Thursday, May 20, 2010

Deposit to European Tour Fund

I got a Big Fat Check in the mail this week from Ebates. I do all my online shopping through their site (if I can). I then get a check every 3 months with my savings from the previous quarter. This month I got $6.64.

The total in my European Tour Fund is now $56.64. Every little bit helps!
For more of my European Tour Deposits, click here.

If you want to save money for your own special fund by shopping through Ebates, click here to sign up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I bought 4 lbs. of strawberries when they were on sale at Safeway 2 weeks ago for $3.98. I couldn't pass up such a deal, even though my strawberry plants are producing a sufficent amount to keep us in strawberry deliciousness.
So what am I going to do with all those strawberries? Smoothies and jam, my friends.
Frozen strawberries cost at least $2/lb. Why not hull and freeze my own for half the price? Just wash the strawberries, hull the tops and I slice mine in half. Then I line them up in a single layer on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer. Once frozen, I put them in baggies in the freezer where I can see them easily. They then become the perfect thing to throw in a smoothie.
Homemade jam is not as scary as it sounds...and it is so good! Here's my go-to recipe for "Old-fashioned Strawberry Preserves" (from epicurious):
about 6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
2 cups sugar
Place hulled strawberries in heavy large saucepan and mas coarsely. Cook strawberries over medium heat until beginning to thicken, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Add 2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved. Increase heat to medium and boil gently until mixture thickens and mounds on spoon, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Cool. Refrigerate in airtight container.
I usually do small batches at a time so that I don't waste the jam, as I think about 1 month is the max I would keep it. I also don't always put in the full amount of sugar, especially if the strawberries are really sweet. This is a really good way to use the overripe leftover strawberries in your fridge: just use a 3:1 ratio of strawberries to sugar.
Now the next time you see a great deal on strawberries, you've got two ways to put them to good use!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Super Savings Saturday

I am a CVS newbie. Long's just switched over to CVS in our area last year and I've been hesitant to try it out (despite all the great deals I see people getting on other blogs) because I was afraid of the ECB: the Extra Care Buck.
I was afraid of it because I didn't like the pressure of feeling like I had to go back into the store to redeem them. But my European trip has really prompted me to get back in the coupon game again, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's what I got today:

The first transaction:
2 Crest ProHealth Toothpaste @ $3.50 each
-2 $0.75 coupons from 5/2 P&G insert
-$2 ECB's I got from my Winter spending
Total: $3.98 out of pocket and I got $7 in ECB's

Second transaction:
1 Jumbo pack Huggies $8.49
2 Reach floss @ $1.99 each
-2 $1 coupons for Reach floss
-$3 coupon off Huggies
-$7 ECB's from transaction #1
Total: $1.65 out of pocket and I got $6 in ECB's ($2 for Huggies and $2 each for floss)
So I ended up getting everything in the picture for $5.63 and I have $6 in ECB's to spend for next time!

I chose the toothpaste and the floss because they gave me a lower out of pocket cost and I ended up "making money" on them by using coupons.

I also stopped at Nob Hill this week to pick up their super hot s'mores deal:

1 box Honey Maid graham crackers
1 6pk. Hershey's chocolate bars
1 bag Jet-puffed marshmallows
Total: 99 cents!

Sweet! You can find the e-coupon here. I think this is good through this Tuesday.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Free HydroMassage for Mother's Day

HydroMassage is offering a free massage to mom's next week (May 9 through May 15th). They have several locations in the Bay Area. Print the coupon to take advantage of this sweet deal. I'm actually considering trying this out!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Earth's Best Organics: Sale at Babies R Us

This week I stopped in to Babies R Us to get some baby food for my 9 month old, who is now ready to try some meat in her diet. The 1st and 2nd foods jars (4oz.) of Earth's Best Organics are on sale 10/$5. If Id' had a coupon with me (like $1/7 here), it would have been an even better deal, but it was pretty good just the same.

The 3rd foods jars (6oz.) are 10/$10. These prices are good until 5/8/10.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saving money for my European Tour!

I'm not a rock star, but I am planning on going to Europe next year. Two of my friends are living there with their little families and we want to go visit them in their new homelands. There are four of us girls who are going to get together and we decided to take a cruise. All four of us are married, but I'm the only one who won't be bringing my little ones along. (I need a break!)

As I checked out some potential cruises, I realized that we were going to have to save some money for this trip. Inspired by Couponing to Disney, I decided to take the money I save from coupons, rebates, surveys, and any other hair-brained schemes for money-making I can come up with and put it towards my European vacation fund. My goal is to save $1000 by the time we leave next May.

I'll track my progress for you. Maybe you'll want to start some sort of fund for yourself...

I'm starting the fund off with $50 in checks I received from rebate checks and surveys. And we're off!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm back...

I know, I know. I took a totally unexpected break from blogging...with no explanation. And now I come back, acting like nothing ever happened?

Well, I took a break from blogging over a year ago because I was in the throes of morning sickness with twin little girls to take care of and I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

Okay, a lot bit overwhelmed.

I've thought many times of coming back and have always found a reason not to (or a reason found me). But now I've got a little more experience under my belt and some new ideas I want to try, so you're welcome to come along with me. : )

Now I have three little girls and am trying desperately to maintain my monthly grocery budget while keeping three kids in diapers...and eating healthy.

That's another thing: we are cutting back on meat. The meat we do buy will be responsibly farmed (to the best of my knowledge, of course). I've been buying our meat at Whole Foods and other grocery stores that have hormone-free/antibiotic-free/vegetarian feed meat and poultry. Because that's more expensive than the 99 cents a pound stuff I was buying before, I've had to change my strategy. Less meat, but better quality.

I'm also trying to work in more organic food and more locally grown food. With the three little ones, I've decided not to do a garden per se this year. I do have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I also have a grape vine that I planted this year. And I have a 5 in 1 tree with yellow peaches, white peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. So I'll be growing some of my own stuff. If I can get a few minutes to get some weeds pulled and ground worked over, I might get a couple tomato plants in. We'll see. I'm more about being realistic with my time and energy now. (Baby is still not sleeping through the night...9 months later.)

So there it is, what's been going on and what will be going on. Sorry to leave you in the lurch. Some things will be the same, but I think there will be some brand new stuff around here. Thanks for hanging in there with me.