Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pampers Gifts to Grow


Add 50 free points to youPampers Rewards account when you use this coupon code.  The expiration date is unkown.


      Meijer mPerks: Free Dannon Creamery Dairy Dessert


      Register or log in to your mPerks account to get a coupon good for a FREE Dannon Creamery Dairy Dessert (5.3 oz.). Enter the promo code Creamery14 to access this free coupon.

      Monday, September 29, 2014

      Free Sample Yogi Tea

      FREE Yogi Tea Sample Pack – Send 2 FREE Samples to a friend. Want a sample too? Ask them to send one back to you!

      Target Sample Spot: Free Sample Dial Ane Control Face/Body Wash


      Head over to the Target website and fill out a quick form to see if you qualify for a free sample of Dial Acne Control Face Wash and Body Wash.

      Dunkin' Donuts: Free 12 oz Dark Roast Coffee Today (9/29)

      Dunkin’ Donuts – FREE 12 oz. Dark Roast Coffee to celebrate National Coffee Day today, September 29th!

      From the DD press release:

      Dunkin’ Donuts also today announced a special National Coffee Day offer to help America run on Dunkin’s newest, boldest brew. On September 29, National Coffee Day, guests can walk into any participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant across the country and receive a free medium cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot Dark Roast Coffee, with a limit of one per guest. Then, beginning September 30 through October 5, guests can enjoy a medium cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot Dark Roast Coffee for the special price of only 99 cents.

      Friday, September 26, 2014

      McDonald's Free Coffee Giveaway ends Monday, 9/29

      Just a reminder, McDonald's free coffee event ends Monday, September 29.  So, get your small coffee for free while it lasts!

      The Coffee Mateuccino

      This morning I had the chance to indulge in one of my favorite money-saving creations. The Coffee-Mateuccino! If you make coffee at home (which frugal people do) and occasionally get Nestle brand Coffee-mate (which is sometimes on sale), then you know how tragic it can be when you turn over the Coffee-Mate Fat Free French Vanilla only to have piddly drips come out. Fear not, for this frugal tip will allow you one more day of creamed java. To confess, this creation came out of a desire to have one final moment with the Coffee-Mate instead of actually saving money, but thankfully it does both.

      First, brew your coffee however you please and get your empty cup...


       Next, confirm that Coffee-mate is in fact reaching the end...
       Now, for the tricky part. Pour your coffee into the creamer bottle. You have to go slow. This whole concept works for two reasons. One, the creamer itself is extremely thick so it sticks to the bottle. (We usually have fat-free, regular may be even thicker). Second, the Coffee-mate bottle has little dents and crevices in the bottom that retain even more extra creamer after the last drip has dropped. Fill the bottle halfway or with however much coffee you want. Secure the lid tightly and give it a good martini shake.

      When you open the lid, you should get a delightful "psst" sound meaning you frothed up your coffee perfectly. Pour into the cup and enjoy your frugal, creative creation. The Coffee-mateuccino!

      Thursday, September 25, 2014

      Shelf Life: Decoding the Expiration Lingo

      Stocking up on items when you find great prices is a way to reduce your grocery budget.  How long do things really last?  In their March 2011 issue, Parents Magazine did a small piece about what some of the expiration date lingo means. 
      • Sell By:  Use the food within 2-3 days of this date.  However, milk and yogurt kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can last up to a week after this date.  Eggs are good up to an additional five weeks.  ( I don't know why they don't just extend the expiration date of these...)
      • Use By:  Eat (or freeze) food by this date.  Parents also says, "Never use baby formula or baby food beyond this date, since it can lose nutrients." 
      • Best if Used By:  Usually on non-perishable items, and using post expiration date won't necessarily make you ill, the product just may be stale or have lost color and nutrients.  Parents states, "If it remains unopened in your pantry, peanut butter can last up to 9 months, cereal a year, canned fruit 12-18 months and canned veggies for up to 5 years." 
      Expiring food is not an issue around here, it gets eaten too quickly!  However, this is a good reference to have, just in case you find something at the back of the fridge that you had missed.

      Wednesday, September 24, 2014

      Frugal Quick Tip: Double Check After Unloading Groceries

      A great way to save money is to not let your perishable groceries rot in your car or trunk after you bring them home from the store!  I was in a hurry last Thursday night after coming home from Target.  I had stopped to get a few things before we left for a wedding in Indy on Friday.  The next morning rolls around, and I was packing food in the cooler.  I went to pack the baby's milk....and it wasn't in the fridge!  I had gotten a gallon of whole milk at Target (for $3.59 a gallon, no less), and I left it in the trunk overnight!

      These sort of things (that I actually find myself doing quite often) really send me over the edge of sanity.  Maybe I should follow my own advice and make it a habit to double check the car or trunk to ensure I actually brought in all of my purchases.  Likewise, make sure you take them all out of bags as well!

      Meal Planning

      "What are we having for dinner tonight?"  Ugh.  Such an annoying question sometimes, but it doesn't have to be.  Consider meal planning as a way to avoid the dreaded 4 pm question.  Meal planning is simply sitting down and loosely deciding what meals you will make for an extended period of time.  I plan out my meals for one week, but others more ambitious than I plan for a whole month.  Allow me to describe for you how I plan my meals.  Your schedule and dietary needs might be completely different, so do what works for you.

      On Sundays, I sit down with my beloved planner to decide the fate of my family's bellies for the next week.  Consult your fridge, freezer and pantry for meal idea inspiration.  Breakfasts consist of mostly oatmeal/fruit with the occasional cold cereal thrown in if we are running late.  Lunches usually consist of PB&J and fruit or leftovers.  Snacks are fruit/veggies, a dairy product such as cheese or yogurt, and a carb such as crackers or homemade muffins.  I don't plan these meals.  The rut we are in with these meals is so deep, I know we won't deviate too much.  If your family's palate would not tolerate such repetitiveness, by all means, plan those meals as well.

      That leaves my house with only dinner to plan.  Everyone knows meat is expensive, so I try to use it conservatively (more on saving money with meat in another post).  Much of our protein is derived from eggs, dairy and beans/legumes.  I also keep a bag of ground flax and wheat germ on hand to sprinkle on additional protein.  On a typical week, this is what our meal structure might look like (add fruits/veggies/salad to every meal):
      • Egg based dish such as spinach/egg casserole, scrambled eggs with pancakes or omelettes.
      • Cheese based dish such as meatless spaghetti with mozzarella cheese or cheese ravioli.
      • Bean based dish such as bean burritos or black bean salad.
      • Meat as a condiment dish such as shredded chicken on large fresh salads.
      • Meat as a focal point dish such as baked or grilled chicken breasts.
      • A leftovers night.
      • A lazy or treat night such as frozen or ordered pizza, nachos, or meals at extended family.
      Meal planning helps avoid the dreaded 'what is for dinner' question.  It also helps cut down on unnecessary, short trips to the store to get one or two items.  You can lessen your need for takeout or eating out.  Meal planning avoids wasting food by eating up leftovers or using leftovers in the next nights dish.

      I use meal planning as a flexible guide in my house.  If something comes up or plans change, that is ok, I simply move the meals around.

      Tuesday, September 23, 2014

      High Value Hefty Printable at Target

      Print coupon for $1.50 off ONE (1) package of Hefty® Large Black Trash Bags 36 count at Target.  Click on the above picture to get yours!