Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fabulous Last Minute Gifts

Here are some cheap last minute gift ideas...

Restaurant.com still has their gift certificates at 80% off. Pay only $2 for a $25 gift certificate. Use code HOLIDAY at checkout.

CVS is offering a free 5x7 or 8x10 when you order online and use ENLARGE as the code. Also, choose "pick up in hours" and you can get 4x6 prints for .10 each.

Vistaprint.com has free 2009 calendars - this offer may be for returning customers, you will need to check. These calendars can be customized with your own photos. However, Vistaprint does offer free products regularly.

Walgreens is offering a free 8x10 when you use code FREEGIFT at checkout.

Here is an idea for decorating in the new year...Wonderful Graffiti is having their 6th Annual Write Sale. If your not familiar with Wonderful Graffiti, I strongly recommend you check out their site. They have beautiful interior typography for your walls. You can use your own quote or you can choose one of theirs. You could group a set of family photos with a meaningful quote in your home's entry. The sale starts Jan. 1 and ends Jan. 31.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Frugal Tree Skirt

For the past few years, I have really been into the idea of a Christmas forest. So, I purchased 3 skinny pre-lit trees of varying sizes and I group them together to achieve the look. This year though, I have one in my dining room and one on each side of my sofa. It looks really Christmas-y in here! Since a normal tree skirt wouldn't work really well, I looked for something different. I wanted to achieve the look of snow so I purchased 2-1/2 yards of white fleece on sale at Hancock Fabrics for $2.22 a yard. I cut it into three strips to drape around each of the trees. Next, I tucked the edges under to make it look a little more natural. Now my trees look like they have a blanket of snow around them. The best part is, this idea would work on any Christmas tree! If you have one big tree then you could really fluff it up and make it look snowy. Oh, and theres my paint buckets as gift baskets!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Paint Bucket Gift Basket

I first saw this idea on Alyssa's blog, Keeping the Kingdom First. Once I saw it, I couldn't wait to make my own. The possibilities are endless! I purchased a paint bucket at Home Depot for about $5 then I used 2 - 12x12 pieces of cardstock that I already had and then I bought the ribbon at Hobby Lobby. I'm going to use these as gift baskets instead of actual baskets for Christmas presents. I could also fill them with cookies or candy for coworkers.

If you are like me and like to see things being made before you attempt them yourself, watch this video from monkeysee.com. Don't forget to tie the paint can opener on the side. Otherwise, you would be a little embarrassed if you didn't offer a way for the recipient to open their present. Although...that would be pretty hilarious...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I woke up early this morning because I am so excited about finishing dinner and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving Day! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to ready my blog.

Here is my recipe for Cranberry Salad. Its so yummy that if I didn't make it every year, I would have some very upset family.

1 pkg. (6 oz.) cherry flavored gelatin
2 c. hot water
1 lb. can whole cranberry sauce
1 lb. can jellied cranberry sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 lb. can crushed pineapple - drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Dissolved gelatin in water. Add cranberry sauces and lemon juice and walnuts (or pecans) they'll float to the top as it chills. Pour into a serving bowl. Chill until firm.

Tip: I always make this the night before so I know its ready to go on Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cool Way to Organize Your Necklaces

Organizing my jewelry has always been a weak spot for me. I had a beautiful jewelry box that my hubby got me for Christmas one year but it went into self destruct mode. Since then, my necklaces in particular have always sort of floated from place to place or mostly gotten piled up on the bathroom counter. I saw this idea in Family Circle Magazine, so I thought, "brilliant!, I can hang a corkboard on that blank wall in my closet." Now, you may think, "that is one fancy corkboard." Well you have my sweet hubby to thank for that. As we were standing in Hobby Lobby with corkboard in hand, he said, "why don't we paint a cool design on it." So, we did. We bought a can of cream colored spray paint and painted the background. Then we purchased a stencil and 3 different colors of acrylic paint and stenciled the lovely paisely design you see. I used regular clear colored pins to stick the necklaces up there. I have my earrings organized in a different place, but I'll post about that later.

So heres that "free" soup...

As I've read various money saving tips over the years, I've always seen the same one repeated..."Freeze leftover vegetables after dinner and use them to make a "free" soup." Well, I finally took that advice and used up all of my ziploc bags full of leftover vegetables to make some chicken soup. It was sooo good. Since the veggies were already seasoned from when I cooked them the first time, it really had such a good flavor. I also chopped up some leftover baked chicken to go in it and I added a bag of lima beans that I had in the freezer. And last but not least, I threw in a can of cream of chicken soup to thicken the broth. I would give you the recipe but there really isn't one since its based on what leftovers you have.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cheap Restaurant Gift Certificates!

Check this out from Couponmom.com:

Deal extended! Save 80% at Restaurant.com with the code SURPRISE. Pay only $2 for a $25 certificate. Code expires Monday 11/24. These make great holiday gifts and don't expire for a full year. You can buy a $100 certificate for only $8!

Also, check out Couponmom.com. She lists grocery store sale prices and matches them with coupons. You can select stores from your area, view the sales and print a list to shop with. I got started with my couponing with Couponmom.com and it has been so helpful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Won An Award!

I won the Kreativ Blogger Award! Cherie over at The Wandering Peanut was gracious enough to pass this along to me. Cherie collects expired coupons and sends them overseas to our military families. If you are interested in helping her with this, please follow the link and let her know. Also she has a really cool blog with coupon match -ups that you will find helpful. Thanks Cherie!!! Now I have to list six things that I'm thankful for and pass this along to six other blogs!

I'm thankful for:

1. God and his amazing grace!

2. My awesome husband who loves me so much and always knows what I need and when I need it. I'm so thankful that God sent him to me!

3. My family. No matter what we've been through, we always come back to each other!

4. My job. I'm very fortunate to be able to come to work every day and be an interior designer!

5. My cozy apartment that is convenient to everything.

6. My silly friends that keep me laughing.

Now to pass this to six other blogs:

1. Cherie at The Wandering Peanut

2. Sarah at Fiddledeedee (she does great Publix coupon match-ups!)

3. Alyssa at Keeping the Kingdom First (check out her CVS $5 Challenge)

4. Erin at Coupon Cravings (she has the scoop on whats free this week at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens)

5. Andrea at Mommy Snacks (I always check out her CVS and Walgreens previews)

6. Denise at The Centsible Sawyer (check out her post on current give-a-ways)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free Coffee from World Market

I can't tell you how much I love to shop at World Market. They have the coolest stuff for your home and they have an awesome selection of imported food. (also a great place to get neat stuff for those gift baskets!) Anyhoo, they are giving away free 8 oz. bags of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee at participating stores. Click here to look for a store near you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Frugal Gift Basket

One big advantage to being an effective couponer is getting items free or close to free. These items are great to have on hand when you need to make a quick gift basket. Although I'm getting better, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I'm horrible about remembering to buy gifts and have them wrapped nicely in time to give. Being the interior designer that I am, I'm sure people expect fancy, elaborate wrapping. Its sad to say but I normally disappoint in that area. However, now that I'm starting to build a stockpile of random things, I can quickly pull together a fabulous basket in no time. The basket in the photo is one that I gave to my mom for her birthday this past weekend. It includes a Glade Flameless Candle, Loreal Revitalift Cleansing Wipes, Glade Plug In Scented Oil Refill and samples of Curel lotion.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Right At Home Gift Pack

The first 20,000 people to respond will receive free Ziploc® products, plus $8.50 in coupons for Ziploc®, Glade®, Pledge® and Drano® products. Click here. The products included in this prize pack are:

1 Ziploc® Brand Fresh Produce Bag with Moisture Vents
1 Ziploc® Brand Easy Zipper Storage Bag
1 Ziploc® Brand Snack Bag
1 Ziploc® Brand Zip 'n Steam™ Microwave Steam Cooking Bag
1 Ziploc® Brand Snap 'n Seal Container

Good luck!!! (if you have won a gift pack in the last 180 days, you will not be eligible for this prize.)


Honor those who died to protect our freedom by going out and voting today! God Bless America!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Party City Coupon

If you sign up for Party City's newsletter, they will email you a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. In addition to the coupon, they will periodically send you party tips and other coupons. Go there now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seven Dollars to Sanity!

I must admit, I hate picking my clothes out in the mornings. It never fails, I can never find the certain pair of pants I'm looking for or the hem has fallen out of a pair of pants...you name it, It never goes right. So, the obvious answer is to pick out your clothes at night, right? Well, kinda. I'm not a huge fan of that either. I'd rather chill on the couch at night or take a walk after dinner. So, how did I resolve my dilemma? I found this "sweater organizer" at Ross over the weekend and a light bulb went off in my head. Why not pick everything out while I'm folding laundry and have it all done in one swoop? Genius! The organizer is mesh and has 6 compartments. While I'm putting laundry away anyway, I go ahead and stick everything in there that I'm going to need for the week. All 5 days of clothes plus the undergarments, jewelry, socks, hosiery...you get the picture. This way, if I do it on the weekend, it gives me time to fix something that needs to be hemmed or better yet, shop for an item that might update an outfit for the season. Oh, and the best part? It only cost me $7!!! I'm only two days into it and I can already say its a huge time saver and a luxury to have it in one grasp!

Monday, October 20, 2008

$1.47 - Thats It!

I took advantage of the Pert/Sure deal at CVS this week. I also thought the toothpaste you see was a great deal as well. Here is the breakdown:
Colgate Max Fresh $1.65 minus $1.00 off of Colgate Max Fresh coupon - $.65
Pert Plus 2 in 1 3.99 minus $2.00 off Any size Pert coupon - $1.99
2 Sure Aerosol $4.49 each minus (2) $1.00 Sure Deo. - $6.98
Minus $10.27 in ECB's I had from last week's purchases
Total $1.47 Out of Pocket!
Additionally, I earned $5.00 ECB for the Pert/Sure and $2.00 ECB for the Colgate toothpaste. I thought the toothpaste was supposed to be $2.99 but it looks like I got lucky and it range up $1.65.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Walgreens Coupon

Go here to print a $5 off a $25 purchase at Walgreens. This coupon is good only for Fri. Oct. 17 and Saturday Oct. 18 and your $25 total must be before taxes and after all Walgreens and manufacturer's coupons and discounts. You could use this coupon to purchase the items that are free after rebate this month. You can take a look at them here.

Also, some Publix stores will accept this coupon as a competitors coupon but PLEASE clear it with customer service and/or management when you go in; this will avoid any embarassing hold ups at checkout time.

Whole Foods Coupon

If your like me, you've probably had the longing to eat all organic non-processed food for a while now but just didn't have the extra room in your budget to make the big leap. Organic products can cost a lot more than regular stuff. Well, this morning I got an email from Whole Foods with a $5 off a $25 purchase and they even have a newsletter called Whole Deal. Here is an excerpt from the site:

Pick up The Whole Deal value guide at your local store for over $40 in coupons, 15 budget recipes, money saving tips and more.
We admit it. We're just learning that people really do want to know how hard we work to bring you the best available products at the best possible prices. There's no denying that quality costs, but when we get a deal, you do, too. And when something is worth a few extra cents, we can tell you exactly why. "The Whole Deal" is all about giving you the whole story, so you'll know just how to get the most bang for your buck without sacrificing the benefits of natural and organic foods.

You can read more about this program and sign up for their newsletter here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All This for $3.90

On Sunday, I received an email from Rite Aid claiming I could save $144 on 30 products. Being the cheapskate, I mean frugalite that I am, I was all ears or eyes, as the case may be. Turns out, Rite Aid is having a huge Free After Rebate sale. I am a fairly frequent Rite Aid shopper and I normally participate in the rebate program so I was excited! You can check out the items that are free after rebate here.

So now your probably wondering, how did I pay so little for all of these products? The trick is, I had $12.99 in rebate money in hand to spend so I rolled that money into more free after rebate products - ha! Genius! But heres the breakdown:

Chapstick True Shimmer - $1.99
Lizard Lips Chapstick - $.99
Soft Lips Vanilla Mint (2pk) - $2.99
Chloraseptic Max Strength - $2.99
LypSyl Moisturizer - $1.99
Bee M.D. Honey Cough Drops (Organic) - $2.49
Excedrin Express Gels - $3.99 minus $2.00 coupon here

Now, subtract my $12.99 in rebate money that I had from previous purchases and my grand total was $3.90. Oh, AND I'll recieve $17.48 back in rebates!!!

Rite Aid has an awesome Single Check Rebate program that makes it real easy to get your dough. You just sign up online and enter your reciept information then submit it at the end of the month and they'll send you a check to use in their store in about two weeks. It may sound like a lot but it takes a very small amount of time. Read all the details here. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Awesome Chili

This is by far the best recipe for chili - ever! Enough said.

1-1/2 lbs ground beef (or turkey, which is what I use)
1-1/2 lbs lean pork breakfast sausage (or turkey)
2 large onions
1 green pepper
3 cloves garlic
3 (14 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
1 (18 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
1/2 c. ketchup
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (14 oz.) can pinto beans
1 (14oz.) can dark red kidney beans
2 cups water
4 Tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper

Combine beef and sausage. Cook well. Drain and rinse. Add all other ingredients except beans; stir well. Cover and simmer on low 2-1/2 hours. Stir in beans and cook 30 minutes longer.

I serve this with sour cream, shredded cheese, corn chips and saltine crackers for toppings.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to Organize Those Coupons

For me, this has been the best way to organize my coupons. It puts everything where I can see it at a quick glance without having to thumb through them one by one. I purchased a cloth zipper binder and added baseball card holders to divide the coupons. You can find baseball card holders at Wal-Mart at the front of the store with the registers. I say this because if you don't know where to look then you'll never find them.
The card holders are organized based on how a typical grocery store is laid out. Produce, Condiments, Canned and Non Perishables, Household, Frozen, Meat, Dairy and Health & Beauty.
My zipper binder came with an accordion style file on the left and I use that to hold sales papers and the CVS Extra Care booklet for the month along with the Walgreens Easy Saver Catalog for the month. I'll post more on that later, I have a lot to say about those two gems!
Finally, I added ziploc bags labeled with my favorite store names on them. That way, when I'm making my shopping list, I can put the coupons for that store in the ziploc bag and when I get to the store I pull out the ziploc bag and I'm ready to go. I just poked two holes at the end of the ziploc bags and hooked them on the clasps.
So there you have it, the famous coupon binder! If you have any thoughts or questions, please post a comment or email me at savingscafe@gmail.com

A Cheap Way to Clean Your Microwave

Here is a cheap, easy and environmentally friendly way to clean your microwave. Fill a micrwave safe bowl about 2/3 of the way full with water and add 1/8 c. of lemon juice. Microwave for about 4 minutes. Let it sit in the microwave for another 4 minutes. The combo of the steam and the lemon juice will eat the crud off of your microwave walls. Once it has had time to do its job, carefully remove the hot water and wipe out the microwave. All the splatters will easily come off and your microwave will be sparkling clean!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This recipe is actually my sister, Tina's. It is soooo good. We eat it for dessert, snack and breakfast.

5 eggs
1-1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 (15oz.) can solid pack pumpkin
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 (3oz.) pkgs. cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add oil and pumpkin; beat until smooth. In a seperate bowl combine remaining ingredients. Gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. Pour batter into 2 greased 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 75-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Have you heard of Ebates? Ebates offers cash back on purchases to over 1000 stores. This is a great idea for the Christmas shopping season that is rapidly approaching. You can earn anywhere from 1% - 10% on your purchases when you shop through ebates. They will then send you these savings in the form of a big fat check. Check out the site and see what you think. If you do sign up, please give them my email address - willangel21@yahoo.com - as a referral and we'll both earn $5 in our account. If you have more questions, you can check out the "how it works" page here or you can check out the terms and conditions here. Overall it seems pretty simple and straightforward. I'm new to Ebates as well so we'll be on this little journey together. ;-)

New Free Samples

Free Sample of Sundance Organic Tea.

Free Sample of Warm Delights Minis from Betty Crocker. This sample requires you to sign up for a email newsletter that offers recipes and coupons.

Free Sample of Quaker Simple Harvest Granola Bars.

Free BOTTLE of Country Bob's Sauce. I have recieved this previously and it is very good. You can use it on chicken, hamburgers, steaks and ribs. You can find it at Wal-Mart.

Free sample of Bertolli's Premium Pasta Sauce.

Free sample of Calvin Klein Secret Obsession.

Register for $1 off coupon for Snausages Snawsome Dog Treats. These are Mr. Hoover approved!

Free Sample of Carefree Pantiliners.

These offers are courtesy of Freeflys.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to Use Coupons

I'm sure your wondering what the big deal with coupons is anyway. A lot of people wonder if its worth all the time spent clipping and organizing them. Some people also say that buying generic store brands is cheaper than buying a name brand with a coupon. I'm here to tell you, its soooo worth it. The trick with coupons is to match coupons to sale items listed in the grocery and drug store sale papers. For example: This week at Publix they have several items that are buy one get one free and here is an example of why I suggest buying two copies of the paper. One of the items is Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes. You can get two boxes for $1.73. But, if you use two .40 coupons from last week's paper, which Publix will then double to .80 each, you can get two boxes of Au Gratin potatoes for .13. I doubt Publix has generic Au Gratin potatoes for .07 or .06 cents a box. Another example is Ragu Pasta Sauce. Its also buy one get one free at $3.25 for 2 - 45oz. jars. If you used 2 - .25 coupons that were in the paper about three weeks ago then once the coupon is doubled, you would get the pasta sauce for about $1.12 each for the big jars of Ragu. There are all kinds of deals like this at Publix this week.

Another way I think of clipping coupons is this; last week I spent $30 at Publix but I saved $48, so if I spent 2 hours clipping, organizing and matching coupons, I made $24 an hour and created a nice little stockpile of the groceries I bought.

Check this out.....

I saw a commercial on TV this morning for a new site called dealtaker.com. From what I can tell, it scours the internet in search of sales, discounts and coupon codes. Check it out and let me know what you find.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Enter to Win...

A FREE Ziploc Brand Vacuum Freezer System Starter Kit from Right at Home - wow! thats a mouthful! Hurry! The first 20,000 entries will recieve this new product! Click Here. In addition, you'll recieve $14.10 in coupons for things like: Glade Candles, Glade Scented Oil Candles, Oust Surface Disinfectant, Ziploc Brand Vacuum Bags and Windex.

Free Samples From Walmart

Check out this site for free samples from Wal-mart. They include:

Goodnites, Benefiber, Cascade, Huggies, Nicorette and Crest.

And here's an idea - place your free samples in a basket in a guest bathroom for guests to use if they forget something. They'll appreciate the extra thought!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where do I find coupons?

First things first, you need to know where to get coupons, right?

The best place is the Sunday newspaper. I would suggest purchasing two or three copies so you can utilize multiple coupons to stock up on an item when it goes on sale. But, PLEASE recycle your newspaper when your done!

Secondly, if you like to shop at Publix, like I do, they publish their own magazines, such as Greenwise, that has coupons in them. These magazines are free and you can pick them up at the front of the store or you can subscribe to them here.

Finally, you can print them from the Internet. One caveat, thanks to the actions of a few, many will suffer. Stores aren't as ready to take these as they used to be. Some people created color copies of them to score some deals and that constitutes fraud. Never copy coupons! But thankfully, you can legitimately print coupons from the Internet at these sites: Coolsavings.com and Coupons.com.

I'm also going to work on getting a coupon bar so you can print coupons, right from my blog. I'll keep you updated!

Sign Up For These Coupons!

Check out these links I found for free coupons:

Delmonte: Sign up to recieve $35 in coupons. This also includes recipes, nutritional advice and healthy lifestyle tips

Betty Crocker: Sign up for the Dinner Made Easy email newsletter and recieve a free booklet with $10 in coupons.

Fiber One: Sign up and recieve a free sample of Fiber One Honey Clusters, Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar and a coupon booklet with $3 in savings. (Those Oats and Chocolate bars are yummy, they will certainly satisfy the late afternoon munchies!!)

Home Made Simple: Sign up to recieve a coupon booklet with over $27 in savings.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hey Everybody!

My name is Angel and I have recently started couponing to try to save a few pennies here and there. To my surprise, I've saved more than a few pennies!!! Along with my hubby, Will, I'm going to teach you how to do the same thing. We eat better, always have necessities on hand and spend less than we ever did. Check back often as I will be posting my strategies frequently.