Helpful Tips Archives

A Happier Holiday Series – Your Holiday Meals For Less

A Happier Holiday Series – Your Holiday Meals For Less

Planning and preparing for Holiday Meals can
be one of the most stressful parts of the Season!
I want to share some tips to help lessen the burden!
You will be able to save time and money, even if you
aren’t an extreme couponer. I hope these tips allow
you to be able to enjoy this joyous time with friends
and family instead of worry, aggravation and stress!


checklist#1 PLAN NOW:


We still have a few weeks  until Thanksgiving, and
longer until Christmas. This gives us plenty of time
to have everything planned out and be prepared in
the upcoming weeks to have everything we need and
purchased for less!

You should start by planning out your guest list, write
down everyone you plan to invite, and get in contact
with them to see if there will be any guests that they
are planning to bring. Getting a close estimate of
the head count will allow you to shop more accurately.
You will be less likely to have to make another trip out
to pay full price for the extra food items to accommodate
the unexpected guest(s). You will also want to jot down
next to each guest if they are bringing a dish or dessert.

Once you have a head count, start planning the menu.

Make a list of the foods you plan on making for the event.
Decide if you will be having Turkey, Ham or something
else all together. (You may consider waiting to see which
you can get a great deal on in the coming weeks before
making that decision) If you have other friends and family
members that will be bringing along a dish, then make the
notations of those items being added to the menu.

You will next want to calculate the amount of ingredients
you will need to make each dish to feed the amount of
people on your guest list. Write these ingredients down
in shopping list form, and then start “shopping” in your
own fridge or pantry. If you have the items on hand, and
they will stay in-date within the time frame of your event,
then you can mark that ingredient off your shopping list.

You should now be left with items on the list that you will
need to purchase.

 The last part of the plan, is to make a To Do list. Which
items will you be preparing the night before? How much
time do you have to plan for each dish. At what time do
you need to start cooking?

It’s OK to work on this list through the weeks, you may
not have your exact menu plan set in stone.

It may be fun and helpful to get your
children/grandchildren to help with preparation!
They can help by washing any produce, mixing
ingredients, helping you to read recipes. This may
be a busy day for you, but to them it makes a great
fun memory of being a big helper in the kitchen!


couponsclip#2 PRINT/CLIP DAILY:


You’ll begin to notice new coupons popping
up daily at various coupon sites. Coupons for
baking, Produce, Canned Veggies etc. should
always be printed immediately.
Even if you end up not needing them, you can
always ask your friends, family or fellow church
members if the coupon(s) will help their
Holiday Meal plan! Some great coupon sites are:
Red Plum
Betty Crocker

I also post tons of new coupons on items that
make great deals often! Be sure to follow me on
Facebook so that you will see the update and can
print them quickly!

If you do not have a lot of experience with
couponing, that’s ok. You will still be able to save
a great deal of money on your Holiday meals by
staying organized and sticking to a plan!

I suggest making a special envelope just for your
coupons to help with your Holiday meals. You can
decorate it to keep you in that Holiday Spirit or just
to keep you focused on the task at hand.

Each time you come across a coupon on the internet
to print that will work well with a
Thanksgiving/Christmas meal, you should print it and
put it in your envelope. Coupons in magazines and
Sunday Paper inserts that fit well with your meal plan
should also be clipped and put inside your envelope!

By now, you should have a guest list, your menu plan,
a shopping list, a To-Do List and an envelope started
with some great coupons.




I know what you are thinking! Going to the
grocery store once a week can be stressful!
I get that! That’s why I want you to browse
your grocery store flyers before you head out!

New store ads and sales come out weekly.
The closer to the Holidays, the more sales come
out on those dinner items. Each week browse the
ads and compare with your shopping list that I
talked about in step 1. The general idea of a good
deal is about 40-50% off Regular price. Often
times, we can find deals much better than that!

If a store has an item on your list for a great price,
for example canned vegetables at half off, then that
is a good price to buy what you need of them.
You will want to see if you have a coupon for them
in your envelope as well! That’s when you’re really
talking savings!!

You do not have to buy everything on your list the
first week. If Sweet potatoes aren’t on sale this
week, that’s ok. They will probably go on sale in
the weeks ahead and you will have saved by waiting
for that sale!

Don’t be afraid to change up your menu plan if you
find a better deal on a different item. For instance,
if you were going to go with a Turkey dinner but
found an amazing deal on Ham, then switch it over
to a Ham dinner!

As the weeks pass by, you should be getting the last
of your ingredients purchased and marked off your list.
Hopefully you were able to find most of it on sale,
but it’s OK if some things were not. Be proud of yourself
for any amount you saved!


Because you have a plan, you should have a less stressful
time. No last minute items to forget to purchase, no
surprise guests to accommodate for, dinner will be timed
just right, and you will have plenty of food to keep the
guests happy!

Since you are keeping an eye out on new coupons
and printing/clipping them immediately as
well as putting them away in your special envelope,
you are always armed and ready with the savings you need!

Checking the ads and shopping weekly, you are able to
browse what items could be of use to you and obtain them
while they are on sale.

Lastly, don’t forget to designate a dish washer! Happy Holidays!

What tips do you have to make Holiday Meals
frugal & less stressful!



Cookouts are a wonderful way for family and friends
to get together. We have already used our grill a few
times since the start of Spring!

We recently moved into a new home and will be hosting
a cookout for Memorial Day weekend. In the  past I
have found if I don’t plan ahead, I can really go
overboard and spend a fortune on the supplies needed for
the event.

Here are the steps we are taking to keep the costs low for
our upcoming family cookout.


Make A Plan, Write It Down!

One helpful way to save money on your cookout is to
plan a detailed list of everything! How many guests
will be there? What would you like  to serve?
The items you will need, etc. Compare your list of
needed items with what you already have on hand
and then shop for only what you need. Knowing
what you have on hand will prevent you from buying
too much, and having a list helps you to get everything
you need without having to return to the store and
paying higher prices.

If you aren’t planning a big feast, or maybe it’s more
in your budget to keep it small, then put your focus on
fun and cheap activities that everyone will love!
Your local dollar store will have many fun outside Summer
toys to keep the children entertained. If you don’t have a pool,
you can bring out the sprinkler, water balloons and other
water related toys. The adults may enjoy karaoke, board & card
games or set up a volleyball tent.

The earlier you can plan your event, the more money you can
save at the store. It will give you more sales ads to browse
through, or more time to hold out for an item to go on sale.
Fortunately during the summer months, you will see tons of
the staples you need for your cookout frequently on sale, which
most of the time saves you 50% right from the start! To really
maximize those savings use coupons on top of the sale!
You will see those savings go up to at least 70% off and
sometimes get products for free!
Don’t be afraid to swtich up your menu a little if you see
something else go on sale that will work better as a side or
main dish.

Some Other Tips To Help You Save

It’s  best to comparison shop for all your needs, but if you
are having trouble finding a great deal on paper products,
then it’s best to stick to your local dollar store for those
purchases. Paper plates, napkins, cups etc., especially
those with holiday designs, can take up a big part of your
cookout budget. Shopping at a dollar store can cut that
area of your spending in half.

Another area to cut the price in half is on your bread.
Purchase buns and snack cakes at a local bakery outlet
to save at least 50% than shopping a regular grocery store.

When making burgers, add bread crumbs or dried oats
to your raw meat mixture before making them into patties,
this will thicken the recipe and you will be able to make
more hamburgers for your buck!

While you are on the meat aisle, be on the lookout for
packages with peelies on them where if you buy that meat
product you can save money on charcoal or even get your
barbecue sauce for free.

If you’re planning for a large guest list, perhaps have each
household bring a dish or desert then plan out what each
person is bringing so you can be sure to have just enough
of what you need.

What are your best savings tips for hosting a cookout?

photo credit

Garden fun on a budget


The weather has been very nice lately. I’ve been finding excuses to spend more time outside, and that really has me thinking I would love to finally start that vegetable garden I have always wanted.

Gardening Can Help You Save Money

I don’t have much of a green thumb, but would love to be able to save money on produce by growing some of my favorites! The cost of fruits and vegetables is rising and produce coupons are rare. I am always looking for ways to save money, so a garden seems like a venture I am ready to pursue!

The When, How, What and Where of Gardening

If you’re like me, you may need some help getting started. There are so many questions to ask when it comes to starting a garden. Basically the when, how, what and where of it all!

I’ve been doing lots of research, and some of the ideas I want to try are:

  • Growing herbs indoors
  • Building a raised bed
  • And planting a bean teepee!

I thought I would share with you the info I have found on doing each of these projects!

Growing Herbs Indoors

indoor herb garden


Herb gardens are fairly easy to maintain, which is the main reason this peaked my interest. Buying herbs at the market can really be hard on the grocery budget. You can start by either buying seed packets, or healthy seedlings. Basil, Rosemary, Mint and Oregano are some of the best herbs to grow indoors. It requires a container with good drainage and adequate amount of sunlight where you choose to place your herbs. You can check out a tutorial for building an
indoor herb garden here.

Raised Bed Garden

raised bed garden


I’m really looking into building a raised garden. It seems to fit my gardening style and looks fairly easy for beginners. A raised bed benefits those with small spaces, limited mobility or poor soil with inadequate drainage.

Tips for Building Your Raise Garden Bed:

● Pick your location (make sure it has access to atleast 6 hours of sunlight daily)
● Decide on a height or your box – generally 8 – 12inches and pick your wood, make sure it is a non-rotting wood.
● Build your frame by forming a box with the wood and screwing together.

(You can also choose to purchase the click-together raised bed set from Home Depot for 28.97!)

● Fill your raised bed with bagged topsoil or high-quality potting soil.
● Choose the vegetables, flowers and herbs you would like to plant

Bean Teepee

bean tee pee hd


Children are always excited to dig in the dirt! I think having a garden and including your child in the busy work is a fun idea and great learning experience for them. Depending on the child, they may just want a garden or something special of their own! I began to look for ideas and found this great idea to build a bean teepee!  I think this will be a fun family activity this Spring/Summer!

Home Depot Garden Club has great instructions on How to Build a Bean Teepee. Check it out for a fun sunny day activity with your kids!

If you are looking for ideas to help get you started gardening or outdoor fun, check out the Home Depot Garden Club! It’s free to join and you will have valuable tips and tricks at your fingertips for all your outdoor needs! In fact, all of the ideas I posted above were found online through the Garden Club and you can find more info to the projects I listed above plus many more at their site! PLUS you will
get a special $5 off coupon just for signing up!!

I would love to hear about any outdoor projects you are planning on tackling this Spring!

what to buy in april


There are different times of the year when you will find some
items are cheaper than others. For instance in March, many
stores had Cabbage as well as Corned Beef on sale in celebration
of St. Patrick’s Day. March is also National Frozen Food Month, so
that is a really good time to find great deals on your favorite frozen
foods and stock up.


In April, look for deals on Eggs! You will see coupons as
well as sales for eggs this month due to the Easter holiday.


In the produce department,  you should see Zucchini, Artichokes
and Pineapples at a low price.


Easter Sunday will cause many grocery stores to run specials for
fully cooked ham dinners from their deli, or maybe a promotion
to get a free ham when you buy a certain amount of groceries.
Even without a promotion, you will see ham on sale at many stores
along with canned and frozen veggies!


April is also a fantastic month to get stocked up on cleaning supplies!
Manufacturers know that many people will be Spring cleaning and will
release coupons to entice you to choose their product and stores will
run promotions on cleaning supplies so you will shop their store.
Using both coupons and sales together is the best way to get a great
deal. Don’t forget about the mops and brooms. Spring is also a great
time to find a deal on a vacuum cleaner! Printable coupons for
cleaning products available here!

Other items you may want to look for in April are Winter apparel such
as sweaters, coats and boots that you can stock up on and wear next year.
You will find these items at rock bottom prices as stores are trying to get rid
of their stock. We buy a size larger for the kids so they will have new items to
wear next winter and generally at about 75% off full retail price!


After the Easter holiday, be sure to grab any clearance items, like decorations
that you can use next year! If they’re not  Easter themed, some of the
items found in the clearance Easter baskets can be used as stocking stuffers
or great prizes to use for a reward system for your little ones in the future.

Make sure to print this $1 off two bags of Butterfinger or Nestle Crunch
eggs to score a fabulous deal the day after Easter! There are also the
following Easter coupons to print right now and have ready:

$1.00 off (2) MARS Chocolate M&M’S and others

$0.50 off NESTLE Crunch Easter Mini Bars 10 oz

$0.50 off Butterfinger Easter Mini Bars 11oz

What do you buy during the month of April that saves you money?


happy spring

It’s officially Spring!


We’ve began putting away our Winter apparel and bringing out
clothes for the warmer weather. It’s been fun because we found
deals on all the clothing to wear this Spring and Summer during
last Fall’s sale!
We purchased these items at rock bottom prices, and now we
get to enjoy wearing new clothes and didn’t break the

Cleaning bucket

I enjoy this part of the year very much! The weather is nice, the air
is fresh and it just inspires me to deep clean and organize our home
We have the added bonus as to just moved into a new home. It’s time
to really get cleaning and organizing.
It is also the perfect time for us to multi-task and get our
yearly garage sale in order.


If you’re getting ready to start spring cleaning your home, here are a
few tips to help get you started and keep it cheap!


Make a Plan

Start by making a list of the rooms in your home and what you would
like to complete in each room. You also want to have an area beside
each item to list the supplies you will need to complete each project.
After you have made the list, you want to set an overall time frame
for completing your spring cleaning.


Next, spread out the cleaning assignments over each of those days.
When designing this list, be sure to put it in a good order, For example,
clean from top to bottom! You don’t want to back track because you
dusted the ceiling fan after you already vacuumed. Also be realistic
with the time frame of these goals
. You don’t want to put too
much on yourself in just one day. You can get a lot done in just a few
hours a day!


Our cleaning list will take place over a span of 10 days. We have set
up each day to work on different areas of our home, and everyone will
be involved in various cleaning activities.


Have Your Supplies Ready

On your list of assignments, you should have all of the supplies you
are going to need for each project. Make sure that you have plenty
of what you need so that you aren’t having to skip a project or stop
in the middle to run to the store.
You can make your own cleaning products at home. Not only will this
save you money, it is also better for your family’s health and the
environment. The following is a list of cleaners you can make at home!
Source of all: Green Living Ideas (



  • No-Streak Glass Cleaner – For sparkling mirrors and windows,
    combine 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 quart warm water. Divide into spray bottles. For a lint-free shine, wipe dry with a sheet of crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter.




  • All Purpose Surface Cleaner - Mix together equal parts white vinegar and salt. Scrub surfaces with a natural cleaning cloth.




  • Furniture Polish - Mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water; lightly apply to furniture using a soft cloth. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then buff.



Get Cleaning

Now that you’re ready to get started, make sure you stick to your list and only
tackle one thing at a time. To make cleaning and organizing easier, each room
that you are working in should always have 3 boxes at reach: one for garbage,
one for storage, and one for stuff you want to sell or giveaway.

I highly recommend that you keep your garage sale in mind while you are
spring cleaning. Take note of clothing that no longer fits and old toys that
never get played with. Even consider pieces of furniture that a room can do without.
Keep a box or tote in each room that is specifically meant for garage sale items.
When they are full, move them all to an area of the garage easy to get to where
you can price them. Not only are you ridding the clutter, you are also getting
that jump-start on your sale, making your life much easier later!


Cross Off That List

Make sure to check off all the jobs you finish. If you’re like me, you love that
feeling of crossing items off a to-do list! It helps to keep you motivated by
reaching little goals so often!


Take A Step Back To Appreciate Your Accomplishments

Before you know it, your entire list will be checked off and your home
will be sparkling clean! Use this time as a clean slate. Make a list of
some extra chores you can do each week to stay on top of to keep your
home looking great. Think back to your spring cleaning list. Were
there areas that took longer to clean or organize than you had planned?
Now is the time to think of ways to keep that area from getting out of
control again.


I would love for you to share your tips on how you keep spring
cleaning simple and budget friendly.



garage sale


I’m desperately seeking Spring! So much that I have already
began the task of Spring cleaning this week!

I’ve found  we have a lot of stuff we don’t need!
I’m happy to be clearing out this extra clutter and excited
about the money we will earn by selling it at our Yard sale.

I’ve hosted many yard and garage sales in the past  and
I have learned many tips and tricks to help maximize our
earnings. Many of you have probably already thought
about having your own garage sale, so I thought I would
share with you some tips to help your sale run smoothly
and successfully!


Gather Your Goods

It’s best to start planning your sale as early as possible.
We have a designated tote in our garage for things we no
longer have use for and plan to sell. Through the year as
we run across those types of items, we add to that tote.
By the time Spring rolls around and we have completed
our Spring cleaning, we have several totes and a big
section of our garage ready with items to sell. A couple
of weeks before the sale, we start to price our items and
get them organized in categories by keeping like items
together. For example we keep all kitchen items on one
table, clothing is grouped together by size and gender,
books are together in one place etc. Have everything
priced and organized by the night before the sale. You
will have a much more pleasant start to your day when
you are more prepared.

When pricing your items, remember to consider what you would pay for the
item at yard sale price. Also keep in mind that you can always lower the
price later if you need to so price a bit higher than you are willing to take.


Pick Your Location

To have the most visitors to your garage sale, location is key!
If you live on a well traveled road, chances are you will do
just fine with the number of people that stop. You will also want
to make sure that your location has plenty of space for parking.
If your home is not the best place to hold your sale, try talking
with other members of your family or friends to see if they would
be willing to host a sale at their home. This will mean more work
and hauling of items on your part, so take everything into consideration
when picking your location.



There are many outlets to advertise your garage sale other than posting
signs in your neighborhood. There are media outlets you can use to help
your garage sale be located. You can pay a small fee and have it listed in
your local newspaper, but there are free options out there as well.
Craigslist is a fantastic place to list a free ad about your Garage
sale. Make sure to give the location, short directions from a close landmark,
start and end times along with a general listing of the types of items you
will be selling. Another great place to advertise your garage sale
is with your Facebook friends, ask them to spread the word as well!


Be Prepared: Items You Should Keep On Hand

-Plenty of Change (We start with $25 in ones, $25 in fives, $50 in tens and a roll of quarters)
-Notepad and pen for keeping track of whose items were sold
-Spare Batteries used only for testing some items to prove that they work
-Access to an electrical outlet, another way to test if items work properly
-Plastic grocery bags to help your customers haul their purchasess home


Offer Something Fun or Free

To attract more customers to come to your garage sale, offer something fun such
as a raffle for a cool prize. Make sure to advertise at your Garage sale that
anyone that makes a purchase will enter to win the prize. They can fill out a
simple slip of paper at checkout with just their name and number. At the end
of the sale draw a name and contact your winner. Depending on the item you
choose as the prize, this may have an impact on those that generally just come
to look. They may be inticed to make a small purchase to gain an entry to your

Another option to bring in some shoppers is to offer hot coffee in the mornings,
or free lemonade and/or snacks. This is a relatively cheap approach, and should
keep them lurking around a bit longer and hopefully make a purchase. If you are
planning on offering something like one of these, make sure to list that in your ads.

Keep The Clutter Out

When your sale is over, you will probably find that you have plenty of stuff left
that you have to deal with. Make a plan ahead of time of what you would like to
do with the leftovers. In the past, we have advertised a fill your bag sale during
the last hour or so. The shoppers could stuff plastic grocery bags full and pay only
$1 for the contents. You could also put a separate ad on Craigslist in the free section
that you will be offering Yard Sale leftovers for free if they will come haul it off.
Leave your email or phone number for them to contact you, and make an agreement to the
first person that is interested and plan to have them pick it up directly after your
sale ends. You can also choose to donate any items to a charitable cause.


What additional garage sale tips have you had success with?


photo credit

sweet and savvy


It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make Valentine’s day memorable and full of family fun!
Many times planning activities at home, instead of going out can be just as much fun!
I’d like to share with you some of the ways we like to prepare for and enjoy our Valentine’s day.

Make a special breakfast and/or lunches extra lovey!

The kids love pancakes for breakfast, but on Valentines day, we like to make
them extra special! We make heart shaped pancakes and add a little food color to
turn them pink or red. Sometimes we have biscuits for breakfast instead, which can
easily be cut into heart shapes before baking!

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s day without heart shaped sandwiches and a corny little
poem or note in their lunch box! Since Valentine’s Day is on Saturday this year,
a fun picnic on the rug may be just the way to get some extra smiles.
Little changes in routine can make for a special day!


breakfast lunch

Make gifts for teachers or grandparents

One of the easiest and least expensive gift ideas for a child to do on
their own – Coffee Filter Flowers! My daughter brought me one home from school
on Mother’s day when she was in the first grade. She taught me how to make them
and I just love the idea. The kids were so happy to make them and even more excited
to be able to give them to their teachers!

For this craft, you just need the following (we always have these things on hand,
so they are free for us to make whenever we like!)

  • Paper Coffee Filters
  • Crayola Markers – The color is strong and “bleeds” better with this brand
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Paint Brush
  • Water

Coffee Filter flowers




How to make coffee filter flowers:

Step 1 – Use your favorite color markers to draw dots all over a coffee filter.
You will need to do this to at least 3 coffee filters for each flower you want to make.

Step 2 – Dip the paint brush in water and paint over your dots.
You will notice the colors starting to “bleed”.
After you have wet each dot, you will need to let  your coffee filters dry completely.

 Step 3 – When your filters are dry, fold them like you would a paper fan.
Do this to all 3 of your filters.

 Step 4 –  Stack each folded filter on top of each other, but alternate them
by laying one horizontal and one vertical and so on. Next, wrap a pipe cleaner
around the middle of your stack to hold them all in place.The pipe cleaner
becomes the center of your flower as well as your stem.

Step 5 – Fluff out your “Petals” to look like a flower. Then give to someone you love!


Making their own treats to take to class parties

An easy, no bake recipe works best. We like to dip Oreos in melted Vanilla Almond Bark, so for Valentines day, you could add food coloring to the melted mix to match the holiday! (After the Almond Bark is melted, the kids can pretty much make these on their own!) Use Pinterest for inspiration on some great creative snack ideas
for Valentine’s day



Movie, anyone?

If time allows in the evening, popcorn and hot chocolate along with a movie is
a great way to spend time and unwind. What better movie for a Valentines
evening than Lady and the Tramp?

Movie nught


I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into our family’s Valentine’s day
activities and that your day is full of fun as well!

printbale coupon 101

All About Printable Coupons


Printable coupons are coupons that can be printed from your computer
and redeemed for money off products in stores. You may notice that
when you try and print coupons from some sites, that it asks to install
or accept a coupon printer program. The reason for this, is because
it helps to track the printing activity on your computer and to make
sure you are not printing more than your limit. This keeps it fair for
others wanting to print the coupon as well as the manufacturer who
is issuing the coupon.


Most printable coupons will have a print limit per computer, usually two,
and have a code or pin located on it to verify it is not a copy. It is illegal to
make a copy of and redeem that coupon.


A couple of great tips to know about printable coupons:

  1. Some coupons reset their print limits at the first of each
    month. For example if you printed your two coupons for
    $1 off Cheerios in March, it’s possible that the limit has
    reset the 1st of April and you will be able to print two more!
  2. If you wish, you may print coupons in black and white only.
    They will still redeem just fine!
  3. Print any coupons you think you may want to use, especially
    those with high dollar amounts off, coupons can come and
    go quickly and you may miss your chance.
  4. Some coupons will print on your paper and take up very little
    space, some will print out with a recipe or advertisement to
    fill the whole paper. A tip to conserve paper is to set your
    printing preferences to show a print preview before your
    coupon prints. This will show you what your print page will
    look like ahead of time so that you can be aware of the
    size of the coupon and if you still have room on another
    sheet you have previously printed on.

Favorite places for printable coupons:
Coupon Network
Facebook – (different brand’s release coupons to print often)
Pillsbury Coupons
Betty Crocker Coupons
Best Meals At Home (Publix Store Coupons)


Printable coupons can also be found at manufacturers websites, look
for a tab specifying “promotions”, “coupons” or “special offers”


Also companies can send coupons by email for you to print,
usually when you have signed up for their club or newsletters.


Don’t forget to visit the website of your favorite store, they will
also have sections on their websites to print store and manufacturer


Problems Printing Coupons

Sometimes you may run into problems while trying to print
your coupons. This is never fun but luckily, sometimes the
fix is easy.


Some things to try when your coupons won’t print!


  • First, make sure your printer is plugged in and connected to your computer,
    you have paper and adequate amount of ink or toner. Next make sure the printer
    you are trying to print from is the default printer that your computer is trying to
  • Switch browsers. If you are using Firefox, try switching
    to Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
  • Some coupons require that you have Java installed on your computer
    so make sure you have an up-to-date version on your computer
  • Try restarting your computer and printer.
  • Contact the manufacturer or coupon site owner or look for a
    troubleshoot tab if you still cannot get your coupons to print.

Sometimes you may run across the error that you have already printed
the coupon and reached your limit, even though you know you haven’t.
If this is the case, may not necessarily mean that YOU have reached the
limit, but in general there are no more prints available.


Neat Tip: If you are trying to print a coupon from and are having
trouble, or maybe you just don’t have access to your printer at the moment,
sometimes you can scroll all the way to the bottom of the page of the coupon
you are wanting to print and click the “help” tab, it will then bring up a form
where you can request to have the coupon mailed to your home address

It’s helpful to keep in mind that due to all the fraudulent coupons out there,
some stores do not feel comfortable accepting printable coupons. Make
sure you know your store’s coupon policy to avoid problems in the checkout
line later.

Menu Plan Budget

Planning your meals in advance based on what is on sale each week is a great way to stretch your family’s grocery budget. Knowing what you will cook in advance will ensure you have all the needed ingredients on hand without having to make frequent trips to the store throughout the week and often pay full price!

1. Get started with lists

I make a list of all the meals my family loves to eat.  I also have an area on this list of recipes I would like to try.I like to plan our meals at least 2 weeks in advance, and include meals large enough for leftovers that can be used for lunch the next day.

shopping list

2. Gather your grocery store ads

I start by looking at the sales flyers each week to see which items are free and cheap, with and without coupons. Some of the best deals will be on the front of the ad. Don’t forget to look for BOGO deals as well!

grocery ads

Make a list of any great priced items from each store.  For example, if I find Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts for less than $2/lb, I know that many of our main dishes will include chicken that week. Some weeks, I can find 10lb bag of potatoes for $1.99 or even get dry pasta or rice sides for free using coupons.  After I have created my list of the great sale items, I build my menu around those cheap finds.

I usually try and put my main focus on best prices of meat and produce. I also stock up on the really great deals on non-perishable items such as canned and boxed goods. I buy what we would use for 4-6 weeks of those items, and merge them in with my menu planning.

Consider buying a whole chicken fryer when it is on sale and cooking it in the crockpot.  Depending on the size of your family, you may be able to get 3 meals out of it. We like to do casseroles, soups, tacos, and BBQ sandwiches with them!

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things

Sometimes you may see cuts of meat or ingredients that you aren’t familiar with at an amazing price. When that is the case, I like to use to find new recipes to take advantage of these sales. Supercook helps you come up with recipes based on only the ingredients you have on hand.

4. Plan for the unexpected

It’s a good idea to have a list of meals that are pretty cheap to make without sales and coupons as your fallback. Keep the items on that list in your stockpile.

We always have pasta and sauce in our pantry. It can easily be thrown together for a quick inexpensive meal should one of our other plans fall  through.  You may run across a day that is really hectic, or you forgot to defrost your meat. I love having that quick fallback meal to fix.  It stops that all-too-convenient call to the local pizza delivery place.

5. Make your plan visible

Put your list on the fridge and make a habit to look at it each night. You can prepare in advance which meat to put out to thaw and get a head start on chopping any vegetables.

Following these steps will not only help to cut your grocery budget, but will also help simplify your life when it comes to dinner!


begginer budget


Starting a budget.


Having a budget is an important part of maintaining financial security. It’s
important to control spending so there is enough leftover to put towards the
larger things we need or want.
Even if you have never thought of planning out a budget, it’s not too late
to start. I’ve put together some tips easy enough for anyone to get a start
on their household budget!


The first step is to calculate all of your monthly income. Add up any income
you receive from your job, spouses job plus any other extra things you do
monthly that brings in money. Once you have your monthly income total,
you will need to write out all of your necessary bills that are due each month
and total them up. (Rent, Utilities, Car Payment, Insurance etc)

Next, create a list of your luxury items that you buy each month on average.
This may include dining out, trips to the movies, coffee each morning, purchasing
DVD or Music Cd’s etc.


After you have totaled your spending for the month, you should be able to subtract
your spending total from your monthly totals to get your leftover balance each month.


You may find, as many people do, that after you have reached this step of planning
your budget that you have very little, or no money left each month. Some cases, you
may actually see a negative balance meaning you overspend your income each month.
This can be very stressful but easy to do when you don’t have a written budget to
follow. If this is the case for you, let it be a wake up call. There are ways to
turn it around and actually start to see more of your hard earned money each month,
you just need to be aware of where your money is going!


Now that you have a good look at your money. Ask yourself this question, If you had
some money to put back and save each month, what would you be saving it for? A new
appliance? To pay off a credit card? Down payment on a home? New Car? Vacation?
No matter what it is you are wanting to save for, you can do it if you make and stick
to a budget!


Let’s say you will be needing a new washer and dryer soon and you are looking at
a goal of saving $1200 for this purchase. First thing is to estimate a time frame
in which you would like to make this purchase and then break up the smaller amounts
you will put back and save however is easiest for you – Monthly, bi-weekly, weekly.


So if you wish to have your $1200 saved in 6 months, you need to plan to save $200
each month, or $50 each week.


Where do you pull that $200 each month? Well if you have a budget, you know your income,
you are aware of your spending and how much is left over each month. You will need to
budget out the extra $200 from your monthly “leftovers” If you don’t have an extra
$200, you may want to take a look and see if there are any luxuries you can do without.


For example, if you are in the habit of grabbing coffee every morning before work,
try cutting it down to two mornings. If coffee is a must for  you, invest in a
travel mug and give the easy coffee mix-ins a try a few mornings of the week.
This will help shave $40+ a month off your budget! That’s nearly $500 a year!


Some other ideas to get your current bills lower are:

-Call your cable and/or internet provider to see if they have any specials to lower your
monthly bill. Another possibility is cutting out the cable all together and getting a membership
with Netflix, they offer many popular TV shows and tons of movies for a low monthly fee of $8!


-Try lowering your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and raising a few degrees in the
summer. Also make sure your water heater is set to a normal level ( around 120 degrees) and
make sure to keep your air and furnace filters replaced and clean. All of this will help to
lower your utility bill each month.


-Look for sales and use coupons at the grocery store! This is my favorite way to stretch
our household budget! Once you get the hang of couponing and when to buy items at their
lowest price, your grocery bill should be 40 -50% less than what it is now! To stretch that
even further, make your meal plans based around only the things you are getting at a great


After you have decided the items you would like to cut out of your spending each month, you
should have a new total that looks a little better. Hopefully there should be some extra money
left over that you can decide what to save for.


Best way to handle your money:

Some people prefer the cash only system. File your money in categories and put each in an
envelope. For example if you plan to spend $75 on groceries each week. Make an envelope labeled “Groceries” and put your cash inside. Each time you make a grocery purchase that week, the money should be coming out of that envelope only. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Don’t dip into other envelopes to make more purchases. Having your funds in cash helps you to know when you are close to running out and studies have shown when people pay with cash they think harder about whether making the purchase is really worth it.

If you plan to use your financial institution to make all your payments via check, debit card, is a fabulous way to help budget and keep track of your spending! Best of all it
is completely free! Manage your bank account and spending easily. There is even a
mobile phone app to download for free to check out your spending on the go.


Don’t be too strict

A very important tip for any household’s budget is to allow a place to splurge a little.
If you keep a strict budget with no room for unexpected expenses, errors or a little fun
money, then you may end up having to pull from other important areas of your budget and
feel as though you failed. Allow room for a little fun. It will help make saving less painful
and keep you on the right track.


Whatever your savings goal is, make it reasonable. If it’s something very hard to reach, you
will find yourself giving up before you even get started. If you have many things you would
like to save for, start with the smallest priced item. You will reach it faster, and have
that motivation to move on to the next goal with a little more confidence of reaching it.


If you are living paycheck to paycheck and feel you are barely getting by and strapped for
cash, there are some ways to earn money pretty effortlessly each month. Just remember, whatever extra side job you take on or look into, You should NEVER pay for any of it upfront. You will notice on your quest to work at home or earn extra money there will be many scams. If any of them ask for money to get started, it’s a scam. Everytime!


Ways to boost your income:

-Take on a part time job


-Take online surveys (see a list of companies I use)

-Have a yard sale

-Offer services for something you are good at – computer work, yard work, Piano lessons, Web

design, Photography etc

- Clean houses

- Sit with the elderly

- Be a mystery shopper (Remember if they ask for any money to get started, it’s a scam!)

- Sell some of your unwanted items on Craigslist or Ebay

I hope this post gives you the motivation and starting point to get your
household budget underway.
What other tips do you have for sticking within a budget?

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