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13 Sep 2008   ·   14

Super Savings Saturday: Our Kashi deal!

My apologies on being so late in getting this posted. We just found out yesterday that it’s almost 100% sure we’re moving in 4-6 weeks. Needless to say,

my brain is running 200 miles per hour to get everything lined up for that! This will be the fourth time we’ve moved in less than six years so you’d think I’d be a pro at this by now. 🙂

At any rate, things are looking to be a bit busy here for the next little while. But we’re thrilled about it since this move is a huge answer to prayer and literally a dream come true for us. God continues to show Himself so faithful! I’ll share more details soon, in the mean time, here’s our deal for this week…

My husband did all the grocery shopping for me again this week and I was incredibly impressed at how much stuff he was able to get with the $70 budget. We were both especially excited about the Target Kashi deal.


He bought 16 boxes of various Kashi products and paid less than $14 for all of them after coupons. PLUS, he got $20 in gift cards back! He’s planning to head to Target again tonight to use those $20 in gift cards and buy some more Kashi products. This is such a great deal–especially since the waffles and granola bars come in very handy right now!


How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money
on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and
leave your link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post. Links
going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog
besides the direct link to your Super Savings Saturday post will be deleted.**

12 Sep 2008   ·   0

Frugal Friday: Two Years of Nothing

Inspired by OwlHaven’s 30 Days of Nothing Challenge, I wrote a little about our lean law school years and how it has positively impacted our spending habits for .

You can check it out along with dozens of other great words of wisdom and motivation from frugal zealots around the blogosphere.

11 Sep 2008   ·   1

Worth Reading: Grocery budgets, cheap fun, and the 30 Days of Nothing Challenge

Just a few links of note from the blogosphere:

::Amy from shares a thoughtful piece on . Whether you are new to penny-pinching or an experienced frugal zealot, you’ll likely find some food for thought in her information-filled article.

::Trent over at inspires us with . We loved to come up with imaginative and creative play using these rolls growing up. Speaking of which, I need to check on getting some for my own girls; I know they’d love them!

::And finally, Mary, mom of many, who blogs at is chronicling her September . If you’ve not been following along, you must run over there and check it out. I’ve especially been fascinated to see her daily menus and learn how she’s feeding her large brood on $50 per week!

11 Sep 2008   ·   4

MomSelect: Free products and giveaways for bloggers


Brandi :

I saw that you had a post about SheSpeaks. There is also another site that I just signed up for this week called
where mom blogs can be matched up with advertisers. I know that the
companies will sometimes give out products or website memberships,
etc., to be used for giveaways on mom blogs. I just signed up, so
can’t attest to this personally, but I saw several blog giveaways last
week who credited Mom Select with providing the product. 

Has anyone out there had experience with MomSelect? If so, I’d love to hear. I’m not familiar with this website but I signed up to see if anything might come of it!

10 Sep 2008   ·   64

It’s hard to teach an old couponer new tricks

Remember how I said I was thinking about trying a new coupon organization system?

I was considering switching from the coupon box system I’ve used for almost ten years, to leaving my inserts whole and only clipping the coupons I’d need that week as I planned my grocery list. I was hoping this would save me effort and be more efficient. And was I ever wrong.

I took the plunge and tried it–for almost six weeks. And I think I can safely say it was a failed experiment. I found it to be more frustrating than anything.

When I clip and file the coupons in my coupon box, I have a sort of mental file in my head at all times of what coupons I have. When I didn’t clip them, I had no idea. I’d see an item in the sales flier that I guessed there might be a coupon out for, but then I didn’t know whether or not there was a coupon for it and I’d have to look online to find out or shuffle through six weeks’ worth of coupon inserts–which is not practical or efficient. Even if I knew exactly what insert it should be in, I still struggled to find the coupon.

Countless times, I was at the store and would see something on sale that I was sure I probably had a coupon for, but I didn’t have my coupons filed in my box like usual so I couldn’t take a quick look. And then I’d find myself feeling disorganized and out-of-sorts for not being able to pull out my coupon box and adeptly fish out the prized coupon.

So, yes, I tried the filing-your-inserts method and decided once and for all, it’s not for me. I’m sure it works great for some, but I found that after years of doing something a certain way when it comes to coupons, it’s pretty impossible for me to change.

I’m spending the next few days clipping and sorting and whipping my coupon box back into shape. Deals and unadvertised deals, here I come!

10 Sep 2008   ·   0

BlogCoach interview

I had the privilege of being interviewed for today. In case you ever wanted to know my "secret" for managing two blogs while being a wife and mom or what I wish I’d known as a novice blogger, you can check it out .

Thanks again for the opportunity, Angie!

9 Sep 2008   ·   3

Becoming a WAHM – Part 5

In our previous installment in this series, we discussed taking a deep, hard look at what your passions, skills, and giftings are.

Once you have come up with some ideas, you then need to flesh them out. How can you turn your interests into something which will also earn an income? Start by jotting down every single idea you can come up with which might allow you to mesh your gifts with working from home.

At the same time, you also need to think about what will earn an income. Be realistic and realize that you can’t always start out with your dream job. And you also don’t always know what your “dream job” is until you try your hand at a variety of things.

So begin by taking small plunges into arenas that are similar to where you want to eventually be, but which also will be more likely to earn money at this point. Start small and don’t bite off more than you can chew or invest more money than you can afford.

One of the best ways to know if something will work, is to just jump out there and test the water. Expect that you’ll fail some–especially in the beginning–but don’t let that drag you down. Failure can be one of the best ways to learn valuable lessons. This has certainly held true in my life.

While you are attempting to make a go of something, also be learning everything you can along the way. Check out stacks of books at the library, pick the brains of anyone you know who owns a business or works from home, and bounce your ideas off of everyone who will listen.

Gradually, you’ll likely discover things that do work well, things you enjoy doing, things which earn money. And, on the flipside, you’ll learn things you don’t enjoy doing, ideas which don’t work, and lots of things which don’t produce income.

Persevere even when the going gets tough, learn everything you can from setbacks, and it will pay off in the long run!

8 Sep 2008   ·   31

Quick and Easy “Survival Menu” #1

As most of you know, I always experience for the first 15-20 weeks of my pregnancies. I’ve tried just about every remedy known to man and not much works for me besides just grinning and bearing it–and reminding myself often that it is worth every bit of this for the end result!

Since we have two young children (they’re 3 years and 14 months) and my husband works longer hours, we are for the next little while when it comes to what we’re eating around here. My husband is doing all the grocery shopping (bless his wonderful heart!) and I’m not worrying too much about getting the best deals or sticking to a small budget.

It’s about survival, folks, and I’m grateful that we’re in a position where we have saved and scrimped in the past so that we have wiggle room in seasons like this. I well remember my very first pregnancy when we were barely making ends meet and my husband was in law school. Sure, I didn’t have young ones to care for, but we had very little money to work with and it was much more of a challenge financially.

So here’s the menu I concocted for this week:

Cereal, juice x5
English muffins with peanut butter, apples
Scrambled eggs with cottage cheese, toast

PB&J, carrots, cheese
Annie’s mac and cheese, grapes x2
Canned beans, cottage cheese, peas, brown rice x2
Baked potatoes, cottage cheese, cheese, veggies
Turkey and cheese sandwiches, grapes

DINNERS–These are all meals which can be put together in a matter of minutes as Jesse is generously doing most all of the dinner prep for us after he gets home. (He’s such a great husband, isn’t he?!)

Beef hot dogs, tater tots, pork and beans over rice, frozen veggies
Spaghetti sauce (from a pouch) with ground beef (already cooked up) over noodles with cheese
Turkey and cheese sandwiches, grapes x2
Beef sausage in the crockpot with potatoes and carrots, toast
Burritos–refried beans, cheese, salsa

So far, I’m eating a much less-varied diet than the family so what I personally will be eating this week will likely look a bit different than the above. We stocked up on a number of quick and nutritious snacks that I might be able to stomach and I’m doing my best to get in as much nutrition as I can with each bite I’m able to take.

For those new around here, you can see what a more normal, non-survival menu looks for us here. We usually stick to a $40/week grocery budget, but we’ve raised that to $70/week for the immediate future. In the long run, I think by raising our grocery budget, we’ll actually save money since having the fixings for lots of fast and easy snacks around will curb the urge to grab take-out multiple times per week.

I look forward to being about to get back into cooking and baking from scratch and doing more bargain shopping. In the mean time, though, I’ve very thankful for modern conveniences like grocery stores. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be a pioneer woman during the first trimester? I’ve been mulling on that a lot!

For more menus, see the big round-up over at .

Related: For anyone interested, I wrote about our minimized and simplified daily routine .

5 Sep 2008   ·   31

Super Savings Saturday: We spent $70 on groceries this week!

Did you just fall out of your chair after reading the title of this blog post? 🙂

I might be a frugal zealot in most cases, but all of that goes out of the window when I’m in the middle of morning sickness. We’re in survival mode for a few months and that means fast and easy meals and lots of snacks–nothing which requires more than a few minutes in the kitchen. I also am trying to eat 100 grams of protein every day to keep my blood sugar levels up, so I am planning our meals with mega-protein in mind as well as trying to make every bite count for lots of health and nutritional value.

At any rate, we decided to temporarily raise our grocery budget by $30/week until the morning-noon-and-night sickness subsides and I can get back to cooking from scratch again. I’ll be sharing our quick and easy $70 "survival" menus with you in hopes that they might help some of you who find yourselves in similar situations.

You can read more about "seasons to be practical" on my Frugal Friday post .

And no picture this week–I’m staying away from food as much as I possibly can!


How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money
on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and
leave your link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post. Links
going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog
besides the direct link to your Super Savings Saturday post will be deleted.**

4 Sep 2008   ·   21

Blogging for Profit: Q&A

To close out our Blogging for Profit series, here are a few questions that readers posed which I’m taking a stab at answering:

I have been trying to figure out
how to get a coupons.com coupon sidebar so that my readers can print coupons from my site – how do I do this?

Just go and sign up. Once you’ve signed up, you can set up the coupon widgets as you’d like them and add the HTML to your sidebar. Do note that these coupons can cause a considerable lag in loading time for some blog pages.

Do you have a pricing policy for the ads that you solicit yourself? Or do you just price them on an individual basis? Also, how can I get those type of ads before I reach 500 visits per day on my site?  ( is dedicated to local deals and events.) -Gloria

I have a set pricing structure that I put together based upon my traffic, the length of time an ad runs, and where it will be placed on my page. When someone s me regarding placing an ad on my blog, I just copy and paste this information into an email and send it right over to them.

It’s not entirely impossible to secure advertising on your blog before you have 500 visitors per day, but, in most cases, unless the company is really small and your prices are exceptionally inexpensive, most places aren’t too interested in considering it. In addition, it is likely not worth your time to spend thirty minutes emailing with a company and setting up their ad on your blog for a very small payment.

That said, since your blog is a very targeted niche market, you might have more success than someone with a much broader market. I checked out and noticed you had lots of ad spots open. My advice? Fill these up–with affiliate ads or free ads, if you need to. Just don’t let them sit there empty or it looks like your blog is not the “hoppin’ place” to advertise.

How long did it take you to build up your readership, and what specific techniques helped you in increasing your traffic? -Nisha

I started TupperwareShop with a big advantage: I already had been blogging on my other blog for two years and had developed a loyal readership and a reputation for being a frugal zealot. Launching MSM from that springboard allowed me to quickly gain momentum without much work.

The quick growth of TupperwareShop truly showcased the beauty of viral marketing–readers linked to me on their blogs and their readers liked what they saw and began linking to me on their blogs. Then readers began telling their friends who told their friends who told their acquaintances who told random people at the grocery store and on and on it went. I’ve heard quite the bizarre assortment of stories from folks as to how they first found MSM!

The traffic this little corner of the web gets continues to blow me away–and it’s thanks to all of you who have helped to spread the word far and wide. It’s also the result of a slow and steady build up of readership on my other blog two years before I started this blog.

My best encouragement for those wanting to build their traffic: write well, write often, and engage your audience. Keep them coming back again and again for more. A nice layout and eye-pleasing graphics to break up the monotony do help, but writing well and writing often are two of the biggest building blocks to a loyal readership.

(Please note: I’m still working on the writing well part; grammar is not my forte and I am sure there are very few English majors and English teachers who can stick around these parts for long without cringing!)

Well, I didn’t get to all the questions, but hopefully the above answers touched on some things which will be helpful to a number of you! Thanks again for joining us for this series!

3 Sep 2008   ·   25

BJ’s Wholesale Club


For those of you with a nearby, did you know you can use manufacturer’s coupons there (including printable coupons)? You can also stack these with BJ’s store coupons found .

But it gets even better: BJ’s allows multiple coupons to be redeemed on multi-packs of "individual-for-sale" packaged items (i.e. if you buy a pack of toothpaste that includes three individual toothpaste tubes, you can use three coupons on the one item, most store only accept one coupon on an item like this.)

If you are not already a member of BJ’s, it might be worth a trip to price compare and see if you could save money by becoming a member. You can go to download a free one-day pass (you will be charged an extra 15% if you purchase anything, though, so it’s not exactly "free").

Have you shopped at BJ’s Wholesale Club? If so, I’d love to hear whether you think purchasing a membership is worth the investment.

2 Sep 2008   ·   12

Financial Shape in 2008: Monthly check-up

In case anyone was paying attention, I completely skipped this feature last month. Vacations, sickness, and other things got in the way and I just decided to take the month off from an official update. But never fear, Financial Shape in 2008 didn’t go away permanently and with the dawn of September, here’s a quick look back on how we’re doing on our goals for 2008:

Here’s our update:

Short Term Financial Goals for 2008

1) Have our fully-funded emergency fund in place (6 months’ worth of living expenses) by the end of April. As of March 11, 2008–DONE!
2) Switch health insurance plans and open an HSA. We
were approved for our new health insurance plans in April and have also
set up our HSA. Done!

3) Start up an IRA and invest at least 5-10% of Jesse’s income in this. Started in March. (We plan to increase this to 12-15% of Jesse’s income as soon as we purchase our home.)
4) Open up a mutual fund for each of our children and invest $50 per child per month in it. Started in March.

5) Save up and invest $30,000 this year towards paying cash (100% down) for a house in 3-5 years. Now
that Goals 1-4 are finished, we’re working super hard on Goal #5!

The past two months have been much more encouraging for us–which was a real blessing after a few months of car problems, unexpected expenses, and medical bills. Not only were we able to purchase a new-to-us van (thanks to the payout from our insurance after the wreck combined with some extra income-earning things we did), but we were also able to build our six-month emergency fund back up, and put a couple thousand dollars in our house savings.

We look back and aren’t exactly sure how all of that happened, but we are humbly grateful to God for His blessing and provision! He never fails us!

How did you do in July and August? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2008, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes and failures in July and August and the areas
you hope to improve in September. Then, come back here and leave your link
below. If you don’t have a blog or would rather share anonymously, feel
free to leave your update in a comment. Let’s all keep each other
accountable to be better stewards of
our resources!

29 Aug 2008   ·   21

Super Savings Saturday: This week’s $40 shopping trip and menu

Back by popular demand and because I actually went shopping this week, here’s what $40 total bought at CVS, Aldi, and Hen House:


Our CVS deal is worth mentioning since it would work well for a newbie:

Bought 2 Children’s Advils at $5.79 each, used 2 $1/1 coupons
Bought 2 boxes SmartStart priced at $4.59, on sale B1G1, used 2 $1/1 coupons
Paid with $12 in ECBs and $0.59, Got $11.98 ECBs back!

(Read more about these deals and where to find the coupons here.)

Another deal I was excited about from Hen House: we got Kathrynne’s ultimate favorite yogurt Yoplait yogurt drinks for $0.48 per pack of six. (They were on sale for $1.98 and we used the $1.50 coupon .)

Our combined three-store trip wasn’t anything incredible, but we got enough groceries to last us for the week, along with a few extra treats, and we spent right at $39!

Here’s the menu for this week:

Cereal, fruit
Yogurt, fruit, homemade bread
Banana bread, fruit, yogurt smoothies
Fresh juice, English muffins, scrambled eggs
Homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit, yogurt
Breakfast burritos, fruit
Cereal, fruit

PB&J, fruit, carrots
Cheese quesadillas, veggies
Baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese
Leftovers x 2
Split peas, brown rice, cottage cheese
Yogurt, banana bread, veggies

Lasagna casserole, homemade bread, salad, green beans
Beef hot dogs, potato salad, veggies, fruit, icecream bars
Italian meatballs over rice, homemade breadsticks, salad, steamed veggies
Beef sausage and onions, scalloped potatoes, grapefruit, homemade bread
Burritos, salad, fruit, corn
Grilled chicken, salad, homemade bread, fruit
Leftovers or dinner out

SNACKS–Veggies, banana bread, yogurt, fruit, cereal, cheese quesadillas, toast, cheese


How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money
on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and
leave your link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post. Links
going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog
besides the direct link to your Super Savings Saturday post will be deleted.**

29 Aug 2008   ·   3

Frugal Friday: Fresh juice, winners, politics, and a short break


It’s Frugal Friday right over . You won’t want to miss

my post on making fresh juice on a budget and the over a hundred other great contributions by penny-pinching zealots around the blogosphere!

Oh and I said I was going to announce some winners last night, didn’t I? Well, I’ve sort of been wrapped up in politics the last 24 hours (My hubby and I are self-described "political junkies" and this election go-around has certainly kept us on the edge of our seats!) so it slipped my mind to do the drawing. Sorry about that!

Without further ado, the five winners of Celebrate Simply are: Blaire ([email protected]); Bethany ([email protected]); Alison ([email protected]); Holly ([email protected]); and czukowski ([email protected]). I’ve sent an email to each of you with further information. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Since this is Labor Day weekend and my husband is off from work for the long weekend, I’ll post the usual Super Savings Saturday and Saturday evening deal posts but will likely not be around much besides that so we can enjoy lots of quality family time. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

(Just had to share this picture of the girls taken last Saturday while we were out having a family day! Kaitlynn–in the stroller–just wasn’t quite so sure about the whole hat-wearing thing. It was hot and we were outside most of the day at an airshow and we had quite the time trying to keep it on her!)