Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Target Daily Deals

I just found out about this today, but Target is having one day deals. I'm not sure what kind of stuff they usually offer, but you can follow them on twitter or facebook or get email or text messages. They offer five items each day and free shipping. It's worth checking out.

Nintindo Wii for $175!

Just found out that Dell is selling the Nintindo Wii for $175 shipped and is even offering free next day delivery! We really would like a Wii, but have decided to pass on this deal. We would much much rather buy a freezer. (Wish my husband would have just said "yes" instead of, "I don't know. What do you think?") But if you have been waiting to buy a Wii, now is a good time to do it! Oh and it's advertised as $199. You have to put it in your shopping cart to see the $175. I'm told this could be a one day deal, so if you want it, you better get it today!

Frugal Tip: Foaming Hand Soap

My sister gave me this idea for making foaming hand soap a long time ago, but I had a bunch of soaps that I had bought on sale and just recently ran out. A couple weeks ago, I ran out and decided to try it. I love it! My two year old wastes a lot of soap, so this helps stretch it out further.

This is how I did it:
I filled my old dispenser of foaming hand wash with water. I poured the water back into a measuring cup and poured out 1/3 of the water. I poured the water back in the soap bottle and filled the rest with liquid hand soap, rolled it around until it mixed well and VOILA! Foaming hand soap!

My sister tried it with baby wash and loves it. Her baby has sensitive skin and she has to use an expensive baby wash (and I think she uses organic) and by putting into a foaming soap bottle it stretches it out. So I imagine you can use this on any clearish liquid soap. Not sure if it would work on a creamy soap, but you can try it. I also read a blog at Engineer a Debt Free Life where they used their dish soap to do this same thing and uses it as hand soap. I don't think I would use dish soap as hand soap. Hand soap is designed specifically for hands and killing germs, and dish soap is not. But it did give me the idea of using the foaming dish soap for dishes and stretch out my soap. They used very little soap. Just enough to cover the bottom of the bottle. So this would stretch out your dish soap a lot! If you try it with a creamy soap email me or leave a comment and let me know how it worked and which soap you used. I'm definitely going to do this with the rest of our soaps. I just need to buy more dispensers. I had two, but some one threw one away before I could refill it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frugal Tip: Swiffer Pads

I just finished cleaning my floors and I'm so excited!! Yes, I said I was excited about cleaning my floors. My house is all tile. Except for a little section where our table goes. I think the previous owner ran out of tile and put down cheap carpet. It's stupid. Anyway... I used to use Swiffers to clean my floors. I mopped every week and would go through almost a whole box of Wet Jet pads. I have the Swiffer Max and always had a hard time finding cloths for them, so I stopped using it a long time ago. Well, a while ago I decided to stop using the Wet Jet, because it was getting too expensive. But my sponge mop broke down way too fast. I found a great alternative at The Nourishing Cookbook:

I found a cheap alternative to buying the Swiffer cloths to use with my Swiffer! Here is what you do: purchase some cheap washclothes (the kind you can buy at Walmart in a 10-pack). Buy a white or ivory color of washcloth so you can easily keep these "cleaning" cloths separate from your regular washcloths [I bought white so I could see the dirt better and just wrote "cleaning" on them so they wouldn't get mixed up with my other white rags]. Simply use these washcloths instead of the Swiffer cloths, attaching it to the Swiffer mop the same way you would the store-bought ones. The washcloth will be a bit big, so you will have some extra washcloth flopping on the top of the mop, but that is ok.

WET MOP: Run some hot water in a bowl in the sink and add some cleaner (whatever you use to clean your floors). Soak several washcloths at a time so you can rotate. Take one out, wring out most (but not all) the water, and attach to your Swiffer mop. Now mop your floor! When it gets too dry, take it off, throw it in the hot water solution, and get another washcloth out.

DRY MOP: Attach a dry washcloth to your Swiffer mop and dustmop with it "as is" or spray a bit of furniture polish on first (just be careful as this will make SLICK floors...speaking from experience!)When you are done mopping all your floors, throw these washcloths in with your towels to wash. This works great and is SO much cheaper that buying the store-bought cloths. Give it a try!

Here's what I think:

They are not as good as Swiffer products, but it is a great alternative if you want to save money. If you have a Swiffer Max, I suggest to get a regular Swiffer. I had to put two cloths to cover across which made them overlap and I didn't get the most out of my cloths. It would only pick up in the middle where they overlapped and a little bit on the sides. I wasn't too thrilled when using it dry at first, but when I got under furniture I was very impressed. What I did different for the wet mop was I didn't put my dirty cloths back into the cleaning solution. If you put dirty cloths back, then you would eventually be cleaning with dirty water. I've found too, that I can use less solution. Definitely half, probably more, therefore saving more money on cleaner. You will basically be doubling it! I found my cloths at Walmart in an 18 pack (or 16, can't remember) and it cost less than $4! I am so excited I found this! 

(originally posted from my personal blog in March)

Monday, September 21, 2009

I was extremely sick last night and I'm still pretty sick today.  I'm hoping my husband will come home from work, so I can crawl back to bed.  No swagbucks updates or anyother updates today!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September Produce

It's always cheaper to buy produce when they are in season!  Again this was from the same email that I mentioned before.

Produce in Season:

Apples ~ Peak
Artichokes ~ New
Basil ~ Peak
Beans, Fresh Shelling ~ Peak
Bell Peppers
Celeriac/Celery Root ~ New
Chile Peppers
Cucumber ~ Peak
Eggplant ~ Peak
Figs ~ Waning
Fuyu (Firm) Persimmons
Garlic ~ Peak
Grapes ~ Peak
Hachiya (Soft) Persimmon
Kale ~ New
Kohlrabi ~ New
Melons ~ Waning
Okra ~ Peak
Orange, Valencia ~ Peak
Pears, Asian ~ Peak
Pears, Bartlett ~ Waning
Pistachios ~ New
Plums ~ Waning
Pomegranate ~ New
Potatoes ~ Waning
Quince ~ New
Summer Squash ~ Waning
Tomatillo ~ Waning
Tomatoes ~ Peak
Winter Squash ~ New

Sale and Deals to Look Out for in September

I wish I can remember where I got this from.  I got this from a link in an email a while back ago and copied it so I could print it out for my personal use.


Back to School promos continue up to Labor Day-
Lunchbox foods/meals
Pudding cups
Juice boxes, Capri Sun
Pop Tarts
Lunch meat
Cold cereal
School and office supply

Tomato products begin
Spaghetti Sauce
Tomato soup
Canned tomatoes
Tomato sauce

Diabetes Smart coupon themes
Diabetic meters
Glucerna/Boost, etc.
Diabetic care

BABY ITEM MONTH, look for sales mid month on major baby equipment, baby safety, general new baby "stuff"

Organic Harvest month sales

Clearance items:
Summer holiday and picnic supplies
After Labor Day end of season clearance - look for 75% off BBQ and picnic supplies this weekend and after

Labor Day
Patriot Day
Autumn Begins
Rosh Hashanah

Other Promotions this month:
Baby Safety Month
Better Breakfast month
National Chicken Month
National Coupon Month
National Dog Week (9/21 – 9/27)
National Honey Month
National Potato Month
National Rice Month
National Organic Harvest Month
National Sewing Month
Hispanic Heritage Month (September – October)

Bill Paid!!

Paid off Credit Card #1 today!  Well sort of.  I paid off the last statment's balance.  This is the card we use for our gas.  Most of the stuff on this card was from moving a few months ago.  We wanted to make sure everthing was transferred to our new account and we were back on track with our budget.  So I felt comfortable about paying it, so I did that today!  We will continue to keep putting gas on this card.  The reason why we do that, is because it makes it easier to budget.  Gas prices go up and down so much, it makes it hard to budget.  This way, we get our statement, we know how much we need to pay and we work it into our budget the next month.  And now I'm going to start doing automatic payments so I make sure it gets paid off every month.  But now that we've moved away from family, we don't pay very much in gas anymore.  Before we were constantly going somewhere.

Friday, September 18, 2009

$35 Coupon Book from Home Made Simple

Get your free $35 Coupon Book from Home Made Simple!

Old Navy Coupon Giveaway!

Bargain Briana is giving away 10 $50 off $100 coupons today! Hurry! It ends 5PM Eastern!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Frugal Tip: Diaper Rash

April asked if there was a home remedy for diaper rash. She went through a whole tube of diaper rash cream on her two kids in one weekend. My kids don' t get diaper rash that often, so I'm kind of clueless. So I found some information for her from HowStuffWorks.com. If you use any of these, leave a comment and tell us how you like it.

"Home Remedy Treatments for Diaper Rash
The good news is, you can usually cure diaper rash within days. And with some conscientious care, you can say goodbye to it forever. The following home remedies can help you not only get rid of diaper rash but protect your baby's tender bottom from future bouts.

Let's start with some basic tips:
Get rid of the diaper ... and say goodbye to diaper rash. The diaper holds the urine and/or feces against baby's sensitive skin and creates a warm, moist environment that can make the skin raw and provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, yeast, and fungus. To treat and/or prevent diaper rash, therefore, let your baby go bare-bottomed whenever possible. To minimize mess, put your diaperless baby on a rubber mat covered with a washable cloth.
Change the baby often. When going diaper-free isn't feasible, the best way to avoid diaper rash or cure an existing outbreak is to make sure the baby is always clean and dry. Check the baby's diaper often, and change it as soon as possible after it is soiled.
Avoid commercial baby wipes. Many brands of store-bought baby wipes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can irritate your child's skin and strip it of the natural protective oils that keep it soft and supple. Water, perhaps with a little mild soap, and a soft washcloth are actually the best tools for cleaning baby's bottom if you want to prevent a rash. If you do use soap, rinse thoroughly with a clean, wet cloth or plain water to remove any residue. You may want to skip the soap if a rash is already present, though, since it may cause stinging.Dry that bottom. Once you've removed a soiled diaper and cleaned your baby's bottom, make sure you thoroughly pat the area dry (no rubbing!) with a soft towel. To ensure a completely dry bottom, leave the area exposed to air for a few minutes before putting on a new diaper.
Put on a barrier. Many pediatricians recommend applying a thin layer of nonprescription diaper-rash cream or ointment containing zinc oxide, such as A and D or Desitin, every time you change your baby. Used on healthy skin, it forms a barrier that can help protect the diaper area from the irritating effects of urine and feces. If a rash is already present, however, you don't want to completely seal the skin with an ointment or thick layer of cream, since air reaching the skin will keep the irritated area dry and help it heal. So you may need to either skip the salve until the skin clears or apply only a thin layer of cream, which will soothe and help protect the skin while allowing some air to penetrate.
Use only baby-friendly skin products. Choose soaps, shampoos, creams, and ointments specifically designed for use on baby's tender skin. Don't use products meant for adults, which often contain strong detergents, fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals that can irritate a baby's skin. Never use a cream that contains camphor, phenol, methyl salicylate, benzoin tincture, or boric acid on your baby unless specifically directed to by the pediatrician. Also, wash your infant's diapers, clothes, sleepwear, bedding, towels, and washcloths separately from those of other household members, using a laundry soap designed for this purpose. Residue of harsh detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners on material that comes into prolonged contact with baby's skin may be enough to cause irritation.
Give powder a pass. In the past, the accepted way to keep a baby's bottom dry was to sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the diaper area to soak up moisture. However, studies have shown that if babies inhale talcum powder, it can be dangerous, even fatal. And cornstarch or cornstarch-based powders foster the growth of yeast. So this is one old remedy to leave in the past.
Put the diapers "on line." Some moms have been taught that diapers are less likely to cause a rash if they are hung out to dry on a line instead of tossed into a dryer. Call it mother's intuition, but they may have something there: Some doctors say this trick works, although no one is sure why. If you have a place to hang diapers, you may want to give it a try. If you use a clothes dryer instead, skip the dryer sheets, which are likely to contain chemicals that can easily irritate sensitive baby skin. No matter how you dry cloth diapers, however, be sure to wash them in hot water without bleach and, if your baby already has diaper rash or seems prone to getting it, rinse them twice without adding fabric softener.
Try vinegar solution. Stale urine is extremely alkaline (the bacteria that colonize it release ammonia) and can burn the skin the same way acid can. To neutralize it, add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water when you wash the baby's diapers. If you use disposables, you can try wiping the baby's bottom with a solution of eight parts water to one part vinegar for a similar effect.
Avoid plastic pants. Diaper rash clears up faster when the skin remains dry. Plastic pants worn over a diaper, however, keep moisture in. If a rash is present, also avoid tight-fitting diapers and clothing, which may cause chafing as well as restrict air flow. You may even need to switch, at least temporarily, to looser or larger-size diapers if you usually use more-fitted diapers that have tight, elastic leg holes and other "leak guards" that hold in urine in and keep out air.
Try a different disposable. Some babies may be sensitive to materials or substances in one brand of disposable diaper but not in another. So if diligent changing of soiled diapers and other home remedies haven't completely cleared the rash or kept it from coming back, you might want to experiment with another brand to see if it does the trick.

Natural Home Remedies for Diaper Rash
While the causes aren't pleasant, the solutions to stopping this rash are straightforward, and can be accomplished with these simple home remedies. You can cure the rash in a few days and, with a little effort, keep baby rash free for the remainder of diaperhood.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Baking soda. If baby's bottom is very raw, try giving a sitz bath for 10 minutes, 3 times per day. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the tub of warm water.
Cornstarch. A nice patting of cornstarch helps dry up damp areas and reduces friction caused by elastic in diapers. When applying, first shake the cornstarch into your hand far from the baby's face. Avoid store-bought talcum powders, as recent studies have shown that talcum is dangerous for babies to inhale.
Maalox. This medicine does more than treat heartburn and stomach upset in adults. It can prevent diaper rash on babies by cooling irritated skin and neutralizing acid. With a cotton ball, apply a small amount of the liquid to baby's bottom. Allow to dry before diapering.
Oatmeal. Add 1 tablespoon dried oatmeal to your baby's bath. It's soothing and helps protect the skin.
Vinegar. Urine is an extremely alkaline solution and can burn the skin just like an acid. To balance out the equation, try adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse water when you wash the baby's diapers. The vinegar helps neutralize the ammonia found in urine, gets rid of any soap buildup, and gets rid of diaper smells. You can also go directly to the source by wiping the baby's bottom with a solution of 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Cranberry juice. When urine soaks the diaper region, the result is a high pH that irritates the skin and promotes diaper rash. A solution for older infants is to give them 2 to 3 ounces of cranberry juice. Constituents in the juice prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder, which also helps prevent infection."
Hope this helps April.

Frugal Tip: Homemade Wipes

Cutting your paper towels: Use a straight edge knife. You don't want to use a serated knife and rip up the edges more than they will be already. But I couldn't get through the cardboard. I cut all around the cardboard then went back and used a bread knife to finish it. I wouldn't use anything but Bounty. I've heard the Costco brand is almost the same quality so I imagine that would be o.k. too. But unfortunately we don't have a Costco near us. Even the closest Sam's Club is almost an hour away!

The container: I used the "Lock & Lock" 11 cups container. It was the perfect size. And MJC can't open it and pull out all the wipes. My sister sent me a video where the lady used a regular container and cut the top so she could just pull out the wipes.

Homemade Diaper Wipes
2 Tablespoons Baby Oil
2 Tablespoons Baby Bath
2 cups hot water (use filtered or distilled water)

Homemade Face/Hand Wipes
2 Tablespoons Baby Bath
2 cups hot water

Homemade Bug Wipes
1 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft
1 cup hot water

Homemade Bathroom Wipes
1 cup pine cleaner
1 cup hot water

Homemade Window Wipes
1 ½ cup glass cleaner
½ cup water

Cut a roll of Bounty paper towels in half. Gently remove the cardboard tube from the middle and place ½ of the roll end up in a container with a lid. Heat the water, then add the appropriate ingredients and mix well. Slowly pour the liquid over the paper towels in the container. Let sit overnight and then they are ready to use! You will pull out the first wipe from the center of the tube and tear off at the perforation.

Note from Sheri: I have made the Baby Wipes and used them for my children. I have never had problems with diaper rash. I remember with my oldest (before I knew about these homemade wipes) I used the store-bought wipes. My daughter was always getting diaper rashes. I’m not sure if it was the wipes or something else, but I haven’t had that problem with my other children using the homemade wipes. I also prefer the homemade wipes because they are moister and clean better. I also use these wipes sometimes to clean my children’s faces. [A note from Kerrie: I think this is true. A long time ago I read that you didn't need to wipe for just a pee pee diaper. So I only wiped for poo poo and KJC only ever pooped every other day and it was easy to clean up and she never had diaper rash. I've notice that with my other kids. MLC had diaper rashes, but needed to be wiped more often. But she still didn't get it as often as some kids do. JRC needs to be wiped less and gets diaper rashes less. My doctor will even tell me not to wipe them when they have diaper rashes, but to put their butts under running water. ]

I have also made the homemade bathroom wipes. They work great for doing a quick swipe of the toilet or sink when you are in a hurry or just need a quick touch up.

Click here for that video on how to make them.

So far, I've only made the baby wipes. If you try the others leave a comment and let me know how you like them!

A while ago I did the math on the baby wipes. If you buy the Walmart brand wipes, I think you save about $20 to get the same amount of wipes! And that wasn't finding anything on sale! I have friends who now make their own baby wipes and they say they like them a lot better than the store bought ones.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recipe: Mexican Lasagna

This is one of our favorites. (from Easy Chef's One Million of the world's best Recipes)

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
Cumin to taste
Chili powder to taste
1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1 (16 oz.) can peeled tomatoes
6 flour tortillas
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
1 sm. jar salsa
1/2 c. grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Brown meat, onion, and garlic. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When meat and seasonings are browned, pour fat off meat. Add spices, enchilada sauce (except 12 teaspoons, this will be spread over tortillas) and tomatoes with juice. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Spread 1/6 cream cheese and a little of the salsa sauce you put on side on each tortilla and fold in half. Pour half of meat mixture in 9x13 inch casserole. Arrange tortillas on top. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas. Pour remaining meat mixture over tortillas. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes covered with foil. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake 5 minutes more uncovered. Serves 8-10 people.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frugal Tip: Food (when you are really falling on hard times)

About a month or two after JRC was born, lots of things popped up. His hospital bills were triple than what we were planning, our mortgage went up (not adjustable, they needed money in escrow. It should go back down soon.), I couldn't breast feed him (even with a pump) and had to buy formula, brought him to several doctors, MLC was sick a lot and had to be brought to the doctor's often, she had the tubes put in, etc. I think in about a two months time we paid $300 in doctor visits between the both of them (at $25 a visit, that's a lot of visits!). So we were having a hard time making ends meet. We found out about a non profit organization, Angel Food Ministries, in about October last year. We felt better about it than we would have to ask our church for food, because here we were paying for it. They put together a package and it's a weeks worth of dinners for four and a couple of breakfast items for $30. They do not check income levels. Everyone is welcome to participate. We order two weeks and supplement the rest. They also have other packages like senior/convenience meals which are already prepared, fruits and veggie boxes, and grill boxes. It's not that healthy some of the time, but if you are having a hard time buying groceries, you need to eat! We get shelf stable milk with it and we put it in our emergency kits and use it in cereal when it's approaching its expiration date. Even if you don't need their services, they do take donations. Hopefully we don't need them for much longer. I don't want to take advantage of them. I think we gave ourselves a year and a half and it's looking like we might make that goal now that I'm getting better with the coupons.
Just to give you an example, here is this month's menu:
1.5 lb Rib eye steaks (3 x 8 oz)
1.81 lb (avg.) Perdue Tray Pack Split Chicken Breast (2 large breasts)
4 lb. chicken thighs
1.5 lb Pork Chops (4 x 6 oz)
1 lb 80/20 lean ground beef
1.5 lb 100% White Meat Turkey Burgers (4 x 6 oz)
12 oz Deli Ham
1 lb Frozen Sweet Potatoes
1 lb Frozen Green Beans
15 oz Pears
12 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
3 lb bag Fresh Idaho Potatoes
2 lb bag Fresh Onions
32 oz 2% Shelf Stable Milk
Dozen Eggs
Dessert Item

This month's looks pretty good, but sometimes we get a lot of fried stuff. Like last month we got chicken nuggets and fish sticks.

They are also taking pre orders for a Thanksgiving box for $36. You can buy a box to give to a family in need. I don't know if they find someone or if you have to find a family, but if you are interested you can find a local church that is doing it and ask them. To order any of the specialty boxes you have to order one of either the Signature Box (above), Senior/Convenience Meals, or Frozen and Dry Mix Allergen-Free Food Box (I don't know much about gluten, but I think this is a gluten free box. It tells you what things are battered in so if you need it, check it out). To buy the Thanksgiving box, you don't need to buy a regular box. They also take food stamps if anyone gets that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Am Awesome!

4 Jumbo Huggies Diapers $5.99 each (combined Target Q & MQ)
2 Boost Kid Essentials $2.70 each (combined Target Q & MQ)
3 Spec. K snack bars and 1 spec. K cereal $0.08 each (combined Target Q & MQ, bought 4 got $5 gift card-which I paid for seprate and just used it on the other purchases)
2 Johnson's & Johnson's baby wash $1.14 each (TQ & MQ)
10 single serve General Mills cereals -$2.65 total! (That's right! NEGATIVE! TQ & MQ to get overage!)
Spent $39.74 Saved $58.59
60% savings

The baby body wash wasn't as good of a deal as some people are getting, but I use it to make my baby wipes, so it's a good for me. And the Special K deal I probably could have gotten it all free, but my printer is stupid. I sent coupons to it and they didn't print so the websites had me already printing one. Still a great deal anyway! Oh and when we got home from the last time I went to Target I found out that they didn't apply my $10 coupon for the L.F. Tag I bought. I was able to print another one and brought it back to get my refund and found a couple other coupons for items that I had bought and they refunded my money for those too! So I changed me savings. See my previous post.

I wasn't too thrilled with the sales this week, but I had this $3.50 coupon at Baker's for my entire order and it expires this week. So I decided to get 10 frozen veggies
Spent $6.50 Saved $10.40
62% savings