How to Coupon

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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A List of Where to Find Free Mother’s Day Coloring Sheets

Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsLittle kids will be more than happy to make a gift for their mom. For them, it is more fun than picking out a card from the store. There are plenty of Mother’s Day coloring sheets that are free to download and print out. Even the youngest kids can color a picture (in their own way)! Here is a quick list of where to find free Mother’s Day coloring sheets.

The Disney Family website has all kinds of crafts for kids to make. They have a section that is filled with Mother’s Day crafts. It also includes some fun coloring pages that feature Disney characters.

Sleeping Beauty’s Color-In Mother’s Day Card has a picture of Sleeping Beauty on the front of the card, surrounded by small animals. The card comes in two parts. Kids can color the front part. An adult might need to help them attach the back of the card to the front.

Bambi’s Color-In Mother’s Day Card has a cute image of Bambi snuggling with his mother. They are sitting near a bunch of flowers. Kids can color the picture for their mom. Fold the card over after the coloring is done.

Bambi’s Mother’s Day Placemat makes a very cute addition to the “Breakfast in Bed” Mother’s Day gift. Kids can color in the picture of Bambi and his mother (who are surrounded by Bambi’s friends). There is a space where kids can write the menu. An adult should help with the actual breakfast part of this gift.
Crayola is a trusted name in children’s art supplies. The Crayola website has tons of coloring pages. Many connect to a particular holiday. All are free to print out.

Turtle Mommy shows a drawing of a cartoon Turtle Mommy who is smiling at her turtle child. The little turtle holds a flower in his mouth and is carrying a big cupcake on his back. Both are gifts for his mom.

Mother’s Day shows a picture of a mom who is wearing an apron. Her son is happily handing her a bouquet of flowers and a balloon that says “Best Mom Ever”.

Nick Jr.
The Nick Jr. website has tons of craft ideas that connect to the cartoons featured on the Nick Jr. channel. They have a couple of printable Mother’s Day coloring sheets.

Peter’s Happy Mother’s Day Card shows a cute drawing of Peter Rabbit who is handing his mother a wrapped gift.

Little Bear’s Kiss Coupon shows a cute drawing of Little Bear who is being held by his mom. Little Bear has a flower for her. The coloring sheet says “A Kiss for You. This coupon is good for 1 kiss. Happy Mothers Day!” It has room for a child to write his or her name.

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Recipes With Zucchini

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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zucchiniThe best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s when you can find it at the lowest price of the year. Wait too long, and it will go out of season again (and the price will go up). Zucchini is one of the many lovely vegetables that goes in season during the month of May. Here are some recipes that feature zucchini.

Zucchini Bread
Food Network has a zucchini bread recipe that was created by Paula Dean. This recipe will yield two loves of zucchini bread. You will need:

All-purpose flour, salt, ground nutmeg, baking soda, ground cinnamon, sugar, vegetable oil, four beaten eggs, water lemon juice, chopped nuts, and 2 cups of grated zucchini.

Those of you who know how to bake bread will find this recipe incredibly easy. Further details are on the Food Network website. You can make the zucchini bread in 2 standard loaf pans or in 5 mini loaf pans.

Zucchini Oven Chips
Cooking Light has a recipe for zucchini oven chips (that appears on the My Recipes website). This one is incredibly easy to make and will produce 4 servings. You will need:

Breadcrumbs, grated fresh Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, some fat-free milk, and 2 and a half cups of zucchini slices. They recommend you cut the zucchini into ¼ inch slices. You will also need some cooking spray.

You will end up with breaded, oven-fried, zucchini chips that taste as though they had been fried. They are a healthier substitute for french fries or potato chips. They make a good treat, snack, or perhaps even a side dish.

Stuffed Zucchini
AllRecipes has a recipe that features zucchini. This one is definitely a main course. The recipe makes four servings. You will need:

3 zucchini, pork sausage, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, a jar of spaghetti sauce, some grated Parmesan cheese and some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Brown the sausage. In a bowl, mix the seeds with the sausage, garlic, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Stuff the zucchini with that mixture. Put it into the oven and pour some spaghetti sauce over it. This recipe is a nice alternative to pasta.

Other ideas
Slices of cooked zucchini make a nice addition to your “regular” pasta recipe. People who enjoy drinking their vegetables in the form of juicing can add some fresh zucchini to a mixture of carrots and apples.

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Free Kids Events in May

Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsEvery month, there are plenty of kids events that give children the chance to make an art project, put together a wooden craft, build something, or sit and listen to a story. Even better, many of them are offered for free. Would your kids like to attend some of the free kids events?

LEGO Stores
LEGO stores offer a free mini-build event every month. It is for kids who are between the ages of 6 and 14. The event begins at 5:00 in the evening and is offered “while supplies last”.

May 5, 2015: Koala – Kids will build a mini model that looks like a Koala.

Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids has different kinds of free kids events every month. Check with your local store to make sure it is one that will be holding the event.

May 4, 2015: Tissue Paper Flower craft – Kids will make a tissue paper flower craft to give to their mothers in celebration of Mother’s Day.

May 5, 2015: Mother’s Day Story Time – Kids will listen to a story that includes a mom. Children that become a book club member will receive a special gift after attending five story times.

Home Depot
Home Depot offers free workshops for kids who are between the ages of 5 and 12. All kids get to keep the wooden craft they build. They also receive a free certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin. Parents must register their children in order to have them attend the event.

May 2, 2015: Picket Fence Photo Frame – Kids will learn how to build a photo frame that has a cute picket fence around the base.

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Lowe’s Build and Grow
offers free kids clinics for children. Kids will get to keep the wooden project they make. They will receive a free apron, goggles, and a patch. Parents must register their children in order to have them attend the event.

May 9, 2015: Mother’s Day Planter – Kids will put together a kit that makes a planter. The side says “Happy Mother’s Day!”. There is a photo frame in the center of the planter.

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

May 2, 2015: Thank-A-Teacher Tote Bag – Kids will decorate a canvas tote to give to their teacher.

May 9, 2015: Garden Blooms Photo Frame – Kids will put together and decorate a photo frame that resembles a flower in a pot.

May 16, 2015: Fly Away! Hot Air Balloon! – Kids will create and decorate a paper hot air balloon that has a “basket” made from a plastic foam bowl. It is designed to be hung from the ceiling.

May 23, 2015: Memorial Day Flag – Kids will put together a flag made from painted craft sticks.

May 30, 2015: Hello, Sunshine! Mobile – Kids will create and decorate a happy sun out of paper plates. It is designed to be hung up.

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Cleaning With Baking Soda

Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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Baking Soda and ToothbrushMany people have concerns about the content of the cleaning products that they currently use. Is it safe to use around babies? What about around pets? One option is to substitute baking soda for some of those products. There are many things that can be cleaned with baking soda.

Clean the Fridge
Good Housekeeping has a simple solution for getting rid of a bad smell that is in your refrigerator. Obviously, you should take the time to go through the contents of the fridge and throw out anything that has gone bad first. Wipe off the shelves and drawers.

Sometimes, doing all that is not quite enough. The bad smell lingers. The way to get rid of it is to open a box of baking soda and put it in your fridge. It will absorb strong food odors and make the fridge smell better.

Clean the Bathroom
Reader’s Digest tells you how to make a nontoxic bathroom cleaner. It includes baking soda, liquid soap, water, and vinegar. Check their blog for the correct amounts of each. They suggest that you put the finished mixture into a spray bottle.

This nontoxic bathroom cleaner can be used on any bathroom surface. Reader’s Digest says it cuts through soap scum and mildew just as well as any commercial bathroom product. Even better, the baking soda based mixture is super inexpensive!

Clean the Dishwasher
All You has an easy way to clean your dishwasher. It will get rid of the “gunk” that can build up and make the dishwasher smell fresher. Start with an empty dishwasher. Don’t add soap. Add baking soda instead. Run the dishwasher while it is empty.

Clean the Microwave
Care2 has a good suggestion on how to clean your microwave. Start with a clean sponge. Get it damp. Add some baking soda onto the sponge. Use the sponge to clean the microwave. Care2 says that you should rinse the microwave well with water after you are done cleaning.

Cleaning Pet Items
You can make your pet’s bed smell better with baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda on it and let it sit. (Make sure your pet cannot access the bed while the baking soda is on it). Vacuum up the baking soda. The smell is gone!

Baking soda can also be used to freshen your cat’s litter box. Start with an empty litter box. Sprinkle some baking soda into it. Add the litter on top. The baking soda will help cut down on the odor.

You can also use baking soda to keep ants and other insects away from your pet’s food bowls. Surround the bowls with baking soda. It will prevent the ants from getting anywhere near the food.

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Things You Can Clean With Vinegar

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 at 1:52 pm
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Spray BottleHave you ever gotten ready to clean your home only to discover that you have run out of the cleaning products that you need? One option is to use vinegar instead. There are plenty of things that vinegar can safely and effectively clean.

Pet Stains
Cesar Milan says you can use vinegar to clean up pet stains on carpets. For light pet stains, he suggest a mixture of 2 tbsp of salt and ½ cup of white vinegar.

For heavier pet stains, use 2 tbsp salt, ½ cup of white vinegar. For tough stains that have been ground into the carpet, use 1 tbsp of white vinegar and 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Soak a washcloth into each mixture and use it to rub out the stain. Let the solution dry, and then vacuum it.

Coffee and Tea Stains
Are your mugs looking a bit dingy? Coffee and tea can stain the bottom of the mug. Your dishwasher might not be able to remove that dark ring of stain. It can also be difficult to scrub it out by hand. All You says you can brighten coffee cups and teacups by gently scrubbing stains with equal parts vinegar and salt. (Or, you can substitute baking soda for the salt).

Shower head Residue
One would think that the showerhead wouldn’t be able to get dirty. In reality, it can. Residue from hard water can build up on it and be very difficult to remove. There is an easy way to get rid of it that doesn’t involve a lot of scrubbing.

Better Homes and Gardens suggests you pour some vinegar into a plastic bag and secure it to your shower head with a twist-tie. Put enough vinegar into the bag so that the bottom part of your shower head is completely submerged Leave it there overnight. Remove the bag before you shower the next morning.

Unclog and Deodorize a Drain
Your sink is clogged and you’ve run out of the cleaning product you use to unclog drains. What can you do now? Reader’s Digest suggests you use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain.

Use a funnel to pour ½ cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar, into the drain. It will foam. When it stops foaming, flush the drain with hot tap water. Wait five minutes. Flush the drain again, this time with cold water.

Clean Floors
Real Simple says that you can use vinegar to clean almost any type of floor. Add ¼ cup of vinegar to a bucket or warm water. Mop your floor with that mixture instead of a store-bought cleaner. Real Simple points out that you should not use this mixture on marble or wood floors (but the rest are fine).

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Make Money by Recycling

Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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piggy bank, woman saving moneyWe all know that recycling is good for the planet. Did you know that you can make some money by recycling? It isn’t a “get rich quick” type of scenario. In most cases, you will only make a few extra dollars for your efforts. Over time, those dollars can add up and help you to stay within your budget.

Cans and Bottles
You might live in a state that pays people to recycle their bottles and cans. In California, people can take their bottles and cans to a RePlanet recycling facility and get paid by the pound or by putting individual cans and bottles into a reverse vending machine.

You can get 5 cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers that are 24 ounces (or over). The cans and bottles must have the CRV “California Redemption Value” mark on it.

In Michigan, people can take empty beer bottles, soft drink cans, carbonated and mineral water bottles, wine cooler bottles, and empty canned cocktails to a retail store for recycling. They will also accept any airtight metal, glass, paper, or plastic containers that are under 1 gallon.

People can receive 10 cents per bottle or can. Each container must have a state-specific mark on it in order for it to be recycled for cash.

Wine Corks
Yemm & Hart Green Materials is now purchasing wine cork stoppers. They are only accepting the wine corks in bulk amounts with a minimum package weight or 13.79 pounds. You can earn 1/2 cent per wine cork.

The wine corks must be full cylinder, real corks. This includes: whole cork, twin cap and agglomerated wine cork stoppers. They will not accept broken corks, gnawed corks, drilled corks, Champaign corks, tapered corks, cork coasters, cork sheet, synthetic stoppers, corks attached to or containing wood, metal, plastic, ceramic, glass, plastic, wax, string, paint, or any other non-cork material. Check their website for full details.

It might also be possible to sell a smaller amount of wine corks on eBay. There are people who make crafts out of them and who would be willing to purchase a smaller amount than is required for Yemm & Hart Green Materials.

Cell phones and Smartphones is a company that recycles cell phones, smartphones, MP3 players and tablets. Put your device into an EcoATM test station. It will tell you how much cash your can get for it. If you agree to that amount, you will receive cash on the spot.

Check the EcoATM website to find out where their nearest one is located. Be prepared to bring a government or US state issued identification card. Your device doesn’t need to be functional in order to recycle it through EcoATM.

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