Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coupon Savings

Well as Polly put it, schools out for summer! The kids will be home needing atleast three hot meals a day and lots more paper towels, toilet tissue and the like, so as parents, we have to kick it up a notch to keep them happy, full and healthy.

The Jackson residence is popping with four hungry mouths to feed, including a 16 year old growing boy, my 13 year old nephew, 10 year old DSD and nearly two year old. As I was making my grocery list I thought of ways to save even more money. Coupon clipping came to my thoughts.

Now, of course, YES, I use coupons on a regular basis for most of the things I buy. However, one of my new goals is to get more serious about using them on my shopping trips and making sure I take my time to go through ALL of my circular ads to make sure I am getting the most bang for my buck.

I can't tell you how much I have saved on pull-ups and cereal by shopping at Rite-Aid and CVS, where they offer Up Rewards and CVS rewards. It equates to savings that you just can't miss out on. I've shopped at Rite Aid exclusively for the past couple of weeks, because I got a $5 Up Reward plus 20% off on purchases and continuously received $3 coupons when I would go in for subsequent purchases. I got free coffee creamer and Father's Day cards for 3 people for about $2!

CVS has Huggies Pull Ups on sale for $8.99 and a $1 reward for each purchase, plus I had a $3 off coupon because it was my husband's birthday reward. I purchased pull ups there for 15 cents a piece and received a coupon for $3 off a $15 purchase. I went back and got two more packs of Pull Ups and was able to combine all my rewards with the manufacturers coupon that I had for $2 off. I also got $2 in rewards for making that purchase and got the Pull-ups for 18 cents each. You cannot get that deal at Sam's or Costco! I love it!

Today, I decided to search for a coupon organizer. What I have now is no longer effective since all the coupons are basically thrown in one organizer and I have to sift through them. I want a binder with clear inserts so that I put the coupons in alphabetical order and be able to clearly see what I have without sifting through a lot of paper. That way, I can just rush into the grocery store knowing what I have with less work!

I will be sure to update you guys on my savings and tips and things that I learn along the way. I am starting on the 28th with a shopping trip to our local grocery store, Bloom. They have Tuesday, double coupon day for coupons up to $1.99 in value. I am going with all those coupons I have for pampers wipes and rack up. I am so excited that I just can't hide it.

Happy savings,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

School's Out for Summer! 7 Tips for a Great Vacation

1. If you're using camps, to stretch your dollars further seek out those camps provided through your county or city's parks and recreation department, public school system or neighborhood daycare centers. Girl Scouts and YMCA are usually reasonable choices as well.

2. Turn an ordinary day into super fun by letting the kids have a few friends over for pizza and a movie or water play in the backyard. The kids will love it and there's no need to make dinner that night.

3. Visit a local museum on the weekend. If you plan a short trip on Saturday, Sunday is an automatic day for rest and reflection. Why not make a scrapbook of the pictures from your visit?

4. Look for free shows, events and storytimes at the public library. There is usually a wider variety during the summer and while you're at it, sign everyone up for the summer reading program!

5. Plan a  meet and greet with relatives you hardly get to see. Whether it's a family reunion or just visiting Auntie Elle, kids always glean more from  a trip than you'd imagine. Think of neat things to do in the area and double up on family fun.

6. Capitalize on the long days of summer and fit in 30 minutes of school work. Practice will keep the material fresh and your child will be on target when the school bell rings this fall.

7.  Take a day off and let the kids plan the activities. Maybe you go out, stay in and play, cookout or have a pajama day. Whatever they choose, just roll with it. Bring yourself down to their level and enjoy the view!

Have a happy summer,


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Severe Food Allergies: A Blessing In Disguise?

This is a snapshot of the latest addition to my freezer. Ice-cream. Homemade treats are front and center because I have a child with food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, rice and corn - (think corn syrup) which is in everything including hotdogs and deli meat. Every since she was tested and our fears confirmed, we've carried an epi-pen everywhere, learned to read food labels and ask questions. She's only six now and claims that these allergies have already ruined her life. She even cries about it sometimes. She shows self-restraint now because she knows what happens if she ingests those foods. So in an attempt to make it better and safer for her to enjoy eating, I make as many things as practical.  It's not easy, but it's worth it. Otherwise I buy lots of organic products and spend most of my time dissing processed foods in general.

Once I got her to try the home version of things she began to smile. Then the light bulb came on with the rest of us. We realized that thanks to Lauren we're actually eating better. Although the rest of the family doesn't share her allergies we try to buy things that she can eat too or we cook and bake things together. The result is no allergic reactions for our girl and pleasant, healthy meals and treats for us! Lauren still feels jipped at times because there's something she can't have. But she's knows I've got her covered with some type of delicious alternative or new recipe that we can try out. No mystery ingredients or suprise allergens to ruin her day, just the blessing of being well fed.

Here's to good eats,