Starbucks: $5 for a $10 Gift Card!

For a limited time, get a $10 Starbucks gift card for just $5 through Groupon.  Who doesn’t like half priced drinks?  Use it to ring in the season with a Chestnut Praline Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte, or any of your Starbucks favorites.

Starbucks Deal: $10 Gift Card for $5!

The gift card can be used at participating U.S. Starbucks stores and can be used over multiple visits.  It expires 180 days after purchase.

This deal is always wildly popular and typically sells out fast.

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Small Business Saturday- Free $10 Credit for American Express Cardholders

If you have an American Express card, here is a fun way to save and support local small businesses at the same time!  Last year I was able to get some delicious, good quality lunch meat at a local meat market for almost nothing after my statement credit.  Talk about awesome!

American Express is offering a $10 statement credit to all members who register a card and use it on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014, at participating local small businesses.

 

Small Business Saturday- Free $10 Credit for American Express Card Members

 

Here’s how it works:

1.  Register any eligible American Express card.

(Registration is open until November 29 but may end sooner if the limit is met.)

2.  Use the registered card to spend $10 or more at participating merchants on Nov. 29

3.  Within 90 days, you’ll get a $10 statement credit for your purchase.

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Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (11/9-11/15)

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.comCoupon NetworkSmart SourceRed PlumIbottaSnap, HopsterCheckout 51, and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

This week ended up being quite different than I had expected.  On Sunday, November 9, my grandfather passed away.  He had recently been having some health issues so it wasn’t a total shock, but still, you never really can plan for a death.  He had been saying for years already that he was ready to go to Heaven….he had done what he felt like God wanted him to do here and he was at peace.

He was 91 and had lived a full, good life and left us with such a beautiful legacy.  He and my grandmother were married 70 years and 9 months and loved each other so much!  They spent their lives giving to others in a variety of ways including taking numerous needy children into their home, volunteering at missions and starting a camp for troubled boys.  We will miss him dearly, but knowing he was ready to meet his Jesus and had lived his life well, made saying good-bye so much easier!

As a result of being out of town for a couple of days, I didn’t end up doing much shopping.  And actually, there weren’t that many great deals to be had anyway, so that was kind of nice!

Total Spent: $31.70
Total Saved with Coupons: $3.00
Total Saved with Sales: $3.99
Total Saved: $6.99

Giant: $4.22

I didn’t really need anything grocery wise this week and since the deals weren’t amazing, I decided not to even run to the store.  But then I realized that we needed milk so I had to make a quick trip to get that.  And yes, the jug is almost empty- I forgot to take a picture right away.

Bought:

  • Store brand milk $4.22
    - will get back $0.25 via Ibotta

Rite Aid: $0 (used grocery cash)
Saved with Coupons: $3.00
Saved with Sales: $3.99

I used $0.99 in grocery cash to pay for this purchase.

I dislike using fluoride toothpaste for our kid’s but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a decent deal on fluoride free toothpaste.  So I was pretty happy to get these 2 tubes for just $0.50 each!

Bought:

  • Orajel toothpaste $3.99 total (on sale buy one, get one free)

Coupons Used:

  • $3.00 in UPRewards (Rite Aid coupon that print at register for purchasing specific items)

Got Back:

  • $2.00 in UPRewards for purchasing the Orajel toothpaste (can be used on next purchase of any item)

Misc.: $27.48

My mom has sold Fuller Brush for years and when we first got married, I used their Fuller 86 Liquid Laundry Detergentexclusively.  But then I started being able to get other brands free or nearly free with couponing and so I started using them instead.

Recently I began having issues with oily type spots on some of our clothing.  I still am unsure if it’s the detergent I was using or something else, but long story short, I was talking to my mom about it and she convinced me to switch back to Fuller 86.  And truth is, I love the stuff!  It’s super concentrated, so for my front loading washer I only need to use 0.75 oz or  1 ½ Tablespoons.  So a jug like this will last about 172 loads.  It is also dye and fragrance free and quite natural too.  And I have to be honest, it does clean clothes like no other detergent I’ve used.  I probably will still use my “free” detergents for some laundry, but plan to use this on my heavily soiled loads.

I’ve actually considered selling the stuff it’s that good.  If I do, of course I’ll let you know!  It typically costs a little more than this, but my Mom spoils me and gives it to me close to cost.

How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget

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A Frugal Mom’s 10 Favorite Baby Items

Trying to figure out what baby items are worth spending your money on?  As a frugal mom of 3, I know how hard it is to decide whether something is worth buying with your hard earned money!  And so I thought I’d  try to help you out by sharing the 10 items that I would willingly spend my money on again if the one we already owned broke or wore out.  Here they are, in no particular order.

A Frugal Mom’s Favorite Baby Items

1.  Conair Sound Machine
This little machine has been a life saver for us so often!  We live in a house where sound carries easily.  We also live in the city and during the summer months often have neighbors who party loud and long into the night.  This machine makes just enough white noise to block other sounds out and has helped our babies (and older children too!) sleep well even when there’s other noise close by.   I love that it has the option to run on batteries which is great for camping.

2.  aden + anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket
These blankets are amazing!  Yes, they’re a bit pricier than many other blankets but let me tell you, they are worth the extra money.  I didn’t have them with my first two and sometimes I wonder how I managed!  They are now my go-to blanket and I have hardly used anything else with baby #3.  Here’s what I love about them:

* They’re bigger than most blankets and work wonderfully for swaddling.
* They are light weight enough that they aren’t all bulky and annoying.
* I didn’t feel like I had to worry about them suffocating my baby because the fabric “breathes”.
(Obviously, this doesn’t mean that they couldn’t suffocate your baby, but it just seemed less likely to me- as always, use common sense.)
* Because of their size and their light weight design, they work great as a cover-up when nursing.
* They get softer the more you wash them.

 

3.  Boppy Pillow
If you are nursing, this is one of those things that just makes life a little easier.  I didn’t have one for my first child and often would get a back ache from hunching over when nursing.  The Boppy helped with that by giving me a higher surface to rest my baby on while I was nursing him.   I also used it a lot as a place to nestle my baby when I wasn’t nursing.  When they are newborns, they can lie nicely in the center.  As they get older, it works perfectly to sit them in the middle since the Boppy gives just enough support to help them get used to sitting up.

4.  Bumbo Seat
These little seats are just awesome!  They are perfect to use when your baby is just starting to try to sit up and can’t quite support themselves and they are also great once they can sit a bit better but tire out easily.  I found that using the Bumbo helped my babies be more content because it gave them a change of scenery so to speak.  And the fact that it is easy to wipe clean is wonderful!  Obviously it is great for indoor use, but it is also perfect for outdoors as well.

5.  Graco Pack ‘n Play
This one is a big ticket item but it is definitely worth it in my opinion!  We have a lot of family that live out of state and so we travel a lot.  This Pack ‘n Play folds up compact enough that it is easy to transport and allows us to have a nice little bed for our child no matter where we are.  There is a more expensive model, but personally I wouldn’t bother spending the extra simply because the extra features are not something you are going to use more than maybe a month or so.

And I highly recommend spending a little bit more and getting a waterproof pad to protect your Pack ‘n Play while you are at it.  It’s an easy way to keep it clean!

Goldbug Baby Shoes
I discovered these shoes with baby #2 and loved them!  They are an inexpensive perfect first shoe.  They’re soft and not as clunky as regular shoes and make it easy for your baby to crawl in as well as learn to walk.  And I’ve been impressed with how well they have held up.  They only look slightly worn from being used hard with baby #2 and baby #3 is getting good use out of them as well!  If you are looking for a boy version, I thought these Houndstooth Baby Boy Shoes were quite darling!

 

Tommee Tippee Insulated Sippy Cup
These cups are hands down the best sippy cups we’ve owned- and we’ve owned quite a few brands!  They won our approval because they truly are leak-proof which is something that no other cup that we tried actually lived up to.  I also really like that they are insulated.

Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib
Maybe I’m picky, but it took me a while to find a bib that I truly loved.  In my opinion, these are perfect for babies up to about 12 to 14 mos.  They’re long enough to cover and keep clothes clean, they are flexible enough to fit nicely and they wipe up well too.  Plus, you can throw them in the washer too if you want to get them super clean!

Once your child gets a bit older, I highly recommend these Green Sprouts bibs.  They’re similar to the Bumkins bibs but are longer and hold up really, really well to more frequent use.  They are reversible too, so if you don’t like having a bib pocket you can simply flip them around and use it that way!

Usborne “That’s Not My….” Books
We love introducing our children to books at an early age.  The Usborne That’s Not My ______” books are favorites of both us and our children!  They feature bright colors, simple pictures and have fun textures to feel too!  And they are made nice and sturdy which is obviously important if you are going to be letting little ones look at them!

10  The Mommy Hook
This handy hook is like an extra hand!  It clips easily onto your stroller or shopping cart to give you a place to hang your purse or grocery bags from.  It’s small enough that you can easily keep it in your diaper bag to use when needed.

Are any of these your favorites?  What would you add to my list?

How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget

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Recipe: Classic French Bread

I love soups.  To me they are the perfect comfort food for this cooler weather.  And what goes perfectly with soups?  Bread, of course! While I love my 100% Whole Wheat Bread, sometimes I just want a good old crusty bread instead.  This classic French bread is the perfect thing to make when I’m in that mood.

I first had this bread when my husband’s cousin made it for us a couple of years ago.  All of us that were there for dinner that evening couldn’t get enough of it!  I had always been daunted by the thought of making French bread but after she insisted that it was really very simple, I bravely asked her for the recipe and determined to make it myself.  And of course she was right, it really is quite simple!

Try it yourself- you’ll love how easy it is to feel like Martha Stewart!  <grin>

(I did want to note that your crust will be much prettier than what mine is in the picture.  I was busy taking care of my 2 little ones while I made this and as a result forgot all about the egg white wash.  The bread was still good but it was missing that beautifully delicious, shiny crust that makes it amazing.  So definitely learn from me and make sure you don’t forget to do that!) 

Classic French Bread
1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 c. hot water
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 Tbsp. salt
7-7¼ c. Occident flour (bread flour)
1 egg white, lightly beaten mixed with 1 tbsp. water

Mix ½ c. water, yeast and sugar.  Set aside.
Add shortening and salt to 2 c. hot water; cool until lukewarm.  Add yeast mixture then gradually add flour until soft dough.
Knead until smooth, about 10 to 12 minutes.  (I use my Bosch mixer to do this.)
Place in greased bowl, cover with damp cloth, let rise until doubled.
Divide in half.  Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Shape loaves into narrow rolls, the length of the sheet. Gash top with sharp knife.
Brush with egg white/water mixture.
Let rise until double.
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, brushing with egg white/water mixture after 15 minutes of baking.

Yield: 2 loaves

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Tags: | Categories: Recipes, The Thrifty Frugal Mom