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26 Jun 2008   ·   81
Money Saving Mom

Writing to companies = Free stuff and coupons!

I often receive emails from people thanking me for all the money I’ve helped them save. While I’m so glad to be helping save you money, I have to tell you that this blogging thing is a two-way street: I’ve saved so much more money myself since I started blogging on saving money.

Case in point: a number of you have mentioned writing to companies when you have a problem with a product. Honestly, the thought would have never crossed my mind to do so but with your encouragement I tried it twice in the last two weeks.

And guess what? Both times I scored free coupons.

First I wrote to Pampers because I recently bought a package of diapers that was cut funny and the tabs kept pulling off. We are almost exclusively a Pampers family and I have purchased who-knows-how-many diapers from them in the last four years I’ve been diapering babies, so I knew that this was not typical.

I shot off a simple emailing explaining what had happened, telling them how much we like Pampers, and asking if there was anyway they could send me some product coupons. In less than a week, I’d received an email back and a letter with two $5/1 Pampers coupons. Thank you, Pampers!

Armed with this success, I wrote to Lipton tea as I’d bought a box of tea a month ago which had mostly-defunct tea bags in it. When I’d pour the boiling water over the tea bags, they would explode and I’d have to throw out the now-tea-leaf-filled tea and try again.

Once again, I explained the situation, expressed my appreciation for their products (which I usually enjoy), and requested a coupon for a free product to replace the box of tea bags I was unable to use.
I promptly received both an email and a letter containing not only a coupon for a free box of tea, but a sheet of high-dollar coupons for other UniLever brands. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty–I’m impressed!

So folks, it never hurts to write and ask. Don’t complain and don’t take advantage of companies, but if you sincerely encounter a problem with a product, drop the company a line. Your few minutes of effort might pay off with free stuff and great coupons!

24 Jun 2008   ·   16
Money Saving Mom

The two-week menu for this week and last week

I’m a little late in getting this posted (only a few more days and we start on a new menu!) but I guess that means this menu is also more accurate since it’s more what we actually ate, not what we planned to eat!

To see our $76 grocery trip, go here. I kept things really simple for these two weeks as we had a lot of things going on and I was feeling the need to keep things simple.

Here’s the menu:

BREAKFASTS (I try to shoot for a combination of two servings of
whole-grains, one serving of protein, and one to two servings of fruit
for all of our breakfast menus.)

Cereal, fruit x 6 (We usually have more variety but since I bought 15 boxes of cereal on our shopping trip? We’re lots of it right now. And did I mention how easy cereal is to serve for breakfast?!)
Juice, English muffins, yogurt
Strawberry smoothies, toast
Blueberry cream muffins, scrambled eggs, fruit
English muffins, scrambled eggs, fruit
Orange/carrot juice (made in our juicer), toast, yogurt
Whole-wheat waffles, yogurt, fruit

LUNCHES (I try to have a combination of a serving of protein,
one to two servings of whole grain/complex carbohydrates, and two
servings of veggies/fruit for our lunch menus.)

Chicken fingers, apples, rolls
Split peas, brown rice, cottage cheese
PB&J, oranges, broccoli
Leftovers
Turkey sandwiches, mixed vegetables
Quesadillas, carrots
Burritos, veggies
Scrambled eggs, spinach, mashed potatoes
Tuna sandwiches, carrots, apples, Chex Mix
Salad, homemade bread
Split peas, brown rice, fruit salad
Spinach/cheese/rice casserole, fruit
Leftovers
PB&J, apples, carrots
Turkey sandwiches, mixed veggies
Chicken fingers, bananas, mixed veggies, whole-wheat toast

DINNERS (Dinners are similar to lunches in that I try to have a
combination of one to two servings of protein, one to two servings of
whole grains/complex carbohydrates, and at least two servings of
fruit/veggies.)

Homemade mac and cheese, broccoli, homemade bread
Haystacks, rice
Waffles, fresh juice (we often have this on Sunday evenings and I make up extra waffles to use for breakfast and snack s throughout the week)
Lasagna casserole, green beans, bread
Hamburger mashed potato casserole, homemade bread
Leftovers
Italian chicken over brown rice
Dinner out (we had a gift card)
BBQ meatballs, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, mixed veggies
Dinner at friends’ home (bring bread and fruit)
Hamburgers, mashed potatoes with basil, grilled onions, corn-on-the-cob
Lasagna casserole, toast, green beans
Beef hot dogs, fruit, pasta salad
Dinner out

SNACKS (We usually have at least two snacks per day–the fact
that I’m still nursing Kaitlynn means I’m often hungry and three meals
per day just doesn’t cut it for me! I try to serve at least one healthy
snack a day and then one snack is usually something less healthy like
Chex Mix or cookies.)

Fruit (apples/bananas)
Raw veggies (carrot sticks)
Cheese
Quesadillas
Popcorn
Chex Mix
Animal crackers
Cereal
Blueberry muffins
Homemade bread
Whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies
Ice cream

24 Jun 2008   ·   61
Money Saving Mom

In celebration of $4/gallon gas

I’m in no way thrilled about the recent rise of gas prices and have even found myself falling into a panic every now and then about it. However, complaining won’t accomplish anything will it?

So, in an effort to keep a grateful spirit, I present to you four reasons I am celebrating $4/gallon gas:

Texpump

1) High gas prices have encouraged our family to slow down and stay home more. A go-go-go lifestyle isn’t healthy for

anyone, so I’m thankful for the motivation to reconsider outside activities and commitments and pursue a simpler, more relaxed pace in our life.

2) High gas prices have helped us get in better shape. We have added a lot more exercise into our daily lives as a result of the higher gas prices as we try to walk instead of drive as often as we can.

3) High gas prices have caused us to be more efficient. While we used to think nothing of driving to a destination and driving back, we now try our best to plan ahead and combine trips. We rarely go anywhere without consciously making an effort to work some other errands into the trip. This not only saves on gas money, but it also saves us time and effort as it’s much more effective to tackle four errands at once than to make four separate trips.

4) High gas prices have saved us money. I know it might seem like a misnomer that rising gas prices have saved us money, but when you factor in how many errands we’ve decided not to run, how many times we’ve opted to walk to the park instead of driving somewhere, or how many times we’ve just stayed home, in the long run I think it’s saved us money.

What about you? I’d love to hear reasons you have found to be thankful for high gas prices.

23 Jun 2008   ·   82
Money Saving Mom

Becoming a WAHM: It’s work – Part 1

One of the emails I receive time and again is from moms who want to
find a way to earn money from home. While I don’t consider myself to be
a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) expert, I have worked from home for five
years now and have learned a lot along the way. This series is for
those of you who are contemplating working from home, those of you who
think you’d really love to work from home, and those of you who just
wonder what working from home involves.

I’ve read a lot of books and articles over the years on the subject
of working from home and find that often they are somewhat unrealistic. This series will not
be about get-rich-quick schemes (I hope you know by now that there is
no such thing!), how to work for one hour a week and make $100,000 a
year (that’s also a fairy tale!), or how making money from home is a
simple, easy thing.

What I will aim to share with you is my personal journey in
becoming a WAHM,  what things have and haven’t worked for me, what I
wish someone had told me when I was first contemplating starting a
business from home, and how you, too, can become a WAHM.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m currently making a good income
from home–last year, I made the equivalent of a good part-time job and
this year, if things continue to go the way they are going, I will
likely double that figure. I’m doing the majority of my work in the
early morning hours and during my girls’ afternoon quiet time/naptime
and am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring in a good income while
not neglecting my most important priorities–that of being a wife and
mom.

I’m sure many moms could look at me and want what I have–the
ability to make a good income while staying at home, choosing my own
hours, and taking care of my husband, home, and family first. I can
take a day off (or even a few days off!) whenever I like and
the money continues to come in at the same rate because of the many
multiple streams of income I’ve set in place.

All this might sound really cool (and it is!) but what most people
often don’t add into this equation are the countless hours, days,
weeks, months, and even years that I spent building my online earnings up to the point they are at. I
do not care to recall all the failed income-earning things I’ve tried
nor the incredibly naive mistakes I’ve made. You don’t want to know
about the sleep I’ve missed or the outside opportunities I’ve had to
say “no” to in order to stay focused at keep at it–even when the going
got tough.

The effort has paid off and I’m now reaping the fruits of my labors
(though I’m still making lots of mistakes and I’m sure I’ll continue to
do so until the day I die!), but I won’t ever forget the struggles I
had to go through to get me where I’m at or the mountains I’ve had to
climb along the way.

I am a firm believer that, with God’s blessings and lots of hard work, anyone can successfully work from home. However, I will be the first to tell you that working from home is just that–work.
I’m by nature a positive person but I won’t sugar-coat the truth when
it comes to working from home: if you are not prepared to put in lots
and lots and lots of time and effort, working from home won’t work for you.

So, before you even consider working from home, I cannot stress how important it is that you are prepared for the long-haul. It often takes months or even years
to see results and steady, reliable income. If you stick with it,
though, it will eventually pay off–and likely it could pay off beyond
your wildest imaginations!

Just for fun: How many of you currently work from home? Tell us a little about what you do and what has and hasn’t worked for you.

20 Jun 2008   ·   35
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: Our marathon shopping trip from last Friday/Saturday

I mentioned our marathon shopping trip last week, but didn’t get a chance to show you pictures. Before I show you pictures, though, I need to tell you that our van has been undergoing repairs recently, so I’d been without a vehicle for a number of days and the girls and I were feeling quite a bit of cabin fever.

What’s the perfect solution to cabin fever? Go grocery shopping! We don’t usually go to more than 3-4 stores per week but Friday night and Saturday, we were on a roll so we just went and went and went. And we had a blast! Well, at least we did until Kaitlynn starting throwing up–which quickly signified the end of our shopping spree!

Here’s what we got:

Since I just switched to shopping for two weeks at a time and was
actually a week ahead, I went ahead and used up almost all of my
allotted $80 to spend. There were such great deals and we were
motivated buyers, so I figured I might as well stock up while I had the
chance.

101_0158

FIRST STOP: CVS
1 box Fiber One Cereal – $3.00
2 bags Gold Emblem candy –

$0.88 each
2 Listerine SmartRinse – $3.49 each
1 Brut deodorant – $2.89
3 CVS cotton swabs – $3.19 each
Used $3/$15 CVS coupon
Used $3/$10 CVS coupon
Used $1/1 Fiber One coupon
Use $1/2 Gold Emblem coupons
Used $9 and $6.99 ECBs
Spent $0.21 out of pocket
Earned $6, $3, and $6.98 ECBs

101_0160

SECOND STOP: HEN HOUSE
3 bottles Juicy Juice – on sale $1.97, used $1/1 coupons
3 bags Chex Mix – on sale for $1.50, used $1/1 coupons
2 bags Texas Toast croutons – $1.65, used $1/1 coupons
2 boxes microwave popcorn, on closeout for $0.39 each
2 cans tuna, on sale for $0.58
1 container Farmland All Natural shaved turkey – on sale for $2.79, used $1/1 coupon
2 lbs fresh green beans – on sale for $0.99/lb 
8 ears of fresh corn – on sale 4 for $1
Bags of frozen peaches, raspberries, and blackberries – on sale for $1.77 each
1 bag frozen blueberries – on sale for $2.49
1/2 gallon organic whole milk from a local farm – $3.19
1 package English muffins – $0.85
Yoplait kids drinkable yogurt (6-pk) – on sale for $2.48, used $1/1 coupon
YoPlus yogurt (4-pk) – on sale for $2.17, used $1/1 coupon
Total: $35.48 (saved $29.06 with store sales and coupons)

101_0157

THIRD STOP: WAL-MART
2 boxes Kashi cereal – $2.78, used $2/1 coupon
1 box Kashi Vive cereal – $3.46, used FREE coupon
1 Kotex small pack – $1, used $1/1 coupon
1 box LiveActive cereal – $2.98, used $3/1 coupon
Edge shaving gel – $1.50, used $1/1 coupon
V8 Fusion – $2.98, used $2/1 coupon
5 cans Muir Glen tomatoes – $1.18 each, used 5 $1/1 coupons
Total after coupons: $5.71

101_0163

FOURTH STOP: HY-VEE
2 bags Corazonas chips – used 2 FREE coupons
1 Deli Creations – on sale for $2, used $1/1 coupon
1 cottage cheese (16 oz) – on sale for $1.38
3 lbs Braeburn apples – on sale for $0.99/lb
Total after coupons: $6.10

101_0164

FIFTH STOP: CVS #2
1 box Cheerios – $3
2 Gold Emblem candies at $0.88 each
1 Oral B toothbrush – $6.99
3 Huggies Bath and Body – $3.49
Used $3/15
Used $1/2 Gold Emblem
Used 3 $1/1 Huggies coupons
Used $3, $6, and $6.50 ECB–had them adjust this down
$0.01 out of pocket
Earned $6.99 and $6 ECBs

101_0162_3

SIXTH STOP: CVS #3
5 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios – $3 each
1 Oral B Toothbrush – $6.99
2 Gold Emblem candies – $0.88 each
Used $3/15
Used 2 $1/1 Cheerios coupons
Used 3 $0.60/1 Cheerios coupons
Used $1/2 Gold Emblem coupon
Used $3, $6 and $6.99 ECBs
Spent $3.47 out of pocket
Earned $10 and $6.99 ECBs

101_0165_2

SEVENTH STOP: PRICE CHOPPER
4 boxes of SmartStart cereal (our very favorite cereal!) on sale 4 for $10
Used 2 $3/2 coupons
Paid $4.75 out of pocket after coupons and sales (Saved $10.56)

101_0166_2

EIGHTH STOP: ALDI

Oil – $2.79
2 cans refried beans – $0.59 each
Cantaloupe – $0.99
Baby carrots – $0.99
Noodles – $0.99
Tortillas – $0.99
Corn chips – $0.99
2 bunches bananas – $2.96 total
3 blocks (8 oz.) cheese – $1.89 each
Lettuce – $0.99
Animal crackers – $1.19
Total: $21.21

101_0168

FINAL STOP: CVS #4

6 Gold Emblem candies – $0.88 each
3 CVS Aftershave – $2.59 each
1 CVS sharing lotion – $2.99
1 Brut Deodorant – $2.89
Used $3/$15 coupon
Used $10.00 ECB
Used $5.93 ECB– had them adjust it down
Spent $0.00 out of pocket
Earned $4 ECB, $3 ECB, and $5 ECB

GRAND TOTAL: $76.94–under budget and we got LOTS of food and household products for that! Yay!

Stay tuned for Monday’s post on the complete menu of what we’re eating with these groceries.

————————

How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week on your blog (with pictures,
if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below.

20 Jun 2008   ·   21
Money Saving Mom

Frugal Family Fun: The Summer Edition

553732fb2boyswithsandbucketoverthei

It’s the first day of Summer and parents everywhere are in the market for creative and cost-effective ideas for frugal family fun. Here are a few of our family’s favorite ways to have fun without breaking the bank:

 –Go grocery shopping together. We often do this as a family and make an outing of it. If you have to do it, you might as well make it fun! We bring snacks and drinks along, the girls get to ride in those fancy carts most stores now sport, and we have a blast seeing how much we can get for how little. The best part of all is that grocery stores seem keep their thermostat set at almost-freezing temperatures so it’s a cheap way to beat the heat (well, provided that you stick to your list and your budget and don’t impulse buy!).

–Pack a picnic, a blanket, some books, and some toys for the girls and go hang out at a nearby lake for the afternoon. This is especially great for a leisurely Sunday afternoon: the girls get some fresh air and exercise and mom and dad can sit in the shade on a blanket and watch them play.

–Load up the girls in the wagon and walk to a nearby fast food joint
or ice cream shop for drinks or cones. (This is an especially great
thing to do if you have coupons or if there is a freebie offer going
on!)

—————–
Those are three really simple and frugal things we love to do in the Summer. What about your family? Post your frugal family fun ideas for Summer on your blog and leave your link below so we can all be inspired. Don’t have a blog? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.

19 Jun 2008   ·   44
Money Saving Mom

What have you made yourself?

Simply Thrifty has a post up here (hat-tip to Lavonne!) with links to directions for 100 different things you can make yourself.

Just for fun, I’d love to know which of these items you’ve made yourself. Check out the list here and then tell us in the comments section!

Here’s what I’ve made from the list (not necessarily using the same directions, though):

Applesauce
Syrup
Jelly
Guacamole
Salsa
Gravy
Wedding Cake
Pancake Mix
Icecream
Pizza
Pickles
Playdough
Bubbles
Books
Laundry detergent
Baskets
Paper
Rubber Stamps
Jewelry
Candles
Skirt
Blouse
Bread
Pretzels
Doughnuts
Bagels
Tortillas

Now, not all of the items from the above list were great successes, but I have tried my hand at making them at least once. What about you? Oh and feel free to tell us if there are other things you’ve made which weren’t on this list, too!

I have a hunch that there’s probably at least a reader or two who has
made just about every single one of those 100 things. Some of you are
just amazing!

17 Jun 2008   ·   58
Money Saving Mom

Extended Warranties: Do you think they are worth the money?

My laptop broke last week for at least fifth time since I’ve had it.

Gratefully, I have an extended warranty on it, a backup laptop, and almost all of my business stuff is virtual (not computer-dependent). As you can tell, I’ve been around this track one too many a time to not have a back-up plan in place.

The fix just took one phone call and a short consultation with tech support and in minutes they promised to send a new adapter–all free of charge. Two days later, the adapter arrived on my doorstep and my computer was fixed… yet again.

When I bought the laptop, it was my first laptop to purchase and my first time to decide to fork over the extra money for an extended warranty. Knowing how often I use my computers and knowing my track record with breaking them, my husband and I felt it was a wise choice.

That extra $300 or so for the extended warranty felt like a lot at the time, but it’s paid for itself many times over in the last two years. I’ve had my keyboard replaced, my adapter replaced twice, the motherboard replaced (a tech came to our home to do that; I didn’t know anyone still made "house calls" these days!), and spent more than five hours put together on the phone with tech support.

If I had had to take my computer in and get it fixed each of these times, I do not doubt it would have been quite a bit more than that initial $300 for the extended warranty. And I would have also had to hassle with taking it in and picking it up, not to mention finding a reliable tech store in the first place.

When I bought my second laptop, I didn’t blink twice when the associate asked if I wanted to buy a warranty. He was all prepared to explain the different warranties to me when I blurted out confidently, "I’ll take the three-year extended warranty." And guess what? We’ve already made good use of it on the second laptop.

I’ve come to the conclusion that at least for us, buying an extended warranty on laptops is a no-brainer. It saves headache, it saves time, and it saves money.

Do you buy extended warranties or do you think they are a waste of money?

16 Jun 2008   ·   102
Kids eat FREE at ALL of these restaurants! This is a massive list!

The Master List of Kids Eat Free (and Almost-Free) Restaurant Deals

 Kids eat FREE at ALL of these restaurants! This is a massive list!

This list was last updated in February 2018. As always, these deals may vary by region/store. Check with your local stores ahead of time to see if they participate.

Kids Eat Free

Atlanta BreadAtlanta Bread: Tuesdays 4pm – close—One free kids meal per adult purchase.

backyardBackyard Burgers: Tuesdays—Buy one adult combo meal and get a kids meal free for kids 12 and under from 4 pm to close.

Baja FreshBaja Fresh: Sundays—Free kids meal with an entree and large drink purchase.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’sBeef ‘O’ Brady’s: Tuesdays from 4-8 p.m.— Kids ages 12 and under can get anything off the kids’ menu with the purchase of an adult entrée.

bennigansBennigan’s: Tuesdays after 4pm—Kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.

blackBlack Eyed Pea: Tuesdays—Kids 12 and under eat free. One item from the kids menu is free with each purchased adult entrée from 5 pm to close.

bluemesaBlue Mesa Grill: Sundays—Kids 5 and under eat free with the purchase of adult brunch from 9 am to 3 pm. Check individual locations for participation.

bobevansBob Evans: Tuesdays—Free Kids’ Meal with every Adult meal purchased after 4pm.

brustersBruster’s Real Ice Cream: Daily—Kids under 40 inches receive a free baby cone.

Captain D’sCaptain D’s: On Tuesdays and Thursdays—Kids can eat for free. Limit of 2 free kids meals per adult entree purchased.

Chick-fil-AChick-fil-A: Tuesdays between 5:30-7:30 p.m.—Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult combo meal. NOTE: some locations charge $0.99 per kids meal.

ciciCici’s Pizza: Daily—Kids 3 and under eat free. Ask server for specific details.

culvers_logoCulver’s: Daily—Kids 12 and under receive a free custard with the purchase of a meal.

dennysDenny’s: Tuesdays—Kids eat free from 4-10 pm. Restrictions may apply. Ask your server for details.

DICKEY'S BARBECUE LOGODickey’s Barbecue Pit: Sundays—Kids 12 and under eat free. One free kids meal for every adult meal purchased.

doubleDouble Dave’s Pizza: Daily—Free kids buffet with purchase of an adult buffet. Qualifying age varies by locations, so call ahead or check with your server.

firehouseFirehouse Subs: Wednesdays—Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult combo. Participating restaurants only. Varies by location.

Freebirds World BurritoFreebirds World Burrito: Tuesdays from 10:30am – 9pm—Kids 11 and under get a free burrito or quesadilla meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.

Fricker’sFricker’s: Daily—Kids can eat free all day, every day – valid for dine in only.

gattitownGatti Town: Wednesdays—Kids 10 and under get free kid’s buffet with the purchase of adult buffet at regular price. Limit 1 child per adult.

Genghis GrillGenghis Grill: Tuesdays—Kids 12 and under can eat Free with the purchase of an adult full-price bowl.

Godfather’s PizzaGodfather’s Pizza: Tuesdays—Kids aged 10 and under can eat for free from 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm at the buffet.

Golden Corral LogoGolden Corral: Mondays—Kids 10 and under eat free from 5-9 pm. Two kids per adult. Kids 3 and under are always free.

ihopIHOP: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday—Kids 12 and under eat free from 4-8 pm. One kids’ menu item per adult entree. Drinks not included.

ikeaIKEA: Tuesdays—Kids eat free at some locations. Check with local store for qualifying ages and participation. There are also specials throughout the year. Check the store page for your local store to see current specials.

Jason's DeliJason’s Deli: Wednesdays—Kids eat free all day. One free kids’ meal per paying adult.

Jose Pepper'sJose Pepper’s: Sundays—Kids eat free all day at Jose Pepper’s.

LoneStarSteakhouseLone Star Steakhouse: Tuesdays—Kids eat free all day. One child entree with each paid adult entree. Not valid in Orlando, FL.

lubysLuby’s Cafeteria: Wednesdays—Kids eat for free after 4 pm with every adult entree purchase.

maggianosMagganio’s: Saturdays—Kids 5 and under eat free. Check with your local restaurant for participation.

Margarita's Mexican RestaurantMargarita’s Mexican Restaurant: Saturdays and Sundays—Get two complimentary kids meals (12 and under) per adult entrée purchased.

marieMarie Callender’s: Tuesdays—One free Kid’s Meal with each adult entree purchased.

moeslogoMoe’s Southwestern Grill: Tuesdays—Kids eat free all day. One free kids’ meal for each adult meal purchased. Choose from Power Wagon (hard or soft taco), Mini Masterpiece (cheese quesadilla) or Moo Moo Mr. Cow (burrito). Each kids’ meal includes a cookie and beverage.

ontheborderlogoOn the Border: Daily Kids receive a free sundae with meal purchase. Participation may vary.

perkinsPerkins: Tuesday—Kids eat free all day. Kids eat free at Ohio and Pennsylvania locations on Wednesday and Saturday from 4pm-9pm.

PicadillyPicadilly: Fridays—Kids under 6 eat free all day.

pizzahutPizza Hut: Tuesdays—Some participating locations offer an unlimited pizza buffet for just $6.99. Kids 10 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult buffet.

Planet SubPlanet Sub: Sundays—Kids eat free with adult meal purchase.

ponderosaPonderosa Steakhouse: Tuesdays—Kids eat free from 4pm to close. You can get up to 2 free kids’ meals with each adult entree purchased. Ask server for specific details.

qdobaQdoba Mexican Grill: Sundays or Wednesday—Kids eat free on Sundays or Wednesdays. Participation and day of participation varies by location.

Red RobinRed Robin: Mondays—Kids 10 and under eat free.

Rock Bottom CafeRock Bottom Cafe: Mondays and Tuesdays—Children aged 12 and under can eat free from the kid’s menu.

Ruby TuesdayRuby Tuesday: Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to close—Ruby Tuesday offers free kids meals with the purchase of an adult entree.

Salsarita's Fresh CantinaSalsarita’s Fresh Cantina: Thursdays—Kids eat free all day with a paying adult.

Shoney'sShoney’s: Fridays—Kids under 4 eat free all day with paying adult.

skylineSkyline Chili: Mondays—Kids 4 and under eat free from 4-9 pm. Check ahead for specific participating locations.

Slim ChickensSlim Chickens: Sundays—Kids aged 10 and under eat free.

SmashburgerSmashburger: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday—Get a free kids meal with the purchase of a regular burger or salad after 4 pm. (Day various by region.)

Souper! Salad!Souper! Salad!: Sundays—Kids ages 4 and under eat for free.

steakSteak ‘n Shake: Daily—Free kid’s entrée for every $9 purchased. Participation varies by location.

TGI Friday'sTGIFriday’s: Mondays & Tuesdays—Kids eat free, though offers vary by location. Call ahead or check with server for specific details.

tonyromasTony Roma’s: Sundays—Kids 12 and under eat free with a purchase of an adult entree.

Tropical Smoothie CafeTropical Smoothie Cafe: Sundays—Kids eat free all day.

unoUno Chicago Grill: Tuesdays—Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

Kids Eat For Almost-Free

buffaloBuffalo Wild Wings: Wednesdays—Kids 12 and under can order from the Kids’ Menu for just $1.99 from 4-10 pm.

fazolisFazoli’s: Tuesdays—Get 2 kids’ meals for $0.99 each with the purchase of 1 adult entree. For children ages 12 and under. Offer valid from 5-8 pm each Tuesday at participating restaurants.

firemountainFire Mountain: Thursdays—Two kids’ buffets for $0.99 each with the purchase of an adult buffet. For children ages 11 and under. Participation varies by location.

fuddruckersFuddruckers: Mondays & Tuesdays—Kids 12 and under can order from the kids’ meal menu for $0.99 (drinks included) from 4-9 pm. Locations and participation may vary.

mcalistersMcAlister’s Deli: Daily—Kids’ meals for $0.99 all day at select locations. Call ahead for participation.

oldcountryOld Country Buffet: Thursdays—Two kids’ buffets for $1.99 each with the purchase of an adult buffet. For children ages 11 and under. Participation varies by location. Offer also available at participating HomeTown Buffet and Country Buffet locations.

ryansRyan’s: Thursdays—Two kids’ buffets for $1.99 each with the purchase of an adult buffet. For children ages 11 and under. Participation varies by location.

WhichWich-logoWhich Wich Superior Sandwiches: Mondays & Saturdays—Kidswich meals are $0.99 with the purchase of a 7″ small Wich. Kidswich meals include a Wich, treat, and drink. Valid for children ages 12 years and under at participating locations.

If you have any restaurants or details to add to this list, please leave a comment. Thanks!


14 Jun 2008   ·   71
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: We Survived the Two-Week Grocery Experiment!

We made it to Saturday! Aside from a few trips to CVS, I did not darken the door of any supermarket for two weeks.

Two. whole. weeks.

It felt like an eternity. Well, almost! At any rate, we made it through two weeks of no-shopping and we learned a lot along the way:

1) It is hard to let good deals pass by, especially when I have the time to snag them, the right coupons, and the store is only a few blocks away. 

2) A half gallon of milk does not last two weeks. Um, yeah, I should have known that one; don’t ask me what I was thinking.

3) Even if it was painful to miss a few deals, it is rather nice to not have to even think about menu-planning or shopping-list-making for two whole weeks.

4) Finally, yes, it saved me time. Yes, it saved us money (well, in that we were able to buy more with $80 than we can with $40. Do not ask me how that works, though, because I’m still scratching my head over it!). And last of all, we made it through two weeks without running out of food (ahem, except the milk bit!) and we even had quite a bit to spare.

The consensus? I think I’m going to try doing my grocery shopping every two weeks. However, instead of only going once every two weeks and spending all $80, my current plan is to do a bigger stock-up shop (say $65 worth) every two weeks and then use the leftover money ($15 or so) to make a quick run to a store to buy milk and the rock-bottom deals the week I’m technically not shopping.

This plan seems like it would give me the best of both worlds as I would still save time and have more wiggle room for stocking up every other week, but I’d also not have to miss out on exceptional deals the week I take off nor would we have to worry about going without if we run out of something like milk. That said, while it seems like a good plan, I have to try it out for awhile to really know it’s effectiveness.

I’m curious to know: Does anyone else shop like this–a big trip one week, a small trip the next? Do you think it could work?

We just got back from a two-hour shopping trip to multiple stores and got some wonderful deals but I need to head for bed so I’ll try and share those tomorrow or Monday.

————————

How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week on your blog (with pictures,
if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below.

13 Jun 2008   ·   69
Money Saving Mom

How financially fit are you?

Janet sent me this fun quiz.

With Americans focused too much on their credit scores
it seems that they haven’t a clue about their overall financial
wellness. How
financially fit are you? How
does your score compare to other test-takers? Have some fun with this quiz. It just might be the wake-up call we all need to get financially
fit.

I found the quiz very interesting to take and was surprised to score 98% on it. I am guessing that not owning a home was one of the biggest marks against us being at 100%–though in the current life situation and housing market we’re in, we feel like saving up to pay 100% down is a much better plan, even if most people think we’re nuts to be doing something so radical.

My husband and I have worked very hard over the past few years to be in good financial shape, but
taking this quiz reminded me just how much driving old cars, packing sack lunches, shopping at thrift stores, living in a basement apartment, eating off the dollar menu, and all the other “counter-cultural” things we’ve done over the past five years of our marriage have paid off. Lord-willing, in another few years we’ll own our own home outright and score 100% on the quiz!

If you take the quiz, tell us how you scored. And please don’t feel badly if you have a low score. If I were to have done this quiz three years ago when we were barely making ends meet, I’m sure my score results would have looked much differently. So, as long as you are working hard to be in a better position financially, take heart, it will pay off!

12 Jun 2008   ·   340
Money Saving Mom

What’s your best Frugal Father’s Day idea?

Father’s Day is this Sunday and while I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing for my dad and my husband, I’m sure there are many others who are still looking for some great ideas.

My dad is very easy to please. He doesn’t like gifts, he likes handmade cards and letters so that’s what he normally gets and that’s what he’s getting again this year. It’s always so good to sit down and write out my thoughts of gratitude and appreciation to him for all he has done for me.

My husband is also easy to please. Up until this year, he always received a card and a special home-cooked dinner. This year, since we have more wiggle room in the budget, I’m actually buying him something. But it’s not anything fancy or extravagant. Instead, he’s getting dress clothes, thanks to Sears. And I know he’ll be happy as a lark since, unlike most men, he likes to shop and buy clothes!

What are you doing to bless and show appreciation for the special father(s) in your life? Tell us about it in the comments section in the next 24 hours and you’ll also be entered to win one of two $20 gift cards from Boston Market.
Bostonmarketgiftcards
Our family loves Boston Market; it’s like enjoying delicious home-cooking without the work and effort! I especially enjoy their rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes–Yum!

To enter to win one of these two $20 gift cards:

::Leave a comment telling us your best frugal idea for celebrating Father’s Day and blessing a special guy in your life.

::Tomorrow evening, I’ll randomly choose two winners and post them.