November 24, 2014

Daily Frugal Tip: DIY Natural Stovetop Air Freshener

Sep 23, 2014

Lemon and Rosemary

Looking for unique ways to naturally freshen your home?

Try this DIY Stovetop Lemon & Rosemary Natural Air Freshener! I used this exact recipe last year during spring cleaning, and it completely dissolved all of the odors in the air and made the house smell soooo good! I highly recommend it. :)

You could also try this DIY Natural Air Freshener that uses baking soda and essential oils.

Thanks, Domestic Serenity!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

Daily Frugal Tip: Dollar Store Summer Boredom Busters

Jun 23, 2014

Dollar Store Boredom Busters

Kids complaining about being bored this summer? Check out these 25 Dollar Store Summer Boredom Busters! What a great idea!

Thanks, Kirsten Oliphant!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

Daily Frugal Tip: Homemade Laundry Detergent With Essential Oils

Jun 14, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Looking to save on laundry detergent? Check out how to make your own homemade laundry detergent with essential oils! It ends up being a fraction of the cost of even store-brand laundry detergent.

Thanks, Kirsten Oliphant!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

How to Save Money on Starbucks Coffee

May 8, 2014

Awesome tips for saving money at Starbucks!!


Love to treat yourself to a specialty coffee from Starbucks now and then, but don’t want to pay their specialty prices? Here are my tips for saving money on Starbucks coffee.

Rewards Program

The Starbucks Rewards program is completely free to join. All you need is a Starbucks gift card! I actually joined using a Starbucks gift card I earned through SwagBucks.

When you join the rewards program, you’ll begin receiving lots of great perks, like:

  • FREE drink on your birthday
  • FREE refills on brewed or iced coffee or tea (if you stay in the store)
  • Exclusive offers and discounts
  • Earn a star for every purchase you make with your registered Starbucks gift card

These stars are like points that you will want to collect. If you collect 30 stars within 12 months, you’ll be upgraded to their Gold card. You get a special card in the mail, and in addition to the perks above, you’ll earn a free drink or food item for every 12 stars you earn!

Awesome tips for saving money at Starbucks!!

Tip – redeem your free drink offers for a Venti (large size) drink to get the maximum value of the reward. ;)

Stars

If you want your stars to add up quickly, you need to remember to use your registered Starbucks gift card for every purchase. I made the mistake early on of paying cash for my drinks after my gift card ran out – I missed out on several stars! If your gift card is empty, first ask the cashier to reload your gift card (minimum $5 reload) and then use the gift card to purchase your drink.

Tip – you only earn one star per transaction, not per purchase. Purchasing two drinks in a single transaction will only net one star (if you are buying multiple drinks, PLEASE be a considerate customer and do not break it up into multiple transactions just to earn more stars).

You can also earn stars from the packages of coffee you can purchase at the grocery store. You’ll want to look for a little sticker on the front of the bag that says “buy this bag, earn free drinks at Starbucks.” The back of the sticker contains a star code that you can redeem on the Starbucks website.

Awesome tips for saving money at Starbucks!!

Sometimes there are bonus star codes you can get by completing certain actions in your account. Be sure to log in to your rewards dashboard occasionally to see if there are new opportunities to earn.

Packaged Coffee

Buying Starbucks packaged coffee at the grocery store is an easy way to enjoy Starbucks brewed coffee at home. Looking for more than the basic brewed coffee? Try my easy, homemade White Chocolate Mocha recipe.

The packaged coffee can become very inexpensive if you wait for a good sale. There are also Starbucks Coupons available often that will bring the price down even further.

Plus, in addition to earning stars by purchasing packaged Starbucks coffee at the grocery store, you can also bring your empty bag to a Starbucks and exchange it for a FREE tall brewed coffee!

Gift Cards

There are also occasional special offers where you can earn a free gift card with purchase. Sometimes the offers are available through your local grocery store and sometimes the offer is directly from Starbucks. There was recently an offer for a free $5 gift card with purchase of two packages Starbucks coffee. I waited for a sale and used a coupon and then I redeemed for a free $5 gift card, plus I got the two star codes from the packages and saved the bags to redeem for two free tall coffees!

Awesome tips for saving money at Starbucks!!

I also like to save up my SwagBucks (a search engine with a free rewards program) and redeem them for free Starbucks gift cards. I simply transfer my balance over to my registered Starbucks gift card so I can continue earning stars on all my purchases! It’s like double-dipping – using free gift cards to get free drinks on which I’ll earn more free drinks!

Group discount sites, like Groupon and Zulily, occasionally offer discounts on Starbucks gift cards. I’ve been able to get $10 Starbucks gift cards for just $5 from these group sales.

Discount Days

I love when Starbucks offers special discounts. I particularly love their happy hour promotion! Here are some of the recent promotions we’ve seen:

Awesome tips for saving money at Starbucks!!

Be sure to stay up to date on these Starbucks specials by following us on Facebook or by email – we love Starbucks and share all the deals we find!

Miscellaneous

Bring in your own cup or travel mug and you’ll receive a 10¢ discount on your drink! Every little bit adds up!

Planning to order two drinks? A Venti is almost double the size of a Tall, but it’s far from double the price. Instead of ordering two Tall drinks, order one Venti and an extra empty cup (no charge for empty cup). Then you and your friend can split the drink and pay much less!

Those are my tips for saving money at Starbucks! Do you have any money-saving tips you would add to this list?

Daily Frugal Tip: Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Apr 3, 2014

Homemade mosquito repellent that actually works!

Check out how to make Homemade Mosquito Repellent over at Real Food Enthusiast! I know I’m going to need this here in N. Texas this summer!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

FREE Grocery Spending and Coupon Savings Spreadsheet

Jan 4, 2014

FREE spreadsheet to track coupon savings and grocery spending! So easy to use and it's exactly what I've been looking for!

One very important part of couponing is tracking how much you are spending and saving. Hopefully you have a general idea of how much you spent on groceries pre-couponing, but even if you don’t, tracking your spending can be extremely beneficial. Right now is always the best time to start keeping track!

I have created this awesome and SIMPLE spreadsheet to use to track your grocery spending and savings! All you have to enter is how much you spend and save each week (most stores will calculate your savings for you at the bottom of the receipt!) and the spreadsheet will calculate the percentages for you!

How to use the Grocery Savings Spreadsheet:

First of all, in order to be able to use the spreadsheet, you need to download it to your computer or save to your Google Docs account.

Save to your computer:

1.  Open the spreadsheet in Google Docs

2.  Click on “File”

3.  Go to “Download As”

4.  Choose the program you would like to download it to.

Save to your Google Docs (Google Drive) account: (I personally like Google Docs because I don’t have to worry about losing my data if my computer crashes.)

1.  Sign in to Google Docs (it is very easy to register)

2.  Open the spreadsheet in Google Docs

3.  Click on “File”

4.  Click on “Make a Copy” (this is a VERY important step)

5.  Name and Save it

FREE spreadsheet to track coupon savings and grocery spending! So easy to use and it's exactly what I've been looking for!

Now that you have your copy of the spreadsheet, here is how you use it.

You need to save your receipts every time you buy groceries. Either input them in the spreadsheet as soon as you get home, or put them somewhere you will remember and input them at the end of the week.

The only fields you need to fill out are the light green shaded boxes. That’s it!! Everything else is automatically calculated for you. At the top in the yellow fields you can see your average weekly spending as well as your year to date (YTD) totals. This spreadsheet is made for 2014, but it is easy to update it for next year. Just create a new copy and update the week ending dates. I also hope to have a new version prepared every year.

Week Ending - Each row should include the totals for all purchases prior to and including the date entered. So, for the week ending 1/4, include all totals from 12/29 through 1/4 (Sunday – Saturday).

Spending – Input the total spent on groceries. You need to define this for yourself. For me, that includes all food, toiletries, paper goods, pet food, diapers, etc.

Savings - Input how much you saved. You need to define this for yourself as well. Will it include all savings or just coupon savings? I include all savings: coupons, sales, and clearance. Most stores calculate your savings for you and include it at the bottom of the receipt.

Stores – Input the stores you visited. This field is not necessary to fill out, but it can be helpful. I like to include this to see which stores I tend to spend more at or get the most savings from.

This spreadsheet is very simple.  You really only have to fill in the spending and savings fields and everything else is done for you!  Now you can have visual evidence of how much you are truly spending and saving.

I truly hope some of you will be able to benefit from this spreadsheet!  I know spreadsheets can seem daunting to some, but don’t be afraid! Inputting your totals will become habit after a while. I’ve been using this spreadsheet for years and I love looking back and seeing all my savings.

Do you track your grocery spending and savings?

How to Save Money When You Don’t Feel Like Couponing

Dec 16, 2013

3 easy tips for saving money on groceries when you don't feel like using coupons.

While couponing is certainly a lot of fun, there are some days where it just feels like an awful lot of work. There are definitely some days where it takes all my energy and mental focus to just get to the store, forget about using coupons!

I definitely think it’s okay to take breaks from couponing sometimes, but I do realize that for many, paying full price is just not an option. So, I’ve compiled a few tips for saving money on your groceries, even when you don’t feel like it!

Shop at Aldi

I love, love, love Aldi. They have everyday low prices so you don’t have to worry about paying for the huge markups at the grocery store. Sure, you could probably get a better deal on some things with coupons at another store, but overall they have some of the lowest prices on staples like produce, milk, and eggs.

Best of all, you can get those low prices without even having to think about it. No coupons to bother with or “buy x, save y” promotions to figure out.

Go Mobile

Another way to save on your groceries is by using your smart phone! Yes, you might still technically be using coupons, but this way doesn’t feel like it!

One of my favorite coupon apps is Target Cartwheel. When I’m shopping at Target, I keep this app open on my phone. As I add things to my cart, I look on the app to see if there is a coupon for that item. If there is, I can save anywhere from 5% – 25% on the spot! Good deal and super easy!

Another awesome app for saving money is Favado. You can browse the sales from up to 10 different stores, making it easy to find the best store to shop at each week. It will also alert you to any potential coupons you can use….you know, if you’re up for it. ;)

The last app I recommend is actually not for coupons at all! Ibotta is an app that will give you actual money back for your purchases for doing simple things like taking a one-question poll or sending a tweet. It’s really easy to use and there’s no extra work for you to do while you’re at the store juggling a shopping cart and two kids. Just upload your receipts to the app when you get home to earn your cash rebates.

Pantry Challenge

My final tip for saving money without coupons is to have a pantry/freezer challenge! The challenge is to grocery shop as little as possible and only eat what’s already in the pantry/freezer. You can do the challenge for one week or one month, however long you think you can go without shopping!

I always enjoy doing these challenges and usually discover that I have way more food than I even realized! It’s surprisingly fun to get creative and come up with some dishes that we don’t normally eat. You can use websites like allrecipes.com or supercook.com where you can enter in the ingredients you have and it will find recipes for you.

I hope this gave you some ideas for saving money when you don’t feel like it!

What do you do when you experience couponing burnout?

New Budgeting Tool from Dave Ramsey: My Christmas Budget!

Nov 8, 2013

My Christmas Budget Tool by Dave Ramsey

Need help planning your finances this holiday shopping season? Dave Ramsey is offering a FREE new budgeting tool called My Christmas Budget!

More than a simple budgeting tool, My Christmas Budget will help you get and stay organized for this season’s Christmas shopping. My Christmas Budget is mobile-friendly, so you’ll always have your Christmas shopping budget at your fingertips.

To learn more, read 5 Ways Our Christmas Budgeting Tool Will Change Your Life from Dave Ramsey.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Daily Frugal Tip: Read Your Bills to Save Money

Jul 8, 2013

I saved $35 by reading just ONE of my bills! Taking just a couple extra minutes to examine your bills really can save you money!


I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve just read the total of my bills and paid them without reading anything else on the paper. Well, this week I read my bills and saved $35!

You see, last month I accidentally paid my water company with the amount I owed the electric company and the electric company with the amount I owed the water company. I pay my bills online so it was easy to enter the wrong amounts in the fields. Well, as you can imagine, our electric bill was much more than our water bill, so I was short on the payment.

I was quite surprised to receive a bill and disconnect notice in the mail later that month since I knew I’d paid the bill! After some investigating, I figured out what happened and called them to explain. I paid the remaining $35 I owed over the phone and all was rectified.

However, when I received my bill this month, I noticed it was a bit higher than usual. I looked over the charges and noticed an extra $35 charge that was being rolled over from my last bill!

I called the electric company again and asked them to verify the amount I owed. They confirmed the total showing on my bill so I explained that I paid the $35 charge already. They admitted that there was a note on my account showing I’d paid but that it hadn’t gone through to billing! Oops! They updated my account and I paid the correct total.

Had I not looked over my bill and noticed the extra charge, I would have just paid my bill as usual and it’s likely that I never would have received a credit for my overpayment.

Taking 30 seconds to look over the charges on my bill saved me $35 this month! That is an excellent return on my time! I will definitely be reading over all of my bills from now on!

Tell me, do you read your bills or do you just pay the total?

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc

Daily Frugal Tip: Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal

Jun 24, 2013

Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal

Head over to Heavenly Homemakers to learn how to make Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal! This is pretty cool, and she even breaks down the price for you in comparison to the store-bought cereal.

Healthier and cheaper? Win/Win!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

Google+