How to Coupon

Free Kids Events in July

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fireworks clusterThe kids will be out of school in July and enjoying their summer vacation. It won’t be long before they start complaining that they are bored and need something fun to do. Fortunately, there are plenty of free building, crafting, and other fun events that will take place in stores in July. Your kids can create something and then play with it after the event is over.

Fireworks
The traditional way to celebrate the 4th of July is to go watch a fireworks display. Many places will offer this free of charge. Bring something for the kids to do while they wait for the sun to go down, and don’t forget the bug spray.

The place where you live might have a 4th of July Parade that your family can enjoy. Parades are free to attend. Get there early so you can find a good place to watch it from.

LEGO stores
LEGO stores offer a free monthly mini model build for kids who are between the ages of 6 and 14. The event is offered “while supplies last”.

July 7 or July 8, 2015: Whale Mini Model Build – Kids will build a mini model of a whale.

Home Depot
Home Depot has free workshops for kids on the first Saturday of each month. These event are for kids ages 5 – 12. Kids will receive a certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin. They also get to keep the project they build. Registration is required.

July 4, 2015: Build a Minions Scooter – Kids will build a scooter that has minions riding it.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow has free kid clinics. Children who attend will receive a free apron, goggles, and a patch. They will also get to keep the project that they build. Registration is required.

July 11, 2015: Black Widow’s Sky Cycle – Kids will build Black Widow’s Sky Cycle. This project is part of Lowe’s “Avengers Assemble” inspired projects.

Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning offers free craft events on Saturdays. These events are for kids ages 3 and up.

July 11, 2015: My Aquarium – Kids will create and decorate an aquarium out of paper plates and art supplies.

July 28, 2015: Jumpin’ Jellyfish – Kids will create a colorful jellyfish from pipe cleaners, a foam bowl, and other art supplies.

July 25, 2015: Stay Cool! Sun Visor – Kids will decorate their own sun visor that they can wear.

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Free Father’s Day Coloring Sheets and Crafts

Posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 6:54 pm
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Father and DaughterIts always adorable when the kids make Dad a Father’s Day gift. Bigger kids may have an easier time with this than little kids will. However, all kids can color. Here is a quick list of where to find some free, printable, Father’s Day coloring sheets, simple crafts and cards.

Crayola.com is a great place to start when you want to find coloring sheets that are designed for a specific holiday. Its a brand name, and a website, that you can trust. Here are just a few of the Father’s Day coloring sheets they offer:

* Daddy Bear shows a picture of a large bear who is wearing a tie. A smaller bear brings him a rose.

* Father and Son Having a Catch hows an image of a dad and his son playing catch. The son is throwing a baseball to his dad, who is about to catch it in a baseball glove.

* Father’s Day – Hungry Dad shows an amusing picture of a rooster and a smaller chicken. The little chicken is eating a sandwich. The rooster is eating a gigantic sandwich! At the top, it says “Happy Father’s Day”

* Fishing With Grandpa is a drawing of a little boy who is holding a fishing pole. His grandfather, who is wearing a fishing hat, is right next to him. They are standing on a pier and doing some fishing. This one would be a good choice for kids who want to honor their grandfather on Father’s Day.

Disney Family is another name you can trust. They have coloring sheets and simple crafts that connect to specific holidays. Some of the crafts might require the help of an adult.

* Nemo and Marlin Father’s Day Frame is a colorful frame that features Nemo and his dad, Marlin, from the “Finding Nemo” movie. It says “Happy Father’s Day” at the top of the frame. Glue the frame onto cardboard to make it more durable. There is room for a photo to go into the frame.

* Mickey and Pluto Father’s Day Coloring Page shows a drawing of Mickey and Pluto in their backyard. Mickey is getting ready to use the grill. He trips over Pluto’s bowl. Pluto is ready to catch and eat the hamburgers and hot dogs that Mickey is dropping.

* Lion King Father’s Day Card comes in two parts. A bigger kid will be able to put it together themselves. The outside of the card shows Simba. It says “I just can’t wait”. The inside of the card shows Mufasa and Simba. It says “..To be just like you”. There is room for a child to write his or her name.

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Couponing Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

Posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake Coupons with US CoinsCoupons are easy to use and a good way to save some money. They are a simple way to stretch your grocery budget by at least a couple of dollars. Unfortunately, coupons can also be super frustrating. Here is a quick list of coupon mistakes that almost everyone has made.

Left Coupons at Home
You’ve got your grocery list in one hand and your reusable bags in the other. You manage to find everything you were hoping to purchase. You get to the register and put all your groceries on it. That’s the moment you realize that you left your coupons at home!

There’s not much you can do about it now. However, there are ways to prevent it from happening again. Put your coupons into your reusable bags. Assign a family member to hold the coupons while you are shopping. Or, get digital coupons online and connect them to the loyalty card of your favorite grocery store.

Forgot to Check Expiration
Almost all coupons will have an expiration date. Once that date passes, you cannot use the coupon. Some people feel sad that they failed to use a really good coupon in time. Others feel embarrassed when the cashier announces that their coupon has expired.

Everyone has made this mistake when they began using coupons. Doing it once can be considered a “learning experience”. Don’t make a habit of trying to use expired coupons, though, because that can be considered coupon fraud.

How can you avoid making this mistake again? Take the time to check the expiration date on each and every coupon you plan to use. Do it right before you leave home to go grocery shopping.

Didn’t Read the Coupon
This is another mistake that many people make when they are rushed for time. You grabbed a coupon from one of those dispensers that is attached to the doors in the frozen food aisles. It looked good, so you quickly picked up the product it was for and finished your shopping.

When you get to the register you discover that the coupon in your hand, and the brand of product you picked up, do not match. Or, even worse, you got the brand right but the coupons is a “Buy 1 Get 1 free”. It’s too late now to go pick up that second product.

The simple way to avoid this common coupon mistake is to take the time to read the coupon. What brand is it for? How many does the coupon require you to buy? Is the amount you have to buy worth the discount the coupon gives? These are important things to find out.

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How to Avoid Committing Coupon Fraud

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 7:41 am
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stackingcouponsThe majority of people who use coupons are doing so because it saves them some money. Coupons can help people stretch their dollars a little bit farther. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who commit coupon fraud (either intentionally or unwittingly). Here are some tips that can help you to avoid committing coupon fraud.

What is Coupon Fraud?
The Coupon Information Center (CIC) has an easy to understand explanation of what coupon fraud is. “Coupon fraud occurs whenever someone intentionally uses a coupon for a product that he/she has NOT purchased or otherwise fails to satisfy the terms and conditions for redemption.”

Coupon fraud also happens when a person alters coupons or creates counterfeited ones. These types of activities are almost always in violation of Federal, State, or local laws.

Don’t Buy or Sell Coupons
The CIC points out that there is no legitimate way to sell your unwanted coupons. Selling a coupon violates virtually all manufacturers’ coupon redemption policies. In other words, selling a coupon actually voids the coupon. People who use a coupon that they purchased are committing coupon fraud – and so are the people who sold them that coupon.

Don’t pay for “clipping services” that sell coupons to people. Some will say they are charging people for the time it took them to collect the coupons. In reality, selling coupons is an act of coupon fraud.

It is also worth pointing out that there is no good reason to spend money on coupons. You can get them for free with your store loyalty card or from credible sources online (such as Coupons.com).

Don’t Make Copies of Coupons
Photocopying coupons is illegal. Some coupon websites will allow a person to print out 2 copies of a specific coupon (per computer). If you make, or print out, additional copies – you are committing coupon fraud.

Don’t use a coupon if it doesn’t have a bar code. Legitimate coupons have bar codes. If the coupon doesn’t have it, that is a good sign that it is a fraudulent coupon.

Don’t Use a Coupon Incorrectly
Technically, a person is committing coupon fraud when he or she intentionally tries to use a coupon in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer. If the coupon is for a specific brand of baked potato chips, and you try to use it on the “regular” potato chips from the same brand – that’s coupon fraud.

Trying to use a coupon after it has expired is also coupon fraud. There is a big difference between an honest mistake and the intentional attempt to sneak expired coupons past a cashier.

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Tips for People New to Couponing

Posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake CouponsReady to start couponing for the first time, ever? Maybe you didn’t need to use coupons before because you were young and living with your parents. Or, perhaps you are having a rough time with your finances and could benefit from learning how to use coupons. Here are some tips for people who are brand new to couponing.

Coupons Have Expiration Dates
Almost all coupons will have an expiration date printed on them. (One exception to this rule are certain types of manufacturers coupons that were sent to you by the manufacture.) In general, you should assume that the wonderful coupon you just found has an expiration date.

Take a minute to read over the fine print and locate the expiration date. Make sure you use the coupon before that date. Once that date passes by, the coupon becomes completely unusable.

Stay Organized
The more coupons you collect, the better your organizational skill need to be. For most people, putting the coupons in an envelope, and bringing the envelope with them to the store, will work just fine. If you start getting into the “extreme couponing” lifestyle – you are going to need to put together a binder of your coupons (and constantly keep it updated).

Staying organized also can help you to remember to use your coupons before they expire. If you get good at couponing, you will eventually start matching up your meal planning with the coupons you already have. Being organized also can help remind you to actually bring your coupons to the store with you.

Pick the Right Product
You have to match the coupon to the correct product. Failure to do so means you won’t be able to use that coupon. Start by seeking out the brand of product that the coupon lists (or shows a photo of). Next, check the fine print on the coupon to see what size of product it can be used on.

In general, most coupons state that they cannot be used on the “sample sizes” of products. Find out the minimum size of product that the coupon can be used on. Pick that size, not the biggest one available. Doing so will help you make the most of your coupon.

Extreme Couponing is Overrated
You may have watched an episode or two of those television shows that feature “extreme couponers”. Keep in mind that what you saw doesn’t match reality. Finding and organizing the amount of coupons the extreme couponers use is pretty much a full time job.

In addition, some of the stores, in some of the episodes, agreed to bend their coupon rules in order to appear on the show. Regular people cannot expect to get the same results with their coupons.

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Recipes With Watermelon

Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 at 2:45 pm
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WatermelonThe best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s when you will find fruits and vegetables at the lowest prices of the year. Once you’ve made your purchases, you need to figure out what to do with food. Watermelon goes in season in the month of June. Here are a few recipes that will help you to use up all the watermelon you buy.

Three Melon Smoothie
AllRecipes has a simple recipe for a three melon smoothie. It features watermelon as well as some other melons. This recipe does not include sugar, so it might be healthier than some of the smoothie options offered by fast food places.

You will need: 2 cups of seedless watermelon (cubed), 1 cup of honeydew melon (cubed), 1 cup of cantaloupe melon (cubed), ½ cup of ice cubes and ½ cup of lemon-lime soda pop.

This recipe is super easy to prepare. Stick everything into your blender. Puree it until it is smooth. There will be enough three melon smoothie to serve four people.

Instant Watermelon Pops
Southern Living has a recipe for watermelon pops that is quicker and healthier than the sugar filled popsicles that you can buy at the store. This recipe appears on the My Recipes website, but originated at Southern Living.

Start with a watermelon. Cut it into wedges. Cut a 1-inch slit into the rind of each watermelon wedge and insert a wooden stick. Serve them as is, or add some “extras”. They suggest you can add any of the following: flavored salts and freshly ground pepper, local honey and fresh lime juice, red pepper, or, for the adults, a splash of schnapps.

Watermelon Salad
Want to turn your sweet watermelon into something a bit more savory? Cooking Light has a recipe for watermelon salad that might be what you are looking for. The recipe appears at My Recipes, but originated at Cooking Light.

Start with 4 cups of cubed, seeded, watermelon. Other ingredients include: red onion, fresh lime juice, pitted kalamata olives, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and crumbled feta cheese. This salad could be a refreshing, and healthy, option for dinner on a hot summer evening. The recipe makes 12 servings.

These are just a few ideas to get started with. In addition, you can find plenty of recipes for watermelon salsa online. It goes nicely with a meal that focuses on cooked meat or fish. It might also taste good on tacos.

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Free Kids Events in June

Posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Kids-CraftsSchool is out (or will be soon). It won’t be long before your children start complaining that they are bored. How will you keep them entertained? There are several free kids events that will happen in stores during the month of June. Take them to an event where they can build something, make some art, or hear a story.

LEGO Stores
LEGO stores offer a free monthly mini model build for kids who are ages 6 to 14. This event is offered “while supplies last”, and happens on the first Tuesday of the month.

June 2, 2015: Parrot – kids will build a mini model of a parrot.

Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids has several weekly story time events. Kids that become a book club member receive a special gift after they attend five story times. In addition, they sometimes have a story time event that has a special theme.

June 16, 2015: Father’s Day Story Time – Kids will hear stories that relate to fathers and Father’s Day.

Home Depot
Home Depot has free workshops for kids on the first Saturday of each month. These events are for kids ages 5 -12. Kids will receive a certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin. They also will get to keep the project they build. Parents must register their children if they want them to attend these events.

June 6, 2015: Learn to Build a Load ‘n Go Truck – Kids will learn how to build a truck.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow has free kids clinics. Children who attend will receive a free apron, goggles, and a patch. They also will get to keep the wooden project that they build. Registration is required.

June 13, 2015: Iron Man’s Avenjet – Kids will build Iron Man’s Avenjet. This is part of their “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” Summer series.

June 27, 2015: Captain America Motorcycle – Kids will build Captain America’s motorcycle. This is part of their “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” Summer series.

Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning offers free craft events on Saturdays. These events are for kids ages 3 and up.

June 6, 2015: Beaded Bubble Wands – Kids will decorate bubble wants that they can use to blow bubbles with.

June 13, 2015: Design-Your-Own Race Cars – Kids will get to design and decorate a race car.

June 20, 2015: Great Catch! Fishing Pole – Kids will put together a fishing pole with a fish that they can decorate. This project is intended as a Father’s Day gift.

June 27, 2015: Storybook Cottage – Kids will put together, and decorate, a cute storybook cottage.

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How to Organize a Chest Freezer

Posted on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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freezerMany families who stockpile have a place in their home where they can shelve and organize non-perishable foods. They also tend to have at least one chest freezer that they store frozen food in. Try these tips to help keep your chest freezer nice and organized.

Clear it Off
Unlike the freezer that is at the top of your refrigerator, a chest freezer is horizontal. Shut the door, and you end up with a flat space. It isn’t uncommon for people to try and use that space for storage. This is a terrible idea!

Before you can use the food you stored in the chest freezer, you have to take the time to clear it off. This extra work might be all its takes for someone to decide to order pizza and forget about cooking. Doing so causes you to spend money on food instead of using the food that you already paid for.

Use Plastic Bins
The Glowing Gazelles blog has an excellent tip for keeping a chest freezer organized. Use some plastic bins to keep everything separate and organized. Keep only one kind of food in each bin. For example, put beef in one bin, pork in another, and chicken in a third.

Once you start this organizational system is it important to stick to it. An organized freezer, with a separate bin for everything, makes it very easy for you to find the food you are planning to cook for dinner. It also makes it easy to move things around. Just take out a bin – and you can easily reach the one underneath it.

Label Everything
One of the biggest problems people face when they start storing a lot of food in a chest freezer is one of identification. What’s in that container, package, or sealable plastic bag? How long has it been in there?

A blog called The Kitchn points out the importance of labeling each and every thing that you store in your chest freezer. Use a marker to write on the container, package, or bag some important details about the food inside. What is the food? When was it frozen? Doing so will save you time later on when you start planning meals.

First In – First Out
Grocery stores have a practice called “first in – first out”. They line up products in the freezers, based on the date it will expire. Things that are going to expire the soonest go in front so they can be used up before they go bad.

Families who use a chest freezer to store lots of frozen food should use the same practice. It will help you prevent waste. If you have to throw away food because it went bad, it means you are wasting money.

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Don’t Let Your Coupons Make You Overspend

Posted on Thursday, May 14th, 2015 at 10:06 pm
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cash register money People use coupons because they are a simple way to save a little money. There are times, however, when using a coupon could actually cause you to spend more money than you planned. Or, it could actually result in wasted food. Here are a few coupon “tricks” that could cause you to overspend and waste your money.

Buy One, Get One Free
At first glance, this sounds like a great deal. All you have to do is buy one product and you get a second one for free. If your family uses a lot of that particular product, this type of coupon might help you save money.

But, what if that coupon is for a brand your family doesn’t prefer, or a type of food your family doesn’t use a lot of? That coupon could be wasting your money. You end up paying for a product that is going to sit in your kitchen, untouched. The free one will go unused, too. That coupon isn’t such a deal anymore. Instead, it is tricking you into buying something your family doesn’t want to use.

Save $1.00 When You Buy 2 or More
Let’s say the coupon is for a certain brand of milk. Buy two or more gallons of milk, and save a dollar on the total price. If you have a large family, and everyone consumes a lot of milk on a regular basis, the dollar savings might be worth it.

What if you are single, have a small family, or have a family member who is allergic to milk and cannot consume it? This coupon isn’t a good deal for you. It is trying to trick you into buying more product than you are likely to be able to use before it goes bad. Food that gets thrown away is a waste of money.

Save 25% on Your Total Purchase
Who wouldn’t like to give themselves a 25% discount on their groceries? These types of coupons are extremely appealing because they sound like you are going to get an excellent deal.

The trick is that these coupons come with a minimum spending limitation. For example, the coupon could say (in small print) that you can only use it if you spend $200 or more at the grocery store. That’s great for big families who always spend that amount on groceries.

But, it’s actually detrimental for people who typically spend less than that amount. The wording of the coupon tricks people into spending more than they intended just so they could use the coupon. If you typically spend $100 on groceries, and have to spend $200 to use the coupon… you aren’t actually saving money at all!

If you aren’t sure what coupons are worth it, simply use our Coupon Matchups to find the best sales matched up with the best coupons to save you the most!

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Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill

Posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Buy Organic Store Brands to Save BigEveryone needs to eat! Grocery shopping is a necessity that people must do. Have you ever ended up spending way more than you intended at the grocery store? Sometimes, that situation can push you over your budget. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to lower your grocery bill.

Compare Store Prices
Not all grocery stores are the same. It pays to do some price checking before you shop. Pick a few items that your family always buys. For some, that might be bread, milk, and eggs. Check the weekly sales papers to see which store has the lowest price for those staple items. Do this every week, and you can end up saving money on the foods you buy most frequently.

Get the Store Loyalty Card
You can easily get a store loyalty card from any grocery store. They are free! Once you do, it opens up a lot more savings for you. Customers who don’t have the loyalty card will be charged a higher price for items than the loyalty card holding customers will. You save money just by having a loyalty card.

Even better, the loyalty card often will enable you to obtain digital coupons. Take the time to go online and pick the coupons you want to use. Upload them to your loyalty card. When you are ready to check out, the digital coupons will automatically be used. Make sure you have your loyalty card with you before you head out the door to the grocery store.

Plan Your Meals
What will you, and your family, be eating for dinner this week? Families who plan their meals ahead of time can end up saving some money at the grocery store. This is true for two reasons. One, you know ahead of time what you need to purchase and how much to get. You won’t end up accidentally buying more than you need.

Two, planning your meals ahead of time gives you the option to do freezer cooking. Spend time on the weekend cooking several dinners. Divide the food into individual sized portions that can be easily frozen and reheated. Freezer cooking can make it easier to use up perishables before they go bad.

Make a Grocery List
Have you ever left the grocery store and then later realized that you forgot to buy something you needed? This won’t happen if you make a grocery list before you shop. Having a grocery list helps people to remember what they intended to buy. It avoids the cost of a second trip the the grocery store to get the stuff you forgot about.

A grocery list is a plan that guides your shopping. Stick to what is on the list, and you can avoid filling your cart with impulse buys. Those little extras add up!

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