Saturday, July 30, 2011

Goodbye Cable TV

     Did we really say goodbye to cable tv for good???  I think so.  The one thing I have worked hard at not getting rid of throughout all this job loss, was cable tv.  There were times throughout the last two years when we had to give the lovely HD, DVR box back, but a good portion of the time, I found ways to cut in other areas so I could keep my DVR.  With three young children at home, the only time I could really enjoy any television was at night after they were in bed.  With DVR, I could watch anytime and I LOVED IT!
     About a year ago, I read an article somewhere about young couples giving up cable tv and watching the shows they love online.  Mike and I had often hooked our laptop up to our tv when we forgot to record something on the DVR and it worked fine for the most part.  So I started bringing the idea up to Mike, we talked for about six months about the tv shows we watched, looked all over the internet to see what we could find and the results were pretty impressive.  There are only two shows we watch regularly that are not available online.  American Idol being the biggest of the two, but heck, was I really willing to pay $100 a month to watch American Idol???
     Well, just about a month ago, we finally decided to make the big decision.  We had found many options for television enjoyment that was much cheaper than cable tv.  First, we subscribed to Streaming Netflix for $8 a month.  The number of television shows you can watch on Netflix is crazy.  There are shows I was never able to watch and all the seasons are there at the touch of a button.  We also hooked an old laptop up to the television so we could watch shows online at the network sites or on Hulu.  We also decided to try Hulu Plus for $8 per month as well.  There was a special offer for college students to get the first month free.  We were able to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus through Mike's Sony Playstation (an XBOX will work as well), so for $16 a month, we have an unlimited selection of television shows and movies at all times.
     Two weeks ago, I was talking to my brother about our decision and he introduced us to a magical little box called a Roku.  It is a nifty little box that will stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, MLB, games such as Angry Birds and Connect 4, and a variety of other "channels" with shows to watch.  When you receive the box, you go online and register it and then begin selecting the channels you want to watch.  Then, there are tons of codes on the internet where very computer minded people (or "geeks around the world" as my brother calls them) are streaming other shows of their choice.  It really is amazing all the channels there are to watch.

     Honestly, I do not totally understand all of it, but I know that our house is full of entertainment options and we spent $100 on the Roku (there are less expensive models) and $8 on a connecting cable for the old laptop and will pay $16 per month for Netflix and Hulu Plus (we are not sure we are going to keep Hulu Plus, we have not found much we want to watch there).  The $192 per year is a huge difference from the $1200 per year we were spending on our Cable subscription!  Goodness, that is a Disneyland trip!  Check out the Roku today and start saving some money!  Send me an email to f you have any questions on what we have done!

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Page

     Hey everyone, don't miss the newest page on my blog, Printable Grocery Coupons.  Anytime you enter my blog, you can search for and print some great grocery coupons!  Check it out today!

Save On College Textbooks

     Along with July ending, it is time to gear up for college classes again!  One of the most irritating expenses of college are those textbooks.  I hated College Algebra and it there was nothing worse than paying $135 for the lovely little book that gave me all that homework.  Luckily, college students today have some options.  My new favorite option was introduced to me by my sister, E, a few semesters ago. 
     There is a company called CHEGG that rents textbooks for one third of the cost.  Mike has been in school the last couple of years and we have been pleased to find most of his books for between $20 and $40 per book.  We just go online, look up his books, make the payment and they mail us the books.  They come in a nice, little, bright, orange box with a return mailing label.  We keep the books until the end of the semester and then send them back.  No more waiting in line to sell them back and getting mad because they are giving us $.10 for the book they are going to sell for $80.  If you are in school or have a child in college, check out Chegg today!  Just one more way to Survive This Economy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


     Hello, hello!  Just yesterday, my dear friend introduced me to another money saving website!  Saveology is pretty similar to deal offering website we have talked about.  They offer a deal each day using the power of group purchasing. My friend was able to buy AMC Movie Tickets for $2 each, unfortunately, I was too late!  I signed up right away so I would not miss another great deal, you should too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Breyer's Coupon

There is a great Breyer's Coupon on  If you stack this with the frozen novelites coupon in the Safeway ad this week, for $2.49, you will get Breyer's Ice Cream for $1.49!  That is a great deal.  You can even take both coupons to Fry's and get the same deal, because they are still taking competitor coupons!

I have three kids birthdays coming up in the next three months, I think I will stock up for their parties!

Kids Eat Free At Chili's Today - July 18th

Chili’s has released a FREE Kids Meal Coupon for today. It is good for 2 FREE kids meals per adult entree purchased. Go here to print your coupon.

Plus don’t forget to sign up for the Chili’s eClub to get FREE Chips and Queso!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3rd Place Neighborhood Grill

     Have you been to a restaurant with a 3 year old and 5 year old lately?  It is pretty much torture!  Every once in awhile, Mike and I get the crazy idea to go to a "real" restaurant for lunch or dinner.  The kids get excited, we all get ready to go, we sit in some lobby for about 30 minutes, finally get to a table and then have a miserable time trying to order, wait for food and eat a delicious dinner with our two youngest children.  They get up and down, crawl under the table, whine and complain, we are constantly telling them to "sit down, be quiet".  It does not matter what we bring for them to do, books, crayons, small toys, it is always the same.  Then we get the bill and I am sick.  I always look at Mike and say, "We just spent $50 for an hour of misery.  Why don't we learn?"
     Well, I saw something on a news clip that is going to revolutionize my dining experiences.  There is a new restaurant called 3rd Place Grill on 83rd and Bell that offers free childcare!  Wait...what?!  Yes, I said it, free childcare while I eat my dinner!!!  Wowie!  I cannot tell you how many times a waiter or waitress has come to my table after we have our food and asks, "Can I get you anything else?"  And I honestly say, "a babysitter."  I have told Mike a number of times how I wish there was a "real" restaurant with a playground or playplace, like McDonald's.  Low and behold, someone finally thought of it and I am soooo happy!
     3rd Place Grill offers two rooms for childcare, one for 0-5 year olds and one for elementary age kids.  You sign your kids in and they get to go in and play with all sorts of toys and games, while you enjoy a great menu.  The coolest thing about the Kids Place is that from your table, you can order your kids' meals and they are delivered to your kids and the workers in the Kids Place will help them eat if needed.  I know my 5 year old boy, J, would much rather play video games with other kids than sit at a table with us.  On our income, we certainly do not get to eat at restaurants very often, usually just once a month, but you can bet this month, we will be at 3rd Place Grill.  We will actually enjoy our dinner and will not have to pay for a babysitter!  Money saver for sure!
Check out this video to see how it all works!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Coupon Chief

     Good morning!  I thought this morning we would explore another piece of the couponing puzzle before my last post on clearance.  I rarely shop for anything, anywhere, without a coupon.  I buy our clothes, household goods, etc with coupons.  Just yesterday we were at a store and my five year old wanted something and said in a irritated tone, "Oh, I know, we don't have a coupon."  He rolled his eyes as well and cracked me up!  He is right however, before we leave to go shopping, I always get online and look for coupons, either for items or stores. 
     This is also true for online shopping.  Starting now, I begin watching online deals for Christmas and the crazy amount of birthdays we have coming up, but I certainly will not settle just for a sale, I search exhaustively for coupon codes to be used on those online purchases as well.  Recently, I was introduced to a new site that makes that searching much easier.  The site is www.couponchief.comCoupon Chief is a great, FREE site that lists over 50 thousand coupons for over 1500 stores!  Anytime I find something online or in my email that I may want to purchase online, instead of going to Google and searching for coupon codes, I can now go to Coupon Chief and do a quick search of the store.  I really love this site because it is incredibly user friendly.  I am able to use the database to search for an item, such as "shoes" and see all the coupon codes available, or I can search for a store, such as "Amazon".
After I enter my search item, I am shown a whole list of coupon codes I can use for my shopping adventure!  Anything from dollars off to free anywhere from Old Navy to Auto Parts Warehouse.
     One great feature of Coupon Chief is the Pays-2-Share feature.  All members can enter coupon codes they have found and when people use those codes to make purchases, the members will earn 2% of the sales up to $25 per month, per participating store.  Another cool feature is when you sign up (which is free), you can set up a profile with your favorite stores and Coupon Chief will send you an email when your stores have new coupon codes listed.  That is incredible, I will not miss one more coupon for Old Navy!  
     The last thing I think is really impressive, is the Coupons-4-Causes aspect of Coupon Chief.  Just use of Coupon Chief's coupons for your online purchases, and they will donate up to20% of the purchase to your favorite charity.  You can search for charities by name or location.  The only thing I wish Coupon Chief had is links to printable store coupons.  I tend to do more shopping in person than online, but I will definitely be using Coupon Chief on a regular basis.  Click one of my links and check it out!  It sure makes online coupon finding much, much easier...and time saved always equals money saved!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clothing the Kids on a Budget - Making the Most of Clearance Series Part Two

     I really think clearance is probably my favorite word.  I know that is sad, but honestly, one of the only ways (besides their Mimi and Aunt Emily) my kids have stayed clothed over the last two years is clearance.  Since our financial situation drastically changed 2 1/2 years ago, keeping my three kids clothed and in shoes has been a challenge.  One thing I have gotten really serious about is getting clothes and shoes during end of season sales.  Every store I am in, I am looking for smashing clearance deals, especially clothes and shoes for kids.
     So far this year, I have purchased four pair of jeans for my three year old, E, for $2.50 each at Target and tennis shoes for $5.  For my 5 year old son, J, three pair of jeans for $3, $6, $6, three long sleeved shirts for $1 each and a fleece ASU jackets for $3, as well as, three pair of flats for my 9 year old M for $4.75 each. Last January, I bought sandals and flip flops for all the kids for $2-$4 each and put them up in the closet to wait for summer.
     I can not even tell you how nice it is to just go in the closet and get down a pair of shoes when one of the kids outgrows their current ones, and not have to rush out and spend $30 I do not have.  I am not picky about season, I just pick things up in the size I believe they will be wearing when the time comes.  I try to pick up things that are not too trendy or stylized because I never know what will be popular next year and so far this has worked out great!  I spend very little money on clothes, but everyone continues to look well dressed!  Today, the challenge is to write down everyone's sizes (clothes and shoes) for winter and next summer, even the need a list when you start noticing those big clearance racks in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Free Sea World for Members of the Military!

Wow, I just found this incredible deal!  For all my military friends and my friends who have military friends, let's spread the word!

FREE Tickets for Military
Through 12/31/11, members of the military (active duty military, active reservists, National Guard, Coast Guard) and as many as three direct dependents may enter Anheuser-Busch's SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with complimentary admission. You must register in advance at and complete a form, which you take with you to the theme park along with valid ID.

Christmas Is Coming - Making the Most of Clearance Series Part One

      I know, I know, many of you do not want to hear the ugly word in the middle of summer, but part of surviving this economy is planning ahead and taking care of certain expenses in the least expensive way possible.  This will be the first part of my three part series discussing End of Season Clearance sales.  I promise it will be done by the weekend...just in time for you to shop!
     One our greatest, one-time expenses is Christmas and now is the time to start planning!  I detest the heat, to the point of tears some days (not an exaggeration, ask my family), but there is one thing I love about July, even here in Phoenix.  CLEARANCE!  Not just one little clearance, but lots of clearance in all stores!  Now that the 4th of July is over, as far as the retail world is considered, so is summer.  Stores will now begin receiving their Fall merchandise and have to make room, so piles of merchandise begins to go on clearance and just keeps getting lower and lower and lower!
     Over the past two and a half years, you know I have been living on an extremely tight budget, $30,000 just does not go very far for a family of five.  However, my budget does not change the fact that I have three quickly, growing kids.  Christmas and 12 birthdays between now and December 21st (all in my house and immediate family) do not wait for my wallet to grow.  So, I have started every year in July, sitting down and making a list of all the birthdays and Christmas presents I have to buy and start picking things up as I see them.
     Last year, I bought all the Christmas presents and 4 birthday presents for the 4 children in my life for about $140 and no, they did not each get a lollipop!  They received toys and clothes and fun stuff!  These end of season clearance sales make this season of gift giving in my life a whole lot less stressful!  Now listen, I do not pick up junky, little meaningless things, I try to look for things I know each of my family members will like, or things that make me think of them.  Gift giving on a budget should still be thoughtful and loving, but can be done on a budget any size!  I truly dislike presents that are not thought about, I feel like when you give someone a present it is a way to honor them and if you do not think about them and what they like or need, why bother!  So take a minute today and make your list, won't it feel good to get some of those presents out of the way...and with big savings?!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Level of Couponing

     Happy Sunday!  I hope you are all doing well and saving money, I sure am!  This week, I decided to add another piece to this marvelous game called Couponing.  One of my Coupon Sense members recently posted on her Facebook page about a shopping trip to Target and all the savings she was getting there. I was quite envious.  I had some time this week and got online to explore my coupon options at Target.
     The wonderful thing about coupon shopping at Target is coupon stacking.  What this means is, Target will take one of their own coupons (off their website or one of their mailers) and a manufacturer's coupon (out of the paper or coupon websites), off ONE item.  Also, Target posts many coupons for non Grocery items and those are good on Clearance items.  For example, my Coupon Sense member found a coupon on the Target website for $10 off bedding, she then found a sheet set on clearance for $13.48, therefore, got an entire sheet set for $348.  Now I call that a good savings!
     This week, I got on the website and printed any coupons I thought I might use.  Now, I do not usually print many coupons because of the cost of ink, but this week that I wanted to see how this could work.  So, I printed alot!  I then sat with my awesome website, Coupon Sense and looked up each coupon to see if there was a manufacturer coupon to match it and found there were manufacturer coupons for over half of them.  I also checked Coupon Sense for any sales that were advertised and  I pulled all the coupons, matched them up and put them in various envelopes and headed for Target.  I walked around the store and began putting items in my basket when I found a good deal.  I was a little nervous about it because I forgot my notebook and was not keeping track of my spending...and that is not something I usually do on our budget.
I finally found all the deals I thought were good and here is the result:
  • 1 KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce - Free
  • Nivea Body Lotion - $1.00
  • 1 Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush - $.69
  • 1 Tresseme Shampoo - $.59
  • 2 small dog food - free
  • 3 Benedryl Itch Stick - $.29 each
  • 2 Nexcare Bandaids - $.37 each
  • 1 lb Beef Stew Meat - $2.18
  • 2 Quaker Chewey Granola Bars - $1.28 each
  • 2 Kraft Deli Cheese - $1.74 each
  • 2 Boxes of Lipton Iced Tea Family Bags - $1.23 each
  • 3 Kraft Salad Dressing - $1.06 each
  • 3 Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Lunch Meat - $1.33 each
My total was $69.63 before all my coupons and was $16.35 after all coupons, that is a 77% savings.  Not too bad for the first time.  I will be honest, the whole endeavor took me a little bit too long for my taste, but now that I have printed the majority of the coupons, I will only have to print new ones each week and I will try matching them as I go. I am going to do this for a few weeks and see how it goes and I will post my lists each week before the sale ends so you can get in on the savings!