Archive for the ‘ The Thrifty Frugal Mom ’ Category

Weekly Spending Summary (4/6-4/12)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use:, Coupon Network, Smart Source, Red Plum, Ibotta, Hopster, Checkout 51 and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

Favorite buys:

  • Finish detergent $1.00/box
  • Free Right Guard deodorant
  • $0.05 Liberte organic yogurt
  • $0.78/lb. Hatfield ham steaks
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs for $1.39/lb.

Total Spent: $89.84
Total Saved with Coupons: $30.15
Total Saved with Sales: $30.96
Total Saved: $61.11

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $5.00
Saved with Sales: $3.38


I used a gift card that we earned through our credit card rewards program to pay for this purchase of $1.06.  Unfortunately, the CVS that I went to was out of stock on the other things that I wanted so I ended up just getting these deodorants that were free after coupons/sales.


  • 2 Right Guard deodorants $3.00 each

Coupons Used:

  • Two $2.00 Right Guard coupons from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
  • $1.00 in Extra Bucks (CVS coupon that print at register for purchasing specific items)

Got Back:

  • $2.00 in Extra Bucks coupon for purchasing the Right Guard (can be used on next purchase of any item)

Rite Aid: $5.30
Saved with Coupons: $7.35
Saved with Sales: $14.07

As I’ve said before, I don’t typically buy baby food because by the time our children start to eat, they can usually eat table food, mashed.  And besides, it cheaper to make your own baby food anyway.  But when I can get it free like I did this week, I’ll take it.  I find these little sealed containers so handy for when we are traveling or away from home.

The Anacin was a $1.01 moneymaker and the Finish detergent is about $1 a box after the mail-in rebate (and that includes the cost of the stamp!).


  • 2 Gerber baby foods $0
    (bought with rain check and they were free after UPRewards during that promotion)
  • 2 Finish detergents $6.49 total (on sale buy one, get one free)
  • Anacin $4.99

Coupons Used:

  • $2.00 Anacin printable coupon
  • $5.00 in UPRewards (Rite Aid coupon that print at register for purchasing specific items)

Got Back:

  • $4.00 UPRewards coupons for purchasing the Anacin (can be used on next purchase of any item)
  • $4.99 via a Finish mail in rebate from the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

Giant: $1.11
Saved with Coupons: $1.80
Saved with Sales: $0.73

Don’t you love my huge Giant purchase this week?   I really wasn’t planning to go at all but then my husband unknowingly took the last of the homemade yogurt in his lunch and so I had no yogurt to use as starter for my next batch.  Unfortunately I didn’t find this out until I was in the middle of making it, so I had to make a quick run to the store for some unflavored yogurt which is what the Dannon was for.  I was happy that I had a Checkout 51 yogurt offer to help cut my cost and I ended up paying just $0.19 for it.

The Plum Organics was free and the Liberte yogurt was only $0.05 after coupons/Saving Star.


  • Plum Organics baby food pouch $1.00
  • Dannon plain yogurt $0.69
  • Liberte yogurt $1.25

Coupons Used:

  • $0.50 Plum Organics printable coupon (doubled to $1.00)
  • $0.40 Liberte printable coupon (doubled to $0.80)

Got Back:

  • $0.50 via Checkout 51 for purchasing yogurt (the offer was forany yogurt!)
  • $0.40 via Saving Star for purchasing the Liberte yogurt

Weis: $2.18
Saved with Coupons: $16.00
Saved with Sales: $12.78

We love these Hatfield ham steaks- they are so flavorful, tender and delicious!  So I was really excited to get them for just $0.39 a piece or $0.78/lb.  We’ve already enjoyed some in a green bean/potato/ham dish as well as on salad.


  • 8 Hatfield Ham Steaks $2.39 each

Coupons Used:

  • Eight $2.00 Hatfield printable coupons

Aldi: $6.45

Headed to Aldi to take advantage of their special on carrots and sweet potatoes and grabbed some sour cream and red potatoes while I was there.  Speaking of sour cream, I’m quite ready to find a good deal on it again!  Usually I can get it for less than $1.00 a container and I stock up but it’s been quite a while since there has been any decent deal on it.


  • Sweet potatoes 3 lb. $1.19
  • Red potatoes 5 lb. $2.99
  • 2 Baby Carrots $0.49 each
  • Sour Cream $1.29

Misc.: $74.80

$20 of this was for money to buy milk for $2/gal. from a local farm.  The other $54.80 was for 40 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I got at a local stores meat sale for just $1.37 lb.  I canned some of it, froze some raw and froze some cooked and chopped.  I’m hoping that I’ll be all set on meat for several months now since I just bought ground beef this month too!

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Tasty Tuesday: Jimmy Carter Cake (a peanut butter & chocolate dessert)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

This is one of my favorite childhood desserts.  If I remember correctly this recipe came from my 6th grade teacher.  She made it for a class function and I loved it so much I asked her for the recipe.  Then of course my sweet mom gave into my begging and made it and it became a family hit that was often made for dinner guests.

Not only is this Jimmy Carter Cake super rich and delicious, it’s also easy and quick to put together which is always nice!  And while I rarely use boxed pudding (because we prefer the taste and healthiness of homemade) this is one recipe that I make an exception for!  Although I’m sure with a bit of tweaking you could easily sub homemade pudding if you wanted.

Oh and as for the name?  I have no idea why it’s called Jimmy Carter Cake other than I think that it was widely believed that President Carter liked peanuts.  But I’ve heard that was actually a myth (the part about him liking peanuts).  At any rate, that’s what this recipe is called and if you at all like peanut butter and chocolate then I’m pretty sure you’ll absolutely love this!

Jimmy Carter Cake
Recipe type: Dessert

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened (8 tbsp.)
  • ⅔ c. crushed peanuts
  • ½ c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped with 1 tbsp. sugar**, divided (should make about 2 cups)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 small box instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • ** or use 2 c. Cool Whip instead

  1. Crumble flour, butter and crushed peanuts together and press in bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min.
  2. Cream peanut butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese and 3 tbsp. milk together. Fold in 1 c. prepared whipped cream. Spread over cooled crust.
  3. Mix vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding and 3 cups milk together until combined and pudding is thickened. Spread over cream cheese mixture.
  4. Top with remaining whipped cream and garnish with additional crushed peanuts. Chill.


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7 Ways to Prepare for Baby (and save your sanity!)

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

With the birth of our sweet little Adelyne, my mind is obviously pretty centered on baby related things right now.  Life with a new baby is such an exciting time and I’m loving these days of first smiles and coos, soft baby skin, lots of cuddles while nursing and the interrupted nights of sleep.  Alright, I don’t really love the interrupted nights but hey, it’s just part of the baby package!

But as much I love this newborn stage, I’m always amazed at how much time and energy it takes to care for a new baby!  I mean, seriously, some days it can seem like that is all you get done.  And then add being sleep deprived to that and life can quickly start to feel overwhelming!

I’ve been grateful over and over these last several weeks for the time I took to do things ahead of time to make these baby days just a little bit easier.  This is our fourth child (we have one in Heaven) and think I’m finally getting this whole “prepare ahead for those newborn days” thing a little bit down.  I can’t stress enough how much planning ahead has helped alleviate my stress level and helped me enjoy these days as much as a busy, sleep deprived mom can.  Because as you moms with older children already know, these tiny newborn baby days pass so fast.  And if you aren’t intentional, you’ll blink and they’ll be gone and you’ll find that you didn’t even get the chance to enjoy them!

So, here are the 7 things that I recommend doing ahead of time to prepare for baby and save your sanity at the same time!

1.  Stock the freezer with food
In those first several weeks post baby, there is nothing like being able to go to the freezer, pull out dinner  and have one less thing to worry about!   I like to stock my freezer in the following three ways.

I make a variety of casseroles and soups as well as meat loaf/meat balls and marinated chicken and then stick them in the freezer.  Then all I need to is to pull out one of these and I’ll have my dinner mostly complete once I bake or heat up the dish.

I also like to make extra homemade bread, homemade granola and even cookies to put in the freezer too.  Really, anything like that, especially if it’s something you typically eat anyway, is very helpful to have ready to pull out to use when needed.

Looking for some freezer meal ideas?  Thriving Home has a great list of tried and true recipes.  And of course, you can always search Pinterest too and find a ton of other great ideas as well.

Tip: Be sure to label your foods with the baking/reheating instructions as well as any additional instructions.  This will save you the hassle of having to find the recipe to get that info later.  Plus if your husband or someone else is helping you, it will make it super easy for them to know what needs to happen!

While not as healthy, sometimes convenience foods like chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas and fish sticks are just nice to have.  As I see deals for these, I’ll grab the occasional box to give me a little bonus boost.  We try to avoid prepared foods but sometimes, well, I think they have their place!

While not as handy as having a whole dish prepared, it’s also nice to have some already cooked chicken, ground beef and even sausage on hand to speed up dinner prep.  This is especially great to throw in soups because you don’t even need to take the time to thaw it!  But I like to use them to make lots of other things as well.

Tip: Depending what you plan to use the ground beef for, it’s helpful to go ahead and cook it up with the onion already added.  Or if you plan to use it for tacos, go ahead and add the taco seasoning to it before you freeze it.

2. Stock up on household basics
It takes a little bit to get back into the swing of things with grocery shopping, especially if you have other children as well as the new baby.  You’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you gradually stock up on the basic pantry and household items that your family typically uses.

You can do this a couple of ways.  I know one person who, in order to not stress her grocery budget, simply buys an extra item or two each week for several months before baby arrives.  Since I deal shop and tend to stockpile a bit anyway, I prefer to just gradually stock up on these items as they go on sale.  I often start buying extra as much as 4 months before baby arrives.  This allows me to buy the items at really low prices while at the same time stocking up.

Here are some of the things you might find helpful to stock up on:
- laundry detergent
- toiletries like toothpaste, body wash and shampoo
- hand soap
- paper plates for the first week or so (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher)
- pasta and rice
- toilet paper and tissues
- thank you cards and stamps (not really a household basic, but you’ll be so glad to have them on hand!)

3.  Stock up on diapers and wipes
I highly recommend having at least several packs of newborn diapers as well as several packs of wipes bought ahead of time to save having to make extra trips to the store.  With newborn babies easily going through up to 10 diapers a day, you’ll soon discover that a pack of diapers doesn’t last long at all!  Plus, if you buy ahead you can watch for sales and hopefully save yourself some money too. 

Planning to stock up on diapers?  Check out my 4 Tips on How to Save Money and Build a Diaper Stockpile for even more helpful ideas.

Tip: If you have other children that are still in diapers as well, buy ahead for them too.  There is nothing more annoying that realizing at 11 pm. that you just used the last diaper in the house!  Ask me how I know! 

4.  Buy post-baby essentials
When you’re thinking about how to make your life easier after baby, it’s easy to forget your own post-baby needs.  But you’ll be grateful to have plenty of pads and/or disposable underwear, nursing pads and ibuprofen/Tylenol on hand.

And don’t forget the snacks!  When I asked on The Thrifty Frugal Mom Facebook page what people found helpful to do to make things go more smoothly after the birth of a baby reader Monica said this, “Stock up on diapers and plenty of ready to eat snacks.  (I was so hungry while breast feeding).”

Some of my favorite go-to snack ideas include nuts, fruit, granola bars/Energy Bites and cheese sticks.  I also enjoy homemade yogurt and fruit slush too although both of those are a little harder to eat on the run.

5.  Remember the siblings
The arrival of a new baby can be a tough adjustment for older siblings, especially if they aren’t very old themselves. It’s helpful to purchase a few fun toys ahead of time and have them handy to pull out when needed.  Or if you are wanting to save money, arrange to borrow a few toys from a friend instead.  We also like to go to the library and get a bunch of new books and books on tape.  If your children love books as much as ours do, this is a real lifesaver!

You can also prepare a few fun activities to do as well.  If you need some ideas, checkout my Pinterest board.  If your child is a little older you might also want to consider some of these educational ideas too.

I’ve also found that it’s beneficial to include the children in helping with the new baby as much as possible.  They love feeling needed and important!  Reader Susie shared a great way of doing this.  She said, “Make a small basket for after the baby comes with diapers, wipes, pacifier, burp rag, receiving blanket etc.  As you move from room to room, just grab the basket with all the ‘baby items’ including your phone. It helps especially if there’s younger children and want to help. When you move from one area to another just grab your basket!”

6.  Line up help
I’m blessed to have my mom come help me for a week after my baby is born.  It allows me to sit back, rest, focus on healing and just enjoy my baby while someone else makes sure everything happens.  And I’ve been especially grateful to have her be able to take the baby at night those first several days when the baby isn’t settled into any kind of sleep routine and doesn’t want to settle well at night.

With each of our children we’ve also had someone help out a day or two a week for several weeks after that as well.  It’s been so nice and I can’t recommend it enough!  Sometimes that help has volunteered their services and sometimes we’ve gone looking for someone who is willing.  If you don’t think you’ll need help with daily housework, you might still want to consider lining someone up to do your cleaning, do your laundry and/or entertain your older children occasionally to give you a chance to nap.

And by all means, if someone offers to help you, let them!  It’s not every day that you have people actually wanting to give you a hand.  And they’ll enjoy the blessing of being able to do something for someone else while you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy those newborn days more too as a result!

7.  Pre-select birth announcments
Reader Monica O. sent an email with this great idea.  She said, “One thing I remember doing that helped and was kind of fun was pre-selecting one or two birth announcements online and filling in as much information as I could before our son was born. Then, after he was born, all I had to do was upload my favorite picture, type in his length and weight, and press the order button. As an added bonus, a helpful friend gave us some baby themed return address labels as a gift that I could use when sending out announcements. ”

I love this and had totally forgotten that I had done this very thing with our firstborn!  It made is super easy to get the birth announcements out soon after he was born instead of getting pushed off for a couple of months (or not done at all!) like happened with our other three.

What do you recommend that parents-to-be do to prepare for baby and make those post baby days more enjoyable?  Which of these 7 have been the most beneficial for you?

Are you ready for another baby? Take our quiz and find out.

Birth Stories:
Birth Stories:
Birth Stories: "I Was Sent Home Three Times"

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Amazon: Purse Organizer for $3.59 Shipped!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Please note, Amazon prices are subject to change at any time, so I have no idea how long this will be at this price. 

Amazon currently has this gray Purse Insert Organizer with Handles for just $3.59 shipped!  Or you can get a blue one for $4.58.  These would make it super easy to switch between purses not to mention stay organized in purses with no pockets!

Product Description:

  • Two zipper compartments and multiple pockets and slots hold all essentials in a neat and organized way
  • Easy to lift out when you want to change bags
  • Can be folded up neatly for easy storage
  • Size: 28 x 17 x 9 cm / 11.2 x 6.8 x 3.6 inch (L x H x W)
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Olive Garden: Buy One Entree, Get One Half Off

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Planning to eat out this weekend?  Through April 13 you can use this coupon for buy one entree, get one half off at Olive Garden!

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