Want to Start Couponing? Learning the Rules of the Store. part 2

how to coupon in walgreens cvs walmart target rite aid
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Ok, so you started following blogs, have your newspaper, and a system to file coupons.  (If you missed part 1, click HERE.)  Now you are excited to actually see these saving pour in!  
Next, you need to decide which store you are going to try out.  Each store has its own rules and coupon policies.   There is a reason people call it playing the “drugstore game” because it is a little bit of a game to play to get the savings.  Never fear!  There are some amazing ladies who tell it how its done in blogs.  Some ladies even have entire blogs devoted to a particular store.  
Grab some tea and sit down to learn the ropes!  Click on these links and read about the rules and policies of each store.  Then choose which one you want to start with.  My suggestion is to start with one and learn that one before you move on.
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1.  Money Saving Mom
2.  Simply CVS
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1.  Money Saving Mom
2.  Moms by Heart
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Rite Aid:

1.  For The Mommas
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1.  Totally Target
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 1.  Wal-Mart
2.  Krazy Coupon Lady
Want to Start Couponing? No Extreme Couponing Skills Needed. part 1
Have any questions about getting started?  Have you found some other sites with good tips for beginners?  I’d love to include them.

Want to Start Couponing? No Extreme Couponing Skills Needed. part 1

I am far from an extreme couponer.  TLC is not calling my name to be on their show.  I do use some coupons and get some deals.  I think of couponing as more of a game and that makes it fun.  My dear husband is kind and will sit and listen to my exciting shopping trips and all the money I saved!  
If you don’t know much about couponing it can seem overwhelming, I agree.  I want to help simplify it for you and point you to a few amazing blogs that do a great job simplifying the confusing world of coupons!  
Here are some baby steps to help you dip your toe into the world of couponing.  


Follow Some Blogs to Show you the Deals

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You can choose the method that you use to follow the blogs: Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or email.  I have been following blogs for many years now and can tell you there are some awesome ones out there.  The bloggers will share the deals for the week with the match-ups for the coupons you will need.  The coupons can be ones you print out, get from the newspaper, or get from the store.  

Blogs I Recommend:

1.  Money Saving Mom

2.  Moms By Heart

3.  A Thrifty Mom

4.  Commons Sense with Money

Along with deals for the week, these sites have tips on how to coupon at each store (Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc) and they also share lots of great random deals.  For example, I read from a blog that Toms of Maine was giving away free children’s toothpaste samples and signed up.



Subscribe to the Sunday Newspaper

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If you live in a small town, this probably means you need to subscribe to the newspaper in the city nearest you.  Check your mailbox for specials on subscriptions.  I get my paper for $1 a week and that includes a Wednesday and a Sunday paper.  This will be your go-to place to get the coupons you need.  Some people get multiple copies of the newspaper.  But, we are starting small here, so just start off with one.


Find a System for Filing Coupons

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Don’t be nervous!  This one may take some time to find out what style works best for you.  I have tried a couple of different systems and for this season in my life, I put the date on the front cover of each insert.  Then, I file each insert (whole) in its own plastic sleeve in a binder in chronological order.  This works well if you are only using coupons to stock up on the really good deals of the week.  
Another method is to cut apart all of your coupon inserts for the week and file each coupon under its specific heading in chronological order.  This works well if you are going to take all of your coupons with you while shopping to pop out that coupon on the clearance shampoo.  You will get a better savings out of this method, but it is time consuming.  (Your file doesn’t have to be as large as the one in the picture.)   
If you would like to see more coupon organizing systems in depth, check out these blog posts:
1.  Stretching a Buck: Coupon Organization
2.  Penny Pinchin Mom: Keeping Those Coupons Organized  
If you coupon, what are some tips you would give to a newbie?  If you are new to the idea of couponing what questions do you have?

Free Chevron Print Download

The kitchen the previous homeowners left us has a nice layout, but lacks the pretty I would like.  The budget lacks the money to make the pretty I would like.  Sooo, instead of remodeling my kitchen, it gets….a picture!  
Just how frugal is this gal?  The picture my kitchen is getting is going to be in a free frame from my mom.  (I dug it out of the “items to be donated” box!)  This picture frame is getting painted with free paint from a lovely little coupon I used at a hardware store!  Plus, I created the print with chevron digital paper I had for my store.  
If you need to add some pretty somewhere, you can have the print for free!  
 Free Chevron Print Download
 **Click HERE to download the print.
1.  I took the frame and sanded it.  I am a novice painter (should be read, when I paint it looks like it was done by a little kid!!).   I guessed on what sandpaper to use and used 220.  It seemed to do the trick.  Then I wiped off the dust with a rag when I was done.
 2.  I love bold greens so I choose “Vine Green” by Benjamin Moore.   After I got it home, I was a little nervous it was going to look too primary in color, but it turned out great.  It took 3 coats of paint to get it to the look I was going for.
3.  I waited for it to dry, printed off the print, cut down the print to 8×10 and stuck it in there!  I am in LOVE.  I love green…and I love chevron.  Perfect combo.
Free Chevron Print Download
Free Chevron Print Download
4.  I plan to hang it right above my sink after I get a command strip for the wall.  It is tiled, so I figured that would be the best way to hang it.  I hope you love it too and get to add some pretty somewhere in your house!
Linked to: Skip to my Lou, Laugh, Love, and Craft, Tutus & Tea Parties, Grateful Belly, House of Hepworths, Gluesticks, Tatertots and Jello

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Somewhat Simple

How to Travel with Kids…and avoid yelling!

My family lives a little over 4 hours away and I like to go visit about every other month.  For Easter, I decided to go and visit for almost a week (my girls had a break from preschool).  My husband wasn’t going to be able to take that much time off…so we left him at home.
That meant I needed to plan well to avoid…yelling!  Grouchy mommies don’t make the best drivers, right?  If I have happy kids I have a happy mommy.
Here are 7 tips and tricks I used to have a happy family drive:

1.  Pack a lunch

I decided to pack a lunch to avoid having to get fast food, and to avoid having to PAY for fast food!  That adds up quickly.  I packed peanut butter sandwiches (no cooler needed), apples, and water bottles.
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2.  Have a container full of toys and books

I always pack a crate of some kind with small toys and lots of books.  Yes, they will end up all over your vehicle because they will  drop them after they grow tired of them!  I figure this is a mess well worth keeping them occupied.  Also, I make sure the container is close to the older ones so they can hand them out to the younger ones.  When I was the only older one, I kept it close to me so that I could keep handing them back.  
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3.  The Potty–never leave home without it!

When my kids are potty training, I never travel without it.  It makes it much easier to attend to “MOMMY, I have to go…NOW!”  It is also easier when your kids don’t like public bathrooms.  I stop the van and put the potty chair in the middle of the van.  I let the child go and then I dump it outside when it is just pee.  (Animals do it, right??)  I bring along grocery sacks and dump it in there if it is…more substantial!  (heehee)  Then I throw it in the nearest trash.  I wipe it out with wipes when they are done.
This is the friend we have.  I love the free-of-frills design…makes for easier clean up.  Ridges and pee don’t mix well!  You can buy it HERE.


3.  Go RUN!!

Kids are kind of like puppies…they like to run!  When we do stop to go to the bathroom and there is open space, I yell, “Go RUN!!”  I like to let them get out some of that energy.  Sometimes I even chase them around or walk the stairs in the area around them to get out that energy of my own.  This helps us get back into the van with less tears.  
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4.  Pack Snacks

I make sure to fill up a bag with snacks.  You never know what is going to be that one thing that keeps everyone together.  I like to pack things that can’t get too squashed into the carpet.  I bring things like: pretzels, popcorn, Goldfish, dry cereal and maybe fruit snacks.  I bring bowls or cups to put the snacks in to make it easier to hand them back.  A friend of mine packs them in little baggies and I think that is a great idea too.     
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5.  Music

Bring along the children’s music.  This can sometimes bring someone back from the brink of a meltdown.  If you don’t have some, just start singing together.  Songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “5 Little Monkeys” are great ways to pass the time.
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6.  DVD player

We finally broke down and bought the DVD player for the van.  I was one of those people who said, “But I didn’t have one when I was little.”  That lady left one day when I realized it would just make long trips easier.



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7.  Games

As I was driving today and thinking about what I would write for this post, I thought about some things I would have done differently.  I think next time I will make sure to pack some travel games like tic, tac, toe and car bingo.  

Melissa and Doug already thought of my idea, you can get these HERE.



(I have a thing for graphics so I couldn’t resist a little playing around up there!)
How about you?  What are things that are tried and true for your car rides?
Linked to: Laugh, Love, and Craft




Urban Gardening-Container Gardening and Square Foot Gardening

I wanted to have a garden this year, but I didn’t want to have to till up my yard.  I don’t really know how to garden, so I was nervous to commit to a large garden.  So, I created a garden out of a planter wall!  
I dug out the weeds, added some new mulch and more soil.  Prayed things would actually grow.  Then, I planted seeds.  I have been watering it once or twice a day, depending on how hot it has gotten.  
This bed is 13 feet long by 18 inches wide.  I know very little about square foot gardening, but thought this could work well for that concept.  I gave each “section” around an 18 inch square.  Each square got a little stake (craft stick with permanent marker) telling me what I hope will grow there!
I planted some things, salad and herbs, in some container planters too.  I figured one of these ways has got to work for this  newbie gardener!  We have this concrete pad next to my planter wall so they sit on that.  We planted them early due to this crazy, early heat spell.  We figured we could take them in the house if we got a freeze warning.  
I also have a couple planters that are smaller in my window in my kitchen…but I forgot to photograph them.  
I am pleased to report things are starting to grow!!  That is my lovely salad mix.  It got a couple days head start.
 That is my cabbage. 
Those are my green beans.  I clapped and cheered for them all when I was out there watering them tonight.  Grow babies grow!  
More updates to come!
 Linked to: Grateful Belly, GNOWFGLINS

How to Make Disposable Diaper Wipes

I started making my own disposable diaper wipes a few years ago.  I love them!  They are more natural and cheaper than the store-bought version. 
Now, I use cloth diapers, so I use cloth wipes, but I wanted to share how to do this with my disposable diaper friends.  I am going to use mine as eye make-up disposable wipes.
 You will be amazed at how easy it is to do.  Are you ready?

Homemade Disposable Diaper Wipes

  • Bounty Paper Towels (select-a-size)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baby wash (natural if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola oil, olive oil, and coconut oil work)
  • container
  • tea tree oil (optional
1.  Cut the rolls of paper towels in half with a serrated knife.
2. Pour water into container.  Add baby wash and oil.  Stir.
3.  Add 2 drops of tea tree oil (used to prevent mold) optional.
4.  Drop the half a roll of paper towel into the water.  Wait until water has soaked into the paper towels and remove the center cardboard tube.
5.  Pull wipes up from the center.

Step 1

Cut paper towel in half with serrated knife over cutting board.

 Step 2

Add to the container: 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons oil, 1-2 tablespoons baby wash (and totally optional 2 drops tea tree oil).  Stir.

Step 3

Drop paper half roll paper towel (fuzzy side down) into solution.  Wait for cardboard to soften in water and remove.   Pull wipes from center.
 **A note of caution. **
If you seal the lid on tightly, you are almost guaranteed for your wipes to mold at some point.   I just leave the lid cracked open and have not had a problem with that. 
How about you, have you used your own wipes before?  Do you have any questions about the process? 
Linked to:
Flamingo Toes
Nifty Thrifty Things