Blog Archive



Making Your Own Bisquick

I have to be totally honest here: I rely on Bisquick to make a ton of things "homemade". Not long ago, I had a $.60/1 coupon that doubled and made the 40oz box $1.65 when used on the full price. It was $.20 cheaper than the store brand version. I've noticed that this size rarely goes on sale so to me I felt it was worth it, since I use it to make pancakes, biscuits, muffins, pizza crust and a few times for cinnamon rolls. There's also tons of Bisquick cookbooks, too. While using Bisquick is cheaper than mixes or ready-made dough from the store, I realized two things: It's not quite as healthy, and it's just not as good as "scratch".

A friend at my church actually grew up in a bakery and makes everything from scratch and she's an incredible cook. And if she's reading this and knows I am talking about her she would laugh, because I always tell her she is amazing and she laughs modestly, but her food is INCREDIBLE! She has taught pie and bread baking classes that I've attended so it isn't that I don't know how, but it's time consuming! So I went on a hunt to find a good homemade baking mix recipe, and I JUST found it over at Hillbilly Housewife. I plan on giving it a try. I can't see that she's posted the cost comparison on this, so when I try it out I'll track it all and compare, along with an update on how well it works!

Yard Sale 4/30

My neighborhood had a huge community yard sale, today and tomorrow. I wanted to participate but they don't allow us to have yard sales at our townhome and unfortunately we hadn't gotten to know our neighbors well enough. I am wondering if it's an annual thing and if so, I have gotten to know a new friend in our neighborhood that would probably let us get in on it with her next year!

My mom and I took the kids out this morning, and we had a blast. My husband and I are considering going out tomorrow to see what's left. It's not always the best time, but you never know.

Here's what I got:

6 Carter's Onesies 9-12 month size $.50/3= $1.00
1 Carter's sleeper 9 months size $1.00
1 Old Navy White t-shirt $.50
2 24 month size dresses w/ bottoms asst'd labels, $.25 each piece=$1.00 (one with tags still on)
1 Easter Dress 24 month size, with roses $1.00
1 two piece dress set, never worn $1.00
3 pairs of shoes, one Osh Kosh, one Faded Glory and one Okie-Dokie $1.00 each ($3.00)
1 Hurley T-shirt for my husband $2.00 (not pictured)

Total: $10.50

My top tips for Yard Saling:

1. Don't expect too much. If you go with a long list in your head of what you want to find, you might miss good deals on other things.

2. Be picky. If the item is so-so, don't convince yourself to buy something just because it's a quarter. They are selling it because they don't like it or can't use it, so don't buy things that will make it into your yard sale next year.

3. Negotiate the price. Today, I felt the prices were reasonable. Remember, they are trying to get rid of their stuff but hoping to make as much cash as possible. It's hard enough to find someone to come along willing to buy your stuff, and they will probably take a lower offer so as not to risk having to load it back into their garage or basement.

4. Don't buy damaged items thinking you can fix it. If clothing is stained, or a toy is missing a piece, don't think you can take it hope and improve it. Again, you don't know why they're selling the item. They might have tried to get the stain out and couldn't, or tried to fix the toy and couldn't. It's only a deal if it's in great condition!

5. Be willing to dig. You're not at a store where everything that's there is out for you to see. Sometimes the good stuff is in the bottom of the bin. I know it can be awkward to have the person holding the sale watching you like a hawk from their lawn chair, hoping you will buy all those items you are stacking to the side. I actually had a woman hop up and help me dig to find things I liked and I wound up with two never-worn dresses, even though all the stuff on top was faded and worn, it was WORTH standing there digging like a goofus to get a good deal!

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What To Avoid At The Grocery Store

Many people I've met have insisted that they buy the same thing every time, and since the coupons don't match up, they are pretty set in their ways. It may seem sometimes that you can't both save and eat what you want, but, to me it seems that you get to eat a variety of foods and it isn't always the same old same old. And, sometimes, it takes making big changes to realize what you don't want to waste your cash on anymore!

I've been thinking lately about things I don't buy that others do. Even if you refuse to coupon, you can save huge just by cutting out items that you just plain don't need! So here's my list of the top items to avoid at the grocery store.

The WORST of 'Em!

#1--Baked Goods. I'm sure I don't have to say it, but I'll say it anyway. Why pay $6 for a dozen cookies you can make yourself for less than half that amount? Why pay $10 for a cake you can bake for $2? It just doesn't make any sense. I fell victim to this this week, and this is the reason why they say to shop on a full stomach!

#2--Lunch Meats. Meats at the deli counter MAY be fresher, but if you MUST, the prepackaged version is much less expensive. We only buy lunch meat when it's on major sale or we have a craving, and it DOES NOT make the weekly grocery list. Instead, we eat PB&J, tuna sandwiches, or leftover meat sandwiches.

#3--Red Meat. It's not very good for you to start with, but if you're buying steaks every week, try making it a monthly purchase instead. Or, try cube steak which is extremely inexpensive. Our local stores don't do this, but most discount meats a day or two before their sell by date. Ask your butcher if they do. If they don't, try finding a local meat supplier. I've significantly reduced the red meat from our diets around here, however, I do know that you'll be paying much less and get much better cuts of meat this way. You can also try substituting Hamburger with ground turkey, which usually runs cheaper to start with.

The Ones that Suck a Little Less Cash

#1 Cookie Mixes, side dish packets and Premade Doughs. These can be cheap if you match coupons and sales, in which case they're great, but making them from scratch will always cost less.

#2 Sodas and other bottled drinks. Even though we've caved lately, we used to have a strict rule of brewed iced tea, milk, juice, and water ONLY in our house. This was good for both our health and our wallets. It really helps to scale back on these, and we really need to tighten up on that.

#3 Snacks, Cookies and Chips. Potato Chips are REALLY expensive and prepackaged cookies and granola bars even more so. Usually, I will buy pretzels and tortilla chips in the generic brand, which are the cheapest and healthiest snacks. Also, a tip a friend of mine told me is to make a triple batch of cookie dough and freeze it in balls. Then, whenever you're in the mood for cookies, all you have to do is drop a dozen on a cookie sheet and bake.

I wish I knew exact calculations of how much money you can save by avoiding these items, and I actually might do some research and update this entry later. But my best advice is to look at how often you purchase these items and what changes you can make in these areas.

Martin's 4/22

I realized that I didn't post last week's Martin's trip, but it wasn't a big week, either, nothing impressive. I also don't have a picture this week but I had to put everything away because my kitchen was a wreck! Anyway, here is this week's trip to Martin's!

(Only sale prices are listed this time)
Note: Items with ** are discussed at the bottom of the post!

1 Gerber Cereal with DHA @ $2.51
7 Gerber 1st foods 2 packs @ $1.13 ea.
4 Beech Nut 1st foods @ $.45 ea.
3 Puffs Plus Lotion @ $1.00 ea
1 Luvs size 5 27ct @ $7.49
3 Snuggle Fabric Softener @ $2.99
2 Guaranteed Value 80 ct Wipes @ $1.49**
1 GIANT brand grated cheese @ $2.49
1 2 liter Diet Cola @ $.89**
1 Gerber Nursing Pads 60ct @ $6.49
1 Nuk 2 pack pacifiers @ $4.29
2.5lbs Bananas @ $.69/lb= $1.73
1.07lbs Grapes @ $1.99/lb=$2.13
2 Grapefruits @ $1.00 ea
2 Del Monte Fruit Naturals @ $1.00 ea
Chicken Thighs @ $1.00/lb=$1.78**
Drumsticks @ $1.00/lb=$4.01**
4 pack Whoopie Pies @ $5.49**
2 Celeste Pizzas @ $1.00ea
2 Olivio Butter Spreads @ $1.00 ea
1 Tampax Pearl 18ct @ $2.99
2 Tylenol Infant Drops @ $5.39 ea

Total + tax= $98.42

Coupons Used:

3 $3/1 Snuggle(adjusted to $2.99 for the third)
1 $1/3 Gerber Organic 1st Foods
1 $.75/1 Gerber Nursing Pads (doubled)
1 $.75/1 Nuk Pacifiers (doubled)
3 $.50/1 Puffs plus Lotion (doubled)
1 $2/1 Luvs
1 $3/2 Infant Tylenol
1 $1/2 Olivio Products
1 $2/1 Tampax
Total Coupon + Sales Savings: $38.06 Total OOP: $61.96

I did the math and about $25.02 of my purchases do not fall under my $30/week budget, which brings my total down to $36.94. That means that without my impulse purchase of the whoopie pies @ $5.49, I would have gone less than $2 over budget since last week, I only spent $27. The reason why I bought the whoopie pies was simply a moment of weakness. I was forced to detour through the bakery and just couldn't help myself. It's unlike me! My advice is to stay strong and avoid these impulse purchases. Keep checking back as I am working on a post about items frequently purchased that should be AVOIDED except for occasional treats :)

I used to only buy wipes at Wal-Mart since the Parent's Choice brand is always cheapest, regardless of coupons and no matter how you slice it! My husband bought some last night in an emergency, and they are tougher, thicker wipes but the 88ct package is $1.96. The price for the 80ct package of Guaranteed Value (an exclusive generic at Martin's) is $1.49. Here is the cost breakdown:

Parent's Choice: $.022 per wipe
Guaranteed Value: $.018 per wipe

This is just to show you, in case you don't live near a Martin's, what price you're looking for. If your kids have allergies (mine don't) this can make it difficult, however, Parent's Choice has a sensitive version that I find to be even higher quality than name brands.

Also, I wanted to touch on the chicken. I don't buy much of it, only when I personally find the price reasonable. However, if you can make the switch to dark meat, you will see significant savings. If you really must have chicken breasts, at least try buying it bone in. You're paying an awful lot of extra money for the convenience of having the bones removed. Also, a bonus to buying bone-in chicken is that you can use the bones to make stock. This time, I bought a bunch of legs, made 6 for dinner and froze two bags of four. Last time I did this, I cooked 4 legs in the crockpot all day long, used the meat from two of them to make a soup (which stretched to leftovers for at least 3 meals), and of the other 2 to make quesadillas.

Hopefully next week I'll be more on top of my game and be able to stay within my $30 budget.

CVS 4/22

I went late this week, as usual, since the beginning of the week is so busy for me. I was bummed because it's not the greatest ECB week, but I still got a pretty good deal. Here's what I got:

1 Colgate Total for $2.99
Used $.75/1 printable

2 Dove Deodorants BOGO @ $3.29
Used $3/2 printable from

1 CVS brand Saline Nasal Spray 2 pack @ $3.40

1 CVS brand 3oz hand lotion @ $1.49
Used $1/1 Coupon

1 CVS brand paper towels @ $1.29
Used $1/1 Coupon

Total Before Coupons and ECBs: $12.55
Total OOP: $2.77
ECBs: $2 for Colgate, $2 for the nasal spray=$4.00 for next week.

I considered buying a few other things but decided against it. I would have gotten toilet paper but I have quite a stockpile and needed paper towels more. It's not as good as last week's runs but at least I got paid $1.23 for the items I got. Hopefully next week will be better!

FREE OB Tampon Sample

This freebie is a day or two old, but is still up so grab it while you can! Go here to request your free sample of OB Tampons. You'll have to register first, but it only takes a few minutes.

Thanks, Free Sample Freak!

Free 10 Day Supply of Clear Skin Acne Wash

Go here to request a free 10 day supply of Clear Skin Acne Wash from Moore Unique.

Thanks, Free Sample Freak!

Free Purex 3-in-1 Sample

Get a FREE sample of Purex 3-in-1 by entering your address information and completing a short survey. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

CVS 4/14

I can't figure out why the image keeps flipping like that so I just left it alone! Anyway, today's trip to CVS was even better than the other day, and I think I'm going to go back a second time.

1 Dial Nutri Skin Body Wash $5.49
1 CVS brand 3oz lotion $1.49
2 CVS brand toilet paper 2/$1.00

Total Before Coupons: $7.98

Coupons Used:

$.35/1 Dial Body Wash or Multi-bar pack
$1/1 CVS Paper Product
$1/1 CVS Skin Care Product
$6.00 ECBs adjusted to $5.63

Total OOP: $.36 for tax

I originally planned on buying 2 boxes of Puff tissues for $.99 and using 2 $.50/1 coupons, which would have added $.61 to my total and maybe a little more for tax. But they didn't have them, and if I had realized the ECBs would be adjusted, I could've gotten another roll of toilet paper. But still, it's not a huge loss considering everything was FREE plus I got $4.50 in ECBs so in total I made $4.14.

I plan to go back and buy Dove Shampoo or Conditioner, hopefully I can find a coupon, and probably try again for the Puff's, toilet paper, and lotion. Hoping if I can find the coupon I'm looking for, I'll only spend $1-$2 OOP. Wish me luck!

The $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge

I have to admit, I'm not sticking to a strict grocery budget. Nope, I'm not practicing what I preach. The reason why has been because right now, the money is "there" because of our tax refund and that I've been finding killer deals I can't pass up. However, I'm going to start my new budget starting this week.

Yes, you read it right, I'm going to be spending a strict $30 each week. I do need to point out however that for the time being, we receive WIC, so I'm not needing to buy bread, eggs, milk, cheese, cereal, peanut butter, beans, or much produce. However, if I was, I'd be buying these items either with coupons or at Aldi and would only be adding about $10 to my weekly budget. This is for two adults and a toddler boy, but he often eats the same portion as we do. I'd assume to need at minimum $15 per week per adult and $10 per week per child totalling $40 for us for the time being. So if you're interested in attempting this same challenge, keep in mind that I'm playing a game to keep it around that amount and I'm convinced it can be done. This might be harder for some families and might not even be necessary, but for how long I've been couponing I don't think it'll be that hard. I've been keeping it well under $50/week lately, but that has included nonfood items as well.

When I post in my Recent Deals section I'll also be tracking my weekly progress. I'm hoping to never go over budget and keep it well under $30. I haven't decided yet what will happen to the leftover money at the end of each week. I am thinking I will use it to pay off credit card debt, as will any "extra" money from our other variable expenses each month. Wish me luck and I will keep you updated!

Free Carefree Sample, Plus $1 Coupon!

Sign up here to recieve a free sample of Carefree Ultra Protection pantyliners and a $1 off coupon. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

$1/Pampers Kandoo Product

Pampers Kandoo originally had an offer for a free music and video CD but unfortunately the offer has ended. However, you can still go here to fill out a short form for $1 coupon to be sent in the mail.

WalMart 4/12

I haven't shopped at WalMart with coupons in a long time but I ventured out just to see what I could do. We bought clothes in the same trip, so my breakdown won't include tax. That's math I don't feel like doing today.

1 Snuggle 70ct Dryer Sheets $3.48
Used $3/1 Coupon, Down to $.48
1 Scotch Brite Natural Sponge $1.52
Used $1/1 printable, Down to $.52
4 Gerber 1st Foods 2 Packs $.96 ea
Used $1/4, Down to $.71 ea
1 Softsoap Body Wash $3.00
Used $1/1, Down to $2.00
1 12 pack Schick Disposables $1.97
Used $3/1, Cashier Did Not adjust, so free plus $1.03 overage
1 Puffs Plus Lotion 60ct $1.47
Used $1/1, Down to $.47

Total Before Coupons: $12.28
Total Coupons: $9.00
Total OOP: $3.28

I am not sure why the cashier didn't seem to care about the Schick coupon being a higher value than the razors themselves, BUT I have no idea what their policy is on this, I just figured if they didn't let me I wouldn't get them. I heard elsewhere that the Scotch Brite coupon is working to make the $.84 sponges free, but I played it safe because I've also heard the printables weren't being accepted, and I think trying to use them this way might be why. It makes it seem like fraud when a printable coupon makes an item completely free, even when legitimate. I still think paying $.52 for a sponge was a good deal and avoided a lot of hassle.

Martin's 4/10

(Cold Items aren't pictured)

I've been going at the end of the week lately and I know that's probably frustrating to read about a good deal it's too late to get, BUT hopefully some of the strategies I used will be helpful since the most deeply discounted items I bought this time weren't on sale but were at considerably low prices. I also learned a few new coupon lessons this week that are somewhat helpful. Here's the breakdown of my trip to Martin's:

(Prices Regular/Sale/Price After Coupons)
3 Tuna/Hamburger Helper's $1.89/$1/$.50 ea.
Used $.75/3 doubled
1 Betty Crocker Warm Delight $1.59/$.09
Used $.75/1 doubled
2 Dial 3 bar packs $2.39/$1.69
Used 2 $.35/1 doubled
2 Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce $1.39/$1
1 Pampers size 5 @ $6.74 (clearance)/$4.74
Used $2/1
2 Snuggle Exhilarations 32 load $3.75/ $.75
Used 2 $3/1
11 boxes Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta $1.39/$.29 ea
Used 11 $.55/1 doubled
1 Giant brand Spaghetti $1.15/$1.00/FREE WYB 2 Hunt's sauce
1 Guaranteed Value 80ct baby wipes $1.49
1 Gualtney Turkey Franks $1.89/$1.50
1 Land O Lakes Spread $1.99/Would have been $.99 but I realized later I forgot to hand the coupon to the cashier!
1 Yoplait Yo Crunch 4 pack $2.59/$2.29/$.79
Used 1 $.75/1 doubled
1 Pure Power Latex Glovs $4.15/$1.00
1 Chapstick $1.49/$1.00

Total Before Savings: $61.35
Total Sales Savings: $8.93
Total Coupon Savings: $27.15
Total OOP: $25.72

I ran into a few issues. For one thing, I forgot to hand in my Land O Lakes coupon, so my total would have been down to $24.72. The only reason I bought that when not on sale was because of my husband's repeated complaints about Olivio. So that was really in my opinon $2 completely wasted, but at least I won't have to go hunting down more butter coupons anytime soon.

The second issue was that I originally grabbed the wrong Pampers pack, and paid $8.99. The only reason they were on clearance is because of the packaging change. The only ones that are VERY DEEPLY discounted are size 6, and premies, due to the fact that these aren't popular sizes. However, I have just started noticing them on clearance so you may still be able to catch a good deal on diapers.

Another issue I have been in debate about, that I will talk about more in my WalMart post, is using coupons that have a higher value than the price of the item, or, that double past the value. Policies in different stores vary and I need to do some research on that one.

At any rate, I still felt like this trip was a great deal. I now have a fantastic stockpile of pasta, and whole wheat at that!

Free Kraft Macaroni & Cheese!

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on Facebook, and get a coupon for a free cup or box of the new Cheesy Explosion Macaroni & Cheese. You'll have to wait 4-6 weeks for the coupon to come in the mail, but still a pretty sweet freebie!


I know that "moneymaker" is technically a term for a specific item that costs less than you get back in ECBs, but this was the first time I actually made money at CVS and that word expresses my excitement. I only made $.67 cents but when I realized it I celebrated. Here's what I got:

2 Head and Shoulders 2 in 1 Shampoo $4.99 ea.
1 Pantene Shampoo $2.99
1 Pantene Conditioner $2.99
2 Dawn Dish Soaps $.96
1 4 pack GE Reveal light bulbs $1.99
1 Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color $5.99

Coupons Used:
$1/1 Head and Shoulders
BOGO Head and Shoulders (-$4.99) (2 for $3.99)
$3/2 Pantene (2 for $2.98)
$1/2 Dawn ($.46 ea)
$3/1 Clairol Natural Instincts
$1/1 pack of GE Reveal Light bulbs
$8 ECB from last week

Total Coupon Savings: $21.99
Total OOP: $5.43
Got $6 in ECBs, which means I made $.67. Woohoo!

I will try to post my scenerios for next week ahead of time. This week was really busy so I forgot, but, I realized that it was pretty easy to put together from the ad, so I am thinking a lot of people had a good week.

Martin's 4/3

I went grocery shopping late in the week last week, so that's why I'm just now posting about this trip. They had 4 $1 coupon doublers in the circular that came in the paper. I had to kinda scrape together coupons that were worth it, but having to get a few items for Easter too was worth the extra $4 savings. Here is what I bought (with retail prices/sale price):

1 Betty Crocker Warm Delights $1.59
2 Betty Crocker Frosting $1.49/$1.25 ($.48 savings)
1 Endust Free Dusting Polish $3.79
1 French's Fried Onions 6oz Can $3.79
2 French's Fried Onions 2oz Cans $1.84 ea
1 Toasted Marshmallow Creme $1.09/$.99
3 2 Liters of Coke Products @ $1.69 ea
3 Cans Giant Cream Of Mushroom Soup @ $.89/$.75 ea
1 packet Chilli Seasoning $.55/$.49
2 Guaranteed Value Brand 80ct Baby Wipes @ $1.49 ea
2 Purevia Sweetener 40 ct $.3.39/$1.99
2 1lb packages Oscar Mayer Bacon $5.99ea/BOGO
2 Mrs T's Pierogies $2.39/$2.00
1 Children's Advil $5.59
1 Care One 24ct Allergy Medicine $4.23

Total Before Coupons and Sales: $ 57.46

Coupons Used

$.75/1 Betty Crocker Warm Delights
$.50/1 Betty Crocker Frosting
$2/1 Endust Free
$1/1 French's Fried Onions x3
$1/3 Coke Products
$2/1 Purevia x2
$1/2 Oscar Mayer Bacon
$1/2 Mrs T's Pierogies
$2/1 Children's Advil

Coupon Savings: $21.50
Bonus Card Savings: $10.38
Total OOP: $26.29

The first Purevia coupon scanned and it was free, and the second didn't work. The cashier tried to do a second transaction. She eventually had to get a manager to adjust it down to $1.99, and that's when I realized why the first one worked--because the total value of both was over the coupon value. Remember this when buying an item that's on sale for less than the value of your coupon, because it can either be used to your advantage or save some hassle.

I orignally started this post on Wednesday and didn't get to finish it until today, forgive me it's been a LONG week!

Retail Me Not!

Retail Me Not is a web community where users share online coupon codes and deals. I have been able to find discounts on almost everything, including ordering pizza from Papa John's!

Another bonus to this is that you can use a coupon code when shopping at retailers through your Big Crumbs account, and receive a discount along with your cash back. I believe right now, you recieve up to 3.2% cash back from Old Navy through Big Crumbs, and there is a $10 off coupon code when you use your Old Navy card on Retail Me Not.

When you visit Retail Me Not, just type in the retailer or restaurant you're looking to shop at. You don't have to sign up in order to access the codes, but when you do, you can receive email offers and special updates.

Free Samples at P&G

Sign up for Everyday Solutions at P&G and sign up for free samples. Right now, there is Cascade Action Pacs, Pampers Cruisers, and a free Pantene sample. P&G only allows one request per household per quarter, and their samples change, so if you want you can wait to see what they might have next quarter (Starting in July)

Also, by signing up, you'll recieve random coupons in the mail that are often different and with later expiration dates than what you see in the Sunday circulars.

Free Hash Browns At Waffle House!

Print this coupon for a free order of hash browns from Waffle House. Hurry, this offer ends 4/16!

Thanks Cheap Stingy Bargains!

Order $3/1 Snuggle Coupons Before They're Gone!

Right now, Coupon DeDe has very in-demand $3/1 Snuggle Coupons that don't expire until 5/2. The order limit is 5, but the handling fee is only $.30 per coupon. This coupon is great at WalMart because it makes it under $1! When you visit, just click on the "Clipped Coupons" tab and type "Snuggle" in the search box.

Also, when you open an account with Coupon DeDe, not only will you recieve alerts when new coupons come available, but when you purchase coupons you'll receive points to use towards your next order.

Get A Free Butterfinger!

Click the image above to submit a form for a free Butterfinger. You'll fill out your date of birth, name, and address, along with writing a short paragraph about how your Butterfinger bar was stolen for a chance to win one of several prizes.

There is supposed to be a limit for the first 100,000 people, but I just filled it out and it's still going.