Home Depot Clinics

I know I'm always raving about the free Kids Clinics at Home Depot and how much I love them. With all the talk of being frugal and living off less I've been talking about my mini garden alot as well. Well Home Depot has combined those 2 things and is offering a free clinic for Ladies about Spring Gardening. What could be better than going in and learning more gardening and getting some help getting your garden started successfully. The key to a frugal garden is getting one that grows and produces, so head over to Home Depot on May 14th from 7pm-8:30pm and join in the fun. Make sure to register here so that you have a spot when you get there.

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Precious Money Saving

Yesterday Shawn and I stayed home and I didn't even go out after Dave got home. I'll have to tonight but that's alright. Here's how we saved.

1. The A/C was off all day. My electric bill should be low for this month. If these temperatures could keep up for another month that would make me happy. It got a little warm during the middle of the day so I just lounged around watched some shows I'd DVR'ed and clipped coupons.

2. I washed one load of laundry and hung it to dry. So I saved $1 (pay washer and dryers)

3. Made dinner in the crockpot. We had Beef Stew using potatoes and carrots from the Flea Market, onions from my garden, and everything else from the stockpile.

4. Lunch was leftover's for me and Shawn had cereal again.

Well it was an uneventful day but we saved a little bit of money. How did you save?

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Don't Forget Mother's Day

Hallmark has free Mother's Day cards for you to send straight to mom. Just go here and create any card (no cards with sound). I made a photo card and then when you get to check out enter Card4Mom and you'll get it free. Sounds great right but wait you can send one to your mom but what about your mother in law? Create another card (has to be separate orders) and enter AprilCard and you'll get a second one for free. If you need more than that you need your spouse to sign up and do it themselves.

What could be better than free cards, free postage, and they guarantee they'll be delivered by the date you choose. So if you don't need Mother's day cards you could always get Father's Day set up or someone's birthday just pick a card and a date.

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Precious's Money Saving Challenge

This is how the pennies fell yesterday.

1. Kept the A/C off for most of the day and no lights until dark (I chased Dave and Shawn around all day)

2. Lunch was leftovers from last night and sandwiches.

3. Took a quick trip to CVS and Walgreens. I spent .47 at CVS and .79 at Walgreens. I was super excited to get the Boost Essentials on clearance for Shawn. He loves these and with the $5 mq I got 2 for free, each box has a $5/2 coupon in them so I'm going back tonight to pick up some more and pay for them with RR's from the Bayer Monitors. Shawn loves these and they aren't cheap normally.

4. Dinner was pork ribs (freezer), garlic pasta shells (pantry) and the rest of the green beans from last week.

5. Entertainment for Dave was a little TV and I took care of my ebay auctions (trying to make a few extra pennies)

This challenge has been a big help on using some of that stuff in the pantry. I haven't been on a real trip to the grocery store in 2 weeks. This week I'll be going to pick up the cheap/freebies. So how has this challenge been helping you? Have you saved any money yet?

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Reduce Challenge

On Monday I didn't rescue anything from the trash. I wasn't home much and to be honest the only thing I threw away was a couple of tissues.

Tuesday's rescue was not exciting at all but I did reuse something. I grabbed the small folgers plastic coffee tub out of the trash to use to hold food scraps. I am going to try and make my own compost regardless of the fact I live in an apartment. It will be great to have my own fertilizer or dirt and it's a great way to reduce your trash pile. Your food scraps don't compost at the dump since they are in plastic bags that don't break down. My trash will have less food scraps (you don't want to compost dairy or meat) and hopefully my garden will reap the rewards. The folgers container will keep the fruit flies away during the week and on the weekend I'll add my full container to the bigger container outside. I'll take pics and share when I get it all set up and figured out.

On the recycling note a couple weeks ago we bought this for $2 at a yard sale.

After a little work and paint
And my son loves to sit at it. It wasn't a free rescue but a cheap one and it's very useful for us. So did you rescue anything from the trash today?

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Money Saving Challenge

So yesterday we went the Webster Flea Market. We had a great time and I took pics of some of our purchases.

The first pic is of some glass pendants I bought 2 of them are gifts and 2 of them are for myself. At the price I couldn't go wrong. They were $1 a piece.

They have some great veggies at this flea market. I got 4 good sized zucchinis for $1, 4 summer squash $1, a small bag of little red potatoes $1, and a huge bag of carrots $1. They have better prices and selection than the small farmer's market here but it is a drive to get to this market. When we go I'll stock up but we don't go to often.

These are for Shawn's crocs. GO BRUINS!!!!! Daddy was born a huge Bruins fan and is very happy to see them enter the second round of the playoffs.

Did I say something about a purse yesterday? LOL Well I couldn't resist I got this adorable purse for $15. I saw it at some of the vendors for $45 so $15 was a a steal. It's a great size and I love the color.

Since we were gone until almost 2pm everything was off in the house. Even the computer, I was rather proud we turned the computer off at 10pm and it didn't get turned back on until 2pm the next day.

We went to Gator's for all you can eat wings night. Dave and I each had the wings and some $2 beers, Shawn ate at home before we left so he colored the whole time with a glass of water. The wings were really good and it was nice to be supporting the local business. On the savings side we walked to and from Gator's so no gas spent.

ETA: I forgot to add that lunch was free grilled chicken at KFC. The chicken wasn't bad for free, but I think they should stick with what they know fried chicken YUM!!!

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Free Recipes

One of my favorite things is trying new recipes. I love having hundreds of recipes to look at and I have no room for cookbooks and refuse to buy them anymore. Why buy when there are places like General Mills with tons of free recipes for you. Go here and you can sign up for some great recipes delivered to your inbox with the added perk of a free recipe box on there site.

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Challenge Report

Today we didn't do a whole lot today, but we did pinch a few pennies. We ran the A/C for a couple hours today while I was cleaning Shawn's room. His window only opens a couple inches and it was just too warm in there.
But the good news is his room is clean and organized. We also went over to Walmart since we were almost out of charcoal. I usually get it free at CVS but I just wasn't in the mood today to try and figure out a plan and everything. So we ended up buying it at Walmart since I needed brats anyways they had a double pack (30lbs) for $10 which seemed like a great deal for us. So we got the 2 bags and I won't have to get it at CVS any time soon. Sometimes it's worth it to pay for things over CVS. a small bag (4-5lbs) would have cost me at least $6 at CVS so I can save those bucks and buy milk, bread. soda, or snacks with them instead of wasting $36 ECB's on what amounts to $10 at Walmart.

When we got home the windows got opened. The TV spent most of the day off so savings there. Dave made the brats on the grill and I made green beans inside. He had pepper and onions (both fresh picked from my garden) on his brat. Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night so there was no waste. Entertainment tonight is the computer for me and an old favorite PS2 game for Dave.

Tomorrow we are going to the Webster Flea Market. I can't wait they have some great bargains on fruits and veggies as well as other great stuff to look at. We'll be taking a little mad money to see if we can find any real teasures. With any luck I won't come home with another new purse. LOL!!

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In honor of my penny pinching lately I thought I'd add another challenge for myself. My goal is to rescue something from the trash everyday and reuse it. It could be made to sell, as a gift, or just something we need in the house. With a little work I can save a few things from going to the dump and save a little money. Here's today's project.

It's original purpose was a PopTart box. I gave Shawn his poptarts this morning and the box was empty. I got to thinking that it had to have another use instead of filling the trash bag. I was sitting at the computer looking at Shawn's desk and realized that he needed a crayon container since they were spread out all over. So I grabbed the poptart box, a piece of Scrapbook paper and some adhesive. A minute later the box has a new use and I don't need to go buy something to hold all his crayons.

You are welcome to join my challenge of reusing 1 thing a day. Just drop me a note and let me know how you are doing and what great uses you've come up with for your trash.

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Saturday Savings

I know I'm still a day behind in my reporting but I'm slowly catching back up.

This is what we did on Saturday to pinch the pennies.

1. Shawn and I walked to Lowes for the Build and Grow Event. I love these events since they are free and Shawn has such a great time making his projects.

2. He bullied me into buying a packet of pumpkin seeds and I got him some garden gloves that were on clearance for .48. Paid with a gift card earned through mypoints, so it was free.

3. We went to Walmart since it is next to Lowes and bought a pink lemon plant on rollback to $10 using my "free" money from paypal. So that was no money out of my pocket, all my earnings online go to pay for little splurges like this or gas usually. I use it to help offset the expenses but since it's not a regular paycheck we don't count on having it.

4. On the way home we walked through the Arts and Crafts Festival they were having in the Town Center here. It was ok, but it was mainly alot of overpriced vendors with blah stuff. I bought a necklace for myself (not saving very well I know) but in my defense it matched my favorite pair of earrings perfectly. I was wearing them at the time and the girl noticed, I think that necklace was one of the cheapest things at the whole Festival. I mean who pays $5 for some curly fries??

5. Since it was so nice out yesterday I left the windows open all day so no A/C and of course the lights stayed off.

6. I turned the computer off Friday night before bed and it didn't get turned back on until almost noon yesterday since we were gone all morning.

7. I walked past the Starbucks on the way over to Lowe's and on the way back and didn't stop. Which maybe why I splurged on the necklace LOL! I came home and made coffee here using stuff from my stockpile.

8. Dinner last night was free steaks from Target, free scalloped potatoes from Publix, and zucchini from the farmer's market. Everything but the veggie was from the stockpile!!!!

So how are you doing at pinching those pennies and using what you already have???

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Yesterday's Savings

This is how we didn't spend money yesterday.

1. Go to CVS with a plan. I haven't been this organized in awhile at CVS so my spending was really low. My OOP was 97 cents split over 3 transactions and that included a gallon of milk that's not pictured. I had a raincheck for the Thermacare from a couple months ago for $2.49 free after ECB's, well when they print each $2.49 ECB out for you they round up so I made $1.53 for just redeeming those.

2. We had a pizza from the place at the gas station. Dave wanted pizza and they have a large pizza and a 2L of Soda for $6 on Fridays. The quality is nearly as good as the other places and it's less than half the price. Plus no delivery fees since Dave was getting gas there anyways.

3. We had the A/C off for most of the day and the windows open.

4. Breakfast and lunch were out of the stockpile.

As usual feel free to let me know how you did.

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It's Freebie Friday!!!

I know it's been a few weeks since my last Freebie Friday post, but there are so many great freebies this week I had to post.

Go here to see if you have anyone participating near you for Kids Bowl Free. They have a great thing going on where you sign up and your kids can get 2 free games everyday for free. Are you jealous that you don't get a free game? Well good news for $23.95 (at my local place) you can get a pass for up to 4 adults to bowl 2 games per day as well. The program here runs 5/1-8/30

Free Sample of Dove Go Fresh Deodorant

Free Sample of Schick Quattro Razor

Free Lunch Size reusable bag at Whole Foods

Free Sample of Aveeno Nourish Hair Care

Free Sample of John Freida Hair Care

Free Sample of Nivea Touch of Happiness

What are you waiting for?? Go sign up for these great freebies and in a few weeks your mailbox will finally have more than just bills in it.

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Challenge Update

Shawn and I went out shopping yesterday and had a blast. We didn't get to the grocery store since we had to pick Dave up and there were perishables on my list so that will be tonight. We spent a total of $34.34 oop, but we got alot for my pennies.

1. First stop was Kmart $4.37 I picked up 5 types of dog treats, 2 Renuzit Sprays, 1 Carpet Fresh, 2 Glade Carpet, 4 Quaker Rice Cake things. My savings was $41.xx

Next we went to Whole Foods for my free lunch size reusable bag. While we were there DS was proclaiming that he wanted milk. So milk and tax on the bag was $1.35

Then we went on to Old Navy to use my 50% coupon. Ended up with 3 shirts for Shawn, a hoodie for him for next fall, 1 shirt for me, and these wonderful yoga pants (super comfy) for me. $23.15

Stopped into Victoria's Secret to use my free panty with purchase coupon. Ended up trying on a bra for $5 off any purchase, and bought 2 glittery sprays that were 75% off. Total for 2 sprays and 1 pair of panties was $1.07

Then I headed to Kohl's. I had 5 of the $5 off coupons to use that expired this weekend. Luckily they let me use them all. I bought a pair of earrings $0, a necklace $3.21, a tanktop $2.13, a card game for Shawn .21 and 2 kid's digital camera's 90% off for my mother in law for 11.75. Her purchase doesn't count in my spending today since she will pay me for them. I just had to post those it was such a great deal. They were originally $79.99 got them for $7.99 each minus a $5 coupon.

2. After we were done shopping instead of wasting gas driving home and then back to get Dave we went to Epcot. It's the flower and garden festival so there's lots of fun stuff to do and look at. I wasn't prepared to be going to the park so I had to buy waters I also ended up buying dinner at the Japan quick service place for Dave and I. So I spent just of $20 at Disney but we had fun, we'll be going back next week but I'll be prepared then.

3. Since we weren't home all day everything was off and unplugged all day.

4. Dave watched a Netflix movie for entertainment, we are cancelling this at the end of the month so he's finishing up the queue. I played on the computer and then went to bed early since I was exhausted.

How have you been doing?

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Challenge Report

Here's what we did today to pinch those pennies.

1. Had breakfast from the cereal stockpile. I have to get some more milk at CVS tomorrow since we are getting really low.

2. Kept the TV off for most of the day. I listened to 2 shows that I enjoy while doing housework with the TV off but the stereo on.

3. It was nice and cool today so the windows stayed open all day.

4. Lunch was leftovers and sandwiches. Peanut Butter stock is very low so I'll be getting some at Publix this week since it's BOGO.

5. Shawn and I walked to the Farmer's Market again. This week I spent $7.50 (I splurged on grapes for the kiddo). We got a large bag of grapes, 2-3 pounds of green beans, 3 zucchinis, a bag of baby carrots, and a carton of brussel sprouts. My hesitance paid off on the brussel sprouts since he knocked off .50 cents when I didn't immediately grab them.

6. We had Lasagna from a Target deal, crescent rolls that Publix paid me to take, and the brussel sprouts for dinner. Yumm!!! I can almost fit things in my freezer again which is good since it was so full.

7. Washed dishes by hand. I know that for most people this is not the more cost effective answer but for me I think it works better. The dishwasher in my apartment is not very good and the amount of rinsing it takes you might as well wash the dishes while you are there. Add to that the fact that we split the water bill with 7 other apartments and one of my neighbors takes at least 2 45minute showers a day (thin walls I hear the water running) so my saving a little water is not really going to help me. I figure this way at least I'm saving on the electric to run the dishwasher.

8. Entertainment was a hockey game for Dave. He's very happy his team won!! And I babysat my ebay auctions.

So how did you do today??

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We didn't do much today so that saved some money. But this is what we did do.

1. We had breakfast out of the stockpile. Shawn had cereal, I had a poptart, and Dave had ice cream.

2. We kept the air off today all day. I did lay on the couch and do nothing for a few hours this afternoon since it was too warm, but we saved on the electric bill.

3. We returned our 2 free Redbox movies and bought 5 cages for my plants. I figured I'd get them all today and when I need them I can use them.

4. Shawn and Dave played with the foam football outside for awhile. While they were playing we turned off the TV and computer monitor.

5. While they played I pruned, watered, and weeded my plants. They seem to like the extra attention and it makes me feel good. I noticed some buds on my raspberry bushes, a ton of flower buds on the zucchini, and 2 little tomatoes forming.

6. We had leftovers for lunch and stash food for dinner. Shawn was a happy boy since we had Macaroni and Cheese and hotdogs which happens to be one of his favorite foods.

How have you been doing at saving money? Feel free to leave me a note and let me know.

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Savings Challenge +

We didn't spend much money oop today. Unfortunately we've had to have the A/C on though. It's been raining on and off all day and it always blows in one side so we have to close the windows and then it gets unbearable in here and humid. The air will be off tonight though.

I bought a couple new plants at Walmart today. Got to love it when stores try to kill their plants, we've had great success rescuing plants from the clearance/trashed pile and having them come back full swing. The above isn't a new plant but some really pretty blossoms I woke up to this morning.

We also spent an hour and a half waiting today to get Shawn signed up for VPK. Starting August 24 Mommy will have 3 whole hours a day to herself. That's 15 hours a week to clean, read, sleep, shop or whatever else without someone constantly demanding something from me. We took Shawn up to the school today so he could see where he would be going and he wanted to start today.

Don't forget that this Saturday at Lowes is the HangGlider Clinic from 10am to 11am. Shawn is very excited about this one. After this event mark your calenders as Lowes will have one on 5/9 that will be a planter for Mother's Day and Home Depot will have one on 5/2 that is a wheelbarrow planter also a great gift for Mother's Day. What could be better than having your little one build you a gift.

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Money Saving Challenge Recap

Yesterday I didn't spend much money. We went to a birthday party in the afternoon so I bought a gift bag and a bag of ice but that was it. We ate pork from the giant pork picnic that cooked all day in the crockpot. We also had a yardsale yesterday morning. We made a good chunk and got rid of alot of stuff. It was a great day.

Today I didn't do as well. I spent 42 cents at CVS and that include my 4 newspapers and a new book to track my spending. I hope this helps me keep track of where each penny goes. We went to Micheals, Petsmart, and Target in the same plaza to save on gas. We had to get a diaper for the dog since she is in heat so there wasn't a good deal there but a need. Bought Shawn a frisbee and a case for a 1:24 scale Nascar that's been sitting in it's box for months. The best was Target was giving away a reusable bag with purchase and the easter stuff was 90% off. I bought several egg dye kits that will be put away for next year. Shawn wanted the Star Wars one this year but at $5 I wasn't willing to spend the money but for 50 cents he can have it next year. We also went to lunch/dinner which cost nearly $40 but it was our splurge for doing so well at the yardsale. We will still be putting a good amount of money away towards the TV and car so I figure one really great meal is fine. It was delicious too.

I'll be getting back on track starting tomorrow now that the yard sale is over I can focus more on what I need to and taking care of my budget. It's just difficult with so much stuff going on to really focus.

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Challenge Day 2

This is what I did today to keep the pennies living happily at home.

1. I didn't even leave the house today so I spent no money.

2. I pruned and rotated all of my pots and covered them with some cheap netting I got so the damn birds stop eating my veggies. The pruning and moving helps them to grow a little better since we don't quite have full sun yet.

3. Cleaned and started pulling extra stuff from my stockpiles for the yardsale on Saturday. This will help to declutter for now and make us a lot of extra money.

4. Listened to the stereo instead of the TV today. I don't know how Precious and others live in the quiet. Maybe it's because I live with a 4 yr old quiet is a bad thing here. I also left the TV off and just listened to a couple shows I enjoy while pricing stuff for the yardsale.

5. Made dinner from leftover hams (free from Target) and some of the really cheap potatoes I got at Walmart (before they got soft). We had a delicious dinner of Homemade scalloped potatoes and ham and garlic butter green beans.

6. Lunch was peanut butter and fluff for Shawn and a little leftover spaghetti for me.

7. We managed to keep all the lights off until 7 pm and kept the A/C off all day. Shawn went to bed with only one run of his stereo again tonight and the TV has been off as much as possible.

8. I babysat my ebay auctions that ended this evening to make sure I answered anyone's questions to get the best return. I ended up with pretty good sales which will be added to my savings minus any gas purchase I make this week.

How did you do today? Were you able to pinch every last penny?

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Great Deal on Purex!!!

Go to coupons.com (you can follow the link on the upper right hand side of my page) and enter the zip code 44514. From there you will find a BOGO coupon for Purex laundry detergent which I believe is one sale BOGO at CVS this week.

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Money Saving Challenge Daily Recap

I decided today would be the first day of my challenge. I watched every penny everywhere today. I'm hoping I can be this good everyday in order to save for my goals and use up some of the stockpile.

1. Shawn had a poptart from the very large stack of free poptarts and I had a bowl of cereal also from a large stash. Used milk bought with ECB's at CVS so it was free and finished the orange juice. I'm going to have to buy more and I haven't found a deal on it ever. Maybe I'll right the Sunny D people tomorrow.

2. Kept all the lights off and the TV off as much as possible. The computer monitor was also turned off unless I was on the computer.

3. Did most of my housework this morning before it got warm and kept the windows off all day and the A/C off. I try to finish all the things that might make me wish it was cooler inside before it gets too warm outside and then sort coupons, check email, etc once it gets warmer.

4. Had leftover's for lunch and heated them in the microwave to keep from warming up the house.

5. Walked to the new Farmer's Market and bought some veggies for the week. I got all this for $4 and it helps local growers. By the way the zucchini and garlic were delicious. I will be going to this farmer's market every Wednesday to get the veggies for the week, the prices are very good and the quality is much better then the supermarkets. They also had a fairly large selection.

6. Made ribs that I paid $3 for last month. Used some free seasonings and had the zucchini with garlic with them. YUM!!!

7. Only are using the energy efficient lightbulbs tonight. Entertainment for tonight is a hockey game and something I recorded yesterday (if I get to the TV). Shawn will be going to bed tonight and only listening to one run of his CD instead of it being on all night long. That should save a little money and the life of the CD player.

So how are you doing saving money?? Let me know we can all learn from sharing what works for us.

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A New Challenge

I'm joining Precious over at Frugal Makes Cents in her most recent challenge. We've been saving as much as we can so that we can purchase another car and try to put away for a down payment. Recently our TV has gotten a shadow down the right side and a bit of a spot in the center so it seems we need to start thinking about a new TV as well. These 3 things led me to decide it's time to watch every penny like I'll never see another one again. This is the list Precious made with the edits in bold to make it work for us.

1. We will use what we already have stockpiled. (I have decent stockpile and we need to rotate some of the stuff that's been in there for awhile so it's time to use some of it up)

2. If an item is Free or under $ .50, I will purchase it. The under $ .50 items need to be things to help keep the cupboards full I don't want to end this challenge with bare cupboards. My only exceptions will be milk, eggs, produce, flour, sugar, rice, toilet paper,meat, fish, poultry, and juice. But even with those items I will try to save as much as possible.

3. If I don't have an item for a recipe, I will try to substitute something I do have.

4. If it is not a necessity for health or nutrition, we will go without. This means things like soda and junk food. Soda and beer will be bought at CVS with ECB's when we want it. The only other exception will be any liquor purchases but both Dave and I are cutting back there to help save.

5. If I need an item, I will try to make it from scratch first before I even consider buying it. Unless it is an item I can get for free. I know lots of people make their own cleaners and I think that's great but I get soo many cleaning products for free I don't personally see the need yet.

6. We will use every last bit of food; NO WASTE! Waste is only dollars down the drain. Stockpiling food that never gets used is WASTE! This means Dave will be taking leftovers more often to work with him.

7. I will be posting every day or every other day what I am doing and how!

Please feel free to join us on this quest to make every penny count. There are going to be times that I stray from this plan, but every purchase will be well thought out. In addition to this we are having a yard sale this weekend and we are working on getting rid of the clutter around here. This should give us some extra money to put into the savings. Shawn has been promised a few new lego toys when he gets rid of some of his older toys that he doesn't play with.

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Happy Easter Everyone!!!

I hope you all have a great holiday with your families. I am leaving in a bit to visit my mom so I won't be reporting any great deals until some time late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Please bare with me, it appears that there are some good deals this week.

On a deal note though, there are NO inserts in the paper this weekend due to the holiday. So don't go out and buy a bunch, there will be 1 insert next weekend I believe. I'm going to pick up one paper since I like to have the ads in my hands but the other 3 can stay at the store this week.

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I've never ordered from the Angel Food Ministries personally since I get such great deals on groceries myself but I have heard great things about them. The online order deadline is midnight on Easter for this month. If you are new to couponing or not couponing and want to save some money on groceries this seems like the right place for you to start. They have a plan to fit your needs, if you are living alone they have the Senior/Convenience Box which includes 10 heat and eat meals for $28. If you are a family they have the Signature Box for $30. The signature box has enough food to feed a family of four for a week. There are also some great supplement boxes that you may want to check out.

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Lowes Buld and Grow

Don't forget that this Saturday is the Birdhouse Clinic at Lowes. The clinic is from 10am to 11am at your local Lowes. Each child receives an apron, googles, the project, a completion patch, and a certificate for each clinic they attend. My son has a blast at these, which reminds me that I need to sew on Shawn's patches from the past couple clinics he's been too. This birdhouse would make a great gift for Grandma if you are headed to her house for Easter this year.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mine grows free!!! Since we live in an apartment everything here is grown in pots. There are lots of different beliefs of what grows well in containers but I'm learning that you can grow anything in a container as long as you take care of it.

This is a raspberry bush that I ordered from SpringHill Nurseries. They have a promotion were you get $20 worth of plants for free (just pay about $7 shipping). I got 3 of these and a carnation, I was a bit skeptical when these came but all 3 have started to leaf and are looking good.

This is the start of some zucchini seeds that I got at Lowes.

This pepper plant already has 7 peppers started. I can't believe how fast it fruited. I'm hoping that it'll fruit several times over the growing season.

This is the tomato plant the won't say quit. I bought this last year and it produced dozens of tomatoes. I was going to get rid of it this spring but it started fruiting again. This guy lasted through two hard freezes and a couple of frosts and so did my herbs growing at the base.

I've heard that pineapple is a labor of love to grow, but I figured I give it a shot. I have 5 pineapple plants going at the moment. This one is the farthest along. Next time you buy a pineapple in the store rip off the top, pull off a few leaves and stick it in some dirt. You'll end up with a free plant. Even if it doesn't fruit it looks nice.

I also have strawberries, green onions, a banana tree, watermelon, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and Shawn just planted some carrots. All of which are growing great even though they are in containers.

So how does my garden grow free you ask. I buy as much of the dirt (Miracle Grow) and the pots as I can at CVS with ECB's making them all free. I also did the deal with SpringHill Nurseries so I paid about $7 for the bushes and flower. Then and here's the best secret I am a member of MyPoints. Through them you earn points for online purchases (which I never ever do) you also can earn points through them and BzzAgent (a great place to try new products) and by clicking links in emails (my primary point maker). I've earned over $300 in giftcards from using mypoints. I've payed for my plants from Lowes with giftcards earned there making my garden all free. What could be better than a free garden?

If gardening isn't your thing mypoints has giftcards for tons of other places. Lots of restaurants, Amazon, and stores like Target, Walmart, and CVS. It's worth checking out, who can pass up free stuff?

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Today I got thinking about the money I let go to waste. I'm becoming more aware of where every penny goes now that we are thinking about getting a second car. Did you know that running an average air conditioner uses as much energy as 30 ceiling fans? I have an older (I'm sure) air conditioner in this apartment. I think about what it costs to use and wonder why do I turn it on? And then it's muggy and humid like it is tonight and I remember. But after reading that it got me thinking about where else I could save, here's what I've come up with so far.

1. Make sure there are no lights on if the sun is up. This includes following around that pesky kid and reminding to shut off the lights already. When we need lights on I need to make sure we are only using the ones with energy saver bulbs for long periods of time.

2. Get in the habit of shutting the computer off when it will not be used for 8 or more hours. I don't know the specifics about the effects of turning it on and off, but my computer seems to be running better since I started turning it off at night.

3. Make sure I hit the power strips when that stuff isn't in use. Months ago we put all the non essential TV stuff (everything but the cable box) on power strips to save alittle extra energy. Did you know that TV's, game consoles, etc use energy even when they are off?

4. Run the AC less. I don't enjoy sweating at home, but I've decided that we don't need the AC as much during the day. Don't ask me what I think in July and August when it's 100 degrees out. We need the cooler temps to sleep (Shawn and Dave don't sleep well when they are warm) so if it's not cool enough with the fans running then I'll turn on the air, but we are going to do our best to leave it off for as long as possible. The unbearable days will be here soon enough.

5. Get the kid off the music all night. Currently Shawn listens to music all night long which requires running a stereo all night. I don't know what effect this has on my electric bill but it can't be good. He also has a nightlight that is on all night, so Mommy says one of them has to go.

Let me know what you are doing to cut down your bills. I could use the extra help.

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It's nearly Yard Sale time

I was going through the closet trying to fit in my most recent purchases and was thinking it has to be almost yardsale time. Well when I walked down to the mailbox there was a sign up that says April 18th is yard sale day. Twice a year we have a community yard sale and I am very excited. I have been stocking up on some of the great sales for this. Having a sale every six months let's us unload lots of clothes and toys that Shawn has outgrown and I sell lots of health and beauty stuff really cheap.

It may sound bad to some that I shop and get lots and lots of toothpaste for free or nearly free and then sell it at the yardsale, but for my family it really helps. And sense we need to buy a car this year it's going towards that fund. My last yard sale paid for all the Christmas presents last year.

So do you have any great techniques? Anything that helps your day go more smoothly? This year Shawn will be maning the soda/water booth, he has a booth we found somewhere and I think he'll be very excited with that since it's his special job. So I guess mommy needs to find a deal on soda and water.

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