How to Coupon

Ways to Make Easter Candy More Frugal

Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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easter-candy It’s not an Easter basket unless it contains a chocolate rabbit. Most kids expect that there will also be a lot of other chocolates and sweets in their baskets. Families who have several children will quickly realize that all that candy can get expensive. Here are some ideas on how to save money on Easter candy.

Use your coupons.
Coupons are a quick and easy way to make the cost of candy a little bit lower. The weeks before Easter are the best time to look for coupons for Easter candy.

Start with the printable coupons that are right here at FreeCoupons.com. Here’s a quick list of the ones that are available right now:

* Save $1.00 off 2 MARS chocolate M&M’s (and others)
* Save $0.50 off Butterfinger Easter Mini Bars (11 ounce size)
* Save $0.50 off NESTLE Crunch Easter Mini Bars (10 ounce size)
* Save $1.00 off 2 NESTLE, Butterfinger, Crunch, NestEggs
* Save $1.00 off 2 NESTLE Jelly Beans, Laffy Taffy, Nerds

Target has some coupon for Easter candy, too. These coupons can only be used at Target:

* Save $1.00 when you buy two 9.45 ounce (or larger) M&M bags
* Save $1.00 when you buy two 14 ounce Starburst Sweet & Sour jelly bean bags
* Save $1.50 when you buy two 7.94 ounce (or larger) Dove chocolates

Don’t forget to use the store’s loyalty card when you shop for Easter candy! People who have the loyalty card can get extra savings and sales. Target also has a savings app called Cartwheel that can help lower the price of some items.

Divide things up.
Pour a small amount of M&M’s into a plastic Easter egg. Stick some of the filled eggs inside each child’s Easter basket. Open up the packages of individually wrapped candy and divide it up by putting a couple of pieces into each of your children’s Easter baskets.

Dividing things up lowers the cost because you are spreading one package of candy out instead of giving one entire package to each child. It also makes it possible for all of your kids to receive a little bit of a wide variety of candies. Visually, it will look like more candy than it actually is.

Re-use what you can.
There is another way to fit more Easter candy into your budget. Instead of buying brand new baskets, re-use the ones that the Easter Bunny left last year. Find out how many plastic Easter eggs you already have at home before you buy new ones. Consider using shredded newspaper as a “filler” instead of the plastic Easter grass.

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Easy to Make Recipes With Fish

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fish Fry BreadingFish can be a healthy alternative to beef or pork. There are some who may want to try recipes with fish but are hesitant because it’s outside of their comfort zone. Others may need some new fish recipes to serve to their family during Lent. Fortunately, there are some easy to make recipes with fish that you can try.

Easy Fish Sandwich
Food.com has a super easy recipe for a fish sandwich. The recipe was created on a day when a woman didn’t want to go into town for dinner. The name of the recipe is: “Don’t Want to Go to Town Fish Sandwich Longmeadow Farm”

This recipe calls for frozen fish fillets. Those are pretty easy to cook! Just follow the directions on the package. You will also need sandwich buns. It is recommend you toast them. Put cheese on the bottom half of the bun after it has been toasted. Add some tartar sauce, and you are all set. You can also add lettuce and tomato slices.

Pan-Seared Salmon Nuggets
Southern Living has an easy fish recipe for pan-seared Salmon Nuggets. Cut salmon fillets into 2-inch pieces. You can season them with salt and pepper if you like.

Spray them with vegetable cooking spray and cook them in a hot non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side. Picky eaters may find fish more appealing when it is presented in a format that resembles chicken nuggets.

The recipe is specifically for the pan-seared Salmon nuggets. It is up to you what you would like to serve them with. Some easy suggestions include: rice, pasta, or salad.

Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets
This is a different take on the traditional “fish and chips”. Typically, that recipe includes battered fish that has been fried and a serving of what American call french fries (which are called chips in the UK). This recipe actually uses what Americans call chips (which are called crisps in the UK) to coat the fish.

Start with 6-ounce cod fillets. Put them on a parchment lined cooking sheet and brush them with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with salt. Press some crushed chips into the top of each fillet. Cook the fish as you typically would. It will come out crunchy even though it wasn’t fried.

This recipe is only for the fish. It is up to you what you would like to serve along with it. Steamed vegetables would be a healthy option. French fries are always popular.

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade Safety Tips

Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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St. Patricks Day Hat and MoneyThe annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is a tradition that everyone can enjoy. Unfortunately, it can also be a big distraction that thieves will take advantage of. There are ways to prevent having to spend money to replace or repair stolen or broken items. Here are some safety tips to follow to make your St. Patrick’s Day parade watching experience an enjoyable one.

Lock your Vehicle
Everyone is busy watching the parade. That’s when thieves peruse the parking lots in the hopes of being able to steal valuable items that people left in their vehicles. No one wants to have to replace an expensive item that was stolen from them.

Make sure that all the doors of your vehicle are locked before you leave the parking lot. Doing so makes it that much harder for a thief to get into your car or truck. That may be enough to make a thief consider selecting a different vehicle.

Another option is to take your valuable items (like your smartphone, tablet, or GPS device) with you to the parade. Put them into a bag that can be zippered shut. Some people prefer to put devices into the glove compartment where they won’t be seen by thieves. The best advice, of course, is to just leave those things at home!

There’s another good reason to make sure your vehicle is securely locked long after the parade is over. Many people choose to consume a lot of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day. An inebriated person could mistake your car for his own, or be inspired to get in and cause some shenanigans. If you are able, park your vehicle in your garage and make sure the garage is locked.

Lock your Home
If everyone in town is watching the parade – that means the nobody is home. Thieves try and take advantage of this by breaking and entering people’s homes during the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Obviously, they are hoping to find expensive stuff that they can steal and try to re-sell.

Lock your home before you leave for the parade. Use the deadbolts. Turn on your security alarm. Ask a trusted neighbor, who is not going to attend the parade, to keep an eye on your home while you are gone.

Drive Safe
The weekend of St. Patrick’s Day is an excellent time to practice defensive driving. There could be people on the road who have had too much alcohol to drink. Pay very close attention to what’s happening on the road around you. Turn off the music you might normally listen to while driving. Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears his or her seatbelt. You might be able to avoid getting into an accident.

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Frugal Food for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Old_Country_Buffet_LogoYou can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with all of the foods that are associated with it – but at a lower cost. One way to lower the cost is to make the food yourself at home (instead of paying for it at a chain restaurant). Another way is to use coupons to make the food you buy more frugal.

Visit the Buffet
Buffets are great because you can get a whole lot of food for a reasonable amount of money. There is a chain of buffet restaurants that go by different names (depending on where you live).

Hometown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, Fire Mountain, and Country Buffet will be serving hand-carved corned beef all day long on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Of course, they will be offering their usual foods and beverages as well.

Use Your Coupons
Planning on making corned beef and cabbage yourself? Do you like to bake your own Irish soda bread instead of purchasing a pre-made one? Make sure to look for coupons that will lower the cost of the ingredients these foods require.

It is also a good idea to shop at a grocery store where you have a loyalty card. Those who have one will be offered discounts on all kinds of items from all over the store. If you can’t find coupons for the St. Patrick’s Day foods you want, perhaps you can lower the cost of the rest of your groceries instead.

Make a “Copycat” Recipe
The Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s is tasty. A small Shamrock shake costs a little less than $3.00, and a medium one costs a little more then $3.00. That’s just for one shake!

It doesn’t sound expensive if you only want one. However, the price adds up if you want more than one during the season it appears in. Families who have a lot of children will notice how fast the price of one shake adds up when you need four of them at the same time.

A less expensive option is to use a “copycat” recipe to make your own version of a Shamrock Shake at home. One gallon of vanilla ice cream contains about 16 cups of ice cream. The “copycat” recipe calls for just 2 cups per shake. That’s enough for 8 Shamrock shakes, for the price of maybe one or two.

Share with Family
One way to make the cost of St. Patrick’s Day foods lower is to split it among several family members. Someone makes the corned beef and cabbage. Another person bakes some Irish soda bread. A third person gathers up all the ingredients for “copycat” Shamrock shakes. Everyone shares the cost – and everyone gets to enjoy the foods together.

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Where to Find Free St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets

Posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsAre your kids excited about St. Patrick’s Day? Have they started asking when the parade will be? One way to channel that excitement is to give your kids some free St. Patrick’s Day coloring pages to decorate color, and draw on. You can print them out as often as you like.

Crayola.com is an excellent resource for free coloring pages. They have some for just about every holiday that you can think of. Every coloring page can be printed out for free. They have some that are specifically about St. Patrick’s Day.

* A Pot of Gold shows a leprechaun who is sitting inside a pot of gold and throwing coins out of it. There is, of course, a rainbow that leads to the pot of gold.

* Luck-Of-The-Irish shows a leprechaun who is sitting inside a pot of gold and throwing coins out of it. There is, of course, a rainbow that leads to the pot of gold.

* Lucky Parade is a very cute drawing of people participating in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. There is a man dressed like a leprechaun, a person holding a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” sign, and a person playing the bagpipes. All of them are walking down the street under a St. Patrick’s Day banner.

* Shamrocks is a drawing of a hat that has been turned upside down and placed on the ground. Six shamrocks are growing out of it. Each one of them has four leaves.

* Shamrock is a coloring page that could be for kids of all ages. In the center is a large shamrock with three leaves. Around the edges is a tiny border made up of flowers and shamrocks that older kids may enjoy coloring. The page says “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”.

Disney Family also has some very cute St. Patrick’s Day related crafts and coloring pages. Children of all ages can color the coloring pages. Some of the crafts may require a parent’s help.

* It’s a Small World Coloring Page – Ireland is an adorable coloring page that is done in the style of the “It’s a Small World” ride. It shows four children in Irish clothing dancing in front of houses that have thatched roofs. A row of shamrocks goes across the front of the page.

* Mickey Mouse St. Patrick’s Day Hidden Picture Coloring Page is a good choice for older children who enjoy searching for hidden pictures in the drawing. Mickey Mouse is in the center of the page, dancing, and wearing clothing that resembles what a leprechaun might wear. Kids can try and find the hidden pictures in the drawing that surrounds Mickey.

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What to Buy in March

Posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Refrigerator 3Every month, there are annual sales that savvy shoppers wait for. The best time to buy something is when it goes on sale. Miss the sale and you have to wait for another year for the same sale to pop up again. Here is a quick look at the things you should buy in March.

Frozen Food
Did you know that March is Frozen Food Month? Grocery stores and frozen food manufacturers celebrate it by offering plenty of coupons for frozen foods. You will find those coupons online and in the Sunday inserts in newspapers.

Now is a great time to find out how much room you have in your freezer. Start (or replenish) your stockpile of the frozen food products that your family enjoys. Use coupons and combine them with discounts that come from having the store’s loyalty card.

New Luggage
There isn’t much call for travel in March. The month doesn’t include Christmas or Thanksgiving, two of the holidays that result in the most travel plans. It’s also a little early for most people to be thinking about vacation travel.

Luggage manufacturers will put luggage on sale in March in the hopes that it will make people suddenly decide to book a trip somewhere. Now is a good time to replace worn out or broken luggage even if you don’t currently have any travel plans. Your plans might change before the holidays return, and the price of luggage will rise by then.

Golf Clubs
It may be too cold and snowy to consider going for a round of golf right now. Even so, the new spring line of golf clubs (and accessories) will be coming out soon. That means the current ones need to move out. Pro shops will put last year’s golf clubs on sale in March.

Not a golfer? Consider picking up some new clubs for your spouse. Or, store them away and give them as a Father’s Day gift in June. This sale could also benefit parents who have a high schooler who has joined the school’s golf team.

Chocolate
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays for chocolate. The other big one is Christmas. There aren’t any holidays in March that influence people to buy lots of chocolate. Chocolate companies will have sales in an effort to boost their sales in between holidays.

You can get great deals on the leftover Valentine’s Day chocolates. There will also be sales on “regular” chocolate. You are going to have to wait a while before the Easter chocolates go on sale, though.

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Join our New Free Coupons Facebook Group!

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 10:52 am
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FB Winter Group

If you use Facebook, come join our brand new Facebook Group! You can join HERE

There you’ll get access to all the money-saving posts we share, plus access to free coupons, giveaways, coupon matchups and can even swap and share coupons with other couponers. It will be the perfect place for us to interact and share our couponing adventures with other couponers.

I hope to see you there!

 

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Free Kids Events in March

Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Creativity lesson(preschool activity)Need something fun for your kids to do that doesn’t cost a lot of money? There are plenty of free kids events offered every month. Which of the free kids events that will take place this March would your child enjoy attending?

LEGO
LEGO holds a free mini-model building event every month. It is offered “while supplies last” and is for children ages 6 to 14. The events are held at LEGO stores and begin at 5:00 in the evening.

March 3, 2015: LEGO robot mini-model build – Kids will put together a LEGO robot.

Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids holds several different kinds of free kids events every month. Check the store’s website for more details.

March 7, 2015: Superhero wristcuffs or an owl habitat – This is a Handmade Charlotte DIY Crafting event. Kids will be introduced to the creative DIY projects of Handmade Charlotte (who is a blogger). The event will begin at 11:00 in the morning.

March 7 – 21, 2015: Peter Rabbit character appearance – Kids can meet Peter Rabbit. Parents can take photos. This event is being offered in select Pottery Barn Kids stores, only.

March 31, 2015: Peter Rabbit Story Time – Kids can read along to The Classic Tale of Peter Rabbit. This event will start at 11:00 in the morning.

Home Depot
Home Depot offers free building events for kids. Each child will receive a free certificate of achievement, Workshop Apron, and commemorative pin. They also get to keep the project they built. Parents must register their children for this event.

March 7, 2015: Learn how to build bookends – Kids will build a pair of bookends with sports or flower stickers.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow offers free building workshops for kids. Each child who attends will receive a free apron, goggles, and patch. They also get to keep the project they built. Parents must register their children for this event.

March 14, 2015: Monster Jam featuring El Toro Loco – Kids will put together a Monster Jam wooden vehicle that looks like El Toro Loco.

Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning offers free craft events for kids who are ages 3 and up. No registration is required.

March 7, 2015: Hold-It-All Buggy Clip – Kids will decorate a clothespin to look like a cute insect

March 14, 2015: Lucky Catch Leprechaun – Kids will put together a catch game that looks like a Leprechaun

March 21, 2015: Feathery Friend – Kids will put together a toy bird that has lots of feathers.

March 28, 2015: Changing Caterpillar – Kids will put together a craft that starts as a caterpillar and can transform into a butterfly.

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Coupons and the WIC Program

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake Coupons with US CoinsWIC is a federal food assistance program that helps women, infants, and children. Those who qualify for this type of assistance need to meet income eligibility guidelines. This is a program that can provide much needed help to low-income families. People using WIC can use coupons with it.

What is WIC?
WIC is an abbreviation of “women, infants, and children”. It is a special supplemental nutrition program that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum woman. It is also provides the same benefits for infants and children (up to the age of 5) who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Who is eligible for WIC?
There are four criteria that determine who is (and who is not) eligible for WIC. The first one is “categorical”. WIC is for pregnant women (during pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after the birth of an infant or the end of a pregnancy). It also for infants (up to the infant’s first birthday) and children (up to the child’s fifth birthday).

The second criteria is “residential”. Applicants must live in the state in which they apply for WIC. The third criteria is “income”. In order to qualify, a woman must be at or below the income level or standard set by whatever state she lives in. The fourth criteria is “nutrition risk”. This means that the mother or the infant has medical-based or dietary-based conditions.

What does WIC cover?
WIC provides foods for mothers, infants, and children. These foods include: infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans or peas, and canned fish. Recently, the following items were added: soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options.

Those who are eligible for WIC pay for these foods with checks or vouchers. Some states have replaced the checks or vouchers with an EBT card. The card can be used just like a debit card at stores that take WIC.

Can you use coupons with WIC?
Yes! You absolutely can use coupons with WIC. Doing so can help stretch the WIC benefit a little bit farther. The WIC guidelines for 2014 from the United States Department of Agriculture state that WIC authorized vendors must treat people who use WIC the same as they treat people who do not use it. That means people who use WIC are allowed to use coupons and take advantage of in-store promotions.

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How to Use Coupons with the SNAP Program

Posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake CouponsPeople who are eligible for the SNAP program have very low income. It becomes very important to make the most of the benefits. Many people are unaware that a person can use coupons while they are using their SNAP benefits.

What is SNAP?
SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It used to be called “food stamps” and once included actual stamps that people had to rip out of a booklet and hand to the cashier at the grocery store. Today, the stamps have been replaced by an EBT card.

SNAP is a program that helps people who meet certain financial criteria In other words, this is a program designed to help low-income people to obtain food.

What does SNAP cover?
There are limitations on what SNAP benefits can be used for. SNAP benefits can be used to buy breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Any food that fits into those categories will be covered. It also covers seeds and plants to produce food for the household to eat.

There are also some things that SNAP benefits will not cover. SNAP won’t cover: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco. It won’t cover pet food, soap, paper products, diapers, or household supplies, vitamins, medicines, or other “non-food items”.

How to use coupons with SNAP.
It is really easy to use coupons with SNAP benefits. First, make a grocery list like you usually would. Look for coupons that will help reduce the cost of the foods and non-alcoholic beverages on your list. Coupons can come from anywhere: online, Sunday newspaper inserts, or from the email you get from your favorite brands.

Bring those coupons with you to the grocery store. The coupons will help you spend less of your SNAP benefits than if you didn’t use any coupons at all. This could help stretch those benefits for another week.

Another really good idea is to use coupons for the items that SNAP doesn’t cover. Look for coupons on toilet paper, cleaning products, vitamins, and the other necessities that you cannot spend your SNAP benefits on. Doing so will help reduce the amount of money you need to spend “out of pocket” for the household items you need.

Read the weekly sales ads.
What’s on sale this week at your local grocery store? How do those sale prices compare to the sales at the other grocery stores? You can stretch your SNAP benefits a little bit further if you start by choosing the store that has the lowest prices for the items you need. Before you go, it is advisable that you make sure the grocery store will accept SNAP benefits.

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