Parmesan tends to be a bit salty anyways)

Photo: CC Elle C.
Cilantro Lemon Pepper:
- Butter, melted (optional)
- Lemon zest (finely zested)
- Dried chopped cilantro (optional)
- Lemon pepper seasoning or combine the following:
   - Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper
   - Lemon infused salt (prepare a day before, put a few drop of lemon juice concentrate in a few tablespoons of salt and wait a few days, stirring every few hours)

Photo: CC Steven D Polo

Wasabi Ginger:
- Peanut oil (optional)  
- Powdered wasabi or horseradish powder
- powdered or grated toasted ginger
- fish sauce (mix with peanut oil, optional)
(OK, I don't know if it really counts as Thai or not but it has peanut oil and fish sauce! SCORE!)

Photo: CC Dorothy Finley

Spiced Apple Crisp:
- Butter, melted (optional)
- Dry apple cider mix
 -Brown sugar
- Salt
- Cinnamon, ground
- Nutmeg, ground (optional)

(There's an apple crumble recipe I'd like to try from the source of this photo!)


1. Heat the oil on the stove and coat the pan.
2. Add 1 popcorn kernel and place the lid on the pan.
3. Constantly move the pan. When the kernel pops, the oil is ready.
4. Add the handful of popping corn. Close the lid again.
5. Constantly agitate the pan as the popcorn pops. It will slow down eventually and stop popping.
6. When the popping appears to be complete, remove the pan from the heat.
7. Leave the lid on for a few seconds to make sure there are no un-popped kernels about to explode in your face (trust me, it is not as cool as it sounds. Those kernels are HOT).
8. Pour into a bowl.
9. If you are adding melted butter, add it now and toss to mix.
10. Add spices to taste.
11. Best served immediately.

Do you have any good gourmet popcorn recipes you'd like to share? Have any suggested flavor combos?

 Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Please follow links below photos for licensed attribution. All others CC Selena Marie Norris.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Far Would You Go To Save A Buck?

One lady in New York never does laundry and doesn't use toilet paper.

If you are like me,  you are probably thinking,


That's right. She washes her clothes with the water left in the shower after she washes herself. And she does not use toilet paper. Some people will go the extreme to save money, but I think that we all have a line we wouldn't cross and I definitely would not give up toilet paper unless we were in a survival setting. Granted, if I had one of those fancy bidets, maybe. While this woman is essentially making a low-tech bidet (she rinses and washes with soap instead of using toilet paper), she does " wipe off with a paper towel" when she is done. Let's not even go into the cleanliness issues of reusing a paper towel down there, even just for drying off....

I like saving money, but there is a line between cheap and cheapskate and it is probably the same line between $ and "ew" that I wouldn't cross. I have a good job. I am frugal, not a cheapskate. I have plans for the future that I am saving for. There's a lot I do that most people would not do to save a buck. I buy whole chickens and use all the bits. I make my own laundry detergent.  This, however, is just too too much for me. Perhaps it would make sense in a third world country. Maybe I'm just too socially aware... I'm sort of baffled by this.

Watch TLC's Extreme Cheapskates for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

What do you think?