Friday, August 31, 2012

How do you teach people how to save!

I started this blog mainly for friends and family to find out about some great deals I was getting. Then I decided to open it up to anyone who is interested in savings. I quickly became disillusioned. I started noticing that all these blogs are the same. One blogger posts a deal, then the next blogger sees it and say oh great deal so they post it. There is no originality anymore. Once the blogs become popular enough they start to change and become more of a parade of advertisements and posts that the were compensated to do. Hey everyone needs to make money, especially in this economy, so if they like it I love it. In this David (consumer) vs. Goliath (the stores) battle how can you represent Davids interest when Goliath is paying your salary.

As there has been a huge surge of couponers since Extreme Couponers began, and quickly the deals began to dry up. I am all for saving money but I want to do it right. I do not want to buy 300 of product xyz cause it is free or cheap. I have changed my diet since becoming ill so many of the processed food coupons don't get used by me. Yet I have actually seen some of these new comers being downright cruel when a deal does not work, when they themselves are in the wrong. Not only are these particular newbs in the wrong, they make it worse with a bad attitude and threatening to call Corp. All of my stores know me and many cashiers and managers all know that I know the coupon policy better then they do and I am honest, I do not try and pull fast ones, and I tell the truth even if it hurts me.

I put my own deals together because I understand how the deals work, and I believe this is the problem. I know what my family uses so those are the deals I make for myself. I am pretty darn good at it, but how do you teach how to save?  I think people get very overwhelmed in the beginning, and rightfully so. There are so many different rules depending on the store you are in BUT this is all info that you need to know so you can find your own specific deals.

So now what does that mean to this blog that has been inactive for some time? Well it means I am changing up tactics and launching a back to basics learning how to save, recipe ideas for those who like to cook and eat non processed meals like myself. If anyone reads this and wants to comment on something they would like to see in the blog then I would love to hear it. I am going to work on a really in depth intro to savings post for tomorrow.  For what it is worth I understand if some want to unfollow. I am not saying I wont post good deals, because I am sure I will what I am saying is I want a more of a thrifty live good on less kind of blog that better reflects where I am at today. Starting tomorrow I will probably do 1 big post with a few littler posts everyday. I want to teach folks what I now know about eating healthy on a budget and learning how to save on things you need. So until tomorrow y'all, Deuces!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weekend Plans

By the middle of the week I like to have an idea of what is going on for the weekend. Now that the weather is beginning to switch to spring we will soon have festivals galore in Chicagoland (can't wait).
Some of the things going on this weekend are:

Lakeshore Learning - is having a craft workshop for kids to make a mardi gras mask on Sat. March 5th from 11am to 3pm. Go here to find a store near you.

Free Blacksmithing Demo By the wagon shed at Kline Creek Park on Sat March 5th from 1:30-3:30.

Bank of America is offering free entry into some museums - for credit and debit card holders only.

Michaels is offering a make it and take it ribbon flower and invitations demo on March 5th 10am - noon. On March 6th there is a make it and take it fine art event from 1pm - 3pm.

Chicago Polar Plunge is happening on March 6th in support of the Special Olympics. Registration begins at 9am and the plunge begins at 10am. All participants will receive; a long sleeve t-shirt and towel (when exiting the water) and free admission to the melt down party (from 11am-2pm). The melt down party will be in a heated tent and have food, music, a cash bar and more.

This is in no way a complete list but gives you an idea what is out there. I find learning about these things on Wednesdays gives me enough time to figure out what we can work into our schedule. What kinda stuff is going on in your area?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Treat Yourself Tuesday

Since finding out I have Emphysema (as well as some other health issues) I have been making some long over due changes in an effort to try and heal my body (to an extent). I do this in addition to the 4 different medicines I have (I hate medicine). A year ago I quit Cigarettes. My son and I rarely eat out so we do a lot of home cooking. I have started eliminating processed foods out of my diet (like canned food, etc). I have cut down to 1 cup of soda a day (but it can't have high fructose corn syrup). The most recent thing I have done is have organic product delivered for me bi-weekly from Ripe Organics.

I had gotten a highly discounted box my first week from one of those deal sites and can I say I was impressed. For $13 I got:

sweet potato's

This weeks my box will have

Leeks 1/2 lb

Lettuce, Green Leaf 1
Peppers, Red Bell 1
Potatoes, Russet 1 lb
Watercress, Bunch 1
Apples, Pink Lady 2
Bananas 1 lb
Mango 1
Tangelo Minneolas 4

I am getting the small box if you can believe it and regular price is $26. This is organic produce delivered people. Let me tell you this produce was beautiful, way better quality then you find in the grocery store and it was all delicious.

Now I know Organic is a costly choice. Many people just do not think they can afford it. I save so much at the grocery store and drugstores that I can now justify that expense. Using coupons and Register Rewards (Thanks Walgreens and Jewel) have been a godsend to my budget. I went from spending $600 at the grocery store only to a budget of $240 for grocery store and drug stores (which I often come in below budget).

Also sign up for those deal sites that are so popular now. You may find a deal like I did to get you started. Here are some of my favorites:
Groupon (great one for Chicago today 16x20 gallery wrapped canvas from your photo $45)
Living Social
Gaggle of Chicks
Buy with me
The best thing is many of these sites have sign up bonuses and offer credits if you get others to do the deals as well. I suggest checking out Hip2Save. She is really good about letting you know of new sites and what kind of credit they are offering as well as ways to use the credit. Review

I am a bzzagent. That means I get to try different products and services for FREE, and all I have to do is tell people what I truthfully think (how cool is that). is a site that offers homework help in Math, Science and Computer Science for your Jr. High, High School or College students.

My 14 yo is in Honors Algebra and Science and when he has had questions about his homework I honestly can't help him. This website changes all that. All he has to do if find what he is studying on the website and he can watch lectures (on the topic) by professors with detailed notes and examples. I have had my son use this to help study for tests in Math and it really has helped him. The video lectures give you in depth explanations on how to do the problems. They are also planning on adding more classes and test prep too. I am most excited for the SAT prep (coming soon) as it is about time that he start prepping for that test. College is not an option, lol.

Use code EDUCBMF30 when you sign up for the basic plan to get one month FREE! After your free month is costs $35/month or $240/year. This gives you unlimited access to all the courses on the site and is much cheaper then hiring a tutor.

I have to say Devyn and my experience has been very positive and I highly recommend this site.

Nutella Party - Mommy Parties

So another site I belong to is Mom Select. They have a variety of Mommy Parties that you can try and get in. I got in to the Nutella Party.

I am so excited about this one as my family is a huge fan of Nutella. Nutella is a hazelnut spread that tastes like it has some chocolate in it. I usually use it on a slice of bread or a bagel but for this party I will be looking at doing something different. Here I some recipes that I am contemplating:

The following recipes are from Recipe Goldmine

Banana-Nutella Smoothies

1 cup Nutella spread
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups soy milk
4 medium frozen bananas
Chopped almonds (optional)

Combine Nutella, peanut butter, yogurt, soy milk and banana in a blender. Process until smooth. For thinner texture, add 1/4 cup more soy milk and 3 or 4 ice cubes and process until ice is crushed. Pour into glasses. Garnish with chopped almonds, if desired.

Chewy Nutella Crinkles

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11 ounce) jar Nutella
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
2 cups finely chopped hazelnuts, divided
Sifted confectioners' sugar

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine Nutella and shortening in a large mixing bowl; beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add sugar; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and eggs; beat just until combined.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture, beating on medium speed just until combined. Use a spoon to stir in 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts. Cover and chill for several hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Shape the dough into 1- or 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll the balls in finely chopped hazelnuts, then roll in confectioners' sugar. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (The cookies will spread and crinkle as they bake.)

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until surface is cracked and cookies are set. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Chocolate Nutella Ravioli

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups very hot water
3 tablespoons butter
Chocolate for garnish

In a large bowl, combine flour and water. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined into a large ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

To make ravioli, cut the dough in half. Work with one half at a time and keep the remainder in the bowl, covered. Flour work surface and hands generously and pat dough into a 2- x 6-inch block. Roll dough into a 4 x 9-inch triangle. The dough will be very sticky, so make sure to keep the rolling pin floured. You may need to flip the dough to prevent it from sticking to the counter.

When dough is rolled out, drop about 9 teaspoons of Nutella down the center of the dough, leaving about 1 inch between each filling. Fold the dough over the filling and press down to seal. Make sure to squeeze out any air around the filing.

Cut ravioli into small squares and press down edges again to make sure it is sealed well. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough until it is used up.

To cook the ravioli, add to a large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook half the ravioli, drain, then cook the other half. They will cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until they rise to the top.

Serve hot, tossed in melted butter with chocolate shavings on top.

Banana Hazelnut Empanadas

1 large, ripe banana, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup Nutella hazelnut spread
2 refrigerated 9-inch pie crusts or favorite from-scratch
pie dough (enough for two 9-inch pie crusts)
2 tablespoons water (for brushing)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Cinnamon ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)

In small bowl, mix banana and Nutella until combined (it will thicken and become stiff). Set aside.

Divide dough in half. Roll out each half to a 14 x 8-inch rectangle, 1/4-inch thick. Using square or round 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 8 pieces per half. Place 1 heaping teaspoon Nutella-banana mixture on each dough cutout. Brush outer perimeter with water and fold dough to make a closed pocket. Pinch edges together with fork. Brush with water and sprinkle with sugar. Freeze on parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheets for at least 15 minutes. (The empanadas can be made up to this point and frozen for 3 months.)

Bake empanadas until golden, about 20 minutes.

Serve warm with cinnamon ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

I like the idea of having a drink, food and snacks. Can't wait to try nutella in these new ways.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How about a free month of homework help for your jr high, high school or college student

So as y'all know I am a member of BzzAgent. What that means is I get to try different goods and services for free, and then I just tell people what I think. How easy is that.

Well my latest Bzz Campaign is I get to try it free for a month. This is perfect because my icky teen is in honors math and science and as smart as his mommy is, there are some things I can't help him with when he has questions (homework-wise). So yesterday I had my son use the website to help him study for a test he had coming up. Both he and I were impressed.

Pros - Get help in a number of subjects including:
-Computer Science

Under each of those categories is a number of subcategories and then lessons (Over 500 math and science). So it is very easy for your student to find where they are at in class.

Video Lectures is like having a tutor right there. There is even a professor to answer questions.

Website is very easy to use.

Cons - Have not really found any yet. We are really enjoying this website.

You can also get a free month. Go to and sign up using the code EDUCBMF30 if you choose to continue your subscription it costs $35 a month or $240 for the year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Phone Bzz

As y'all know, I am a BzzAgent. They send me products and services to try out and I get to tell people what I think. I am usually compensated by receiving said good or service free, but I assure you my opinions are all mine and completely honest. You should sign up I love it. #Imabzzagent.

So now that I have had more time to play with the HTC HD7 I'm gonna let y'all know what I think.

Let's start with what I like about this phone, in no particular order.

Screen Size - At 4.3" it is easily the largest viewing area on the smartphone market. It is also slightly larger then the standard smartphone.

Entertainment Features - I loved being able to watch Man Vs Food while sitting in my Dr's waiting room. The headphones offer stereo sound and look at the kickstand!

The camera is decent for a phone camera, I didn't really use the video feature. You can link up to your Xbox Live account on this phone so a gamer would be in heaven. Obviously using these nifty features will drain your batteries and I think it was standard for the Smartphone industry. Tmobile TV is also fun if you will be away from home when Teen Mom 2 or Jersey Shore comes on (Don't pretend you don't watch, lol).

It is a Windows 7 platform (I am not a Microsoft stan) and I was surprisingly ok with it. I prefer Droid hands down but Windows did ok (its not Vista, lol), It comes with gps which is perfect to find your way around unfamiliar places.

Business wise you can have easy access to all of your email accounts and facebook from your home screen.

Zune software comes on this which allows you to turn this phone into a MP3 player. It works really well and will copy your itunes music seamlessly.

Now here are some things that I did not care for. These were dealbreakers for me personally (though my icky teen wants it bad).

If you notice all the features I liked involved the entertainment features but I never mentioned the phone. Now we will talk about it. The phone set up was just not practical. There is a end call button positioned right at cheek level. There is no way to minimize it so you will inevitably hit it several times during a conversation. It is very frustrating to say the least. When I tried to use the speakerphone feature I couldn't hear the people I spoke to and they couldn't hear me. Even holding the phone to my ear (which negates the whole purpose of the speakerphone).

You are stuck with the background they give you. There is no way to arrange the homepage icons or get rid of ones that you don't like. This is surprising because it is a fairly standard feature in phones now and days.

There is no way to make your own ringtones. I am so spoiled I can turn anything into a ringtone on my G1 and so I assumed this would surely have that feature but NOPE! This did not make me happy.

Internet was a little awkward for me. Wasn't sure how to manage multiple webpages (a must for me).

App store is not very good. Reminds me of the Android Marketplace when it first started up. It is difficult to navigate to find specific apps (Like a ringtone manager, lol)

No keyboard. I am spoiled with my G1 in that I have a full keyboard both physically and virtually (on the screen). My G1 has both and I have gotten used to having a full keyboard at my disposal. The touchscreen one works fine but I want both in a phone (I'm spoiled).

I think HTC took a step backwards with this phone. Its predecessor the HD2 was more advanced then this. They should market it as a video capable mp3 player with 3G speeds and the ability to place emergency calls. In time it could compete with the ipod as more apps come out for it, but as a phone it needs a lot of work.

You can like HTC on facebook.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bzz for businesses!

As y'all know, I am a bzzagent. This means that I get to try out different products and talk about what I think of them. My opinions on the products or service is always my own. Check it out you can be a bzz agent too.

Today I got the opportunity to try a service for small businesses called Apptivo. This is a great online tool that will help you in all aspects of your home/small business and best of all it's FREE!!!!

I signed up today and have done a little playing around. Here are my initial impressions...

1. Set up was quick and easy. They really couldn't make it any simpler. The layout is aesthetically pleasing. Although I will say at first sight it can be a little intimidating only because there is so many features.

2. Secure. The techno weenie in me thinks this is the most important aspect.

3. All inclusive. This will help you manage all aspects of your business from idea to goods and services. From your employees (if any) to your customers to your leads. I can't think of anything that really needs to be added.

For some time I have been saying that more and more people are being forced into going into business for themselves since the job market is shrinking rapidly. I myself perform a wide range of services under the blanket term of Consultant. For example I do Administrative work, paralegal work, fix computer (that are infected with malware). One of my business goals was to get more organized with my business so I can increase profitability by at least 25%. This product, I believe, will help me do that. Some of the bonus features that you can access for a fee is a local or toll free fax number, corporate email, creating and hosting website and even payment services.

So far one of my favorite features is under Innovation Management. This allows you to post and track ideas up to the patent stage (if you are going that route). For me it helps me to put my business ideas in one place and eliminates the whole "I Forgot" factor.

If you are looking for a way to get more organized with your business or just take your business to the next level then this site is for you. Go here and sign up for free (enter the code BZZFRIEND) and start seeing how this site can work for you.

I will post weekly updates focusing on the features that I am discovering. I would also love to hear what y'all think about this site.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tax Time

It is not often when being working poor, works in your favor but tax time is one of them. I have been doing a lot of "what do we need to get/replace" thinking. So I am typing my thoughts out and hoping that somethings will jump out at me. Keep in mind whatever I get is not going to interfere with the paying forward of some bills (cell and electric) and for some medical expenses this is just a bonus.
First thought is maybe upgrade my cheap, living room TV Stands to something that is worthy of the New Flatscreen I am contemplating. Lol I know that is technically 2 somethings but so far this is the front runner, even though it is also the most expensive.

Breadmaker - I love to cook and there is so much that I just don't have. I was thinking about a breadmaker. The one I have my eye on makes 2lb horizontal loafs. It is also over $200. Fresh bread though.

Veggie Steamer - I used to have one of these and I loved it, now that we are eating more veggies I want one. lol

Pots and Pans - Much as I cook you would think I had a decent set. Nope I always buy the cheap sets and regret it because I am getting a new one a year later. I really would like to invest in a good set. The kind that my grand babies will be using.

Cheap car - OK this is more expensive then the TV Stands/TV idea. Now I am really torn. There are times I wish I had a car, but most of the time I am glad I don't. I like the exercise I get from walking to the store. We have decent public transportation. No upkeep costs (oil changes, repairs) and no taxes. NO GAS!

Do y'all reward yourself at a certain time of year and if so how?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Online Coupon for Alexia Frozen Sides

Sometimes I spend a little more to get better quality. Over the past year and a half I really started to pay attention to the foods I was putting into my body. I have found myself drifting more towards organic foods and away from processed foods. Dont get me wrong I still buy crap occasionally, but overall my icky teen and myself eat really healthy.

One of the things I have been trying to do lately is replace a regular potato with a sweet potato from time to time (Not easy for an Irishwoman). I recently tried Alexias frozen Spicy Sweet Potato fries and OMG I love them. First of all you bake them, you get all the goodness of sweet potatoes and the digestive aid from the Chipolte. These were not super spicy but were oh sooo good.

Well I was preparing to go shopping in a few days looking up some of the things on my list to see if there were any good coupons and came across an excellent one for Alexia. Go here to their website and click on the white box on the upper left side of the page that says $1 any Alexia product. Follow the instructions and print. Then hit the back button 2-3 times to print again. Now click on the Reinvent a Classic box (right below the coupon on the home page). Like them on facebook and vote for your favorite new flavor (they all looked good) and print ANOTHER $1/1 Alexia Frozen Product coupon (you can also print this twice). 4 coupons for $1/1 for a good product. Now pay the remainder with some register rewards and your budget wont even realize you upgraded!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let's talk about contests

One of the ways that I get a lot of free stuff is through contests.  I used to be one of those people who thought that they were not worth entering, boy was I wrong. Here are some of my contest winnings...

-12th row seats to see the Cubs. I know I know I will have everyone know that I wore my Sox tee, cheered for the Nationals and my friend had a Sox Rule sign. I have to say I like the history of Wrigley and it is nice to say I have been there. The seats were so flippin good.

-TONS of concert tickets (not huge venue shows but at Hard Rock, etc) and Wine Fest tickets!

-TONS of prescreen movies. I love being able to legally see a movie before it is released to the general public.

- Tickets to three different events on the Mystic Blue (one of which was called "Party like a yacht star"). Can I say I loved this ship.

-Books. My most recent book was Artisan Breads in 5 minutes a day. I literally just got it Friday!

-Lisa Hoffman skin care set (spa bath soak, spa body wash, spa body polisher, spa body creme, spa bath hand and foot butter, spa bath packette and Madagascar Orchid Fragrance Oil. This is supposed to be here this week.

Truth is I don't enter that many contests. When there is one that crosses my path I try and take the two seconds to enter. I have been surprised with a prize enough that I keep doing it. It also gives you an opportunity to try something new that you wouldn't normally do. Here are some tips:

1.  Local contests give you a better shot then National contests. This is a big duh, right. Your chances of winning are dependant of the number of entries. More entries equals lesser chance. Less entries get you a greater chance.

2. Blogs. A lot of blogs are solicited to have giveaways, generally for items related to the blog. Smaller blogs would yield a better shot then the larger blogs.

3. Twitter. I owe so many wins to my twitter. Hey twitter fam, miss y'all! I haven't been on there as much as I should lately. (BTW not sure if he is still but a one point Tommie Harris (Bear) was one of my followers, I love him).

4. Facebook. A lot of the products you use everyday have a facebook page. You should have a "contest/coupon/gaming" facebook account where you "like" the page to enter a contest, get a sample or high value coupon.

So there are a couple tips to get you started. Do y'all have any to add?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Free Sprinkles Cupcake!

So I got an email I thought I would share...

Join us at the Sprinkles New Flavor Tasting Party!

We’re big fans of cupcakes, especially the insanely delicious creations at Chicago's Sprinkles . If you agree — or horrors of horrors, you haven't tried Sprinkles' addictive goodness yet — next week is the perfect time.

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, PopSugar's FreshGuide Chicago is cohosting the sweetest bash of the new year at Sprinkles. Join us to celebrate the debut of the new German chocolate flavor, light chocolate cake topped with caramel laced with coconut and pecans. Stop by and see us from 7 to 9 p.m. at Sprinkles (50 E. Walton St.) to try the new flavor and sip on drinking chocolate.

The cupcakes are on Sprinkles! RSVP here
If you are going to be downtown anyways you may want to go. Sprinkles is supposed to be some of the best cupcakes! If it wasn't Winter in Chicagoland, I would sooooo be there!

Cooking from scratch

One of the biggest ways I save money is by cooking instead of going out to eat. I am pretty comfortable in the kitchen so I love to experiment and try new things. I often hear people say they "can't afford to cook" and that "McD's is sooo much cheaper then making it". Those statements are soo wrong and I will show you why!

There are 2 in my family. Myself and my icky teenage son. For us to eat at McDonalds I would spend somewhere around $10. That price don't include super sizing or deserts. I can take $10 to the grocery store and buy hamburger, buns and fries for less then that. Plus the stuff I get at the store will likely last a couple meals. If I skip frozen fries, I can buy between a 5-10lb bags of potatoes for $1 generally and make my own. I can buy ground beef and make it stretch by adding bread crumbs or crushed up crackers. Add coupons to the mix and the savings is greater.

Here is an experimental recipes that was soooo good (This can be considered a spicy dish)
1 package of Jewel Hot Italian Sausage (recently on B1G1 and bought with register rewards)
1 package of sweet cherry tomato's (also on B1G1, paid for with coupons and register rewards)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp sage
1 Tbsp dried basil from my Grammas garden
Sandwich spread (minced giardinara)
a little red onion
ground red pepper flakes

So I cut each sausage into three pieces so they would cook quicker. I put a little water in the pan added the sage, basil, and ground red pepper flakes. I let it cook until the sausage was 3/4 done. Then I added Tomato's halved, garlic, onions and sandwich spread and let the sausage finish cooking.

I served the Italian Sausage on bread and the sauce was similar to a tampanade which we spread on the bread like a condiment.

My son saw the tomato's go in and just knew he would hate it (he loves Ketchup, tomato sauce just not tomato's, smh). He went back for seconds, had leftovers willingly the next day and has been begging me to make it again.

Financially that meal hardly cost us anything thanks to sales, coupons and register rewards. The bonus is that meal was way healthier then anything the fast food joints sell.

Final Dymo Bzz

As yall know, Bzzagent gave my a Dymo 450 Duo Label Writer and I have been in love ever since. This has got to be the best gadget that I have gotten in a long time. Not only can I print almost any type of label but I can do postage as well.

Here are my favorite things...
*No toner or ink needed ever
*Easy set up and use
* Labels print so fast
*Postage from my laptop

Dymo really describes it perfectly at their site:

     "With the DYMO LabelWriter® you’re ready to tackle virtually any labeling or mailing job. Print impressive address labels, shipping labels, file folder labels, name badges and more, at speeds up to 71 labels per minute.* 450 Duo also prints our acclaimed, no-monthly-fee DYMO Stamps®** postage labels with the same speed and reliability."

Let me tell you this machine has streamlined my home office and revolutionized my mailings. My mailings all have a more professional look while saving me time. If you do a lot of mailings then this machine will pay for itself in no time by saving you time and hassle.  Dont forget if you want to order one through Dymos website use the coupon code BZZDUO2010 to get an additional $50 off.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This one is for you Shannon or anyone needing a gluten free deal-ish

Rita at Chitown Cheapskate has an excellent article about a great tax deduction for buying gluten free foods. Here's a great synopsis of it by her.

"Do you have Celiac disease? Then you know that Gluten Free products are a “budget buster”! What you might not know is that they are also tax deductible! Actually any allergen free food can be deducted if you have a proper diagnosis from a doctor!"

Go here to read the details, but this could help offset some of the costs in buying gluten free.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let's Bzz about phones shall we.

As you know I am a bzzagent and because of that I get free things to try out and talk about, from time to time. You should sign up this program is worth it.

So my latest bzz campaign was for the HTC HD7. I just knew that I would love it more then my Dymo Label maker (I really love it, can you tell lol). I got my new machine on Friday. New Phone, New year I was feelin it. So I charge the phone and switch the SIM. Here is what happened next.

For years I have had the HTC/Tmobile G1 (I got this when it came out). I love the droid platform, and the MOD's made by some brilliant individuals. I am not a huge Windows fan so I was a little curious as to how I would react to the OS (operating system) switch. Once the phone was charged I started playing. Let start with what I love shall we:

Netflix on a phone with a great screen for viewing. The HD7 is said to have the biggest viewing screens of all the smart phones. Because of that it is a bit larger then your typical phone but overall worth the trade off IMHO. Netflix I cant say enough I just love them. We stream Netflix on the Wii, my son has it on his Ipod and now I have it on a phone. Woot! I immediately watched a couple movies (with headphones, my icky teen was having a sleepover) and was so excited thinking of the possibilities.

Tmobile TV - This was another feature I was excited for, and it is a good one. I had hoped that it would have channels like lifetime or Food Network but no. I should be able to catch Jersey Shore 3 on it if I happen to have to leave the house when its on. Dont judge, lol!

Xbox Live- This was another feature that I was excited to play with. This is also where any games you download will be.

Zune - I love using my phone as an MP3 player. Nothing like some upbeat music to assist you in doing chores. Set up was pretty easy and free. Getting my current MP3 collection to the phone was easy,

Now for what I didn't like:

The radio (speaker, sound system) in this phone is pretty poor. To get decent sound you have to use the head phones. Speakerphone Sucks (sorry no nice way to say it). You can only hear the person on the other end when you hold it to your ear.

Here was a big one for me. You cant change your wallpaper or chose a song for a ringtone. Look HTC/Tmobile it is 2011 (2010 when the phone was made). Yall should know by now that people like to change those things. So you leave me stuck with some lame generic Tmobile ringtones and dont even have an app for that.

The marketplace. There are two an HTC hub and the Microsoft marketplace which has all your apps. I was not impressed and found it difficult to search for things. For example, I typed in ringtone manager and got ringtones (umm, no I can make my own for free).

Now lets talk about using the phone as a phone. I called my mom on New Years on the phone, Here is the conversation:

Me: Hey mom calling you from the new phone
Mom: Oh how d..............
looked at phone call was on hold took it off hold to
Mom: helloooo?
Me: Hey I don't know what happened
Mom: Wel...................
Me: Hello? Hello? (looked at the phone and showed I was NOT on a call) So now I am wondering if this is a side effect to some new meds I am on. Next I hear that annoying Tmobile jingle look its mom.
Mom: What is wrong with that new phone of yours?
Me: I have no idea, but I never had this problem with my G1, but I really love the Netflix and Tmobile TV
Mom: Why would you want to watch a movie on your phone its so small it.....
Me: Hello? Hello? Enter annoying Tmobile jingle here
Mom: Ok this is getting annoying
Me: Let me try speaker phone, ok can you hear me? I think whats happening is my cheek is hitting the end call button.
Mom: Hello, Hello?
Me: Mom can you hear me?
Mom: Hello, Hello?
So I take her off speaker phone try and tell her about the end button when it hangs up again. At this point I put the Sim back in my G1 so I can have a decent conversation, after all it is a phone.

Dont get me wrong I am not done playing with it. New phones take time to adjust to but I would be lying if I wasn't more then a little disappointed in Tmobile, HTC and Microsoft (well I expect it from them, but the other two). Some of the immediate issues like impossible phone conversations should've been thought out a little more. I normally love HTC and they tend to lead the market in phones (great customer service as well). So we shall see, this is not an easy transition, but it makes a great IPod rival.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Get your Sun papers today

The Trib has 5 inserts today with some good q's. Here are some of the deals I will do tomorrow:

1 Childrens Oscillococcinum 6 ct $8.99 and Get $8.99 register reward (to take to Jewel) plus there is a $2 off coupon here. That turns it in a small money maker.
1 Finish Quantum Dish washing tabs 20 ct $3.49 and there is a $2.25 off 1 coupon in this Sundays paper!

I will pay $8.23 and I will get back $8.99 RR and a $1.50 RR (10.49 RR total)

Next I got to CVS and do the Excedrin deal with my free q's!
Not sure what I will pay but the trip should be a slight money maker!

Finally I will hit the Jewel
2 Almond accents B1G1 $3.99
2 Nature Sweet Cherry tomato's B1G1 $3.99
1 Wild Harvest baby carrot 1 lb bag $1.49 (organic)
2 Stockman dakota roast B1G1
I will use my $10.49 in RR from the Wags trip and end up paying between $10-15 (possible less depends on the roasts prices).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CVS deal for those "Free" Excedrin coupons

So starting Sunday CVS is having a deal on Excedrin. Buy $20 worth and get $10 extra care bucks. Now I don't have any prices but if you got 2 of the free coupons and the high value $3.50 Excedrin PM, your out of pocket costs should be very minimal. This may even be a money maker. If you got a few of the Excedrin Free coupons then it will definitely be a money maker. Here is my plan:

1 Excedrin Migraine (free up to $5.99)
1 Excedrin Extra Strength (free up to $5.99)
1 Excedrin PM ($3.50 of 1)

Now I get this because we will use this products, I got a couple freebie coupons to lower my cost (and the high value one as well). Plus I will have $10 in extra care bucks to use at CVS next time I shop. I can use this on products that are expensive and I may not have coupons for or stock up on bottled water without having to pay for it (except for tax).

Thanks to Couponers Wanted for the heads up!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meal Planning

I recently started treatment for emphysema. I also have a number of other health issues that my doctors are trying to figure out. All this has really made me pay attention to what I am eating. I used to be that person who ate what I wanted without thought to the nutritional value. Now I have been cutting way back on processed foods and making most meals from scratch. Don't get me wrong. You will see some "junk" in my pantry but nothing like you would have seen two years ago.

When I started paying attention to what I ate, my icky teen started paying attention too. Last June, my old apartment was foreclosed on (no I didn't know till the last minute) and we moved to our current location. Well we were eating out alot while waiting for the kitchen to get unpacked. Can you believe my son complained? He would rather eat some good homemade food than to go to Wendy's.

It is hard to keep coming up with new and exciting dishes when you are making them at home, but there is help out there.

Allrecipes is one of my favorite sites. There is a gazillion recipes, they are rated and folks offer suggestions as to how to tweak the recipe. My Colcannon and Apple butter recipes have come from here. Today I am doing banana bread, banana fritters, banana pancakes/waffles and banana cookies all from recipes I found there. (I bought a bunch of ripe bananas real cheap). I plan on freezing some bread and the pancakes and waffles so we have some yummy homemade food on hand for breakfast. Eggo ain't got nothing on homemade!

Recipe Matcher is a site that lets you enter ingredients that you have and will give you recipes that you can make. This can be a great way to try something new and not let your food go to waste.

Supercook is like recipe matcher, but you can also add things you don't want in the recipes.

What I do, is every week I have a general idea on what I want to make, based on ingredients I have on hand, and shopping the sales. I usually have a day or two of leftovers each week planned in so really I am cooking only 5 days. My mom, who works a lot cooks her meals for the week and freezes them to make her workday easier which I think is a great idea if you are short on time. Luckily I am home most evenings so I generally have time to cook. The night before my son and I discuss what we would like to eat the next night for dinner. That morning, I pull out any meat (if necessary) to thaw, and double check that I have everything that I need. This gives me time to go to the store if I have too. I also teach my son as I cook (he is turning into quite the chef himself).

I love being able to control the ingredients in the dishes I make. I use organic when possible. I make healthy substitutions (using whole wheat flout, etc). I control the sugar and sodium. Finally, there are no preservatives or artificial anything in my food.

What meal planning tips and tricks do you have? Any favorite sites?

Time to start all over again

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to start again with the gift stockpiles. Many people rush out and shop the after Christmas clearance, but I do not. There are so many people out and the stores are so crowded, while you can find deals, I prefer to stay away. My favorite time to shop in actually in January. Many stores have huge end of the year sales in January to make room for the new years merchandise. Add to that there is not mobs of people in the stores and you have a more leisurely shopping experience.

So if you signed up for those programs I told you about, you are well on your way to a cheaper gift giving year in 2011. Now when you see something that is an excellent price, buy it. This year I was saved by shopping in advance. One of my favorite gifts I got my icky teen (his too) was an erector set remote control car that lights up and plays music from your ipod. These things are usually over $100 but toward the end of summer/beginning of fall Amazon had it on sale for $25. Keep your eyes peeled for deals relevant to your family.

Here are some pointers:

1. Amazon Mom - This allows you to get free Amazon prime for 3 months. Amazon prime gives you free two day shipping on ANY order. This is a must sign up for as Amazon has a whole bunch of great deals.

2. When shopping online, remember to shop through your mypoints account or ebates. This gives you back a little something for the purchases you make. I usually compare what each one is offering for that particular store and go with who is giving me the best deal. Remember, it will seem like you are only getting back little amounts here and there but they will add up!

3. Set goals! Do you really want to get your family a wii/ps3/xbox 360 next holiday? Well then start saving for it now. If you earn just 1 $5 Amazon gift card a month you will have $60 in 12 months (I usually get 2 $5 g.c per month). That is about 1/3 of the wii and only counts 1 resource, swagbucks. If you add in your Opinion Outpost money then you will have your gift, without coming out of pocket. Plus your kids/hubby/wife will think you are the best mom/wife/dad ever.

Do you have any great savings tips?