Tax Day Fun

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Did you get any tax day deals today? My buddy Shannon sent me the picture of her car full at Sonic, and when my afternoon carpool saw it they had to get in on the fun too. :)

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It’s not too late to get some of the deals, so be sure to check the out over HERE before they end tonight!

Coupons = Cash

Pretty regularly, a friend or acquaintance teases me for my penny pinching (I’m betting you’ve been there too.) And, more often than you’d imagine, I have someone ask if they can just pay me to “coupon” for them. (Kinda’ defeats the purpose, huh? And I’m thinkin’ they couldn’t afford me!) ;)  A few days ago after printing a slew of new coupons that had just came out (you can print them here too), I decided to count up just how much *money* I had.

 

Sure enough, it was over $100.

 

I think people tend to forget that in many ways, coupons really are cash. Yes, they’re just little slips of paper, but they’re an awesome way to “barter” with your grocery store to always get the lowest price available.  So, instead of thinking of those coupons as little annoyances that tend to overwhelm you (don’t worry, they overwhelm me too!), try to think of them as cold hard cash that your grocery store is sweet enough to let you use.

Got it?

No excuses.

Clip those coupons.

Pinch those pennies.

And determine to find financial freedom in your future.

 

I promise . . . you can do this!!!

 

 

 

Yes, this is my affiliate links to use if you’d like, which is how PPP continues to run each day. Thank you so much for your support, and print more FREE high value coupons right from your home when you goHEREHERE and HERE. 

How Do You Manage Chores For Your Child?

This morning I walked in the door from my morning jog at exactly 6:03 am, and found my two daughters dressed (one even showered?), and both girls’ beds all made up. Then my 11-year-old looked at her sister and said “next we need to do the trash.”

 

Wow.

 

I wasn’t quite sure what had spurred such early morning enthusiasm until I saw Caroline with her cute list (above) and a pen. She found the list online yesterday and created the chore chart for she and her sister (she was smart enough not to make one for her big brother – I’m pretty sure he would have thrown her list out the window . . . quite possibly along with her.) ;) Apparently today she was ready to get started.

Yup, I’m patting myself on the back because somewhere along the way I must have done something right as a momma to inspire such awesomeness, right? ;)

 

The truth is though, I’m horrible about keeping up a list of chores for my kids. I do expect them to unload the dishes (Jackson unloads the top drawer, Caroline unloads the bottom drawer, and Reagan does the silverware), and while I would love to say they make their beds daily, most days it just doesn’t happen. They do help with putting away laundry (some), setting and clearing dishes from the tables, and any other extra jobs that I ask them to do, but we really don’t have a fantastic chore routine set in place.

 

So, I’m curious – do you have a great routine that works for your family? I’m hoping Caroline will continue as drill sergeant for a few more days at our house, but know in all reality that might not happen. With summer coming, I’d like to have at least a small schedule in place, so I’d love to hear any tips on this one!

 

And, I would love to know if you pay your children an allowance as wellWe do (kind of) still do a “quarter jar allowance” for our kids, but I’ve even gotten bad about that. Please help me out on this one by sharing your tips with me!

 

And just in case Caroline’s organization inspired you too, here are a few free printable chore charts that may help you out: 

 

Why Coupons Work (& What Products Do You Just Love?)

I posted this a few years ago (yup, with a selfie of me using my very first Swiffer Duster), but it’s such a good reminder of why coupons work not only for us but also for companies! This morning I used some of the Tide Oxi Clean I’d gotten last week at Target and it worked so well on a comforter that needed a little TLC – that coupon deal got me hooked. ;) I’d love to hear what you think!

 

Every once in a while, a well-meaning friend or cashier questions my ethics when I get an item for free using coupons. While I completely understand what they’re asking, I also think they may misunderstand exactly why manufacturers put those coupons & freebies out there.

 

You see, companies like Colgate, Proctor & Gamble, and General Mills are nice, but they don’t just want to give away their products for free (and my guess is they know exactly how many “free” things they’re giving away with those coupons!) Instead, they’re using a brilliant marketing scheme that works pretty effectively. They’re trusting that if they create a fantastic product, market it to us *penny-pinched* mommas, and we love it, we might actually come back for more.

 

Guess what? It works! A few weeks ago I received a free sample of Swiffer Dusters that I requested during one of their Facebook giveaways. My four-year-old was so excited when she saw the box in the mail that she opened it within three minutes of the  freebie making it through the door, and of course we (immediately!) had to try it out. Do you know what? That product is amazing! I love it!!! In fact, the very next week I went out and bought replacement Swiffer Dusters without a coupon (I accidentally left it the coupon in the car and it was raining outside. . . ), and I will probably use Swiffer dusters in my home forever. So, that little Facebook freebie made a believer out of me.

 

Now, my goal obviously is to buy those items in the future when they’re on sale and I also have a coupon. But, if they hadn’t sent me that freebie, there’s absolutely no way in the world that I would have tried them out. (Trust me, I’ve been a fan of my free rags for years.) However, since Proctor & Gamble was willing to let me try them out for free, they’ve pretty much guaranteed that I will always purchase them.  They created a fantastic product, marketed it to a mom who daily fights dust bunnies, and sure enough,. . . I’ll be going back for more.

Seriously – you should try them when dusting your window blinds . . . simply amazing!

Here are a few other items that I really would rather not live without after trying them out for free (or at least really inexpensively . . .)

  • Theraflu Daytime or Multi-Symptom (These were free at CVS on Black Friday – my husband will never go without this stuff again because it’s been a miracle drug when he’s had a cold!)
  • Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese (I have a crazy-fast-growing-11-year-old boy.  Enough said.)
  • Clorox Cleaning Wipes (They make my Motivated Moms bathroom & kitchen sink cleaning a breeze each morning!)
  • Schick Intuition Razors (I shared this summer what happened when I purchased cheap razors at Wal-mart after getting used to the good stuff . . . goodness I love nice razors these days!)
  • and, of course . .  . any Swiffer products!

Are there any items that you’ve tried out using coupons that you probably wouldn’t have tried had you not gotten a deal on them?  Please leave a comment to share . . . because I’d love to try them out too! :)

 

And by the way, I caught my hubby cleaning the ceiling molding in our kitchen with that Swiffer duster the other day after watching me show him how well they work.  Any product that gets him up & cleaning is my kind of product!

 

 

How Much Do You Pay For A Gallon of Milk?

I made a quick run into Walmart this morning to grab a few gallons of milk (because usually our Publix price is as much as $.50 more expensive per gallon), and was shocked when I saw the price had gone up to $3.98. Really?

 

We were out of town last week, but I priced it at Sam’s and Aldi two weeks ago and it was just $2.29 per gallon. Just curious if there was some crazy milk price hike that I missed, or if you all have noticed skyrocketing prices as well in the last week? Would love to hear your thoughts, and leave a comment to share what you’re paying for milk in your hometown too!

Have You Checked Unclaimed Property For Cash?

 

I thought I’d re-post this because I had another friend share last week that she was able to find Unclaimed Property! It never hurts to try – let me know if you’re able to find anything!

A friend of mine sent me an email about finding a little cash through searching for unclaimed property, and I’ve got to tell you, I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing.  But, I figured it didn’t hurt to see what the sites she recommended had to say, so I checked them out.

 

Well, I didn’t find any money for our own family, but I did find some for a friend of mine’s family (I was shocked!)  It’s pretty simple to see if there are any claims available for you, however I’m not sure how easy it is to actually file get that money back.  If you’re interested in checking out whether or not there is unclaimed property under your name, check out the national site listings over HERE.

 

Have you had any experience filing to receive unclaimed property? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting . . .”


Ready for a break from some penny pinching? Here’s one more way too random rambling . . . it’s been that kind of a week in our home. 

 

Almost fourteen years ago, my friend Nancy and I chatted on the phone one day about our sweet babies.   I remember her saying “Do you think they look at us and think we’re just the most beautiful thing in the whole world?” As we held those tiny infants, we were the ones who supplied all their needs. We fed them, changed them, cleaned them, rocked them  . . . we were their everything.  And maybe, just maybe, when those tiny infants gazed as us they thought we were completely perfect.

 

Fast forward fourteen years (yikes!) 14 years of wrinkles, 168 months of grey (platinum?) hair sneaking in, and exactly 5,110 days of fat cells increasing entirely too quickly around these hips of mine. (Did I say yikes already?) Fourteen years where I’ve noticed my laugh lines creasing more daily, my temper flaring a little more readily all too often, and my mama bear instinct so close to the surface some days that I have to beat her down with a stick.

 

Yup, that’s what this crazy mom thing does to us, doesn’t it?

 

For whatever reason, yesterday I worried entirely too long about these well-earned laugh lines, was frustrated by my ~ ahem, platinum ~ highlights, and downright angry at these fat cells that have attached themselves firmly to these hips. (Seriously, wasn’t there some better way that God could have chosen to make us all look different?) ;)

 

I was feeling unattractive, old, pudgy, and more than anything, t.i.r.e.d.  That’s when my eleven  year old begged me to tuck her into bed.

 

She said she just needed me. Just as I was. Slightly wrinkly, nowhere-near-perfect, and squishy as I am, she wanted this-me-who-I-am-just-like-I-am-right-now. She doesn’t care that I don’t look like this (goodness, can those Oscar women just put on a pound or two to make the rest of us normal???) It didn’t matter to her that I don’t craft craziness like this, dress like this, or cook like this. She just wanted me ~ this mess of a momma ~ to crawl up into bed and snuggle up with her.

 

So of course, I did. 

 

Five minutes later it was my next child’s turn. My sweet six year old pulled me under the covers alongside her for her prayers, held me as close as she possibly could, and said (as she so often still does these days), “I just love you momma.” 

 

Sigh.

 

Thirty minutes later (yup, you can bet I fell asleep with that girl in my arms), I came downstairs to that big-ole’-almost-fourteen-year old boy. He hung out with me on the couch for awhile, then headed off to bed and muttered quietly on his way up the steps “Good night, mom ~ love you.”

 

The way I look to the world is going to change so much over the next (I’m hoping sixty? at least?) years, but to be cherished no matter what my outward self looks like is just the nicest gift. Even when the outward part of us isn’t quite what we may want it to be, the fact that our children still sometimes see us as oh-so-valuable is just ~ well, that’s just the best.  (I know, I know, my kids are getting older so them thinking I’m awesome occasionally is probably about to fly out the window.)

 

Guess what ladies? (I’m pretty sure any men hopped off about four paragraphs ago.) ;) It doesn’t matter what we appear to look like on the outside, rather the heart that only our little nest really sees that holds the most value. While you see me here online and I may look okay every once in awhile, my family know the real me. They see this mom who’s kind of a nerd, always anxious, sometimes way too excitable, and well, really, just a mess. And the fact that they choose to love on that me, the one that I hide from way too often, is nothing beyond amazing to me.

 

Be encouraged that we all see shortcomings in ourselves every day, but we are so blessed when those who know us best value us just the way we are. And if you’re like me, and occasionally feel like a Gumby doll being pulled in 8,000 directions by your children and your spouse, be encouraged that one day they might not be pulling so tightly, so we might just as well enjoy the ride.

 

 

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 

 

Consignment Sale Shopping: Spent $24 For 6 Items

 

Here’s what I picked up today for my six year old at our local Sweet Repeats Consignment SaleI hadn’t planned on going, but happened to see an outfit in her closet this morning from last year’s sale that I loved. So, when a neighbor mentioned the sale began today I decided to make a quick trip!  

 
I love the polka dot dress for her for church, and Reagan was in bad need of some jeans so I’m hoping for $4 these will get her through ’til next fall.

 

While I’ve found it quite a bit easier to swap clothes with a friend who has similarly aged children (if you can do that, you will save so much money and effort!), there are some things that don’t get passed on which I tag and take to a local sale. I’d love to hear your tips on consigning kids clothes if you have them!

 

If you’re looking for consignment sales in your area, check this out. If anyone knows of another link that lists national consignment sales I’d love to hear about it!

 

Keep It Simple

Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls ~ can’t imagine who took a bite before even putting the candles on ;)

I’ve been struggling lately with keeping up with all the things on my to-do list. My inbox is constantly full, my home is always in need of tidying, my kids seem to cry “mom“ every eight seconds that they’re home, and to say I’m just a wee bit overwhelmed these days is an understatement.  I absolutely love sharing Friday Fluff Ups with you each week, but right now I’m just a bit fluffed out. ;)

 

On top of that, my own expectations on myself are a wee bit ridiculous some days. I expect to craft like this, cook like this, blog like this, and did I mention we’re trying to sell a house too? Yesterday was my Caroline’s birthday, and I’ve always been a big birthday fest freak. While we have simple parties at home, I like to fluff them up a bit, love putting together a cute gift, and want my kids to know they’re oh-so-special on that day.

 

So when I realized this year that that all just couldn’t happen, I was disappointed (to say the least.) Then to add to my to-do list pile, I got a phone call that a realtor wanted to show the house yesterday.  I raced through the house getting every thing tidied up, stuffed popcorn that my vacuum wouldn’t pick up in my pockets (resourcefulness, right?), and through the trash can from our playroom in the car with me before racing out the door (this is the truth folks.)

 

Yikes.

 

So, this isn’t the year for big parties, but my girl seemed just fine with that.

 

I brought cookies to the bus stop to celebrate (thank you Target for that deal!)

 

She opened a few gifts

And for dinner feasted on her favorite fresh fruit along with her favorite cinnamon rolls for dinner. (We did have bacon and eggs too to round out the meal.) ;)

 

So what does any of this have to do with penny pinching?  There are seasons of our lives where we have to scale back and skimp on things to make way for even better things in the future.

 

There are times when we won’t have something big and fancy because really all we can do is something simple.

 

And really, those days turn out just fine, and sometimes simplicity brings even more joy.

 

I was disappointed for my daughter that I couldn’t pull off more, but she was so pleased with what we did do.  She loved her gifts (her favorite was the $5 Hula Hoop and $2 jump rope), gobbled up every cinnamon roll, and she really had just a wonderful day.

 

If you’re at a place in your life where you can’t do it all, it’s okayIf you can’t have a fancy party for your child because of finances, they will be just fine. Love on them instead. If you don’t have enough time to Pinterest together a whole new house, that’s okay too. Instead consider just cleaning it up.  Hopefully you (and I!) will get through this season of our lives, and who knows what will be waiting around the corner.

 

(There is an end out there, right?) ;)

 

We’ve Been To Disney!

Whew!!! My family is almost home from Disney World, and goodness, gracious, I’m worn out! I really can’t thank my friends Shannon, Misty & Susan enough for ALL their help running PPP while I was gone ~ this is the most I’ve stayed off the computer in the last four years, and it felt so good to be unplugged for the most part for the last few days.

Since we knew it would be harder to make a trip to Disney once we moved to Ohio, we wanted to sneak in a trip before our kids got any older. On Tuesday school was cancelled because of snow and ice possibly coming to Alabama, so we snuck out a day early and surprised our kids with a trip South! My oldest wasn’t all that happy about it (he really wanted to see snow, and we did miss that a bit!), but by the time the week was over I think he was okay with it. ;)

 

Here’s a peek at what we did while we were there . . .

Spent our first afternoon in Animal Kingdom

Then headed to the Magic Kingdom Thursday morning (I love that place!)

And of course rode It’s A Small World

My kids loved riding all the rides, but I think running around Tom Sawyer Island is still one of their favorites

On Friday we visited Epcot – my husband loves seeing how they grow things in the Living with the Land exhibit

And our kids loved seeing all things Mickey & Minnie

Ate lunch in Germany – so good!

And my girls loved checking out all the Kidcot stations where they got a stamp from each country. (That idea is brilliant ~ makes getting through the countries in Epcot so much more fun with little ones!)

We spent (a lot!) of time on the buses

And my Caroline (who turns 11 in just six days) asked to have her hair done at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique at Downtown Disney as a birthday gift. (Folks, that place was a zoo ~ yikes! But she did look pretty cute.) ;)

Before heading out this morning we enjoyed breakfast at O’Hanas (probably our favorite meal) and are on our way home now.

 

Whenever I mention Disney I always get lots of questions about how to do the trip on a penny pinched budget, and I wish I knew some great secret tips. Really though, the best thing I can tell you is to have a vacation budget in place, and then wait for a decent offer from Disney.  We had money in our vacation budget available, so when my friend Susan mentioned that she’d gotten an offer in the mail for free dining about a month ago, we were able to hop on the discount!

 

Eating food at Disney is so just crazy expensive, and since we’re such penny pinchers when it comes to food I don’t think we could enjoy our trip if we had to shell out $75 for our family of five at every meal. My husband and I just tallied up what we paid for besides our room, park admission, and dining plan (which was free), and including the extra tips for sit down meals as well as a gift for each child we spent less than $150. For us, the dining plan (when it’s free!) is so worth it. Our kids even had enough extra snack credits to bring treats home from the park!

 

If you have any great tips on touring Disney on the cheap I’d love to hear about them, and expect to see oodles of penny-pinched deals tomorrow when I’m fully back to work. Happy Sunday! ;)



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