Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Oh, Just Some Humor!

I ran to Kroger tonight, mainly to get chicken breasts (on sale for $1.67/lb - a VERY good price) and cereal (another FANTASTIC deal, but exceedingly complicated to explain within these parentheses).

I loaded my cart with my 8 boxes of cereal, my chicken, and a few other things I managed to find on manager's special. Then I headed for the U-SCAN.

**Red flag!!!**

Because I could only get my fantastic deal on cereal if I did 4 boxes per transaction, I figured I would start with my bigger transaction, getting everything out of the way for the second one except the remaining 4 boxes of cereal.

So I started pulling loaves bread and English muffins out of my cart (all on manager's special for 1/2 price). I noticed as I scanned the last loaf of bread that none of these items had rung up correctly. Ugh! So I turned around to ask the cashier to fix them. But there wasn't a cashier.

**Second red flag!!! You should have gone through a REGULAR checkout, Heidi!!! Cashiers NEVER go missing in the middle of your transaction at a REGULAR checkout!!!**

I watched and waited and finally the cashier did show up. She fixed them all, but I still had to re-scan them. Okay, not a huge deal. I pressed on and was happy to see that all of my regular (and by regular, I mean on sale, of course) items were scanning correctly. I then stumbled upon yet another manager's special item.

By that time, I thought I had this down and I could do it correctly this time around, but lo and behold, that little can of tomato sauce didn't ring up correctly. To my amazement, I discovered there are actually two separate kinds of manager's special tags. Well, whatever. At this point, I just wanted to get out of the store.

I finally got through my transaction, handed the girl my coupons, and was happy to see that my total was under $20.

I paid, bagged my stuff, and threw it in my cart. "Okay, just the cereal left," I thought to myself. "This should be easy and quick."

**Red flag #3!!! You should never think to yourself that ANYTHING will be either easy OR quick - and certainly not both!!!**

The Cheerios scanned fine. $2.50/box. Then came the Total. $4.47 per box! I think not!

I turned to the cashier to tell her that they were also on sale for $2.50, but - what do ya know? She was missing again! Of course, by this time, she was also needed by the older gentleman behind me in line whose U-SCAN demon kept chanting "Please wait for cashier assistance." He quietly yelled (quietly yelled?) at the machine and we small-talked about how we knew we should not have chosen the U-SCANS tonight and, by the way, where was that cashier?

Alas! There she was! I sprang to her station to inform her of the inadequacy of the U-SCAN machine! Well, okay - no. I really just told her that the cereal had rung up incorrectly. She, of course, had to walk back to the cereal isle to make sure I wasn't trying to cheat the store into selling me the Total Raisen Bran for $2.50/box instead of the ungodly price of $4.47/box.

In the meantime, the gentleman behind me finally kicked his U-SCAN into order and was able to bag his things. He was about to leave his post when the cashier returned. He turned to her, smiling, and said, "I just want you to know that I saved 8 dollars and 30 cents tonight - even with this machine!"

I grinned at his apparent pride in saving so much money on just 3 bags of groceries. I glanced down at my receipt and chuckled quietly.

Total: $19.51
Total Savings Today: $28.99

Well, that's okay. We'll let him think he did a good job. :)

When the cashier finally got everything straightened out and realized that I wasn't lying to her about the price of the cereal, I paid my $3, bagged up my 4 boxes, and was out the door.

When I reached the van, I pulled out that receipt.

Total Savings Today: $8.38

That time I laughed out loud.

I've Saved $900 This Year At CVS!!!

I went to CVS last night and after I left, I looked at my receipt.

Year to Date Savings: $888.84

Spring 2008 Spending: $44.40 (which is pretty close to what my winter spending was too!)

I would like to give a formal thanks to Crystal over at Money Saving Mom for her dedication to helping us "newbies" learn how to play the CVS game.

But let's look at this more closely for just a second. Let's say I've spent a total of $100 so far this year at CVS (which is pretty accurate). That amount includes AT LEAST a dozen packages of diapers. Well, for a dozen packages of diapers, that sounds pretty average - a little over $8/package. But that also includes HUNDREDS of other products - razors, razor cartridges, shampoos, conditioners, toothbrushes, toothpastes, body washes, soaps, lotions, pain meds, diabetes meters, candy, MILK, cleaning products....the list goes on and on.

In addition to all the stuff I have used (namely diapers), I have been able to give away huge lots of personal hygiene items and look at what I have left (and this is not all of it):

Many people ask me, "Why would you buy all that stuff if you don't need it?"

Well, that's easy! "To give it away!"

Since you can actually MAKE money on many items at CVS and can get SO many items for free, why not buy them for someone who could use them?

"But it takes so much it really worth it?"

Well, you tell me! :)

So now I'm curious. For all of you who play "the CVS game", how much have you spent and how much have you saved this year??

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

All Caught Up!

Ok, I posted Sunday's blog as if it was actually posted on Sunday (so as not to mess up the "order" - haha - of my blog) and Monday's on Monday....

You get the idea. If I can manage to stay healthy for more than 2 weeks at a time, perhaps I can get back into the groove of actually posting something every day. :)

By the way, how is your week going??

Tasty Tuesday - Kids In The Kitchen, Part 3

Elementary kids typically LOVE to help in the kitchen! And get them involved while you can, because if you wait to include them until they are teenagers, they won't want to help! Since I have done lots of catching up tonight on my blog due to being sick this week, I am mostly just going to post some of the great ideas that my readers have offered!

Wash dishes (my favorite idea for kids because it means I'm not doing them!)

Wash fruits/veggies and store them in containers in the fridge

Mix a "trail mix" of pretzels, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, etc. and then portion into individual "snack packs" for the week.

Set and clear the dinner table

Wipe down countertops and table

Sweep and mop the floor

Help cook dinner (if they are older)

Make coffee

Load and unload the dishwasher

Water plants

Make sure animals have fresh food and water

Make juice from a frozen can (or Koolaid)

Make jello or pudding

Roll and throw dough balls into pan for monkey bread or other "pieced" food

Ok, I'm starting to wonder what I'm going to write about for the teens. I mean, I was a teen fairly recently, but I certainly don't have any teens in the house and I'm not around them too often, so I'll have to come up with something good. :)

Do any of you have teens?? What are their responsibilities in the kitchen??

Other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Monday, April 28, 2008

Money Monday - Baskin Robbins 31 Cent Scoop Night Is Coming!

This Wednesday, April 30th is Baskin Robbins' annual 31 cent scoop night to honor America's firefighters. Participating stores will reduce prices of small ice cream scoops to 31 cents. At some locations, you may also have an opportunity to make a donation to your local fire charities.

Oh, and here's the kicker: Limit 10 scoops per person per purchase! Hahaha. I think I'm covered. :)

For full details, click here.

You May Be Wondering Where I've Been.....

This weekend was CRAZY. My husband was in a wedding, so we had rehearsal Friday night, then the actual wedding on Saturday. And to top things off, my husband came home with what we thought was the flu Friday afternoon, so he was sick for the whole thing. How lovely, right? Then he was diagnosed with strep yesterday, so now I'm wondering if this will go around our whole family. *Sigh*

Isn't it a little late in the year to be getting sick??

Aside from that, I have no major excuse for my lack of upkeep except that I have developed some strep-like symptoms myself. I only have a mild sore throat, but I definitely have the body ache thing down. And since my husband was home from work today, I wanted to spend the day with him since we rarely get a day of nothingness.

I am hoping to be going again at full speed tomorrow, at which time I plan to backlog and post Sunday's and Monday's blogs as well.

Oh, and I have one exciting announcement! I have "officialized" my blog by getting my very own domain! You can now access my blog @ (instead of typing in that long blogger name)!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Worship - Modesty, Part 2

I had the pleasure of attending my brother-in-law's wedding this weekend. The weather was perfect! The food was great! But I felt terrible for my husband who surely had to avert his eyes at least a hundred times from the scantily clad women who attended. Perhaps it's just that I haven't been to a wedding lately or perhaps it's that I've grown more sensitive to this issue in the past several months. But ladies, if your boobs look like they could fall out of your top at any moment, you're dressing COMPLETELY inappropriately! I think some of these women would have been revealing less if they had been wearing a bathing suit! It was ridiculous!

I don't know if women don't realize what they are doing or if they realize it and actually want that sort of attention. But either way, it certainly doesn't measure up to God's standards.

When writing the book For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn interviewed 1,000 men and found remarkably similar results among all of them as far as how men relate to women. Men want to feel respected. They are haunted by romantic failures. It's difficult for them to "change gears". They enjoy it when their wife takes care of herself. But the most stunning discovery (in my opinion) that she made during these interviews was this:

Men have (what Shaunti calls) a "visual rolodex" in their brain. Any image of a beautiful/sexy woman is automatically logged into their brain the instant they see it (be it live, in a picture, or in a video). These images can be brought up at will or may just randomly pop into their minds. While this may appall you at first (if you're a woman), this is not a malfunction of a man. This is the way men were wired by their Creator. The key is protecting their eyes from seeing all the filth of the world and, if an inappropriate image should pop up, immediately willing it away by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Every Man's Battle, the authors include several personal stories along with real letters from Christian men on the topic of sexual purity. I want to give you a glimpse of what these letters include so you can be aware of the kind of battle that men must fight with their eyes when women are not dressed appropriately. Men receive sexual gratification through their eyes. That is why it is SO important for us to be careful about what we wear! Remember, these are Christian men struggling with normal desires. As a warning, these personal accounts are somewhat graffic:

I never intentionally set out to be girl-watching that day, but I spotted her about two hundred yards ahead and to the left. She was jogging toward me along the coastal sidewalk. From my sheepskin-covered leather seat, I found the view outstanding, even by California's high standards. My eyes locked on to this goddesslike blonde, rivulets of sweat cascading down her tanned body as she ran at a purposeful pace. Her jogging outfit, if it could be called that in those days before sports bras and spandex, was actually a skimpy bikini. As she approached on my left, two tiny triangles of tie-dyed fabric struggled to contain her ample bosom. I can't tell you what her face looked like; nothing above the neckline registered with me that morning. My eyes feasted on this banquet of glistening flesh as she passed on my left, and they continued to follow her lithe figure as she continued jogging southbound. Simply by lustful instinct, as if mesmerized by her gait, I turned my head further and further, craning my neck to capture every possible moment for my mental video camera.

There was a (sexual) monster lurking about, and it surfaced each Sunday morning when I settled in my comfy La-Z-Boy and opened the Sunday morning newspaper. I would quickly find the department-store inserts and begin paging through the colored newsprint filled with models posing in bras and panties. Always smiling. Always available. I loved lingering over each ad insert. It's wrong, I admitted, but it's such a small thing. It was a far cry from Playboy, I told myself. I peered through the panties, fantasizing. Occasionally, a model reminded me of a girl I once knew, and my mind rekindled the memories of our times together. I rather enjoyed my Sunday mornings with the newspaper.

Alex remembers the time he was watching TV with his sister-in-law. The rest of the family was at the mall. "She was lying flat on her stomach on the floor in front of me, wearing tight shorts, and she'd fallen asleep watching TV. I was on the chair, and I happened to look down and see her upper thigh and a trace of her underwear. I tried to ignore it, but my heart started racing a little, and my eyes kept looking at the back of her upper thigh. It got so exciting that I began to stare and really lust. I had to release it somehow. I masturbated while she slept, right out in the open."

Do you see what we are doing to the men in our lives?! Women should be dressing in a way that is not causing a man to stumble. It's okay to dress attractively, but it's not okay to dress seductively. Since we know that men have a natural weakness in this area, we need to do everything possible to keep them from stumbling.

Now, I want to clarify that I am in NO way condoning a man's lustful behavior. Men need to train themselves to look away and "bounce their eyes" when an attractive woman is nearby. They need to keep themselves out of dangerous situations that they know may cause them to stumble. But at the same time, it is a woman's responsibility to clothe herself fully so as not to aid a man in this sin.

I think I will include one more week on this series next week. We'll see what I can scrounge up for that. :)

By the way, did any of you go through your closet this week and take a good look at your clothes??

Other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 3

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun Friday - I've Been Tagged!

I hope none of you are TOO stuck on Fitness Friday, because it looks like it's going to become an alternating topic. Today, I've decided to go with FUN FRIDAY!

Pam @ Saving Money and Being Happy has tagged me to share three random things about myself. I thought this could be fun anyway since a lot of you may not know much about me, but rather only things about how I love to save money, what I cook, and what I find humorous. Ok, so here goes...

1. I am a redhead. Yes, a group of people that will soon be gone (or so they say).

2. I am SO PSYCHED that we will soon be debt free!! WOO HOO!! (See Dave Ramsey).

3. I love Jesus Christ. He has saved me from my sin and I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday!

I have really enjoyed my kids this week. We've been to the zoo and outside playing a lot in this beautiful weather and I've had a wonderful time! It's so fun to watch them grow and learn and explore new things as spring begins to bloom.

(I'm such a bad mom - I don't think I took ANY pictures of my baby this week!)

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Strange Dwellings

1. Reversible Destiny Lofts

2. House on a Rock

3. Tiny Summer House

4. Houseboat...or Boathouse?

5. Living Sideways

6. Dessert Home

7. Toilet House

8. Glass House

9. Tree House

10. Underwater House

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Kids In The Kitchen, Part 2

My children are 3, 2, and 6 months. My two toddlers LOVE to help prepare their own meals. I'm running late on posting this and it's way past my bedtime, but I just wanted to give you a few meal ideas that preschool-age children can help with:

ham and cheese croissants - roll up ham and cheese into croissant before baking

English muffin or biscuit pizzas - add sauce, cheese, and toppings

- pour pre-measured oatmeal and water into bowl before microwaving, add raisins/bananas/etc.

eggs and toast
- stir eggs before cooking, butter toast

- stir batter, drop onto cookie sheet on into muffin tin, decorating cookies

peanut butter & jelly sandwiches - spread peanut butter and jelly and cut in half

salad - tear lettuce, wash veggies, and add toppings

homemade bread - grease pan, knead dough

Don't underestimate your preschoolers. They are capable of many things if you take the time to teach them. :)

Last week, I received lots of great ideas for ways that kids of all ages can help in the kitchen in various ways! Please keep the ideas coming!

Other parts of this series:

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Monday, April 21, 2008

Money Monday - CVS Scenarios For April 20-26

I don't see a lot of real moneymakers this week, but there are lots of freebies. Here is what I plan to do this week:

Spend $10 (to get 1 deodorant, 2 pkgs of Alavert, 2 Maybelline Lip products, 1 Skin Effects beauty product, 1 Body Aktiva, and 2 Softsoap body washes), Get $13 ECB back!

Transaction #1:

(1) Mennen Speed Stick deodorant @ $3.99
(2) pkgs of Alavert @ $6.99

Use (1) $1/1 printable here or here or from 3/30 SmartSource insert and (2) $4/1 Alavert coupons found here.

Total OOP: approx $8.97 + tax
ECB back: $11.99 ($8 and $3.99)

Transaction #2:

(2) Maybelline Moise Extreme Lip @ 2/$9.99
(1) Skin Effects product @ $6.99
(1) Lumene Body Aktiva @ $1.99

Use (2) $2/1 Maybelline coupons from 2/10 Redplum insert, $2/1 Skin Effects from Beauty Handbook (at CVS), and $11.99 ECB.

Total OOP: approx $.98 + tax
ECB back: $12.99 (a $6, a $5, and a $1.99)

Transaction #3:

(2) Softsoap Spa Radience (18oz.) @ $5.49

Use $11 ECB.

Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $10.98

Money Monday - Free Pet Goodies!

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for this one:

PetSmart is hosting a nationwide pet birthday party at almost all of their locations Tuesday, April 22, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Includes a free goodie bag, prizes, and free digital photo of you and your pet. Click here for more details.

Money Monday - I Heart Free Diapers :)

Last week at CVS, they were running a BOGO sale on the CVS brand diapers. I had purchased the Contour Meter with coupon earlier in the week, so I had gotten $14.99 ECB for paying $1.05 in tax. Since I needed diapers, I took advantage of the great sale!

I got 4 packages of diapers, 3 Adidas deoderants, and 2 Cover Girl foundations for about $2.

My transaction looked like this:

4 pks diapers (BOGO @ $8.99 each)
3 deoderants @ $4.99 each
2 Cover Girl powder foundations (BOGO @ 7.49 each)

I used a $3/$10 CVS coupon, a BOGO Covergirl coupon, 3 coupons for a free Adidas deoderant, and my $14.99 ECB.

Total OOP: approx. $2

A pretty good deal, if you ask me. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Worship - Modesty, Part 1

I had a GREAT time at the women's retreat for those of you who are wondering. It was a wonderful time to get away, relax, laugh, share, and develop ideas for a better relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my Jesus.

One of the things we discussed this weekend was the issue of modesty. Depending on where you live in the country, you may not see this as a very big issue or you may wish there was a dress code for women to go out in public. I have nothing against the coastal states, but in general, they tend to be less conservative in their attire. The Midwest and surrounding states tend to be a bit more conservative. However, as always, there are exceptions to every rule.

At any rate, modesty is an issue that is unfortunately lacking in our society, specifically in our church's curriculum. Young women are growing up completely uninformed. They do not understand the importance of modesty nor do they understand what modesty is.

What is modesty?

Dressing modestly is not about having a set of rules. It's not about setting a dress code. It's about the heart. I would define modesty as the desire to please the Lord in what one wears so as not to cause a man to stumble.

One of the specific things about which we talked at the retreat was the "good, better, best" idea. A woman can go shopping and find a shirt (or skirt/shorts/etc.) that she thinks is fairly modest. It might be a good choice. And there's an excellent chance (in today's society) that it's a better choice than lots of other shirts on the same rack. But is it the best choice? I am a Christian and therefore desire to please the Lord in all that I do - including how I dress. I don't want to be somewhat godly or even mostly godly; I want to be as godly as possible! Since what I wear affects my brothers (and sisters) in Christ, my wardrobe is therefore a part of my spiritual life.

Consider going through your closet this week and choosing the best items of clothing instead of just the good or even better ones.

I want to continue this topic next week because I believe this is something that needs to be addressed in today's culture, but I don't have time to elaborate tonight. (The retreat was nice, but it did exhaust me!) Next week, we will talk about why modesty is important, how men think, and what Christian men have to say about the way Christian women dress.

Other parts of this series:

Part 2
Part 3

Friday, April 18, 2008

Taking A Short Vacation

I am going on a women's retreat with my church this weekend, so I will be taking a day or two off from blogging. But I will say that I got some very free diapers this week from CVS and that was exciting! :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CVS Is Getting Smarter

I noticed that there are several things in next month's ECB catalog that are free after ECB. That's good, right? Well, yeah - but it would be better if they had run that ad before the coupons for those products expire! For example, Adidas deoderants and Colgate 360 toothbrushes.

I am going to go to CVS on April 26th (which is the day these coupons expire) and see if they might, by some chance, be doing the May ECB deals already. Either that, or find a CVS that accepts expired manufacturer coupons. I have to admit I've never tried using an expired coupon at my CVS before, but I heard from a couponer that I ran into once that "they all do".

So I'm curious....Does your CVS accept expired manufacturer coupons??

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Kids In The Kitchen, Part 1

I don't know how many of you have children, but I have three. They are always wanting to help out in the kitchen. Although it is almost always more work to have our children "help" us around the house, I believe it is crucial to their well-being. Not only will it help them learn how to function and contribute in their family, but it will also teach them to enjoy helping out. As they get older, they will know that it is expected and that it is fun to be a part of the family!

So today I'm beginning the series Kids In The Kitchen. To help me out, would you please vote in the poll on the right side of the screen? I'd love to know how many children my readers have! :)

Since my children are still toddlers, I'd like to start out by talking about ways that younger children can help out in the kitchen. If these seem like ultra-easy tasks, don't worry - there is more to come for the older kids! Now, there are some obvious things that young children cannot and should not do in the kitchen (like use the oven or boil water), but there are lots of other things they can help out with, such as:

1. Help stir muffins, pancakes, waffles, cake mix, or any other batter.
2. Help make cookie dough balls or cut-out cookies.
3. Add raisins to oatmeal.
4. Sweep the floor. (They make mini brooms just for kids)!
5. Dust table and chairs.
6. Clean patio door window.
7. "Wash" dishes. (This is sometimes more of a mess than a help, but kids love the water)!
8. Take out trash (Our kids take out the small bags or the "stuff" like milk cartons).
9. Add toppings to homemade pizza.
10. Carry dishes and cups to sink after meals. (I try to only give our kids plastics for this reason).

What do your kids enjoy doing in the kitchen?? What ways have you found to include them?? If you have any ideas or links to point me toward for this series, feel free to leave me a comment! :)

Other parts of this series:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Tax Day Freebies!!

Thanks to iMommies, NewsObserver, and MoneySavingMom for some of these great deals!

Valid Tuesday, April 15th Only

1.) Free Donut with any Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee purchase: A coupon is not required (click HERE to access proof of this offer on the Dunkin’ Donuts website). Thanks, Elizabeth!

2.) Fifteen (15) free prints from Walgreens Photo: Orders must be placed by 11:59pm (Central Time) on 04/15. Click HERE to order online, and enter code TAXDAY at checkout. Thanks, KD!

3.) Free Basic Version of H&R Block’s TaxCut Online: This is not a reward for procrastinating - it just looks like one! Click HERE. Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

4.) Free Tax Return Hard Copies: Make copies of your 2007 return at Staples or Office Depot (all locations). Staples is offering free copies, up to 20 pages; and Office Depot is offering up to 25 pages. (You can also request hard copies from the IRS - click HERE for details.)

5.) Free Tax Day Greeting Card: If you want to remind someone else to finish his or her taxes, American Greetings, Hallmark and other online card companies will let you send free "happy" or "freak out" tax day cards. At American Greetings' site, search by "tax day."

6.) Free Champagne: I don't personally drink, but I've heard that some Charleston restaurants are offering a free glass of champagne to anyone with a post office receipt or online confirmation of filing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Money Monday - More Kroger Mega Sale!

I went to Kroger this weekend to do our regular weekly shop and found that the Mega Sale was still going on, so I stocked up some more on lots of free stuff and some cheap stuff!

I spent just under $30 and saved almost $50! WOO HOO for double coupons!!!!

Our chicken was on sale again for $1.57/lb so I grabbed a few more packages, got a few essentials (we were pretty well stocked at home already), and got 20 of the sale items. Since I have been stocking up on all the great deals lately at Kroger and Meijer, I don't think I'll need to do any more shopping this week. Spending $30 is a pretty great week for me, since I typically spend $50! :)

Great Beginner Deals At CVS!

If you have never been to CVS before with the intention of making money by playing "the CVS game", this is a prime week to begin!

In order for this week to profit you in the best way possible, you will need to have the coupon inserts from the past several Sundays. This week, you can spend just $1 out-of-pocket and get $26.48 back!!

Pull out the following coupons for your trip:

$2/1 Benefiber (from 4/13 - this coupon was also in the paper a few weeks ago) - use both if you have two coupons
$30/1 Contour Meter (from 3/16)
$2/1 Pepcid EZ Chews (from 4/6)
$1.50/1 Softsoap body wash (from 3/30)

Also, pull out these inserts to be sent in for manufacturer rebates:

$5.50 MIR when you buy Pepcid EZ Chews (from 4/6)
$5.99 MIR when you buy any (1) Benefiber product (from 4/13)

Now, fill your cart with (2) Benefibers (supposedly these start @ $4.99, but I'm going to say $6.99 since that's what I saw them for), (1) Contour Meter, (1) Pepcid EZ Chews, and (1) Softsoap Spa body wash (or more if you have more coupons!).

These are the deals you're going to be using:

Buy 1 Softsoap Spa @ $4.99, Get $4.99 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy 1 Pepcid EZ Chews @ $7.99, Get $5 ECB (Limit 1)
Buy any 2 Benefiber, Maalox, Gas-X, Ex-Lax, or Perdium products (prices starting @ $4.49 each), Get $10 ECB (Limit 1)
Buy 1 Contour Meter @ $14.99, Get $14.99 ECB (Limit 1)

To get the most "bang for your buck", purchase your items in this order:

If you don't have a CVS Extra Care Bucks card, get one before you begin your transactions! They have them at the register. Also, don't forget to scan your card at the electronic kiosk (if your store has one) for extra coupons!

Transaction #1:

(1) Contour Meter @ $14.99

Total: $14.99
Use $30/1 coupon (They will have to adjust this coupon down to $14.99).
Total OOP: $0
ECB earned: $14.99

Transaction #2:

(2) Benefibers @ $6.99 each
(1) Pepcid EZ Chew @ $7.99

UPDATE: I've been told the Pepcid EZ Chews have gone back up to $10.49, which kind of spoils this deal. However, you could still do the deal and come out $2 ahead - you would just have to fork out the extra cash (or pay with ECB) and then wait for your manufacturer rebate to get your money back.

Total: $21.97
Use (2) $2/1 Benefiber coupons, $2/1 Pepcid coupon, and $14.99 ECB (from previous transaction).
Total OOP: approx. $1
ECB earned: $15 (a $5 and a $10)

Transaction #3:

(1) Softsoap Spa body wash @ $4.99
any random $1.50 item that you need

Total: approximately $6.49
Use $1.50/1 Softsoap coupon and $5 ECB (from previous transaction).
Total OOP: $0
ECB earned: $4.99

You now have $14.99 ECB to use later! You got a Contour Meter (donate to someone with diabetes), a body wash, 2 Benefibers, and a box of Pepcid EZ Chews for just $1 OOP!!! In addition to that, you can send it to get another $11.49 in cash with your manufacturer rebates!

Please let me know if you try this! I know some people have been reporting the Softsoap body wash as out-of-stock in many locations. But make sure you get a rain check if that's the case! Also, please let me know if you see any mistakes. :)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Worship - How Can I Know I'm A Christian?

My husband and I went to a conference this evening at a local church. One of the speakers spoke about how he discovered a few years ago that he was only going through the motions of Christianity and had never actually been saved. He mentioned that someone had pointed him to the book of 1 John as a place to find out the "criteria" of a true believer. I want to share these 10 things with you from 1 John so that you too - if you are a believer - can have assurance in your salvation and know that you are a Christian.

A true convert....

....Admits he is a sinner.
....Lives a life of obedience more than a life of disobedience. That is, he finds himself doing more of God's commands than not doing.
....Doesn't harbor hatred or bitterness but instead offers love and comfort.
....Doesn't love the world or the things of the world - that is, the practices of the world.
....Proclaims Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
....Has a hope and a long for the return of Jesus Christ.
....Desires to serve and help other Christians.
....Loves being with other believers.
....Rejects false teachings.
....Remains in the truth and perseveres in the truth.

If you are unsure of your salvation or are interested in learning how to have a personal relationship with your Creator, please email me. I would be more than happy to share with you the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ! :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fitness Friday - Snacks To Suit Your Stomach

Snacking between meals can be good for your diet, but it's important to keep your grazing habits in check. Here is a list of 20 treats tallying less than 150 calories each:

  • 1 York Peppermint Pattie: 140 calories
  • 1 ounce banana chips: 147 calories
  • 1 packet O'Coco's Original Organic Baked Chocolate Crisps: 90 calories
  • 20 Baked Tostitos Original Bite Size tortilla chips: 110 calories
  • 1 mini bag Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Gourmet Popping Corn: 100 calories
  • 1 container Dannon Light & Fit yogurt: 60 calories
  • 1 package Quaker Mini Delights Chocolatey Drizzle mini snack cakes: 90 calories
  • 1/3 cup Bing Bing Cherry peeled snacks: 150 calories
  • 21 raw almonds: 147 calories
  • 1 Starbucks Mocha frappuccino bar: 120 calories
  • 1 medium apple, sliced, with 2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter: 135 calories
  • 1/4 cup Woodstock Cherry & Ginger Almond Crunch Granola: 115 calories
  • 1 ounce Polly-O string cheese: 80 calories
  • 1 Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Granola bar: 120 calories
  • 7 Snyder's Multigrain Pretzel Sticks: 120 calories
  • 3/4 cup edamame: 142 calories
  • 10 raw baby carrots with 1/4 cup hummus: 144 calories
  • 1/2 cup Cracker Jack: 120 calories
  • 1 1/4 ounces Glenny's Low Fat White Cheddar Soy Crisps: 140 calories
  • 1/2 cup TCBY Hand-Scooped Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt: 140 calories

This information was taken from Fitness Magazine.

CVS Scenarios For This Week

Sorry this took me so long to post! Being sick last weekend just sucked all of my energy and I'm apparently still recovering. I didn't find this week to be ultra fantastic, but since these scenarios mostly revolve around things I actually need (deoderant and diapers), it turned out to be a fairly decent week:

Transaction 1:

(2) Degree deoderants @ $2.50 each
(3) Sunsilk stylers @ $3.49 each
(2) Covergirl TruBlend Whipped Foundation $10.99 each

Use $1/2 Degree coupon, $1.50/1 Sunsilk coupons, and BOGO Covergirl coupon from this week's paper and $2/1 Covergirl coupon from CVS's Reinventing Beauty catalog. (Or if you still have $2.50/1 Sunsilk coupons from a few months ago, those would be an even better deal!)

Total before coupons: $33.96
Total after coupons: $15.47
Pay with ECB, of course! :)
Receive $17 ECB back (a $5 and a $12).

Transaction #2:

(4) CVS Rapid Release pain reliever @ $3.99 each
(1) Lumene Body Aktiva @ $1.99 each

If you have one, use a $3/$10 CVS brand coupon.

Total before coupon: $17.95
Total after coupon: $14.95
Pay with $15 ECB.
Receive $17.95 ECB back (a $1.99 and a $15.96).

Transaction #3:

(3) pks of Huggies diapers @ $8.99 each

Use 3 $1/1 Huggies coupons (and if you have a $4/$20 CVS coupon, use that too).

Total before coupons: $26.97
Total after coupons: $23.97 (or $19.97)
Pay with $17.95 ECB. Total OOP: $6 (or $2)
Receive $10 ECB back.

What deals did you find at CVS this week??

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thrifty Thursday - Free (Or Nearly Free) Family Activities!

I haven't decided if it will always be Thrifty Thursday from now on, but for today...that's what we're going with. :)

I found these ideas at Clarisse's Financial Notebook:

Monster Sundae - get the biggest serving bowl you can find, and as a family make a huge sundae. You can have various kinds of ice cream or just one kind - it's up to you. But get creative with the toppings and sit at the table and enjoy. Yeah it's a mess, but it's fun to get messy!

Picnics - Picnics are not only for the park. I have had many picnics in other public places. In Nashville we have this HUGE hotel called The Opryland Hotel. Inside the hotel, there is a conservatory and another part called The Delta. It has plants, a little water taxi, and a big water and laser show. We will pack up a picnic lunch, go to the hotel and eat it right in front of the water show. We make a day out of it. If you have any place like that you can go, grab a picnic basket and have fun!

Local Festivals & Community Celebrations - If you can watch the local news or read the paper, then you will find that many of your local communities will have festivals and celebrations that are free to the public, and they can be rather interesting. In Tennessee, we have one town that has a Mule Day celebration (sounds totally lame, but it is actually quite fun and interesting for the kids). In my town we have the Strawberry Festival every May. There's a parade, all the strawberry foods you could ever buy (and they are really quite cheap since our town is known for its strawberries), and they even have activites and games for the kids.

Scavenger Hunts - Who doesn't love a good scavenger hunt? A group of adults can even participate. All you have to do is be a little creative and plan ahead. Our neighborhood had a Halloween scavenger hunt that resembled the Amazing Race. We had to drive in teams of 2 (not husband and wife either!) and we had to complete certain tasks. One was sweeping the floor of our local Papa Johns and another was helping someone wash their car at the car wash for 1 minute. lol. It was really fun to race around and try to beat everyone else. You could do that with your kids - just break up in teams of 2 (or whatever works) and try to find certain items on a list. You don't buy them....just find them or take a picture with your camera phone or digital camera.

Make Your Own Movie - Kids love to be on camera, so why not have them dress up and act out a movie - if you own a video camera or a digital camera with video capabilities. When it is finished, you can watch it and enjoy your own brand of entertainment.

Camping - You can go camping in the back yard. If you can get your hubby to go along with it, make a fire (yes, that means digging up the beautiful grass) and make some smores. What is better than that?

Science Experiements - Make an erupting volcano together. Go outside and look at the stars - try to spot some constellations. There are a ton of safe experiments you guys can do at home that are not only educational but fun.

Go Hiking - get out and go hiking. Maybe you and your kiddos can learn how to use a compass - or better yet, teach them how to find directions WITHOUT a compass. You never know when things like this can come in handy! But don't get yourself and the kids lost - remember safety first!

Playgrounds/Parks in the early evenings. Usually about dinner time the parks and playgrounds clear out. Some of our local playgrounds don't have a closing time because with adequate light and observability from the road, it's still a safe place for kids to play at all times of the night. If you have an area like this - take your kids out at dusk and have the run of the playground with them. It's amazing how quickly the same old playground can turn into a pirate ship or castle for a princess. Play with them. Most of the equipment can handle 150-200 lbs. Be a kid again and have fun with yours.

Go Shopping Without Buying a Thing - We always did this when we were kids. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, and as a pick-me-up for us (and I think for herself too) my mom would take us to Toys-R-Us and let us pick out 5-10 things we wanted. She would just let us play and have the best time there. We all had the agreement that we wouldn't be buying ANYTHING, but we could play all we wanted and we could put the things in the cart that we really wanted. We would just leave the cart behind and we'd leave without spending anything. Sure the Toys-R-Us people probably hated us, but it was my mom's way of shopping without shopping. When I first started on the Dave plan, I LOVED to shop, so to get it out of my system, I did the same thing. I pick out all the things I wanted, and I'd either slowly put them all back, or I'd walk away from the cart. It helped curb those cravings to shop. But I honestly see nothing wrong with going to a store and letting your kids play - as long as they try to pick up afterwards.

Downtown Parks - In a really nice park in Downtown Nashville, they will have MANY free activities throughout the year. Sure we have to drive to get there (about 45 min), but it is worth the drive once we get there. They usually have a Shakespeare In the Park even. Once a year they have the Celebration of Diversity, where you can watch many different cultures display either their dance, art, history, and food. It's fun and free. You may not have anything like this in your town, but if you have a major metropolitan area, I'm sure they have activities like that.

Symphony Centers - Many symphony centers will have 1 free night a quarter or every 6 months. This is on a first come, first serve basis, but it is a good way to either get a date with your hubby OR introduce your kids to the symphony. They usually cater to families on these nights too.

Art Centers, Museums, and Tourist Attractions - Like the symphony center, many of these places have a free day every 6 months to a year. As long as you get there early, there's usually not a problem with parking. In Februrary the Bellmont Mansion had their free day in Nashville.

Performing Arts Center - this is mostly for you and your spouse, but you can volunteer as ushers at the performing arts center, and you will be able to watch the show for free. Usually you have to stand through it, but considering the cost of tickets, it is worth standing and maybe opening a door or two if people need to go to the bathroom.

Movie Night - Clear out the furniture and either move the mattress or pile up all the blankets and pillows you own into the middle of the room. Curl up as a family and watch a flick. Popcorn, drinks and candy optional, but highly suggested!

Game Night - Actually use those board games you've bought and been given as presents. They are not only fun, but they give you some together time. If you have to bribe your kids to play, then you can have a prize for the winner. Doesn't have to be anything major - maybe 1 free day of chores or 1 trip to the mall....whatever they might be into.

Arts & Crafts - Not the typical arts and crafts stuff. But how about tie-dying shirts, painting on the lawn - non-toxic stuff of course (it comes up with a couple of mows), face and body art, costume making, etc. For older kids (teens), how about letting them decorate their rooms with some artsy stuff? You can paint and glue stuff to lamps and shade to "make them your own" at a really low price.

Service Projects - Get your family involved with helping others. It will not only bring you closer together, but you are helping someone else. You will be teaching your children how to help others and how to serve others without expecting anything in return. Maybe help do yardwork for a widow on your street, volunteer at a nursing home, children's hospital, or homeless shelter. Maybe you can get your kids to donate some clothes and toys to a battered women and children's shelter. They can deliver them with you and see how appreciated their items are. Get them involved - it will teach them to be givers in society.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wacky Wednesday - Bird Craps On Blogger's Head

Today a bird crapped on my head. Yeah...a nasty, black, disgusting zoo bird.

You might think that would be enough of a summary, but I feel the need to tell you details. So here goes...

My day began early this morning when my son awakened me around 7am. I ushered him back to his room and told him to read some books. Thankfully, he obeyed.

I knew we had a morning planned at the zoo and that I had to get my three children breakfast, pack lunches, change everyone's clothes, fix my daughter's hair, find shoes for the children that walk, take everyone potty, pile everyone in the van, and be on my way by 10am. The part I failed to think about was...well, most of that.

At 10:10am, with snacks (i.e. our "lunch") in tow, I pulled out of the driveway. We headed to Burger King to grab breakfast. Yeah, I'm a bad mom. We were scheduled to meet some friends at the zoo at 10:30 and so far we were running about 10 minutes behind schedule. As we pulled through the drive-up, my friend called. I apologized and said we would be on our way in just a minute.

After waiting a few more *precious* minutes for the french toast sticks, we headed toward the interstate. While I was driving, I realized that I needed to get in touch with a friend of mine. What better time to call than while my kids are eating quietly and I am doing something that comes oh-so-naturally, right? WRONG.

About 5 minutes into our conversation, I realized that instead of heading northwest like I needed to be, I was instead heading south. Nice one, Heidi. I glanced at the clock. It was 10:35. *Sigh*

Fast forward...

We got to the zoo around 11 and, after I apologized profusely to my friend (we'll call her Sue) and her family, we entered the zoo. The day was beautiful and the weather was perfect. Well, okay - 10 degrees warmer would have been nice, but whatever. Since the day was so almost-perfect, we decided to eat lunch outside.

Sue was in the middle of giving her daughter a bottle when she suddenly had to dash off to grab her runaway son. I picked up the bottle and continued to feed the baby.

Here comes the good part....

As I was holding the bottle, I heard and felt a small *plop*. Oh, crap! I had been watching the birds and knew there were some in that tree above me. I looked up to see a bird directly above my head. Disgusting! As Sue returned, I said to her, "Please tell me there is not bird crap in my hair." She looked and said she did not see anything. Whew!

A few minutes later as we were cleaning up our lunch, we saw a spot of bird poop on the table. "Oh, that's where it landed!" Sue said. Sure, I thought, but why would I have felt that?

Fast forward again....

Tonight I was getting up from my chair at church and Sue said to me, "Hey, put your head down - you've got something in your hair."

"POOP?!" I exclaimed.

"Oh my gosh, I am SO sorry, Heidi!"

"There actually IS poop in my hair?!?!"

"I swear, I didn't see it before!"

So there you have it. A bad friend who did not see BIRD POOP in my hair. My husband made up some lame excuse about how bird poop isn't white until it dries and that's why she didn't see it before. But let's put that aside...mainly because it's ridiculous. SHE DIDN'T SEE BIRD POOP IN MY HAIR!

Come on, Sue! You really dropped the ball on that one!

I showered as soon as possible after getting home and am pretty sure I got it all out. Ok, so it was just a tiny bit, but....EWW!!

More CVS For Beginners!

I have yet to make my weekly trek to CVS this week, but I do know that I will be taking advantage of the diaper deal (Buy $25 of select baby products, Get $10 ECB), since we have two toddlers and an infant in our home!

Because I'm still recovering from being sick, I haven't put together any new beginner deals for this week, but I adjusted last week's post for beginners to exclude the Glucerna deal (since that deal was only good last week). The rest of the deals posted were monthly, so in case you did not make it to CVS last week for you very first trip, here is the updated version:

Spend $3.92 and Get $13.99 ECB back! (This could be even better if you have $3/$10 or $4/$20 CVS coupons).


Transaction #1:

3 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $2.97
Total OOP: $2.97
ECB back: $5


Transaction #2:

5 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $4.95
Use $5 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $5


Transaction #3:

1 Softsoap body wash @ $4.99
1 toe divider @ 99 cents each

Total: $5.98
Use $1/1 Softsoap coupon and $5 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $9.99 (a $4.99 and a $5.00)


Transaction #4:

1 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99
6 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $9.93
Use $9.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $13.99 (a $3.99 and a $10.00)


Transaction #5:

1 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99 each

Total: $3.99
Use $3.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $3.99

You now have a total of $13.99 in ECB to spend later! (But don't wait TOO long - these have an expiration date!)

Please let me know if you see any mistakes. :)


A few other people have put together beginner deals for this week:

Bethany @ Because I've Been Blessed shows how you can get about $71 worth of products for $14-16 out of pocket, AND you'll still have $13.97 to use on future purchases here.

Rebecca @ A Stirring Life shows how you can spend $1 OOP and get $14 in ECB here!

What are you getting this week??

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Tacos!

Ok, I'm sure you all know how to make tacos so I'm not going to post a recipe. I just wanted to add a suggestion for tacos.

When we have taco night, we make rice - LOTS of rice, and about 1/2 lb of ground beef (there are 2 adults and 2 toddlers eating in our home). Then we throw in some shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and whatever else we have lying around that looks like it might work in a taco. But the point is the rice. Rice is one of the cheapest things you can buy and it is a GREAT filler for tacos! In fact, since I started using rice in my tacos, I hardly find one appealing without rice!

This has really helped our budget since 2 lbs of meat is quite a bit more expensive than 1/2 lb of meat. It's healthier, because we're not eating as much fat. And, like I may have mentioned, it's delicious! :)

We've considered trying out "rice tacos" - that is, seasoning the rice with taco seasonings and skipping the meat all together. Has anyone tried that?? I've considered corn as well, but have not yet given that a whirl.

What things do you put in your tacos to stretch the meat?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Money Monday - Weekly CVS Shop

Since I was sick all weekend, this is actually last week's shop. I am looking forward to figuring out what to buy this week and posting some ideas here, but so far my head only allows me to do so much. I think this is all I can get to tonight, but feel free to email me with CVS scenarios and I will gladly post them here!

I was desperately in need of diapers last week, so I bought a few packages of those since they were on sale 2/$12. I obviously didn't need 15 sets of toe separators, but due to the great ECB deal, I actually made $10 by buying all of them.

Transaction #1:

(3) Softsoap bodywash @ $4.99 each
(6) toe separators @ 99 cents each

Total before coupons: $20.90 + tax
Used 3 $1.50/1 Softsoap coupons and $16 ECB.
Total OOP: 80 cents (paid for with CVS gift card)
ECB earned: $24.97 ($14.97 and $10)

Transaction #2:

(2) pkgs CVS diapers @ $6.00 each
(3) toe separators @ 99 cents each

Total before coupons: $14.97 + tax
Used $3/$10 CVS and $11 ECB.
Total OOP: $1.04 (paid for with CVS gift card)
ECB earned: $5

Transaction #3:

(3) bottles CVS Rapid Release @ $3.99 each
(6) toe separators @ 99 cents each
(2) 8-ct boxes Glucerna snack bars @ $5.49 each
(1) CVS brand Neosporin @ $4.49

Total before coupons: $33.38 + tax
Used $10/2 Glucerna products coupon and $20.50 ECB.
Total OOP: $3.05 (paid for with CVS gift card)
ECB earned: $21.97 ($10 and $11.97)

So....not too bad, eh? :)

Money Monday - Kroger Mega Sale!!!!

For those of you who don't have a Kroger nearby....I feel so bad for you.

For those of you who do - WOO HOO!!! Kroger is running a Mega sale this week (or last week in some areas of the country) - Buy 10 participating products, Get $5 off your bill instantly! I was sick with the flu and an ear infection all weekend, but my dear husband went to the store (with coupons and all) and picked up this stuff for us:

Total before sale and coupons: $68.36
Total after sale and coupons: $14.69 - CHA CHING, BABY!

We could have done better, but we really needed some Ziplocs and some cheese. Some of it was just plain fun. For instance, I actually made money on the mustards. And who can pass up free Pillsbury cresent rolls and pizza crusts?? Not me!

I've heard rumors that this sale is running 2 full weeks in some areas, but I have no confirmation yet that that is the case here in Indiana. I think I've pretty much used most of my available coupons to go along with this sale already, but they were out of a few things so I could always get a couple more free or almost-free items. :)

Anyone know if this is a national 2-week sale or just locally in some areas??

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend Worship.....Or Not.

So I had the flu Friday and Saturday. Today I have a terrible ear infection. I did not make it to church this morning because I got a grand total of 1 hour of sleep last night due to the incessant pain in my ear. I am now on an assortment of antibiotics and am hoping they will kick in soon.

Hopefully I will be up and running again in the next day or two....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fitness Friday Became Flu Friday

Sorry I missed the post yesterday. I came down with the flu late Thursday night and was pretty much out of commission until this afternoon. Your regular dose of Fitness Friday will return next week. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Throwback Thursday - Time For A Change?

I have to admit, I hate blogging on Thursdays. I find my topic completely boring and, since I rarely get any comments on my Thursday blogs, can probably assume that the rest of you find them boring as well.

So here's your chance to tell me what you'd like to read about! The catch is this: I want to stick with the theme here and either have the word start with "Th" or maybe even just "T".

Do you have any ideas for me?????

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just Pretend It's Monday! - CVS For Beginners!

I realize that Wednesdays are not usually about money, but I just have to tell everyone that if you have not yet started playing the CVS game, this would be a GREAT week to start!

For just $1.57 you can get 2 boxes of snack bars, 15 sets of toe dividers, 2 bottles of body wash, and 3 boxes of (CVS brand) Tylenol! In addition to that, you'll be receiving $16.97 back in ECB (Extra Care Bucks - i.e. CVS money) to use at a later date!

Now before you tell me that you don't NEED 15 sets of toe dividers, let me remind you that there are women's shelters all over the country. While women NEED certain items, don't you think they would love to get something FUN too? Or wouldn't you love to host a girl's night out and be able to give everyone their own set of FREE toe dividers for those pedicures you're going to do? Ok, so that excuse is out.

Now, onto the good stuff. In order to play this game, you must split up your transactions. Our CVS is the slowest early in the mornings, so if possible, you might want to go then. If not, just apologize profusely to the people in line behind you while you make them wait. (There's a good chance they'll be in awe of your savings anyway and won't mind waiting so long!)

Before you begin, you will need to print out the following coupons:

$1/1 Softsoap coupon - Once you print this, hit the back button and you should be able to print it again. (Or if you get the paper, there was a $1.50/1 Softsoap Body Wash coupon in this week's coupon insert. That would be an even better deal!)

$10 Glucerna coupon - This one is a little trickier, but it's well worth the 2 minutes it takes to figure it out! Register at the Glucerna website. After you register, sign up for the "Control Plan for Weight Loss" feature. When you have finished that, go to "My Profile" at top of page by the sign out button, then click on "Control Plan for Weight Loss" under the light blue section. There you should find a printable $10 coupon. If you for some reason, you cannot find it, never fear - there is probably one being sent to your inbox.

Now jump in your car and RACE to CVS! Well, okay - drive the speed limit. Once you get there, fill your cart with the following:

(15) Essence of Beauty toe divider sets (These were a little hard to find at my store. Look all around the HBA section or just ask an employee. Also, make sure there is a SET and not just one - they tend to fall apart very easily.)
UPDATE: I have been informed that ONLY the toe dividers with the following UPC code will work for this deal: 050428072981. Any other toe divider won't work.
(3) boxes of 24ct CVS brand Rapid Release Pain Reliever (Tylenol knock-off)
(2) bottles of Softsoap Spa Radient body wash (the green one)
(2) boxes of Glucerna 4-ct mini snack bars

UPDATE: I apparently can't add. You will need to purchase either (2) boxes of the 8-ct bars, which are on sale for $5.49 each or 1 package of the shakes, which are $10.49 in order to reach the $10 Abbott limit and therefore receive your ECB on that deal. If you already bought the two smaller boxes and did not receive your ECB due to the total amount being insufficient, I believe the Zone power bars are included in the Abbott deal. They are $1.19 this week and there was a recent coupon for $1/1 in the Sunday paper. But double check that, because I'm not positive.

Also, look for a "scan your card for savings" electronic box in your store. Some stores don't have them, but most do. You can only scan once per day. They print out CVS coupons, so be sure to scan your card every time you go! (They expire quickly though, so watch the expiration dates!)

Here are the ECB deals you will be using:
Buy any 3 Essence of Beauty products, Get $5 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy 24ct CVS Rapid Release Pain Reliver @ $3.99, Get $3.99 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy 1 Softsoap Spa Radience Body Wash @ $4.99, Get $4.99 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy $10 Abbott Nutrition Products, Get $2 ECB (Limit 5)

When you get to the register, here's how to work your transactions to get the most for your money. (Feel free to print this out and use it as a guide):

IF YOU DO NOT YET HAVE A CVS CARD, GET ONE NOW FROM THE CASHIER. YES, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The cashiers are usually great about scanning it, but just in case, make SURE they scan your card with EVERY transaction.

Also before I begin, note that all of my cost numbers are pre-tax, so you may have slightly different numbers once you get there.


Transaction #1:

2 boxes Glucerna 4-ct snack bars @ $4.69 each
1 toe divider @ 99 cents

Total: $10.57
Use $10 Glucerna coupon.
Total OOP (out of pocket): 57 cents
ECB back: $2

For the Glucerna deal, you could also get 2 boxes of the 8-ct snack bars @ $5.49 each or 1 multi-pack of Glucerna drinks @ $10.49. You would just have a little bit more out of pocket to begin with.


Transaction #2:

2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $1.98
Use $2 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $5


Transaction #3:

1 Softsoap body wash @ $4.99
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $6.97
Use $1/1 Softsoap coupon and $5 ECB.
Total OOP: $.50
ECB back: $4.99


Transaction #4:

1 Softsoap body wash @ $4.99
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $6.79
Use $1/1 Softsoap coupon and $4.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $.50
ECB back: $9.99 (a $4.99 and a $5.00)


Transaction #5:

1 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99
6 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $9.93
Use $9.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $13.99 (a $3.99 and a $10.00)


Transaction #6:

2 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99 each
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $9.96
Use $10 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $12.98 (a $5.00 and a $7.98)

You still have $3.99 in ECB from Transaction #5, so you have a total of $16.97 in ECB to spend later! (But don't wait TOO long - these have an expiration date too!)

I want to mention also that IF you scanned your card and happened to get a $3/$10 CVS brand purchase coupon (sometimes these coupons print out from the electronic box OR at the bottom of your receipt), Transaction #6 would be a great transaction to use that on! Just throw in another box of the CVS Rapid Release. Your OOP will go up $1, but you'll get another $3.99 ECB back!


If it looks confusing (and I can imagine it does), it's really not. You'll pick it up quickly and never go back to shopping the way you used to! Seriously! And you don't have to all those transactions in the same day. You can go a few times if you prefer to be more thoughtful to the people in line behind you. :)

All in all, if you try it out and decide it's not for you, at least you now have $16.97 to blow at CVS on whatever you need! :)

If, for some reason, your ECB don't print like they should, you can call the 800 number and they will fix it for you. Candace posted about this here.


On a fairly unrelated note, TODAY ONLY is free ink refills (color or black) at Walgreens. The limit is one per person, so take your spouse with you if you want to fill both for free! Be sure to print out this coupon and take it with you!

Wacky Wednesday - Weird Toys

Norman the Gnome - a motion-activated, door-greeting gnome that talks, waves, and says 11 mean things.

Crazy Cluck - dances to what else but the Chicken Dance. Squeeze his wing and he flaps his wings and sways back and forth to the music. But don't grab his neck, or else he'll squawk and gasp for air!

Basket Case - You strap the basketball hoop to your head and play with yourself! is this fun?

Pee and Poo - I'm not really sure what to say about this, so I will copy a comment that I read elsewhere:

Making toilet training fun and approachable is an admirable goal, but this seems like a good way for your child to develop an unnatural affection toward their own waste products. At a bare minimum, the sympathetic "Why me?" faces on the waste products will make flushing the toilet a psychologically jarring event.

Mr. Bacon vs. Monsieur Tofu - Yes, this is actually sold in stores. Finally the battle of meat-eaters vs. vegetarians can be settled in a proper manner!

Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen! The next time someone tells me I'm wasting my time with something unimportant, I will simply direct them to this blog and tell them that there are far worse things I could be doing!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Crockpot Cooking

I don't know about you, but I LOVE my crockpot. Well, crockpots I should say. I have three. I go through phases with them, I think mostly because I don't have a TON of crockpot recipes, but there are a few things that I just love to cook in a crockpot.

I know many people who love their crockpot because they can throw in the food in the morning and it's perfectly cooked when they get home from work. I don't work outside the home, but my mornings are sure a lot less hectic than my late afternoons, so any help I can get with dinner is always greatly appreciated!

I've compiled a list of crockpot websites if you are interested in learning about crockpot cooking, a beginner at crockpot cooking, or are an experienced crockpot chef!

Crockpot 101

Secrets To Successful Slow Cooking

Seven Tips For Successful Crockpot Creations

Crockpot Recipes (699 to be exact)

More Crockpot Recipes (1400 categorized recipes)

Crockpot Cooking For Diabetics

Healthy Crockpot Recipes

Crockpot Dessert Recipes

Crockpot Beverages

Well, that should be enough to get you started! :) How often do you use your crockpot? Have you found any great crockpot cookbooks or do you just throw things together?