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Swagbucks: Earn Money by Using this Search Engine- simple and easy!

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

One of my favorite ways to earn a little extra money is with Swagbucks, a free search engine kind of like Google.  The difference is that each time you search the web using Swagbucks you have the chance to earn “bucks” which you can then trade in for things like gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Target and more.  Or you can even have them pay you via Paypal!

There are also other ways that you can earn more Swagbucks like doing daily surveys, watching for Swagcodes, watching videos etc.  With a little determination I can easily earn at least two to three $5 Amazon gift cards  a month.

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Free: 3 Months of Interactive Math Lessons- access to all grade levels!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

FREE Summer Math!

I am so excited to bring you this deal!  A+ Interactive Math is offering 3 months of Interactive Math for FREE(grades K1 to Algebra 1) to my readers!  What an easy way to help your child keep their math skill sharp this summer!A+ Interactive Math is a complete math program that offers a lot of flexibility for your child.  It includes colorful, interactive video lessons, lesson plans, online or printable worksheets for practice, templates to create your own worksheets/exams, printable progress reports/certificates and more!

To get started, use their Free Placement Test to give you a comprehensive report and show any weak areas or learning gaps that your child might have. You can then move your student to lessons that will fill in learning gaps and attain mastery.  Or you can easily review past lessons and concepts as well.
For instance, if your child is struggling to understand fractions and they are 4th grade, you can back them up to grade 2′s beginning fractions chapter for a couple of weeks or days, then to the 3rd grade fractions chapter, then up to the 4th grade where they NOW have a solid understanding of how fractions work & can begin working at their own grade level or beyond!  No one else offers this kind of flexibility!

While the 3 months free offer is good for one child per family, A+ Interactive Math is generously allowing my readers to add any additional students at a discount of up to 90% off when you sign up here!

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Weekly Spending Summary (6/15-6/21)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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

This past week felt like one of those weeks where all you do is just get enough done to survive!  It was the week for Vacation Bible School at our church and so every evening found us rushing out the door to get there in time.  My husband taught the adult class for part of the evening so in addition to the usual busyness those kinds of weeks bring, that made it extra full.   We really enjoyed Bible School though and the children’s excitement was so contagious!  Every day Logan, our 5 yr. old, would wake up and pretty much count down the hours until it was time to leave.

Saturday afternoon we went on a date while my husband’s four younger siblings baby sat for us.  Then we came back home and enjoyed dinner and some game playing with them and a family friend.  Good times!

I did manage to get a bit of shopping done one day though was happy to score several decent deals.  Read on for the details!

Favorite buys:
* Better than free Dial men’s body wash
* Free toothbrushes
* Eggs for $0.97/dozen
* Utz chips for $1.00 each

Total Spent: $17.43
Total Saved with Coupons: $29.77
Total Saved with Sales: $44.11
Total Saved: $73.88

CVS: $1.10
Saved with Coupons: $6.00
Saved with Sales: $6.98

I had a $5 CVS gift card that I earned through Recyclebank that I used to pay for part of this purchase.

The toothbrushes and deodorants were all free after coupons and sales.

Bought:

  • 2 Colgate toothbrushes $2.99 each
  • Right Guard deodorant $3.00
  • Dry Idea deodorant $3.00

Coupons Used:

  • Two $1.00 Colgate coupons from the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
  • $1.00 Right Guard coupon from the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
  • $1.00 Dry Idea coupon from the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

Got Back:

  • $4.00 in Extra Bucks coupon for purchasing the Colgate toothbrushes (can be used on next purchase of any item)
  • $2.00 in Extra Bucks coupon for purchasing the Right Guard and Dry Idea (can be used on next purchase of any item)

Giant: $10.89
Saved with Coupons: $5.98
Saved with Sales: $17.20

Yes, I truly bought 11 dozen eggs!  Or 132 eggs if you like how that sounds better.  I saw this deal early in the week and kept trying to decide if I was crazy to do it or not.   I mean, that’s a lot of eggs, after all but they were only $0.97 a dozen.   The more I thought about it, the more I really felt like I should go for it.  Here’s why:

1.  Eggs here are anywhere from $1.50 to $1.99 dozen so this saved me at minimum $5.83.  That’s pretty significant savings.
2.  We can use eggs pretty fast around here.  If I have a lot of them I’ll make breakfast for dinner, egg salad and/or homemade egg custard, all of which use up eggs pretty quickly.
3.  The expiration on these eggs are the end of July.  That’s quite a ways off and besides, I’m not scared to use eggs several weeks past their expiration date since that date is really just a “best if used by” date.

So, I’m having fun making lots of egg things with my cheap eggs.  Honestly, the worst part about the whole deal was how much space they took up in our fridge!

Oh, I also got BBQ sauce too.  Not that we needed it- I still have a couple of bottles from when I got them free last summer.  But I figured I’d either give them away to friends or donate them to the food bank.  How could I pass up free when I was going to be at the store anyway?

Bought:

  • 2 KC BBQ Sauce $0.99 each
  • 11 Egglands Best Eggs $1.99 each

Coupons Used:

  • $7.00 instant savings for purchasing $20 worth of Egglands eggs
  • Two $0.50 KC printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
  • Four $1.00 Egglands coupons from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

Got Back:

Weis: $5.43
Saved with Coupons: $17.79
Saved with Sales: $19.93

I decided to head to Weis this week since they had a deal that I was hoping to do and get ham steak for $0.78/lb.  Unfortunately they didn’t have the flavor in stock that my coupon was for and so I couldn’t do that deal.  But I got some other great bargains anyway.

I was really excited to get Utz chips for just $1.00.  We don’t eat just a lot of chips but in the summer we tend to more because they are so handy to take along on picnics and eat with hotdogs and hamburgers.  And the Grandma Utz ones are my husband’s absolute favorite so that was a double score!

The Dial body wash ended up being a $2.00 moneymaker after coupons and sales.  I was very excited about getting this since it seems my husband goes through body wash incredibly fast.  (He has a construction job and gets filthy, so it takes a lot of soap to get him squeaky clean.  Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not complaining about it.  I’m grateful that he is particular and cares about being clean!)

The Truvia and the Pompeian vinegar were both $0.99 each.   The Malt-O-Meal cereal was free.  They contacted me and wondered if they could send me some free product coupons and of course I didn’t turn that down!  I was happy to see they carried something comparable to Lucky Charms since that is one of the children’s and my husband’s favorite bought “junk” cereal.  We haven’t tried it yet, but in the past I’ve always been very happy with Malt-O-Meal!

Bought:

  • Truvia $2.99
  • Pompeian Balsamic Vinegar $1.99
  • 4 Utz Chips $2.00 each
  • Malt O Meal Cereal $4.29
  • 3 Dial Mens Body Wash $1.83 each
    - priced at$3.50 each but saved $5 instantly when you bought 3

Coupons Used:

  • $2.00 Truvia printable coupon
  • $0.50 Pompeian printable coupon (doubled to $1.00)
  • Four $0.75 Utz printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
  • Free Malt O Meal product coupon received from manufacturer ($4.29)
  • Buy 2, Get 1 Free coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts ($3.50)
  • Free Dial body wash from Purex Insiders (only took off $3.00)

Got Back:

  • $1.00 via Ibotta for purchasing Dial Men’s body wash

Misc.: $0

A friend gave us 2 beautiful heads of lettuce from their garden.  So kind of them!

Some friends from church gave us this “smore ingredient” gift as a thank you.  Isn’t it such a neat, creative idea?  Should make for a fun, family night sometime this summer!

And another friend blessed us with fresh sugar peas and a scrumptious chicken lasagna.  We are quite blessed with kind, generous friends don’t you think?

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Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

I love a good glass of creamy, rich, chocolate milk- it’s so satisfying!  But for the last couple of years I rarely enjoyed that little treat because I couldn’t bring myself to buy Hershey’s syrup with it’s list of 20 some ingredients, many of which I couldn’t pronounce.

So when I discovered that I could easily make my own chocolate syrup from just 6 simple ingredients I was excited!  Rich and delicious, this homemade chocolate syrup does not disappoint!  It makes a wonderful glass of chocolate milk and it is also tasty drizzled over ice cream for a special treat. And on top of that it is inexpensive, easy and super fast to make.  In fact, why don’t you go stir up a batch for yourself?  I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. white sugar
  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

Instructions
  1. Combine sugars, cocoa powder and salt. Add water; whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 min.*
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool. Store in fridge.

Notes
* Syrup will thicken as it cools, but if you like a really thick syrup, you may want to boil longer than 5 min.

Linking up at Living Well Spending Less.

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Monthly Spending Summary (May)

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

If you want to see exactly what I purchased, check the posts under My Deals for more details.

Well, I did really well with my grocery spending again this month.  Even if I hadn’t had the gas savings I would have almost been under my $220 budget.  But the gas savings are what really gives me a boost.  Not only do I get free gas, many of the items I purchase actually turn into moneymakers with the deal!  I estimate that I make about $20 a month on average thanks to the gas deals that I do.

I’m almost tempted to drop my grocery budget back down to $200 a month.  We had raised it the beginning of the year to help give us a bit more leeway since we are now a family of 5 and since grocery prices are rising.  But since I’ve been able to do so well I’m thinking of dropping it to $200 for the rest of the year and putting that extra $20 a month (or $140 for the year) into our budget for fixing up our house.  There are some projects there that I’d really love to get done and the extra budget would help.  And I think we are eating quite well anyway, so I don’t really feel like spending more money on our food and household needs!

I do love having the extra though.  It’s freed me up to not have to be quite so focused on doing deal shopping which has been wonderful this summer when life is busier.  Plus it is good to take a bit of a breather from it occasionally too, just to refocus and not get burned out.  Because face it, deal shopping is work.  Why do you think most people don’t bother doing it?

For those of you that care, here are the stats…

Monthly Grocery/Household Budget: $220
Total Spent: $65.24
Total Saved with Coupons: $84.98
Total Saved with Sales: $80.01
Total Saved: $164.99 + $167.00 in gas savings (thanks to grocery purchases)

Week 1: $3.17
Week 2: $76.88
Week 3: $55.90
Week 4: -$62.70 (this was a negative due to gas savings credit)

Credits: $8.01
I cashed out my Saving Star earnings.  This is such a simple way to save and I love that it can be combined with sales and paper coupons!

Ending Monthly Balance: -$154.76
This is the amount that I am under budget for the month!

Ending Annual Balance: -$449.59
In case you are confused, this is the amount I am under budget for the year.  I’ve mentioned before that I do a lot of canning and freezing so in the next couple of months I’ll be spending quite a bit of money on fruits and vegetables for that.  Still, I think I’m sitting pretty well and like I mentioned above, I’m very seriously considering dropping my budget to $200 again.

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