Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back to Basics

     Good morning! Did you hear it is supposed to be 94 degrees here in Phoenix...oh please, someone shoot me now.  For those of you who do not know me personally, I detest the heat....I hate "glistening" when I go out to check the mail, I hate being blasted by the hot air in the car, I had red faced kids who can only play outside for 15 minutes at a time, I hate seat belts that scald your leg...ugh...I hate ice that melts in my glass 5 minutes down the road and I hate that we get to do all this from April until October!  Now I know, some of you will say, "it is not that long, it is really only 3 months" but you are fooling yourselves!  All of this starts when the weather hits 95 and it stays this way for sooooooo long....aaahhhh.
     Now for the positive side of this wonderful weather we have...I have started using my clothesline.  Yes, I said it, my clothesline.  I figure, since we have all this glorious heat, I might as well quit paying for it in the form of my dryer while I pay for cold air in my house.  I figured out this morning that by doing two loads of laundry each day (which is what I need to do to keep up with this family of 5), I use about 10 kwh each day just with the dryer, I pay $.10 per kwh, so only about $1 a day.  But, that is $30 per month and $360 per year.  That is quite a few Christmas presents at the end of the year. 
    Now I know, I stay home, so this is easier for me, but let me tell you what I do and maybe you can save a little as well.  I had Mike install a retractable line on my patio ($15), if I had to walk way out in the yard and stand in the sun, I would just go ahead and pay for the heat!  I wash a little bit smaller loads so the clothes will fit on my line and I put the load in the dryer for 10 minutes prior to hanging.  I do this to remove lint and such before hanging.  I timed myself and it took me 6 minutes to hang the clothes.  Once we hit the 90's, the clothes only take about 20 minutes to dry and then I fold them as I take them down.  I remove the clothes by family member, so when I bring them in, they are ready to be put away...that does not take me any longer than folding out of the dryer.  To tell you the truth, I kind of like hanging the clothes, the kids do not bother me because I might ask them to help, so I have a few minutes of peace and quiet and it is a calming chore.  Also, the clothes are not wrinkled because they are hanging and the sun is natural stain fighter.  My whites are soooo bright one I start line drying.
     So, think about it, could you implement a clothes line into your day?  Or even just a couple of times a week?  Even $12 a month would be a nice savings!    Every time I hang clothes, I can hear my mom telling me not to hang her underwear on the outside lines where the neighbors will see...this always tickled me.  Unfortunately, the way my clothesline is, the neighbors see all the undies if they want to!     Notice I did not post a picture of the undies!  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kids Clothes, kids clothes and more kids clothes!

     Well, here in Phoenix, it is time to go through the kids closets yet again.  Going through drawers brings to mind the first time kids clothes came into my house.  I had just come home from a very exciting baby shower at church just before my first child was born.  I was so excited to show Mike all the wonderful baby clothes.  I loved washing, drying and folding all those pretty little outfits.  However, I quickly discovered that my sweet little baby would not stay in them very long.  Since the day she was born, she has been growing "like a weed" (I finally understood what that mean)t. 
     Since that first pile of clothes, thousands of dollars of children's clothing has passed through my house and it is getting harder to keep up with my three kids.  They each grew 5.5 inches last year and just since the end of January, another inch.  Needless to say, children's clothes and shoes can easily destroy our budget.
     Thankfully, I found a great place called Kid to Kid.  It is a second hand kids store and I love it!!  It is very clean, they only take items in good repair and there is a large selection kids clothes, toys, and other necessities.  They will also take your used items and give you store credit or cash.  Kid to Kid has saved us on many occasions.  You can find a location close to you at, I urge you to check it out!
    Just last week one of my dear friends from high school shared with me a really neat website  Thred Up is another great resource for used children's clothes.  It is an online, children's, clothing exchange where you can search by size and gender.  You purchase a small box of clothes for $5 plus shipping.  You can also pack up your kid's clothes in one of the approved boxes and sell the what you no longer need.  It is definately worth checking out if you have children!  One more way to save a little money, expecially when kids outgrow clothes as fast as you can buy them!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Great Surprise in the Mail!

     Last Thursday, the mailman came to my door and delived a little package.   This is what I received!

     I am a BzzAgent and joined the BzzAgent SC Johnson Spring Cleaning campaign.  As a part of the campaign, I agreed to try some SCJohnson cleaning products and tell my friends and family about them.  In addition to these free products, I also received a coupon booklet for these products, worth $58, to share.
     I was already a Pledge user and ofen purchase the Glade candles, but this candle is one of the new Spring scents and not only does it look great with my new green and yellow tablecloth (not pictured), it smells wonderful.  I like these Glade candles because they are not overbearing and no lead in the wick.  This morning, I cleaned our front bathroom with the new Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer and to be honest, I wasn't expecting anything much different.  However, I did love how the sprayer covered more area and more fully.  Also, I let it sit for just a few minutes and the soap scum came off easily!  The thing I was most interested in trying is the new Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel.  It is a tube of gel and each week, you put a new "spot" of it on the inside of the clean toilet bowl, it is supposed to help keep the toilet clean all week...we will see!
     I really enjoy these campaigns, I get quite a bit of free product for just a little bit of my time!  Another great way to save money!  I do have three sets of $1 -$3 coupons for these products I would like to send out to three of my followers.  I will even be willing to email you the best time to use these coupons so you will get the products at the lowest cost.  Just comment on this post and let me know you would like the coupons.  Whoever has commented by midnight tonight will get them, if there are more than three of you, I will draw three names.  Remember, you must be one of my followers in order to comments!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Surrender The Snacks!!!

     Those of you who know me, know that I have quite a few amazing women in my life.  One of those amazing women is my wonderful cousin, Jana.  She is an incredible stay at home mom and wife and I am continually in awe of her ability to run a fantastic household of 6 (and one extra after school).  One thing that makes me insanely jealous of Jana is her propensity for organization.  Jana's house (at least to the outward observer) is an ordered, peaceful place.  With 4, sometimes 5 kids running around that house, I am sure there are messes and crazy times, but at the heart of her home is organization.  Jana runs her house like a well oiled machine.  Now that I am staying home full time, she will be hearing from me more often for advice and tips on how to get my own house in order.
     Last week I made one of those calls.  Jana previously mentioned to me that she has a new schedule of breakfast and snacks for the week.  If you have kids at home, you know that there are times throughout the day when the pantry is constantly open and snacks are flying out at lightning speed.  In the midst of all this snack chaos, Jana decided to get control by making a breakfast and after school snack menu.  She had her children help her come up with five different options for breakfast and five different options for after school snacks.  She took the menu items and put them on a chart that hangs in the kitchen for everyone to see.  The menu is always the same on the same day each week.  If they have fruit and toast on Mondays, she makes toast and puts out three toppings for the kids to choose from, peanut butter, jelly, etc.  Cereal day, she puts out three healthy cereals for them to choose.  Snack, is a bit different, there is one option each day.  Things like graham crackers and peanut butter, pretzels and yogurt, goldfish and grapes, always nutritious and filling.  My favorite part?  Friday is treat day, there are sugary cereals for breakfast and a sweet snack, I am sure frequently home baked, for snack. 
     I love this idea and will be implementing it in my own home.  I have three of my own and one little sweetie I babysit, and I am so tired of saying, "Don't ask me for anything else".  Jana told me she loves this menu, because it makes these two times of the day easier, her children eat healthy snacks and she saves money at the grocery store, because she only buys what is on the menu!  What area of menu planning can make your day easier and less expensive?  I know not all of you stay home, so as working moms and dads, do you have a dinner menu?  A lunch packing menu that is the same each week?  Think about it and post a comment letting me know what you come up with!   Thank you can expect a call later this week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

So Many Fun Things!!

   I know you have read two posts today already, but there are so many fun things going on in Arizona this weekend, I just had to do one more!!  This is going to be more list like so I can fit everything in!

  • Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake - Saturday and Sunday March 26th & 27th from 8:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.  This festival features two days of Dragon Boat Racing Competition, more than 50 international teams will compete, Bollywood dancing,  martial arts demonstrations and Japanese drumming.  Admission is FREE however, there will be food and drink for sale.  My kids are so enamoured with Mulan and Kung Fu Panda and Maddy and I have been learning Bollywood dancing at home, so this may be where we are this weekend!  For more info

  •  Musical Instrument Museum Celebrates Brazil, Carnaval and Beyond.  Saturday, March 26th from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  The daylong festivities are included with Museum Admission and will feature Brazilian and Arizona performers and artists.  There will be performances, workshops, hands on activities and exhibits to teach traditions and art forms to visitors.  This would be a great weekend for all my educator friends to visit!
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument (6 miles east of Flagstaff) - Saturday, March 26th from 10-11 a.m.  There will be a Family Friendly, ranger led walk to teach kids about archeology.  The program is geared towards K-3rd graders, but the whole family will enjoy the time outdoors.  Reservations are required and the cost is $5 per person.  Call 928-526-3367 for more information!

  • Tempe Festival of the Arts - March 25 -27 from 10 a.m - 6 p.m., Mill Ave District.  Artists from 18 different categories will have their art on display, entertainment on the Festival Jazz Stage, street performers, there will also be a Kids Innovation Station where kids can make a masterpiece of their own.  Admission is free, but there will be many things for sale!

  • Arizona Game & Fish Department Outdoor Expo - Ben Avery Shooting Facility, March 26 & 27 from 9 a.m .- 5 p.m., free admission and parking.  There will be all sorts of outdoor hands on activities and workshops.
As you can see, you have many options this weekend for some free or low cost family fun.  Post a comment and let me know which event you chose!

Front Page News

     "Ariz. food prices to take bigger bite out of wallet".  This was the second story on the front page of the Arizona Republic on Tuesday this week.  The article stated we are going to see an increase in grocery prices due to fuel hikes and damage to crops all over the world this year.  Increases could be as much as 6% which is higher than we have seen in almost 20 years. if gas prices are not enough to worry about.
     Reading this article this week just made me smile.  I know that grocery prices are nothing I have to worry about because I have a grocery strategy that works every time.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I subscribe to a website called CouponSense.  Yes, I pay for this subscription monthly and yes, it takes a little bit of time, but I LOVE IT!  I continue to see my cabinets and freezer full and my monthly grocery bill lower than ever before.  For example, here is a picture from my last shopping trip to Fry's, I spent, $20.74 and saved $102.32.

     I brought home, three small bags of dog food, 1 bag of huggies, 2 jugs of milk, 3 peanut butter, 3 cooking oil, 12 boxes of pasta, 2 packages of kraft singles, 6 powerades, 1 philadelphia cream cheese cooking cream and 1 box of Yakisoba noodles.  I shop with a strategy that sends me home with 12 boxes of pasta for free...yes, for free, so I do  not need to buy them ever...because about the time I am out, they will be on sale again and I will have coupons!  What are some other things I have not paid for in the last year, toothpaste, margarine or butter, many household cleaners, body wash, deodorant, various rice boxes, gum and many others.  I went from spending about $700 a month on groceries and household supplies each month, to spending around $300 (this is everything for a family of five).  This total also includes my CouponSense subscription price.
     I have been a member of CouponSense for about three years, I have used it alot, I have used it a little, but have always saved money.  I have recently decided to become a CouponSense Instructor.  I love it so much, I want to teach everyone how to take control of this one area of family life.  I am having my first workshop on April 3rd at 2:30 p.m.  If you are interested in learning and are available, I hope you will email me so I can give you directions.  I will also be available to come to you and teach you.  If you have 1 friend or 10 friends that you think would also like to learn, you can invite them over and I will come teach you all, send me an email and we can pick a date!  If you do not live in the Phoenix area, please send me an email and we can talk about how you can get started as well.  A 6% increase in food costs does not have to affect you, the same way it will not affect me!

Organization - Who Me???

     Has anyone ever paid late fees at the library, on rental movies, to a bill because you forgot to pay it?  Have you bought things you knew you already had at home, but just couldn't find?  Have you gone out to eat because nothing was thawed out for dinner?  I scored a 5 out of 5 on that test...I am pretty sure I am not the only one with these problems, but I have come to find out that being disorganized is one of the easiest ways to let money leak out of your budget.  Besides that, being disorganized makes me feel like a loser. 
     Just yesterday, my disorganization took over my day and caused me to spend money I really did not want to spend.  I have not been very good at keeping up the family calendar, I try to keep everything organized in my head.  That works ok until I have a day where there are so many things I cannot keep them all straight.  Yesterday was that kind of day...8:30 Take Maddy to school, 9:30 pick Grandma up for 10 a.m. dr's appt, 10 a.m. Mike and Jonah get haircut, 10:50 Jonah to school, 12:20 pick kids up from school, 1:15 my dr's appt, 4:30 p.m., two parent teacher conferences...oh and leaving the last conference, Mike remembers Jonah has basketball practice at 6:30 and Mike has school at 6:40...ahhhh!  Because we left the conference at 5:30 and the school is about 13 minutes away, I had no dinner for the kids.  Even though I have sworn off fast food, I did not know what else to do, so we drove through McD and I got one 20 piece nuggets and that was it...$5.36 and I was so disappointed (Mike and I ate at home much later).
     Although I got away with just a little bit of money leaking out this time, it was disappointing because since Tuesday, I have avoided every temptation to just "stop and get something quick".  Just a little organization would have helped me.  I would not have scheduled my dr's appt, we would not have scheduled haircuts and dinner would have been planned before we left for conferences.  Needless to say, today I will be sitting down with my calendar and making sure it is updated fully.  We will be consulting the calendar before making any more commitments and I will make sure to plan my dinners early in the day with all things considered.  What area could you organize more fully that would help you save money?  Work on it this weekend and let me know what you find!  Look for another post later today on will not want to miss it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fun on the Weekend - 3/2/115 & 3/26/11

     I can't believe it is already time to start planning for the weekend.  Having kids, makes it important to find inexpensive things to do in advance.  I prefer educational things and this time of the year, anything that keeps us outside.  So far, I have found a couple of interesting things.  First, is the Glendale Green Festival, Saturday, March 26th from noon - 4:00 p.m. at the Glendale Main Library on 59th Ave and Brown.  There will be booths and displays on wise water use, energy efficiency, recycling, gardening, transportation and giveaways.  If you are a Glendale resident, you can register ahead of time for a 10 a.m. tree workshop and go home with a free tree!  Talk about money saving...sounds like everything we will learn will help us save money!  You can find more information at         What about an inexpensive and different date night?  Arizona Opera and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is presenting a FREE outdoor screening of Arizona Opera’s production of Puccini’s "La bohème," filmed live in 2010 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.  Saturday, March 26th at 7:30 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.  Although I am sure Mike would not choose an Opera, it sounds pretty romantic to me to lay out on the grass at night and listen to an Opera...and for romance, he will probably concede. 
     The Opera is set in 19th-century Paris, and tells the story of the beautiful and frail seamstress Mimi and the poet Rodolfo. Low-sitting lawn chairs, pillows and blankets are welcome at the screening. Picnic food and beverages, including beer and wine, are available for sale.  I will probably bring my own chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers and of course Dr. Pepper and hope they let me bring it in.  :)  For more information on this one, go to or

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm Done!

     "I'm done!"  Those were the words of my darling cousin (who happens to be my best friend in this world) when she called me today.  My cousin and I often marvel at how much alike we are.  Our lives are similar, our values are the same, our thoughts are almost constantly identical.  Well, during our daily telephone chat yestersay, she told me that she was done with fast food. 
     Her and I are addicted to the convenience of fast food and yesterday, she decided to add up all she had spent in the last two weeks...needless to say she was appalled!  She proceeded to let me know that we are both stupid, because we need more money and less weight and our addiction to fast food is working against both of those things.  I of course completely agreed with her and decided to go home and check out my own "eating out" expenditures...YIKES!!!  Well, to say the least, I was ashamed of myself.  We made a deal, we have decided to stop our horrible habit, we are setting goals for the money we will save and will hold each other accountable.

     You see, Mike and I are working on the financial plan Dave Ramsey lays out in his book "Total Money Makeover".  I will discuss this plan in more detail later this week, but what you need to know for today is that we are in the debt snowball part of Dave's plan.  After adding up our eating out, I realized we could be debt free in 8 months if we used that money each month toward our debt. 
     Now, it is time to get personal, but I feel that in order to encourage you, I must be open and honest.  We make $35,000 per year and we have $11,000 in debt (not counting my school loans) imagine we can knock that off by Christmas on our small salary!  Wowie!!!  This has certainly given us a strong desire to do away with the fast food!  We have our debt repayment plan printed out in detail and have it hanging on the refrigerator.
     My cousin and I will be texting or calling each other every time we are tempted to "just spend $3 on a quick hamburger" and we will go over our week each Monday to talk about where we succeed and where we fail.  All of us let money leak out in little ways, what is yours?  My challenge for you today, look at that area of your spending and add it up for the month.  Is it worth it?  Can you think of something better to do with that money?  Talk to someone you trust and are comfortable being really open and honest with to help hold you accountable, it will make all the difference.  Leave me a comment and let me know what area of spending you will be working on. 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Monday, March 21, 2011

Local First

     Happy Monday!!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  We sure did!   Today I want to talk about a big way we can Survive This Arizona Economy!!  One of the best ways to do this is to put our money back into our community.  We think that all our shopping supports local jobs and to an extent, it does.  However, if we make one little adjustment, we support our local economy with a much bigger impact.  Use locally owned businesses.
     I started researching this topic about a year ago and was thrilled with what I found.  Many companies are owned and run right here in Arizona.  I started making a list and adding to it every time I found a company that is "ours".  Companies like Shamrock Farms, Hickman's Eggs, even things like Desert Schools Federal Credit Union and of course, my favorite, Uhaul (my father is the Communications Director) are all Arizona companies.  When I do my business with these companies, more of my money stays in Arizona, creating jobs and tax revenue, in turn, strengthening our economy.
     There is a great website, which details all the benefits of shopping locally.  There are some great statistics and even a business directory, so you can search for local companies.  For those of us who have lost jobs here in Arizona, this should be our number one source of services and supplies.  What better way to ensure other families do not have to endure what we have known.  Each week I will highlight a company that is Arizona owned and challenge you to do your business there!  This week Mike and I will be switching from Wells Fargo to Desert Schools Credit Union.  I would much rather all my overdraft fees stay here  :)  (just kidding, I stopped that habit last year).  I know the Credit Union has joining stipulations, but call them, there are many ways you can qualify!  For my out of town friends, look around your community and shop locally as much as you can!  Here is one of the graphs from the Local First Az website.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More E-Coupons!

     Good morning and Happy Saturday!!  One thing I love in life and may be a little obsessive about, is finding deals.  I really cannot stand to pay full price for things.  As I have already mentioned, one area I am diligent about saving money is the grocery store.  I told you about the e-coupons you can load to your shopper's cards from the store websites, but there are two others I use regularly.  These sites do the same thing, they load the coupons directly to the store cards you register with them.  On each of the sites, you have the option to print a list of your coupons, but I never do...I just like the surprise savings at the end of my grocery trips!  The two websites are and
     I want to give you a few tips where using e-coupons or printing coupons is concerned.  First, if you use a great deal of paper coupons, you may want to forego the e-coupons.  Fry's and Safeway will not "stack" (allow you to use both on one item) e-coupons and paper coupons.  Fry's previously allowed this, but as of 3/10/11 have a new policy.  If you have both coupons, the e-coupon will come off first and they will not take your paper coupon.  However, the paper coupon is usually worth more because Fry's doubles paper coupons.  Also, for many of the sites I will lead you to, you will have to register...well, if you are anything like me, you do not want a whole bunch of advertising emails going to your inbox.  I created an email address on Yahoo that is strictly for all those sites I go to that want me to register.  I look through that box everyday to see what great coupons I have, but my personal email is not bombarded with it all.  Lastly, if you take the coupon journey with me, I will direct you to many coupons that need to be printed, if you go to your printer properties and change the quality to "draft", you will save ink and money in the printing of coupons and they will still work in the store.
     In two weeks I will become a Couponsense Instructor.  Couponsense is the website I use that has helped me cut my grocery bill from around $700 per month to around $300 and stock my shelves and freezer with tons of food.  If you are interested in couponing and saving some serious money, I will be happy to teach you...whether you are in Arizona, California or Washington, I am just asking that you be patient and wait until April 1st, when you can join the site under my name (this helps me).  If you want to do something to start preparing, I would suggest you get 1 or 2 Sunday papers each week and take the coupon inserts out and set them aside.  This will help you start your couponing off with a bang.  God bless your day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Low Cost Events This Weekend!

     Hello, hello!!  My post is a little late today, but we have been lazy this morning.  We spent a great day hiking in Sedona yesterday with our friends.  We hiked about two miles, climbing over rocks, under trees, along paths, passing small children from adult to adult up and down slippery hills.  I have to say, this was probably the most fun day we have had in a long time.  No tv's, no cell phones, no computers, just laughing and squealing and quiet!  It made me remember that some of the best outings are free.  Well, half a tank of gas, so not free, but for a whole day of family fun, not too bad!!

     There are two great low cost things to do this weekend here in Arizona.  The first is Luke Days at Luke Air Force Base.  This event only happens every two years, the base opens to the public and has free admission for all the fun.  The only cost you will incur is parking, which will be around $10.  This year, Luke is celebrating "70 Years of Thunder".  There will be more than two dozen military aircrafts on display and demonstrations by the Thunderbirds and the Army's acrobatic parachute team, the Golden Knights.  The event is Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  You can bring chairs and unopened plastic bottles of water.  No pets or coolers are permited!  Don't forget your sunscreen.  The website is
     The second activity is two hours outside of Phoenix at Tonto National Monument.  This site has two large Salado cliff dwellings that were constructed in the 1200's.  There are two dwellings an upper and lower, the 19-room lower dwelling is always open, but the upper 40-room dwelling is usually only available for ranger-led tours.  This weekend, both will be open to the public.  There is no admission fee and there will be specialists from the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center with several native birds on exhibit, as well as other demonstrations of prehistoric skills.  The upper ruin will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  You should bring water, comfortable shoes and sunscreen!  More info can be found at
    As for me and my family, our adventure in Sedona is propelling us toward Tonto, but this time, I will plan ahead and pack food for our lunch outdoors!  Your challenge today...wherever you are, find something to do close to home that won't cost alot of money, but will make great pictures and tons of family fun!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Use What You Have

     I already told you that one of my favorite ways to save money is on food and household supplies, but why?  Well, it is one thing I can control.  I can not control gas prices and even though I can plan to drive less, living here in Phoenix, it never really works well.  My electricity bill?  Sure, I can turn the A/C up, but who wants too?  But, food...that is another story!  The way I handle groceries and cook meals, can drastically change the amount of money that goes out of my house each week.
     How many times have you run to the store on the way home to pick something up for dinner and walked out of the store with receipt worth $50?  Why does this happen so frequently and why are you not able to get it under control?  Because you do not plan ahead and use what you have.  If I came to your house today and looked in your freezer and cupboards, I would probably find food...the problem is we have gotten so used to convenience, that if we do not have something easy, or one of our "old favorites", we think we "do not have anything at all" to cook for supper.  Sound familiar?
     For three weeks in a row at the end of January, I only had $16 to spend on groceries for this family of five.  Yes, $16.  At first, I felt panic, but, there was nothing I could do and I refused to borrow any money from anyone.  I decided to take inventory of my freezer and pantry and figure this out!!!  I knew I could do it...for goodness sake, my grandmother walked from Oklahoma to Phoenix when she was a little girl, certainly I was smart enough and strong enough to handle this! 
     I took the list of everything I had and I sat down at the computer (isn't nice that we have this luxury) and looked up recipes for the things I already had.  One thing I had was 4 bags of Armour meatballs.  I had gotten them on sale, with coupons the previous month for $.50 a bag.  However, spaghetti and meatballs is one of my least favorite, I looked up meatball recipes, I did find a couple and I made a very specific list based on the menu I had made and we ate very well all week and I did not spend more than $16. 
     I did find a recipe that first week, that Mike and I love and I will make over and over!  How exciting that our destitute grocery weeks, helped us find new recipes to cook and love!  Your challenge for the rest of the week is to take inventory, (this is a great thing for one of your kids to help with) and Use What You Have for dinner this week.  No last minute grocery shopping trips.  Will it take planning?  Yes!  Will it save money?  Absolutely!  I cannot wait to hear about all your success!!

Meatball Soup Recipe


  • 1  can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  can (14 oz each) beef broth
  • 1  cup  water
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Italian seasoning
  • 8  ounces  frozen cooked meatballs
  • 1  cup  frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, beans and corn)
  • 1/3  cup  dry orzo pasta or other small shaped pasta, uncooked


Hands On: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

1. Combine tomatoes with their juice, the broth, water and Italian seasoning in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Stir in meatballs, vegetables and orzo. Return to a boil; cover. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, or until pasta and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great Deal for Educators, Home and School

     Good Morning!!  I know I said I would talk about more e-coupon sites, and I will!  However, looking around online last night and I found a really good deal for all my educator friends in Phoenix!  Not just school educators, but home educators as well.  Arizona Teachers and Principals can visit the Musical Instrument Museum for free, any day in March.  Not only you will be free, but you get to bring one free guest!  Wow, that is a great deal.  Here is the info from their website.

If you have not had a chance to see what thousands of students are experiencing during their "A World of Musical Journeys" field trip, you soon can. Arizona teachers are invited to visit MIM any day during the month of March for FREE. To take advantage of this amazing offer, follow these guidelines:
  • Free admission for Arizona K–12 teachers, registered student teachers, and principals.
  • Show your school-issued ID.
  • Homeschool educators show affidavit of intent.
  • One guest (any age) is free.
  • Make sure to share your e-mail address with us when you visit to receive our newsletters and to be entered in a drawing. Winners will be notified by e-mail in early April and the prize will come from our wonderful Museum Store!
Here are the hours and other admission fees if you have more than two people in your family. 
But hey, this would make a great date night!  Send me a little review if you go!

Adults 18–64: $15.00
Seniors 65+: $13.00
Youths 6–17: $10.00
Under 6: Free

Monday – Wednesday: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thursday – Friday: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are You Using E-Coupons??

     One of my favorite ways to save money is on groceries and household supplies.  We do not have a choice in buying many of those necessities and it kills me to spend half my income on these things.  There are some great strategies for saving money in these areas and I will dive into them the last week of this month.  However, there is one easy thing you can do to start saving the next time you go to the grocery store.
     Have you thought much about those shopper cards you use at the store?  We think they are just a way to get the special price the store has listed, but there are other benefits.  The store keeps track of how much you spend and did you know that once you spend a certain amount of money at, let's say, Safeway, you are mailed coupons for items you regularly use and like items?  I have gotten little packs of coupons from both Safeway and Frys that always have one or two free items in them!  What a great little surprise in the mail!!
     The third way those shopper cards can save you money is with e-coupons.  I know for sure that both Safeway and Frys (Kroger) have e-coupons on their websites.  You simply log in with your card number and look for the digital coupons.  With the simple click of your mouse, you can add coupons to your card.  When you shop, the coupons just come right off!!  During my last shopping trip to Frys, my e-coupons saved me $7.00.  Can you think of something to do with $7.00?  Dairy Queen treats for Mike and I after the kids are in bed sound good to me! 
     Your money saving mission today?  Get those shopper cards out and make sure your mailing and email address is updated, and load some e-coupons to your card.  Tomorrow I will share with you some other e-coupon websites for even more savings!!  Let's spend less on necessities so we can spend more on the fun stuff!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Royal Savings Just For You!

     Disney on Ice is coming to US Airways Center and I have a great offer on tickets to share with you!  Buy 4 tickets for only $44 when you use code MOM online, over the phone or show a flyer at the arena Box Office.  That is only $11 per person!  This is one of our favorite shows and we are never disappointed.  It is truly a magical adventure!

     This offer is good for Friday, April 8th 10:30am and 7:30pm, Saturday, April 9th 7:30pm, and the Sunday, April 10th 1:30 and 5:30pm performances. Not valid on VIP or Front Row seating. A minimum of 4 tickets is required; additional ticket can be purchased at $11 each.  No double discounts, service charges and handling fees may apply.

Disney On Ice presents Princess Classics is an amazing journey to the magical lands of Disney’s classic fairy tales. Travel to a kingdom under the sea, an enchanted French castle, an Arabian palace and more! With special guest Tinker Bell, enter the worlds of your favorite Disney princesses – Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Mulan and Snow White – and see their dreams come true as this royal skating extravaganza brings magic to your hometown!


      I have been thinking about writing a blog for almost a year.  What stopped me?  Work, kids, house, fear!!  Yes, I said fear.  What if I am no good at it, what if nobody wants to read it, what if I run out of things to say??  Well, anyone who knows me, knows that won't be the case... :)  However, I am finally here!  I have quit my full time job and stay home full time with my kiddos and have time to work on a blog...YIPPIE!!
     What will I write about?  The things I love of course!  I love Jesus Christ, my family, saving money and finding deals!  I live in Glendale, Arizona and have felt the economic downfall in a huge way.  However, I  found ways to save money and have fun with my family in spite of it all.  I will be sharing all sorts of frugal living tips and deals, specific to Arizona.   I know I should have a plan for how often I will post, but I don't!  I am sure as I go, I will figure it out, but I am so excited about a few money saving things right now, I couldn't wait to start!  I hope you enjoy this adventure with me!