Sunday, June 26

It's been awhile!

Well, I made my 1st wedding cake! I think it turned out nice and the recipes I used for my cake were VERY good. Here are the pictures of the Wedding cake and Groom's cake:

Hard to see, but the cake is covered in pearl dust!

I hand cut this horse with an exacto knife!!!
I enjoyed making these for my cousin's wedding, however, I have to admit that I can't handle wedding cakes until BOTH my kiddos are in school! It was very stressful to juggle taking care of all their needs, the house all day and manage to get the cake done. I will continue to do Groom's, Birthday, Anniversary, Baby Shower, Graduation, and other fun cakes in the meantime. Once my little one, now 19m, is in preschool I can accommodate Wedding cakes so much easier.

I've had a couple runs this past couple weeks with coupons. With VBS and the wedding, I really didn't have much time. I was getting antsy, all these great deals I was passing...but tonight I pushed through organizing 2 weeks worth of coupons, got my list together and headed out to get my fix, LOL! It's like a drug and is easily addictive. I get a high at saving so much money! It amazes me STILL that I would just give someone my husband's hard earned dollars so easily before. It's not about being cheap, it's about doing the most with what you have. I don't care how much money you make, why waste it? My husband provides enough we don't have to coupon, period, BUT doing this allows us a few vacations a year. New "toys" for us :) and 2 date nights along with a paid babysitter a month.

Here were my last 2 trips:

CVS: Colgate toothpaste $2.79-$2ecb -$1 coupon($ maker!), Powerbar bites $2.49-$2.49ecb -.50 coupon ($ maker! Gas station coupons), power bars .99 each, buy 2 get 1 free - (3) .50 coupons, cottonelle wipes $1.99 - FREE product coupon (♥ my sample fill outs!), cotton balls were buy 1 get 1 half off, I need those and the nail polish (regular price)

Walgreens: foil .89 -$1 coupon ($ maker!), got 2 B products $5.99 buy 1 get 1 free - (2) $2 coupons (ALL YOU magazine)

Spent $6 in ecbs and $3.91 out of pocket but got $6.50 back in ecbs!
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CVS: Finish 20ct sale $2.99 - $3 coupon (I had some of my previous pacs come open and emailed them, they mailed me coupons! NICE company!), Palmolive $.88 - .$25 coupon, Bayer (Rain Check!) $3 - $1 ECB -$2 coupon (PLUS this has a $2 M.I.R.!!!), Tic Tacs (Rain Check!) .99, buy 3 get 1 for .01 - .75 coupons

Walgreen's: Dove Men's Bars 3/$18 - $6 ECB - $4 coupons (3) FREE!, Dove Men's Body Wash 4/$15 - $5 ECB - Buy Wash get a Body Scrubber FREE (so all 6 items end up being .60 each!), Pringles 4/$6 -$2 ECB - $1/3 coupon, Two boxes of Nail Stuff ($9.99 and $4.99 each) have M.I.R. and are FREE!!!

I also have received so much FREE stuff in the mail that I've filled 2 boxes in less than a month! From steak rub to personal care products to T-Shirts to dog toys! Seriously, it's crazy! In a good way though ;). Freebie Shark, I Crave Freebies & Deal Seeking Mom are the 3 I "LIKED" on facebook and I just randomly check my feeds. 90% can be filled out using my phone, the other 10% are facebook and have to be done by the full site. I'm hoping that when I switch from my Droid to an IPhone (due to upgrade very soon) that I'm able to do it all from my phone. We'll see!

I hope everyone is having an awesome Summer! We are taking our trip to St. Louis, the one I previously blogged about getting so cheap, soon. The kids are excited and I can't wait to spend so much uninterrupted one on one time with my family!

Wednesday, June 1

FREEBIES in the mail!!!

I absolutely LOVE checking my mail now! Every day I have something new and the best part is it's FREE!!! It beats just getting bills, LOL :)

In the past month (which I really just started doing this in the past month) I got 6 Atkins snack bars, 1 bag (coupon for a full size bag!) of dog food treats, 2 tubs (coupon for a full size ones!) of cottonelle moist wipes, a Neti pot with 3 packets of sinus rinse, and a sample of Frutis Shampoo & Conditioner (perfect for vacations & camping).

I still have a T-shirt (Baccardi), weeks worth of fish oil, Purex with Zout, Tide stain release packets (10pk), Wellness vitamin pack, Pull-Ups Flushable Moist Wipes, Dove Shampoo & Conditioner, Free Country Bob's BBQ sauce, Always Feminine Products, Avery sticky notes, Naturopathica Skin Care samples, platex sports body wipes, Purina dog treats & Kong ball, Eucerin lotion, Racheal Ray Nutrish dog food, Breathe Right Strips, Arm & Hammer toothpaste, Philosophy eye treatment, Beach First-Aid Kit, Newsweek Magazine for a year, Ocean Spray drinks, Nescafe Tasters Choice, Alpo Prime can dog food, quart of Glidden Paint...I'm sure there is more that I can't think of right now.

These "Forms" take me less than 30 sec to fill out. Most I do right from my phone. In my opinion it's worth that 30 sec or less of my time; LOOK at all the stuff I am getting FREE just in the very short time I have been doing this! I get all my info from 1 site, Just LIKE his facebook page and you'll get the feeds each time a new product posts. Good Luck! This can be a great way to stock up on items absolutely free!

Sunday, May 15

Deals so far this week!

Hyvee was the best purchase!!! 3 (150 oz - 96 loads each!) jugs of Purex laundry detergent for .99 each!!! It was a 1-day sale I actually just happen to walk into on Friday. From $8.99 on sale for $3.99 - $3 coupons (expire pretty soon!) made them .99. They are still on sale, just $4.99, so you can get them for $1.99...which is the deal my mom got, but hey it's still an awesome price for that amount!!!

In the same trip I also got 6 bags (individual size) of M&Ms for .50 total! Pays off to snag the coupons from the candy isles in gas stations ;), with .50/2 coupon coupled with Hyvee's sale 3/$1 we scored!

I also restocked my cat food. Purina One Beyond $2 off coupons expire soon, however in EVERY box of the 16oz cat food is another $2 off coupon that doesn't expire until December. Hyvee is the ONLY store local to me that I have found the box size and it's only $2.48, so I get them for .48! Great deal for high quality cat food.

$6.86 total

Price Chopper has Weber Grill Mates Seasonings 2/$3, cheapest I have seen them! The $1/1 coupons expire at the end of this month and Price Choppers sale runs until early July. I got them for .50 each.

$1.50 plus tax is running a special for $25 gift certificates pay only $4. Watch the details of the certificates at each restaurant, like mentioned in a previous post.

Tide is giving away FREE 10 count pks of In wash stain release every day for a week. So far, it's been 2 days. You need to LIKE them on facebook first so you can see when they post that it's open! Here is the link:

I still have Walgreens and CVS to hit this week and I'll post those next time :)

Friday, May 13

MIR – Have you heard of the term before?

Mail in Rebates are awesome! After getting into the world of couponing, I decided it was time to try a new task ;) and MIRs it was. You love FREE product, right? Who doesn’t?!?! Well, using MIRs you can now expand your FREE product stash! This week it’s Nexcare Band-Aids, Sun Burnt Gel (why not stock before Summer?), $12 cash back off a $15 purchase at GAP, FREE Finesse Shampoo or Conditioner after coupon and MIR, up to $6 back for Filtrete Filters (Furnace filters, something you NEVER see coupons on!), $10 gas card with 10 Kellogg’s UPCs (you come out ahead after this one b.c you can get boxes of Kellogg's cereal for $.90 or less!)…oh the list goes on and on!

I am still sticking to my challenge of a $25 a week grocery budget (which I have to confess I went $8 over budget while on vacation. My son was sick from dinner and I had to pick up unexpected meds! It’ll teach me to pack better. Now I’m less $8 this next week!), however after talking with my husband, I think I’m going to start an initial set amount for MIRs. It takes up to 8 weeks sometimes to see your money back, but being patient pays off. My starting budget will be $75 total. Now, I won’t add to this other than the $ I get back from the MIRs. I wonder how many FREE items I can get (or items our family needs that you never get discounts on…like furnace filters!) without running out of money :). Oh boy, I see another challenge!!!

VERY IMPORTANT! You have to stay organized to make this work! It’s not hard or time consuming, just find a system. I keep an envelope in my coupon binder that I wrote MIRs on. I immediately stick my receipt for the MIR items in there. I MAKE myself fill out the form that day or the next. If you don’t you forget and waste money. So far, I have 4 MIRs out – total out of pocket is approx $25. Sorry, I don’t have my receipts sitting in front of me! I will get all of my money back less the stamps – but I used .55 off coupons on my band-aids so technically I’ll break even with paying taxes. (1 of the MIRs is my mothers’ so that’s not out of my budget!), still a great deal for 6 boxes of band-aids and 2 tubes of Sun Burnt Gel!

Here are the sites I have been visiting to find out about MIRs:

Sites for FREE samples:

Products Facebook pages always have giveaways for free products. Redbox, Tide Stain Release, Old Spice, Country Bobs…TONS! So, go LIKE every product page you can find  It’s worth the all those feeds on your page!

Wednesday, May 4

Unplanned Vacation - CHEAP!

I used some of the $ I saved from couponing to "buy" us a trip to St. Louis over 4th of July weekend! This was unplanned, we've talked about it, but just never made the effort to budget for it :)

We are going 4 days, 3 nights and our ENTIRE trip will be under $500...including hotel and food! I have never used before, but NO WAY was I going to pay $200 a night to stay at a hotel that was 1m or less to the arch. On this website you purchase a star-rated "package" before you even know the hotel. Oh, I prayed the whole time that it wasn't a joke and that it wouldn't come back to bite me, LOL! However, trying out something new paid off!!!! I got us a room at the Sheraton City Center Hotel for $75 a night!!! I couldn't believe it! On top of that, was having 80% off again (they have this ALL THE TIME! Just google a code) so I got us 3 dinners and 4 lunches (7 - $25 gift certificates, grand total of $175) for just $11 out of pocket! Score! When using that site, READ the minimum ticket amount required and look over the menu to make sure you'll like the place. ALL of my certificates had 0 minimum or $35 order. So at most I have to spend $10 more per restaurant for dinner. Hey, we are eating at a dine-in restaurant for the price of McDonald's!

Most things to do in St. Louis are FREE, or at a small price. You can bet that I will be hunting more coupons over the next couple months to use on this trip :)

Try these sites out! Maybe you'll get a trip you weren't able to take before OR cheap date nights using the site. I bought 6 - $25 certificates for just $2 each for our date nights. Now we can afford to go twice a month and hire a babysitter!

Tuesday, May 3

Starting a $25 a week grocery budget challenge!

I used the last month and a half using my FULL ($400-$450 a month) grocery budget to stock up on everything I can. I still couponed and shopped sales like crazy so that means I literally got 4 times the amount of product for the same budget! Now I have AT LEAST a FULL 2 months worth of food (other than the perishables of course!) to make my meals from. My friend (thanks Maureen!!!) encouraged me to drastically cut my budget now and challenge myself. "Why not take vacations or save" she was saying, so I decided to do just that. I went from a $400 budget to $100, that's $3600 a year! God truly has blessed me with the knowledge to do this successfully for my family. He has opened so many opportunities up to us (a vacation we didn't have the budget for, padding savings, blessing others with knowledge and products, paying our student loans off sooner) and for that I am SO GRATEFUL!

I am very excited to share my first week was a success!!!! Even after I had to buy extra food to make meals to feed 3 families (family vacation this weekend), I STILL stayed in budget using coupons and shopping smart. Hopefully, I am as successful the next 7 weeks :)

Here are my weeks matchups, everything you see below cost me a grand total of $3.72 (I will be adding 3 -3pk Ivory soaps & at least 1 bottle of Bob's BBQ sauce to this (all FREE) sometime this week!:

Vlasic Pickles $1 - $1 off 2 coupon (in the FREE magazine as you enter country mart, by meat warmers)
Colgate Toothpaste $2.77 - $2.77 ECBs (BONUS if you have the $1 off 1 coupon or .75 off 1 coupon, money maker!!!! Which was the case for me!)
Bic Soleil $6.99 - $3 ECB - $3 coupon, only .99!!!

Fixodent $3.99 - $1RR - $3 coupon, FREE!
Gillette Pro Glide $12.89 (sale $9.89) - $5RR - $4 coupon, ONLY .89!
Comet $1.00 (sale .50!) - .25 coupon, only .25! Grandma uses this stuff and I find it AWESOME for washing outdoor lawn furniture or the kids plastic outdoor toys :)

CVS, Walmart & Krogers all have Ivory bar soap (3pk) for .97-$1, use the $1 coupon from this sunday paper, FREE

Country Bob's BBQ sauce has a printable FREE coupon. Site is down, probably overloaded, but it's carried at Walmart.

Friday, April 22

Recent trip to Dollar General & Target

$3.61 total at Dollar General
Airwick Room Sprays $1, - B1G1 FREE coupon (was in a past Sunday paper), .50 each!
Airwick Gadget sale $4.50 - $4 coupon (this past Sunday paper), .50 each!
Vaseline Trial Size $1 - $1 coupons (coupon doesn't specify size), FREE, great for traveling, diaper bag or car!
Lysol products are all 3/$5, which make them $1.67 each...- Lysol printable wipes coupon $1.50 (facebook page), .17 each!!!

$10 Target (AD match to Walmart from Sunday's paper)
Ritz Muchables sale $2 - $1 coupon (printable on or, $1 each!
Play-Doh 24pk (FULL SIZE!), Walmart AD match of $10 (savings of $4.99 right there) - $3 coupon, $7!!!
Toy Story 3 Operation, Walmart AD match of $5 (savings of $10.99 right there!) - $3 coupon, $2!!!!!!!
Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm $2.99, (Walmart's website has a manuf. coupon to print for B1G1 FREE) - $2.99, Target printable coupons -(2) $1 off any Neutrogena Naturals Product, -$1 Manuf coupon from a previous Sunday paper,  FREE for both!!!

A good tip here is to ALWAYS visit Targets website weekly and print coupons! They change and you never know when you'll get a good coupon to match up with a Sunday paper one later. So, make it a point to check and print their coupons often! It's worth your time ;)