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27 Aug 2010   ·   64
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: Medical School

We paid cash!Testimony from Sara

One of the best pieces of advice we got before my husband and I married, was to read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. We became huge fans of Dave’s advice and because we both came from frugal families, we felt equally yoked for our financial future — even knowing my husband wanted to go to medical school.

The Preparation

About six months before we got married (going on six years ago now!), my husband was accepted to medical school. Because we had a goal of staying debt free, we immediately started to devise a plan.

I had been working for a few months at my first “real job” and was already starting to see savings build little by little. Neither one of us had any previous debt as we had college paid for by scholarships, and I had worked my way through graduate school as a Graduate Assistant. So we were already off to a good start.

We knew how much medical school tuition would cost, and added in some extra for books, equipment and miscellaneous items he might need. And we really started to pray. We prayed for God’s direction, for discipline, and patience. After all, I’d just finished school myself, and after working hard to get through it, it was tempting to want to splurge.

You know what? God provided!

First, we found out a few months after his acceptance that my husband had received a scholarship to cover the first semester — what a blessing! It gave us a little more time to save. Secondly, God blessed my work, and we saw little savings grow more and more into reaching our goals!

The Result

By staying the course and keeping to our commitment, at the end of my husband’s second year of school, we had already saved enough for all four years! After counting tuition, fees, equipment, National testing, and all the books he needed, we paid around $50,000. God is so good! We can look back and see His hand and blessing the entire way.

The Bumps in the Road and God’s Provision

Not everything came without some sweat — literally.

First, at the beginning of the third year of school, my husband’s car just went kaput. You couldn’t drive it over about 50 mph without feeling like you were trying to use your body to hold down the steering wheel. The tires were worn out, the engine needed some serious work and it had no air conditioning. And let me tell ya, here in Mississippi, that was a big deal! Rob had just started clinical rotations and was dressing up for work so he would leave before daylight, to keep himself from sweating too badly. Eventually, we were able to pay cash for a used car for him.

We paid cash for medical school!Secondly, and very sweetly, our first little bundle came into the world the middle of the third year (our second came a month before Rob graduated). I never knew I’d want to stay home with him so badly. I cried and cried, thinking in my heart that God’s timing was not right for me to stay at home — especially while we had no other income.

The month I went back to work, the company I worked for announced that, for the first time ever, wanted to hire someone part-time in my area! God was so faithful. He gave me the desire to be home with my son, and He provided the means!

So, I worked part-time until January of this year when I quit my job to stay home full-time. By saving up enough for medical school early and living frugally along the way, we were able have set aside enough money in the bank to supplement my husband’s income until he finished residency.

You want to know the cool thing? It’s been eight months, and we still haven’t used a dime of our savings!

And the Rest of the Story?

My husband is in his second year of residency now, and we stay committed to our goal. Rob doesn’t make much as a resident, and still has three years to go. However, we know that living frugally now gives us a peace about where we’ll be in the future.

We are so happy and so thankful to be debt-free! So many of my husbands friends and classmates came out of school with six-figure debt. God has taught us a lot through the past six years; it’s not always been easy, but it’s been so worth it.

Sara and Rob, with Rhett (2) and Colt (1), live in Jackson, Mississippi.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

26 Aug 2010   ·   108
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: How far will you travel for good deals?

I live in the northeast US and I feel like we don’t have the best grocery stores up here. But, I recently found an Aldi about a half hour to 45 minutes away from my house. You seem like a big supporter of Aldi so I was just wondering if you thought it would be frugal of me to make the drive there every month or so to do some grocery shopping or would it just be a waste of gas, money and time? What are your thoughts? -Becky

If I personally lived in an area where there were few grocery stores with good deals, I would definitely consider it worth my time and the expense of gas to drive 30 minutes to Aldi once every four to six weeks.

However, to make it worth the drive, you’d want to be strategic about it. You’d want to stock up on enough items which were significantly lower than the prices you would usually pay to last you for another four to six weeks (or until your next trip). I’d also look to see if there were any other great stores in the same area that I could also stop by to make my trip even more worthwhile.

I would likely buy enough fresh produce to last me for a week or two (depending upon what the produce is, sometimes it will last longer than that). I’d also stock up on staple items such as baking supplies and canned goods. And finally, I’d buy perishable items which can be frozen. You can freeze bread, butter, cheese, milk, fresh fruit (for smoothies or baking) and so much more. So I’d likely freeze most of the perishable items which we couldn’t use up in a week in order to extend their life.

I would track my expenditures at Aldi compared to the prices I could get at the local stores to make sure that I was saving enough money to make it worth the trip. Since it would be at least an hour of driving plus some gas money for the trip, I’d need to be saving at least $50 per trip to make it worth my time and expense.

Most importantly, I’d continue to do the best I could to find deals at my local stores. Sometimes, high-priced stores which don’t double coupons will have incredible loss leaders or catalina deals. Keep your eyes peeled! (By the way, have you signed up to receive the best deals at your local stores in your inbox every week? We do the work for you so make sure and take advantage of this free resource!)

Would you drive to Aldi if you were in Becky’s shoes? How far will you travel for good deals? I’d love to hear your answers!

26 Aug 2010   ·   10
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: How I Saved $100 on a Car Seat

Here’s a great tip from Pamela:

We recently came to grips with our 6-figure debt and are determined to work our way out. We know it’s going to be a long road and we’re doing everything we can to spend only what’s in our envelopes and stay within our budget!

As you can imagine, we need all the help we can get to stay disciplined, so I was excited to find a free and easy-to-use website that helped me save almost $100 dollars on a much-needed car seat for our two year old!

The site is called camelcamelcamel.com. It tracks product prices on Amazon and it notifies you when the price on those products drops below the target price you specify.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up. It’s completely free. This step is actually optional, but registering gives you some added features. (If you do sign up, make sure you verify your account after signing up by replying to the email you will receive.)
  2. When you’re ready to start tracking a product, go to camelcamelcamel.com.
  3. In the search box at the top of the page, type in the product you wish to buy.
  4. Look at the list of possibilities that comes up and click on the exact product you are looking for.
  5. The Overview page for that product will show you current prices and history of prices on Amazon, 3rd Party New and 3rd Party Used. With cool graphs even! Click around to see the historical prices and other fun info about the product.
  6. To set a target price, click on “Create a price watch for this product”
  7. Choose when you want to be alerted. Whether for Amazon Price, 3rd Party New and/or 3rd Party Used
  8. Specify the price at which you wish to be notified
  9. Choose to have email alerts or Twitter alerts (RSS feeds are also available)
  10. Click “Create price watch(es)”

That’s it! Now all you have to do is be patient and wait. 🙂 If and when the price on your product drops to your target price (or below), you’ll be notified.

I opted to receive notifications via email, so when my notification came, I simply clicked on the link they provided and then clicked through to Amazon where I purchased our car seat!

Pamela blogs about paying off her family’s 6-figure debt and staying green & healthy at ooshela.com.

25 Aug 2010   ·   52

31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget: Look for Markdowns

New here? Be sure to read the first posts in the 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget.

One way we save up to $25 per week is by buying marked-down groceries. I often receive the question, “How do you find out when a store marks down groceries?”

Each Store is Different

I wish I had some super-secret answer to tell you so that you could just magically find markdowns at your store. However, each store is different and often the policies vary widely even in the same store chain in the same town. Sometimes, a store doesn’t even have policies for markdowns and it is based upon whatever mood the produce manager is in as to what kind of deals you’ll find.

Talk to the Produce Manager

Some store chains have a policy against marking items down. The best way to find out is to just ask. Usually, the produce manager is the person to start with.

Inquire what they do with produce that is going bad or milk that is almost to its expiration date and see if they have a policy on marking these items down. If they don’t, ask if you could get a discount if you found a gallon of milk which was expiring in a few days or produce which was going bad.

Plan Your Shopping Trips Around Markdowns

Some stores routinely mark items down on specific days or at specific times. If so, plan your shopping trips around those times.

For instance, our local health food store usually marks the produce and dairy items down every day between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. So I try to play my shopping outings so I’ll be at this store around lunchtime. If I don’t have a chance to shop around lunchtime, it’s usually not worth stopping by because the markdowns have already been snatched up.

Look For Markdowns First When Shopping

The very first thing I do when I walk into a grocery store is to go around the perimeter of the store and look for the orange markdown stickers on items. I hit the produce section first. Then the meat, dairy and bread items.

By starting with looking for markdowns, I then can rework my grocery list if I hit on a great deal. For example, if I was planning to buy carrots and cucumbers to use as raw veggies during the week, but I found a big bag of marked-down colored peppers and a marked-down head of cauliflower, if they were less expensive than the carrots and cucumbers I was planning to buy, I’d likely swap them and save a dollar or two.

My favorite thing about buying markdowns is that they add some variety to our menu. While I might not pay full price for a roast or salmon, I’ll snatch it up if it’s marked down by 50%.

It Never Hurts to Ask

Just because an item isn’t marked down doesn’t mean you can’t get it discounted. Unless your store has a strict policy against marking down items, don’t hesitate to ask if the store will reduce that past-its-prime bag of apples or that expiring-in-three-days jug of milk.

I’ve rarely been turned down when asking if a store will mark down an obviously-close-to-expiring item. And on a few occasions, they’ve even just given it to me for free!

Don’t Buy Something Just Because It’s Marked Down

Like I often say, “If you don’t need something, it’s not a good deal — no matter how inexpensive it is!” If you don’t like squash, don’t get suckered into buying five big bags of squash marked down to $1 each. Save your $5 and use it on something you’ll actually eat.

Before I will put a marked down item in my cart, I always make sure I can fit it into our grocery budget and also that I have a plan for how I’m going to use it. Oftentimes, upon careful consideration, I’ll end up passing up some of the markdowns just because I’m not entirely sure we’ll use them before they go bad.

What are your best tips for finding marked-down groceries? Share them in the comments.

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25 Aug 2010   ·   27
Money Saving Mom

Good Reads: The Other 8 Hours

Of all the business books I’ve read in the last five years, The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth and Purpose is hands-down the very best one I’ve read. I underlined and marked up page after page after page. It is clear-cut, concise, packed with practical wisdom and so very true.

The author not only gives you the tools you need to transform your life and your finances, but he inspires you to dream big dreams, set big goals and then work hard to achieve them.

So many people feel stuck. Stuck in a job they don’t like. Stuck in an area of the country they don’t like. Stuck in a financial mess and feeling there is no way out.

This book gives you hope. You do have time to change your life – if you’re willing to make the most of The Other 8 Hours. Whether you’re a business executive or a stay-at-home mom, the principles and ideas contained in The Other 8 Hours could very likely change your life!

Please note: This book has a bit of crass language in it. I don’t endorse the language and wish it could have been omitted from the book because the message would have been just as strong without it.

Discovered any Good Reads recently? Tell me about them in the comments and I’ll consider adding them to my long and ever-growing book list!

24 Aug 2010   ·   66
Money Saving Mom

Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a $4 Aldi Bouquet

Last week, my husband came home with a bouquet of beautiful roses. Not for any other reason than just because.

I looked at the price tag (I know, I know, I just can’t help myself! I always look at the price tag first thing whenever I pick up anything!) and I smiled.

He knows me so well.

I love flowers – especially when my husband gives them to me at random times instead of a Hallmark holiday – but I love more the fact that my husband knows a $4 Aldi bouquet is just as beautiful to me than a $40 bouquet from a specialty shop.

23 Aug 2010   ·   41
Money Saving Mom

Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: Learning from those who are older and wiser

My apologies that this didn’t get posted on Saturday as I’d planned. Some unexpected things came up and writing this post got ditched for more important things. If you’re new here, be sure to read the first posts in this Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series here.

After my husband finished law school and I stopped working as a marketing manager for the homeschool magazine, I cut back significantly on the time I spent working on business endeavors. It was wonderfully freeing and I felt like I was finally able to focus on my family and home again after neglecting many things for months.

Before my daughter got up in the morning or during her afternoon naptime, I continued to work on building the blog and our online business. The blog had grown to have around 2,000 to 3,000 visitors per day, so there was an increasing load of email and comments to keep up with. Plus, our online book business was slowly picking up. There were always at least a few orders every day and when we ran sales, there’d be a slew of at least 30 to 50 orders.

I had plenty to do, but I was looking for ways to be a little more efficient and maximize the return on my investment of time when it came to business stuff. So I started spending more time learning more about monetizing a blog. I began observing other bloggers who were making a full-time income from blogging and trying to determine what made them successful and what was working for them.

I discovered that most of those who were doing well were honest, straight-forward, unique, creative and they blogged often and wrote well. I also noticed that they usually utilized multiple streams of income. In many cases, not only were they offering private ad sales, but they also had ad networks plus they participated in various affiliate marketing opportunities and some even produced ebooks and downloadable products. One thing was clear: they didn’t put all their eggs into one basket.

The thought of making a full-time income from blogging seemed utterly unattainable to me, but I remember thinking how incredible that it would be. I figured it was something only a small handful of really smart, really talented people who got in at the right time and place could ever pull off. But it fascinated me and I kept watching and learning from those who were doing it well.

At the same time, I continued to spend a lot of time writing ebooks as these were our best-selling items and required very little upfront costs. Plus, since I had set up the download process through Clickbank, unless a customer had a technical issue, the buying process was entirely automated. It wasn’t unusual for me to make between $15 and $30 per day in ebook profits. And when I ran a sale or released a new ebook, the earnings would be much higher than that.

I was encouraged and excited and I realized that the more I could automate things, the more I could increase the business income without it requiring more time and effort on my behalf.

One day, I had an idea to produce a little ebook with 10 different fast and frugal dinner menus complete with recipes and tips. I called the ebook Simply Centsible Suppers and it sold like hotcakes! After that ebook was such a success, I wrote another called Simply Centsible Breakfasts. Again, it sold really well. I was selling these ebooks for $2.97, so after the fees associated with the download, I was making less than $2 in profit per book. However, it was really apparent that I’d hit on a hot topic.

Being the entrepreneurial person I am, I started to brainstorm all sorts of things I could do with this idea. I envisioned a whole line of ebooks: Simply Centsible Snacks, Simply Centsible Side Dishes, Simply Centsible Sack Lunches… you get the picture. Then, I decided I should set up a website which was called SimplyCentsible.com that had articles on frugality and which promoted my ebooks.

I had just found out we were expecting our second child and was in the throes of morning-noon-and-night sickness, so I figured it was the perfect time for me to work on setting up a new website. And so I went to work setting up SimplyCentsible.com — a website which I thought was destined to really take off and put into practice all these monetization ideas I’d been gleaning over the past year.

My brain was spinning as I lay there day after day sick as a dog on the couch. I’d hit on a brilliant idea — or so I thought.

But time would prove that it was a very short-lived “brilliant” idea.

…To be continued on Saturday

23 Aug 2010   ·   14
Money Saving Mom

How to Get the P90X Fitness System Inexpensively

Guest post by Cassie and Michael who blog at The Thrifty Couple

Thanks to Crystal’s posts on P90X, we were inspired to purchase the P90X System ourselves. We just received ours last week and look forward to getting started. We have been wanting to try something new in an effort to try and be good stewards of all of the things the Lord has given to us — even in the area of physical health and fitness!

Being The Thrifty Couple, we have had a few people ask us how we are managing to take on a fitness program the thrifty way?

1. Order the program off of Amazon and buy it with Swagbucks.

The P90x program is priced right around $140 on Amazon. You might have enough Swagbucks to cover 25% of the cost or 50% or better yet, you could have enough Swagbucks to pay for the whole thing, which means you can get it for free.

2. Buy one off of Ebay

Find an auction that has free shipping and you can also have automatic bids placed in the increments you decide and up to a maximum amount. By doing this, set your absolute final maximum bid for a new set to be a little lower than Amazon. Amazon is your fall back!

3. Check your local classifieds.

Where we live, two of our news stations have a classified ads section on their website. Thousands of locals, including us, use these classified ads to sell and buy things each month. Just today, there are dozens of P90X ads starting at $25 for gently-used and $40 for brand-new! So whatever your main local classifieds are, definitely check there.

Here are a few suggestions of places to check for deals on P90X:

  • Ebay runs a local classified ads site.
  • Oodle.com (we saw a number of brand new sets for $50)
  • Your local newspaper classifieds
  • Check your local television station classifieds
  • Check your local Craig’s List ads as well. When we checked there for our local area, again there were a handful of new systems starting at $50.
  • Finally, check Freecycle.org and you might just score a free set.

Note from Crystal: There is a knockoff version of the P90X program out there that some are selling much more inexpensively so be aware of this when you are searching for a deal.

CJ, from My P90X Nutrition Plan recently wrote and said:

“As it turns out, the guide has obviously been copied and is rife with typos, some of which could be very damaging to people trying to follow the nutrition plan. One especially terrible one is that it says that Phase 1 Level III requires 3,800 calories a day as opposed to the 3,000 in the actual guide! One quick way folks can tell if theirs is a knockoff is that the “N” in “Nutrition Plan” is lowercase on the cover of my knockoff version.”

“I just learned that my P90X program is a KNOCKOFF! I purchased mine online from Craigslist (for around $70), and while it seemed odd that the guy was willing to sell it so cheaply, it was unopened and contained all of the materials, so I didn’t think anything of it after that.

Remember that trying to stay (or become) physically fit can be done in a thrifty, frugal manner. Always check out your options as you might just be surprised to find a much more affordable option for whatever you do. And you might find that painful process of trying to get fit is just a little less painful than you thought — well, at least in the purchasing of it!

Alex and Cassie are a frugal couple that blogs over at The Thrifty Couple. They are a Christian, homeschooling family raising 4 children. They have been learning how to live a frugal lifestyle for years — which, in fact, aided them in becoming debt-free.

Do you have an idea for a guest post? I am always looking for high-quality, original (i.e. not published anywhere else online) content with tips and ideas Money Saving Mom® readers can use. If you would like to submit a guest post, please follow the Guest Posting Guidelines.

21 Aug 2010   ·   11
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: Dillons, Aldi and farm-fresh eggs

Dillons shopping trip: $18.34 spent — read more details on this shopping trip here.

Aldi shopping trip: approximately $16 spent (I lost the receipt, so I don’t have an exact amount.)

I used frozen fruit and veggies for the first few days of this week instead of making a trip to the store for fresh supplies as we were just getting back from our vacation to Arkansas and settling back into our routine.  So we made it through Thursday before a trip to the store was necessary (except for my husband picking up a gallon of chocolate milk and milk on his way home from work on Monday) — which definitely ended up saving us some money this week. It seems eating from the pantry and freezer always accomplishes that, doesn’t it?

We spent $18.34 at Dillons and then around $16 at Aldi. Plus, we bought two dozen farm-fresh eggs and the two gallons of milk/chocolate milk not pictured. So, all in all, we spent around $43 on groceries this week.

______________________

Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

20 Aug 2010   ·   20
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: My Diamond Wedding Ring

We paid cash!

Testimonial from Heather

We paid cash for my new wedding ring — today!

The Background

My boyfriend and I knew each other for 8 years and dated for a year before we decided to get married. Money was very tight so we invited close family to a small ceremony at the courthouse with a Justice of the Peace.

We didn’t have any money for a nice wedding ring since my now-husband had recently lost his job with the city. I bought a solitare ring and matching band from Claire’s that totaled less than $30. Very cheap, but hey, it worked and you wouldn’t believe the compliments I got on it!

Diamond Wedding RingOver the past year I have had to replace the cheap “costume jewelry ring” a few times but it was what the ring symbolized that was important to us.

How We Did It

We’ve saved little by little during the last 11 months hoping to save enough by the time our anniversary came up on August 26th.

My husband, after a year of unemployment, has decided to join the military and since we can take only one car with us, we sold the old clunker we rarely used and got enough to buy a new ring and have some leftover for fun money!

The Deal

The ring I found after shopping around was originally priced at $1500, on sale for $899 and I talked the sales rep down to $799 INCLUDING lifetime warranties for the gold and diamonds. $870 out the door cash for a brand new 1-carat diamond ring!

Good things come to those who wait! : )

Wedding RingHeather, husband Chris, and daughters Allison and Brooke live in Phoenix, Arizona where they live debt-free. In addition to their recent wedding ring purchase they have paid cash for their 50″ Panasonic plasma tv, new leather furniture, second car and have never paid full price for diapers!

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

20 Aug 2010   ·  
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: Our Adoption

We paid cash!Testimony from David and Melissa

The best piece of pre-marital advice we ever received came from my Dad just over nine years ago. He suggested that if we ever hoped to be a one-income family giving me the freedom to stay home with our children, we should budget only on that one income from day one.

We decided to take that advice to heart and right from the very beginning, my income (I’m an elementary teacher) went straight into our savings account. Over the years we’ve used those savings to help pay cash for several different things; the biggest of which was for the adoption of our daughter.

How we paid cash for adoptionThe Background

We struggled with infertility for over six years before adopting our daughter this past January. During that time we spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on fertility treatments (including IVF). However when all of those treatments left us with only broken hearts and two miscarriages, we decided it was time to explore adoption. God came through in a truly remarkable way and provided a beautiful baby girl for us almost immediately.

Adoptions are expensive no matter how you look at them. Ours cost us in the ballpark of $15,000. I am pleased (and still a little surprised and amazed) to say that because of our sacrifice of that second income for the last 9 years, we were able to pay cash for the entire amount.

How We Did It

  • Living within our means based on my husband’s income only.
  • Never seeing what our lifestyle would feel like with two incomes.
  • Putting the second income (minus tithe) entirely into our savings account.
  • Using extreme self-control and resist the temptation to take annual trips to Disney World with those saved funds. 🙂
  • Don’t spend the money until enough has been saved.
  • We have made the personal choice to pay cash for everything except our house. If we don’t have the cash for it, we don’t buy it.

Next Steps

Now that I’m finally a mom, it was a real dilemma whether to now stay home with our daughter or return to work.  Knowing that our ability to adopt again is based on being able to raise another $15,000, we made the decision for me to work at least another year so that our next adoption can also be paid in cash.

We are David and Melissa Gafford and we have a 7 month old daughter named Addison. You can read more about our adoption story on our blog.

19 Aug 2010   ·   59
Money Saving Mom

Tonight’s Dillons shopping trip: Nine boxes of Cheerios for $0.48 each and more!

The children and I went to Dillons tonight and here’s what we ended up buying:

3 bottles of Sobe — on sale for $0.49 when you bought 8 participating products, used 1 Buy One Get One Free printable coupon which took off $0.99, so all three were only $0.49 total after the coupon

1 bag of organic cheese puffs — $1.66

2 jars of peanut butter — $1 each

2 16-oz. packages of cheddar cheese — on sale for $2.79 each when you buy 8 participating items, plus used a $1/2 coupon making them only $2.22 each

1 ThinkThin bar — on sale for $1.25, used $0.50/1 coupon (doubled), $0.25 after coupon

1 package Goldfish — on sale for $1.25, used $0.50/1 coupon (doubled), $0.25 after coupon

2 4-packs of YoPlus yogurt — on sale for $1.79 when you bought 8 participating items, used 2 $0.50/1 coupons, $0.79 each after coupons

4 bottles Snapple — on sale for $1.29, used $0.75/1 coupons (“doubled” to $1/1), $0.29 each after coupons

9 boxes Cheerios — on sale for $1.48 when you bought 8 participating items, used $0.50/1 coupons (doubled), $0.48 per box after coupons

After coupons, I paid $18.34. According to my receipt, I saved $52.12, or 76% (not that I’d pay some of those inflated retail prices, but…)

Here are some other deals which are available:

Chex Mix or Gardetto’s Snack Mix (7-8.75 oz.) – $1.49
Use $0.50/1 printable here or $1/1 Chipotle Cheddar Chex Mix, 4.5 oz+ (IE) or (FF)
$0.49 after coupons

Pillsbury Sweet Rolls — $1.19
Use $0.50/1 coupon (doubled)
$0.19 after coupon

Cocoa Puffs — $1.48
Use $0.55/1 coupon here or here (will deduct $1)
$0.48 after coupon

Betty Crocker Warm Delights — $1.46
Use $0.75/1 coupon from the 8/8 General Mills insert (will deduct $1)
$0.46 after coupon

Hamburger Helper — $0.89
Buy 3 and use $0.75/3 coupon (will deduct $1)
$0.56 each after coupon

Hot Pocket SideShot Sandwiches — $1.64
Use $1/1 coupon
$0.64 each after coupon

Progresso Soup — $1.19
Buy 2 and use $1/2 coupon
$0.69 each after coupon

Simply Go-Gurt — $1.79 (our store does not carry this, hopefully yours does!)
Use $0.50/1 coupon (doubled)
$0.79 after coupon

Fiber One Cereal Bars $1.99
Use $0.50/1 coupon (doubled)
$0.99 after coupon

Nature Valley Granola Bars — $1.99
Use $0.50/1 coupon (doubled)
$0.99 after coupon

Plus, there’s also a catalina deal running on Nature Valley and Fiber One Bars through September 5, 2010 (thanks to the commentors who alerted me to this!):

Buy 3, Get $1.50 catalina good on your next order
Buy 4, Get $2.50 catalina good on your next order
Buy 5, Get $3.50 catalina good on your next order

*Deal Idea*

Buy 5 Nature Valley or Fiber One Bars $1.99 each + 3 other participating items
Use 5 $0.50/1 coupons (doubled)
Spend $4.98 out of pocket, plus the costs of the 3 other participating items
Get $3.50 catalina good on your next order
So, after the coupons and catalina, you will only be paying $0.30 per box of Fiber One or Nature Valley Bars — which is an exceptional deal!

Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers — $8.49
Use $2/1 coupon
$6.49 after coupon

19 Aug 2010   ·   60
Money Saving Mom

Priceless

Our little Silas (15 months old): Busy boy, into everything, bringing perpetual joy and smiles into our home, always up for hugs and cuddles and my precious Mommy’s Boy.

Kaitlynn (3): Girly girl who finally mastered potty-training and got to get her ears pierced (much to her great delight!), lover of dresses and hair bows, wannabe musician and continually surprising us with the depth of her understanding.

Kathrynne (5): Adventurous, creative, never idle, art aficionado, budding entrepreneur and quickly becoming my right hand helper (she can now clean the entire bathroom by herself; I think we’ll tackle simple cooking and laundry next!).

Life is boisterous, noisy and often messy at our house, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world — though some days a nap in a quiet room does sound awfully nice. 🙂 The smiles, the giggles, the learning and playing together, the hugs and cuddles cannot be bought with any price. And I want to overlook the dirty dishes, laundry piles and spilled milk and rejoice in God’s goodness to allow me to be mother to these three little ones. It’s only a short season and I don’t want to waste it.

Related: Amy has a excellent post on How to Sabotage Your Blog (and Your Life)

19 Aug 2010   ·   9
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Free Audiobooks from Librivox

As a housewife and stay-at-home-mom, I love to listen-while-I-work. Keeps this easily-distracted momma on task. 🙂

You and your readers may be interested in www.librivox.org. This organization hosts recordings of books that are in the public domain. Volunteers read the books and submit them.

The quality varies between different recordings and as always some books are better than others but there is some good listening here! Perfect for chore time, or sit and color time, or baking a cake time or folding laundry.  I recently listened to “An Old Fashioned Girl” which was a great story. -Sarah

Have a quick money-saving tip you think others might benefit from? Drop me a line and I’ll consider posting it.