How to Coupon

Time Saving Breakfasts

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 1:41 pm
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Breakfast cereal bowlThe new school year is just a few weeks away. Soon, your family will be doing the “morning rush” as everyone tries to get ready and eat breakfast in a very short span of time before leaving the house. Every minute counts! Make your morning a little less stressful with these time saving breakfast ideas.

The “Traditional” Options
If you are really crunched for time, there is nothing wrong with serving your kids a quick bowl of cereal with milk. It takes seconds to prepare and a few minutes to eat. Heat up a frozen waffle or a Pop Tart if you want a super fast hot breakfast. Granola bars are great when you (or your kids) literally have to eat and run.

Yogurt and Granola Parfait
Real Simple has a quick breakfast recipe that feels like a dessert. It takes just a minute or two to prepare. This recipe is for one serving, so repeat is as needed. You will need:

* 1/4 cup granola
* 1/2 cup plain yogurt
* 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

You will also need one parfait glass for each serving. (A regular glass will probably do if you have nothing else.) Put the granola in the bottom of the glass. Spoon the yogurt on top of it so that it covers the granola. Drizzle the teaspoon of maple syrup on the top.

English-Muffin Breakfast Pizza
Got a little more time to spare in the morning? Try this recipe from Food Network. Kids that aren’t especially motivated to get ready for school could find themselves with a new inspiration to hurry to the table when there is pizza for breakfast.

This recipe is for one serving, so repeat as needed. It takes 5 minutes to prep and 12 minutes to cook. You will need:

* 1 whole-wheat English Muffin (split into two pieces)
* 1 small tomato (seeded and diced)
* 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 thin slice Canadian bacon (1/2 ounce, diced)
* 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded)
* Chopped fresh basil for garnish.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Put the English muffin halves (cut side up) on the baking sheet. Top each one with tomato and drizzle on some olive oil. Sprinkle the Canadian bacon over the tomatoes and top with mozzarella. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (or until the cheese is beginning to brown).

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Things to Buy in August

Posted on Thursday, August 7th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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clothes, jeansThe very best time to buy something is when it is on sale. Each month has specific annual sales that you should keep an eye out for. What do you need to buy right now? Check this quick list to discover if it is one of the things that you should definitely buy in August.

School Supplies
You probably could have guessed that school supplies are on sale in August. This year, the back-to-school sales started at the end of June! Some schools start the new year in the last week of August, and others wait until the first week of September. Stores will be trying to unload their stock of school supplies right now. You can get what your children need for school at a low price. Do some price comparisons for the best deal possible.

Adults who don’t happen to have children, and who are not students themselves, can also benefit from the school supplies sales. Does your office (or home office) need more paper, pens, three-ring binders, or post-it notes? Replenish your supplies this month.

Children’s Clothing
The August sale on children’s clothing goes hand in hand with the sale on school supplies. That works out well for parents who need to buy their kids some new clothes for the upcoming school year. It can also help parents whose children attend schools that require a uniform. Some of the larger department stores will carry school uniforms right now. Again, this sale is predominantly designed to help stores get rid of stock before the season changes.

One of the best types of clothing you can buy right now is jeans. Stores that sell clothing, whether for children or adults, increase their stock of jeans right before the new school year starts. After you finish buying your kids some new clothes, head over to the adult clothing sections to take advantage of the sale on jeans.

Labor Day Sales
Labor Day is celebrated on September 1, every year. It is seen by many as the official end to summer vacation. Stores see it as a three-day weekend in which to have a huge sale on summer clothing and swimsuits, back to school supplies, items for the pool, and patio furniture. Stores that carry none of those items will still have big sales all through Labor Day weekend.

You might want to check a store’s website instead of stopping by in person. The same sales are often accessible online and in the “brick and mortar” store. There is potential that there will be some website exclusive sales.

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Reuse Last Year’s School Supplies

Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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School SupplyIt is almost time for parents to receive the back to school supplies list from whomever their children’s new teachers will be for the upcoming school year. Many parents don’t realize that these lists do not actually require you to purchase new supplies. It is perfectly acceptable to reuse some of the school supplies from last year. Save money by using up what you already have.

Shop at Home
Dig through your children’s rooms, the junk drawers, and the place where you store art supplies. Collect up all the pencils. Take a moment to sharpen all of them. How many did you find? It might be enough to send to school with your child. Does the new list of school supplies include one of those hand-held, small, pencil sharpeners? You have one, and it works, so there is no need to purchase a brand new one.

Next, go on a hunt for crayons. Many schools require elementary school students to have a standard box of 8 crayons. Look for one of each of the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple (or violet), brown, and black. Put them into a resealable plastic sandwich bag. Your child now has a pack of crayons for school.

Backpacks are Durable
Unless your child is extremely rough on backpacks, it can generally be used for more than one school year. Check it for holes and make sure the straps aren’t fraying or falling apart. It may need some cleaning and freshening before it is ready for a new school year. Wipe it down with a damp washcloth. You might consider using Febreze to remove odor from an old backpack (or one that has been stored in the garage or shed all summer long).

Binders Instead of Spirals
Some students will be asked to bring a number of spiral notebooks with them to school. Often, these binders do not get completely used up. Take the old ones from last year and pull out the paper that hasn’t been written on. Cut off the extra edges to give the paper a straight edge. Put all of these stray sheets of paper into a three ring binder.

The “leftovers” from two or three spiral notebooks can equate to one brand new notebook. Use divider sheets to separate each subject from the next one. You can add more paper to it later, as needed. What about the pages from old spiral notebooks that are blank on one side? Collect them up to be used as scrap paper.

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Ways to Save Money at Kohl’s

Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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kohlsKohl’s is a great place to shop for everything from back to school clothing and supplies to coffee makers and crockpots. One of the things that attracts frugal shoppers to Kohl’s is their low prices. Savvy shoppers quickly learn the ways to save even more money at Kohl’s. Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your dollars.

Earn Kohl’s Cash
Kohl’s Cash is not a typical type of coupon. It is something that shoppers can earn based upon how much money they spend at Kohl’s. For example, if you spend $50.00 on items from Kohl’s, you can earn a $10.00 Kohl’s Cash coupon. Spend more money to receive a higher amount of Kohl’s Cash.

This system works great for people who are intending to spend more than $50.00 at Kohl’s in one shopping trip. Make sure you redeem your Kohl’s Cash before it expires. Bring it with you to the register just like you would do with a coupon.

View the Kohl’s Website
One easy way to find out about the weekly deals at Kohl’s is to visit their website and take a look at the current sales. What do you need to buy soon? Is it on sale right now? You may want to purchase it this week to take advantage of the sale price. If you prefer, you can “sign up for a sales alert” by entering your email address into the Kohl’s website. They will send you email about their sales.

Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
This is a reward system that Kohl’s is offering to customers in certain parts of the United States. It used to be called Kohl’s Rewards (but they changed the name). You get 1 point for every dollar you spend at Kohl’s. You also get a $5.00 reward for every 100 points that you earn. People who join Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards get 8 guaranteed offers each year, plus a special birthday gift. Be aware that the points can expire – use them up before they do!

Kohl’s Charge
Kohl’s Charge is the name of the store’s credit card. If you don’t have one, the cashier may ask if you would like to apply for one. Use your Kohl’s Charge to pay for the things you buy at Kohl’s. Pay off the entire balance each month. Those who have a Kohl’s Charge get extra discounts on everything 12 times a year.

Shop the Clearance Sales
It seems like there is always a clearance sale going on at Kohl’s! The stock changes frequently as new items are added. You can get the best savings from their Gold Star Clearance Sale. Items in it will be 60% to 80% off their original price.

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These Simple Tricks Will Help You Save Money

Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Packing Lunches again? Save with free printable coupons.We all want to save money! Typically, the advice about how to save money includes suggestions that don’t apply to everyone. People are told to cut down or cut out things when they have already done so. Try some of these simple tricks that will help you save money without feeling deprived.

Pack a Lunch
It can seem easier to stop by a fast food place on your lunch break than to take the time to pack a lunch for yourself. Some feel that they just don’t have time to pack a lunch before leaving for work. One way to avoid that problem is to pack your lunch the night before and put it in your refrigerator. Grab it and go to work!

Try and pack a lunch (instead of buying one) two or three times a week. You can save the money you would have spent on fast food. You also will be eating and using up the foods you already purchased on your last grocery shopping trip before they go bad.

Make a List
Speaking of grocery shopping…it is a good idea to make a list of the foods and household items that you need before you head out the door to do some grocery shopping. A list makes it easier to remember what it was you and your family need this week. It prevents a second shopping trip to pick up something you forgot.

A list also can help prevent you from “impulse shopping”. Stick to the items that you put on your list and ignore the rest. It also is very important that you do not go grocery shopping while you are hungry. Suddenly, everything looks like something you need – right now!

Meatless Mondays
Meat is one of the most expensive foods that people buy at the grocery store. One way to save money is to start doing “Meatless Mondays”. You don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan for the rest of the week. The idea is to make recipes that do not include meat for two meals a week (preferably on the same day). You might find that vegetarian food options are less expensive than the recipes that include meat.

Try a Trade In
Have your kids finished a video game – and then lost interest in it? Do they have books on their shelves that they have outgrown? Consider taking those used items to a store that gives you credit for the items that you bring in for trade. You could end up saving at least a couple of dollars on the next book or video game that your kids want.

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Tips for Saving Money at Target

Posted on Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Target Logo (Matchups)One way to save money is to shop at stores that have reasonable prices. Target is high on the list of those who are trying to stay within a budget. The low prices are attractive to people who need to save money. There are also plenty of other ways to save money at Target. Here are some quick tips to maximize your savings for your next trip to Target.

Check the Weekly Ad
Before you go shopping, take a minute to visit the Target website and check out their weekly ad. What’s on sale right now? As you are browsing, look for things that you have been planning on purchasing. The best time to buy them is when they go on sale.

For example, a lot of parents know that they need to buy their children school supplies. That can be done anytime between when school lets out for the summer and the start of the next school year. They should check the weekly Target ad to discover when the back-to-school sales start. That’s the time to shop!

If you prefer, you can sign up on the Target website and have them send you their weekly ad by email. It makes it easier to find when you want to check it out.

Look for Coupons
The Target website has printable coupons for all kinds of things. They even have coupons for groceries! Pick the ones that you like, print them out, and take them to the store with you. Some of them will have codes attached to them. That means you can use that coupon while making an online purchase from the Target website.

Take Advantage of the Matchups
A “matchup” is a couponing technique that can save you a lot of money. It involves pairing coupons with current sales and special offers in order to get the lowest price possible. Every week, FreeCoupons.com puts together a list of all the Target Coupon Matchups. We do the math for you!

Use Cartwheel
Cartwheel is a free app from Target that is available for both iPhone and Android. Download it and then sign in with either your email address or your Facebook. Start browsing for special offers that are only available for people who use Cartwheel.

Show your mobile device to the cashier when you are ready to check out. He or she can scan the barcodes on it to access the special deals that you want to use. You can stack the savings you find on Cartwheel with other coupons, sales, or the Target REDcard savings offers.

Use the Cartwheel app to share the special offers that you think are awesome. Doing so is one way that you can work towards unlocking additional offer spots. The more you share, use the app, and interact through it, the more offers you can receive.

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State Sales Tax Holidays Help You Save Money

Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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cash register moneyOne great way to save money on school supplies is to buy them during the state sales tax holiday for your state. Not all states offer one. Some of the sales tax holidays include savings on more than school supplies and clothing. Here is a list of the upcoming state sales tax holidays that are happening in August of this year. In short, they help you save money by exempting the sales tax on certain purchases.

Here is what the sales tax exemption can be used on:
* Alabama – August 2 -3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $750 of computers, up to $50 of school supplies, and up to $30 of books.

* Connecticut – August 17 -23, 2014
Up to $300 of clothing and footwear

* Florida – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $15 of “supplies” and up to $750 of computers. “School supplies” is also listed, but does not have a dollar amount attached to it.

* Georgia – August 1-2, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $20 of “supplies” and up to $1,000 of computers. “School supplies” is also listed, but does not have a dollar amount attached to it.

* Iowa – August 1-2, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing.

* Louisiana – August 1-2, 2014
Up to $2,500 of TPP. It stands for “tangible personal property”. It includes everything except vehicles subject to license and title, meals furnished for consumption on the premises where purchased (including to-go orders). It excludes TPP that is for use in a business, trade, or profession.

* Maryland – August 10-16, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing and footwear.

* Missouri – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $3,500 in computers, and up to $50 of school supplies.

* New Mexico – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $1,000 of computers, $500 of computer equipment, and up to $30 of school supplies.

* Oklahoma – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing.

* South Carolina – August 1-3, 2014
On clothing, school supplies, computers, and “other”. No dollar amount limit is listed.

* Tennessee – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, up to $100 of school supplies, and up to $1,500 on computers

* Texas – August 8-10, 2014
Up to $100 of clothing, backpacks and school supplies

* Virginia – August 1-3, 2014
Up to $100 on clothing and up to $20 on school supplies

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What to Look for at Summer Clearance Sales

Posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Young girl with gift bag. Isolated.Ready for the summer clearance sales? Some of them have already started. It can be very tempting to shop them and purchase a ton of stuff that catches your eye. To get the very best deals, however, you are going to need to stay sharp. Here are some tips about what to look for at the summer clearance sales.

Summer Toy Sales
It won’t be long before the department stores and toy stores start receiving their first batch of Christmas stock. It can arrive as early as the end of August! Now is a good time to purchase toys that you intend to give as Christmas gifts this December. Doing so can help you to stay within your budget for the holiday season.

Look for toys that your kids have asked for – but that were too expensive for you to immediately buy. Those items might be among the toys that are on sale now. Consider picking up some toys that you can donate to toy drives around Christmas time. Buy some “extras” to give out to nieces and nephews – just in case.

Summer Clothing Sales
There is a very useful question to ask yourself before you buy things from summer clothing sales. Can you wear it right now? Is the weather still hot and humid, or has it started cooling off as Autumn approaches? Ideally, you want to purchase clothes that you will wear before the summer ends.

Buy summer clothing and wear it now – and then store it away for next summer. There is a chance you will get more than one season’s wear out of it. Putting the sale items directly into storage can cause a few problems. You may not be the same size next summer that you are today. Styles could change dramatically between now and then. If you buy clothing, and never get to wear it, you aren’t really saving money.

For best results, make sure you take the time to try the clothing on. If it doesn’t fit you right now – leave it at the store. Many people make the mistake of buying clothes that they hope to fit into “someday”. Instead, choose items that fit well right now!

Summer Book Sales
Barnes & Noble has a summer sale every year. One way to get the best deals is to compare the price of the book in the store with the price that it is being sold for on the website. Don’t forget to consider the cost of shipping! Does Amazon have it for a better price? Would an ebook be less expensive?

Check the Bargain book section for the lowest prices. Summer is a good time to buy gift books that you will give away at Christmas time. Pick up some lovely “coffee table books” or hard cover copies of former best sellers.

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Save Money – Make Your Own Popsicles!

Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Homemade popsiclesHot summer days call for ice cold refreshment. You can’t go wrong with popsicles! This colorful, flavorful, treat is a favorite for children and adults. Instead of spending money to buy package after package of popsicles at the store, why not save money and make your own? It could turn into a fun activity to entertain your kids with when they are bored. Use the empty popsicle sticks for craft projects.

Before you can make your own popsicles, you will need to gather up some supplies. Summer is a great time to find ice pop molds at your local grocery store. Some people like to make mini-popsicles in ice cube trays. It is also possible to make popsicles in small cups. Purchase a sealed package of craft sticks from a craft store.

Oprah suggests letting the popsicles freeze to a slushy consistency before setting the stick into them. Next, freeze the popsicles until they are firm (which takes at least 6 hours). Run hot water over the outside of the popsicle molds for a few seconds, and then gently pull on the sticks for successful removal of the popsicles.

Strawberry-Lemon Popsicles
Food Network has simple directions that can be followed to make various flavors of fruit popsicles. Making them requires a blender, 8 ice pop molds, craft sticks and a fine mesh strainer (if you are using fruit that has seeds).

Visit the FoodNetwork website to check out some other interesting fruit combinations that you can make into popsicles. To make strawberry-lemon popsicles, you will need:

* 3 cups whole strawberries
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon honey

Put the strawberries, honey, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend it until it is smooth. Strain the mixture to remove the seeds. Pour the mixture into the molds. Leave a little room at the top – it will expand as it freezes. Insert the craft sticks and leave them overnight to freeze.

Homemade Ice Pops
AllRecipes has a simple recipe for making ice popsicles. You will need:

* 1 package of fruit flavored JELL-O mix (3 ounces)
* 1 unsweetened, flavored, soft drink mix package (such as Kool-Aide)
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup boiling water

Combine the JELL-O, soft drink mix, sugar, and boiling water. Stir until the powders are dissolved. Add enough cold water to make 2 quarts. Pour into several 3 ounce paper drinking cups. Add craft sticks to each. Freeze until hardened.

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Freezer Meals and Food Safety

Posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Anonymous woman holding a blue cast iron casserole dishFreezer meals are great! They give you a quick way to feed your family dinner when you don’t have a lot of time to cook. They are also healthier and less expensive than a pizza delivery or a trip to the nearest fast food place. Here is some food safety advice regarding freezer meals.

Is Frozen Food Safe?
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says that food that has been constantly stored at 0 degrees F will always be safe. Freezing inactivates bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can be present in food. Once the food has been thawed, those microbes can become active again and begin to multiply.

Before you Freeze Hot Food
AllRecipes.com points out that before you freeze hot food it is very important to let it cool down. If you put hot food directly into the freezer it may not freeze uniformly. In other words, the outer edges of the food will freeze hard very quickly. At the same time, the inside of the food may not cool in time to prevent it from spoiling.

How to Freeze Hot Food Quickly
Put the pan, or dish, of hot food in a sink that has been filled with ice water. The water will cool down the pan and the food inside it quicker than if you let it cool at room temperature. If you are cooling a soup, stew, or sauce, it helps to stir it after putting the pot into a sink that has been filled with ice water. The stirring helps it to cool evenly.

Other Helpful Tips
Don’t put the entire cooled casserole into the freezer! Instead, divide it into several individual portions. Store each portion separately. Make sure to write the date that the food was frozen, and what it is, on the bag or container it now sits in. Don’t stack up the cooled individual portions in your freezer. Put them side by side, in a single layer, until they completely freeze.

Remove as much air as possible from freezer bags before sealing them closed. If you are freezing a liquid (like a soup or broth) leave a little extra room in the bag or container you are freezing it in. This is important because liquids can expand when frozen.

Best Ways to Thaw Frozen Foods
You can safely thaw frozen food by taking it out of the freezer and putting into your refrigerator. It is a slow method, but will work. For a faster method, place the frozen food in a leak-proof bag and put it in a large container of cold water. The fastest way to thaw food is to put the food in the microwave on the defrost setting. Make sure you cook the food immediately after that.

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