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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tip of the Day 3/2/2010 – Join Opinion Outpost!


My new favorite survey company is Opinion Outpost. I’ve been a member for less than 2 months and have already earned $13! One of the reasons I like this research panel is that you only need $5 to cash out. Most surveys pay $2 and take maybe 15-20 minutes of your time. And if you don’t qualify for the survey, you have a chance to instantly win $50 or be entered into a sweepstakes.

Bread Machine Oat Rolls



This is a recipe that my mom makes from scratch, but I cheat and use the bread machine. These are so yummy!


Bread Machine Oat Rolls

2 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package bread machine yeast
1/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 3/4 – 5 1/4 cups flour

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil; add oats and butter. Cook and stir for one minute. Remove from heat. and let cool to lukewarm.

Add warm water and oat mixture to bread machine pan. Then add the dry ingredients. Make a well in the top and add the yeast.

Select the dough setting. You might have to add more flour or water during the mixing stage. The dough should form a ball that is not sticky, but not too dry. I usually use 5 cups of flour and the texture is just right.
After the dough setting is complete, shape into rolls and let rise until doubled – approximately 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Spray the tops with melted butter. Enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quiznos Coupons

EXPIRED!
Quiznos has two new coupons available here.
  • Free chips and regular fountain drink when you buy any regular sub, large sub, or chopped salad.

  • $1 off a regular sub OR $2 off a large sub

Both coupons expire 3/7/2010.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How I Organize My Coupon Stash


I hate clipping coupons, so I don’t do it. Simple as that.

Each week I label the Sunday inserts with the date and file them in my coupon box. I keep separate folders for each type of insert – Smart Source, Red Plum, Proctor & Gamble, or General Mills. I also have a folder for printable coupons that I haven’t clipped yet, restaurant coupons, and miscellaneous coupons and booklets that I receive in the mail.

I’ve found that this system makes it so much easier to find the coupon I’m looking for. If I’m using a coupon match-up list such as this, I just look up the insert by name & date. Easy.
Or if I need a specific product, such as bread, I go to couponmom.com. You do have to register for this website, but its free and so helpful! Then select Grocery Coupon Database on the left, select your state, and type in the product you are searching for. I love CouponMom because the coupon database is organized by state. The inserts do not always contain the same coupons from state to state, so this is a great feature. CouponMom will also tell me the name and date of the insert I need.

I also have a small expandable coupon file to store those coupons that get clipped and not used right away. This is organized by category – frozen food, refrigerated food, shelf food, beauty products, medicine, & baby. These categories work well for me, but you can customize this however you need to. The categories can be as specific or vague as you like.

How do you organize your coupon stash?



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tip of the Day 2/24/2010

Be willing to try new brands.

I’ve found that successful couponing means trying new things. Yes, there are some things I have to buy (like Diet Pepsi), and I won’t switch brands (sorry Coke!). For the most part, however, my family is open to trying new products.

For example, I bought a bunch of Kahiki chicken last week because it was at a stock-up price, and I had several coupons. I cooked a bag last night, and my family loved it! I used to buy this type of meal at Trader Joe’s for a much higher price, but now I have a less expensive substitute.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Farmers Feed Us – Win Free Groceries for a year!


Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, & Ohio residents can register 5 times each day until April 10, 2010 to win free groceries for a year!

Just visit FarmersFeedUS.org, select your state, and then select a farmer. You can select each farmer once per day for a total of 5 entries every day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tip of the Day 2/22/2010



Freeze a package of bacon

This is a tip I picked up from Next Food Network Star, Melissa D’Arabian.

A 1-inch lengthwise slice equals about one strip of bacon. And as an added bonus, the bacon is already cubed for cooking.

Apple-Cinnamon Cupcakes


These cupcakes are great for a snack or a quick breakfast. They are also super easy to make. You could also double the batch, but I found that 6 is the perfect number for our family of 3.


Apple-Cinnamon Cupcakes (from All You, Dec. 26, 2008 issue)
Serves 6
Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 large apple, peeled
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze (optional):

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Grate an apple using a box grater, making sure to stop before you hit the core. Squeeze grated apple in a fine-mesh sieve over sink to remove excess moisture.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk yolk, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Stir in grated apple.

3. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake until cupcakes are golden and toothpick comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

4. If using glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cupcakes.

5. Eat!






How To Build Your Coupon Stash!



I’m not going to lie…..it’s nearly impossible to start couponing overnight. It takes several weeks and months of collecting coupons to be any good at it. Don’t get frustrated! Just start collecting those coupons and the savings will begin rolling in.

Here are some of my favorite places to find coupons.

1. Sunday newspaper inserts = These include Smart Source (SS), Red Plum (RP), Proctor & Gamble (PG), and General Mills (GM). I label the inserts with today’s date and file them in my coupon box. No clipping necessary!

2. Printable coupons = Two of my favorite printable sites are coupons.com and smartsource.com. Usually you can print 2 copies of the same coupon. Just use your browser’s back button to get your second copy.

3. Manufacturer websites = If there is a particular product your family loves, try going directly to the manufacturer’s website. A lot of times, there will be a link to a printable coupon. If not, you can always fill out the comment form or send them an e-mail to request a coupon. See this post for more info.

4. E-mail newsletters = While you are at the manufacturer’s website, sign up to receive e-mail newsletters and coupons, if available. This can also generate lots of unwanted mail, so be sure to set up a separate e-mail account just for this purpose.

5. Family & Friends = Ask your family & friends to save the Sunday inserts for you. No sense in throwing money away!

6. Magazines = A lot of magazines have coupons inside, so be sure to tear them out before recycling. All You is a great source for coupons and can be found at Wal-Mart.

7. Blinkies = While you are shopping, look for coupons available right on the store shelves. These are called “blinkies” because of the blinking red light on the side of the coupon box. Pretty clever, huh? I usually put my husband in charge of this if he is shopping with me. (It keeps him busy so he’s not throwing random things into the cart and throwing off my shopping list!)

8. Catalinas = These are coupons that print out of a machine at the checkout lane. Sometimes these are useless advertisements, cents off coupons for products that you bought, or even dollars off your next order.

9. Store Displays = Watch for store displays with coupon booklets. These can be located anywhere in the store and might be easily overlooked. I find a lot of rebates in the liquor aisle, near the front of the store, or in the soda/snack aisle. So even if you’re not buying alcohol, stroll down the aisle anyway. Many of these rebates do not require a beer purchase!

10. Home mailers = Sometimes companies will have coupon booklets available that can be sent directly to your snail mail box. One of my favorites is the Home Made Simple. This booklet is produced by Proctor & Gamble and includes valuable coupons for products like Cascade, Dawn, Febreze, Mr. Clean, and Swiffer. This is just one example. I will try to post links to request these booklets as they become available.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tip of the Day 2/19/2010


Discounted copies of the St. Louis Post Dispatch are available at Sam’s Club for 99cents & Deals for $1 in the St. Louis area. I don’t know if the same is true in other areas of the country, but it’s worth a look.

A 50cent discount may not sound like much, but if you buy multiple papers, the savings can really add up!


You can also get the early edition on Saturday which includes all of the coupon inserts and advertisements!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shop ‘n Save savings 2/18/10


I had an awesome week at Shop ‘n Save! Check out the savings!!


What I bought:

3 Hamburger Helper
3 Poptarts
6 Healthy Choice soups
3 Rotel Tomatoes
2 Starkist Tuna Pouches
1 Bag Fresh Express salad
5 Kahiki Chicken Nuggets
1 Kahiki Entree
3 Kahiki Single Serve meals

What I Paid:

$88.52 = Total before coupons & sales
-12.00 = catalinas from last week
-10.00 = Thursday
-5.00 = Entertainment Book savings
-22.00 = manufacturer coupons
-38.16 = advertised sales
= $1.36!!!!!!!!!

Auntie Anne’s Free Pretzel Day – Feb 20!!!

If you’re at the mall on Saturday, be sure to get your free pretzel at Auntie Anne’s!

Tip of the Day 02/18/2010


MEAL PLAN!


I started meal planning a few months ago, and it has truly made our nightly routine more enjoyable! I can make dinner without staring in the pantry for 15 minutes wondering what we’re going to eat. Genius!!!


I usually take a look at the weekly ads to see what is on sale before planning my menu. Then I look in my pantry to see what I already have on hand. Sometimes I will immediately think of a recipe and other times I will go to the internet to get new ideas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tip of the Day 02/17/10



I love to shop the clearance racks for clothing, but that can mean a lot of really great deals that hang in my closet unworn. Lately I’ve been forcing myself to abide by this rule.



Before I buy something, I have to think of 3 different ways to wear it – using items I already have in my closet. If I can’t come up with 3, it goes back on the rack!

Tip of the Day 02/16/2010




Always watch for coupon booklets and rebate forms at the grocery store.


These can be located anywhere, so keep your eyes peeled. Don’t forget to take a stroll down the liquor aisle, too. I frequently find rebates here that do not require an alcohol purchase!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tip of the Day 2/9/10

This is probably obvious, but worth mentioning.

If you really want to know how much you are saving, consider using a savings tracker spreadsheet. I use a modified version of this one. Thanks, The Coupon Project!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Walgreens Deals 2/7/10 – 2/13/10

See a complete list of match-ups at couponstl.blogspot.com. Thanks, Jeri!

This is what I am buying this week.


Dove Men’s Body Wash – $5.99
$1.50 –
HERE
or $1 – HERE
or $1.25 – 1/31/10 SS
Receive $6 Register Reward (Unilever)
Final cost: $1.50 – $1.00 Money-Maker after coupon & Register Reward

Huggies Jumbo Pack Diaper, Pull-Ups, Training Pant or GoodNites – $8.99
$1 off diapers – 1/17/10 SS
or $2 off diapers
IE Link or Firefox Link
or $1.50 off GoodNites – 1/17/10 SS
or
$2 off Pull-Ups – 1/17/10 SS
and use $1 off Huggies Walgreens coupon in Children’s Activity Booklet (if you have it)
Receive $3 Register Reward (Kimberly-Clark)
Final cost: $2.99 to $3.99 each after coupon & Register Reward or $3.99 to $4.99 each without Children’s Activity Book coupon


What’s for Dinner?

My Version of
Easy Skillet Penne and Sausage Supper
(adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook & The Motherload)

Serves 4-6


Ingredients:
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound smoked pork sausage (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 2 cups chicken broth – low-sodium
  • 1 cup milk
  • sprinkling of mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach

Directions:
  1. Spray a skillet and brown the sliced sausage over medium heat.
  2. Add the uncooked pasta. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cheese and sun dried tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Eat!

This is a great recipe! I served this with a spring mix salad & my husband made biscuits. I actually cheated a bit on the baby spinach….I just picked it out of the salad mix and added it to the pasta.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tip of the Day – Feb 5


Write e-mails to companies that make your favorite products.

I’ve found that they love to get feedback (both positive & negative). And they usually send coupons to thank you for your time!

Couponing to Disney has a wonderful section called “5 A Day” that deals with this tip. Take a look and start e-mailing!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What’s for Dinner?


Chili!

I never use a recipe for chili, so I never make it the same way twice. I guess you can say I’m still perfecting it!


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (usually precooked from my freezer). You could also use ground turkey, pork, sausage – any kind of ground meat.
  • 2 cans of beans (any variety or combination of varieties. I used chili beans and pork & beans this time)
  • Tomato sauce – I always get creative with this, too. I’ve used tomato sauce, tomato paste with water added, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes….whatever I have on hand. As far as measurements, my family likes chili slightly thicker so I just eyeball it!
  • Chili powder
  • Any other spices I feel like throwing into the mix – italian seasoning, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, minced onion. My husband has even made it with almond bark. Not a spice, but still an odd addition!

Defrost the hamburger, if necessary. Throw all of the ingredients into a pot and heat until warm, about 30 minutes on low-medium heat. I also like to put everything in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours, if I have time. That way the flavors really combine nicely.

Chili is one of those recipes that I love to experiment with. As long as I have some form of the above ingredients in my pantry, chili is always a dinner option! I’ve never made a concoction that I didn’t like.

Tip of the Day – Feb 4


Buy extra ground beef when it’s on sale.


I like to brown it and then freeze in 1 lb portions – the perfect size for almost any recipe!


Walgreens Deals 1/31/10 – 2/6/10


My favorite deal this week is the Pepsi deal. My family loves their Pepsi!

*Buy $20 in participating products, get $10 RR*

Doritos, 11.75 – 14.5 oz = $2
Tostitos Chips, 9 – 15.62 oz = $2
Lay’s Chips, 10.5 – 12 oz = $2
12 pack Pepsi products = $3
2 liter Pepsi products = $1.25

See couponstl.blogspot.com for additional deals and match-ups!






Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What’s for dinner?


Baked Ziti!

This is a great recipe to use up some pantry items. I have a huge stockpile of pasta and pasta sauce, so this recipe is an easy meal for a busy night.

Ingredients:

1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 stage 2 jar of baby food carrots (these aren’t necessary, but a great way to sneak more veggies into a meal)
16oz package of ziti (I only used about 3/4 of the package)
1 jar pasta sauce (I used slightly less than a jar)
about 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used a mixture of velveeta & mozzarella)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain ziti according to the package.
2. Combine cottage cheese, beaten eggs, & carrots in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl, combine pasta and sauce.
4. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into a 13×9 baking dish. Top with cottage cheese mixture, and then the rest of the pasta. Top with shredded cheese.
5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
6. Eat!

This is a great base recipe to tweak to your family’s tastes. You could use different types of cheeses or add chicken, sausage, or ground beef. You could even throw in some veggies. I rarely follow a recipe exactly, and my measurements are approximate. I’m a big fan of “eyeballing” ingredients. Cooking is about experimenting!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Walgreens 101

Walgreens was the beginning of my couponing craze. Who knew that you could get free shampoo and toothpaste if you knew how to shop at Wags?!? Before I started couponing, I never used a cart or spent more than 10 minutes in that store. Now it is my addiction 🙂


Here are some of my beginner tips for couponing success at Walgreens.

1. You can use 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 Walgreens coupon per item. Walgreens coupons are available in the weekly advertisements and monthly coupon booklets available in store.

2. Register Rewards (RR) are manufacturer coupons that print out at checkout that give you $x off your next purchase. These are as good as cash, so keep them in a safe place.

3. You cannot have more manufacturers coupons than items. For example, let’s say you buy a bottle of shampoo that you have a $1 off coupon for. AND (lucky you) you have $1 in RR also. You must buy a second item in order to use both of these coupons. To use 2 coupons, you must have 2 or more items. BUT, remember that you do not need to count Walgreens coupons in your coupon count.

4. Hand the cashier your manufacturer coupons first, followed by your Walgreens coupons. In some situations, this will result in more savings.

5. You can use 2 coupons for a buy one get one sale.

6. Be nice to the cashier!!! This is super important. Sometimes you will get nice cashiers and other times they will be less than happy to see your coupons. Stay positive and if you have problems, remember that you can always ask to see a manager.

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