What I’ve Been Up To…

_DSC2099As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a lot lately, either here or on Social Media. I’ve been busy. Distance learning is coming to a close for the year, so we’ve been doing a lot of meetings and paperwork (I’ll be glad when the mountains of homework packets stop).

In addition to supervising all of the learning (for both kiddos), I’ve also been taking a more active role in helping my big kiddo find behavioral therapies that will work well on his journey through life. My big kid is on the Autism spectrum (ASD) and that means that we do behavioral therapy a few times a week in addition talk therapy. So lots of time helping process feelings and emotions, and that leaves this mama bear feeling tired.

I (try to) get up early about 6:30 each morning, make coffee, do emails, and work on getting stuff set up for the day before the kiddos wake up. Sometimes I’m super successful and get it done. Sometimes I’m lucky if I get a shower.

Successes for the days are measured so much differently now. Did we make it through a day without tears? Missing friends, regular routines, going to the gym, extracurricular activities- all of these weigh heavy on the kids, and grown-ups.

We’ve also been trying to get our home more organized, and we’ve been getting some help from a family friend who is a Konmari guru. We’re about halfway through the process, and it’s been super liberating to get rid of stuff that no longer serves us. We sold all of the DVD’s/video games that we no longer wanted, and raised over $200, that we’ll put towards family fun (maybe sock it away for a 2021 vacation?). Thankfully our local thrift shops are accepting donations at this time. We’ve been loading up the back of my car weekly to donate goods.

In an attempt to wear the kids out physically, I’ve been taking them out for a walk a few times a week with my parents at a local park. Social distancing and masking occur- Also a liberal application of mosquito repellant is applied- The kids and I are very tasty according to the local ‘squito population. We also picked up a small pool for the patio- We are on our second. The first was not heavy-duty enough. This is the one I recommend. We also put tarps under it to protect it from the textured decking. I also use this solar fountain to keep the water moving all day, and we cover it with a tarp at night. I usually dump the water and refill it 2-3 times per week.

downloadSaving money has been a challenge as of late- There aren’t as many deals as supplies aren’t being delivered to stores regularly, less staff to stock shelves, etc. And really, who has been shopping lately for fun? Not many of us. I’ve been using coupons when I can find them, but what I have really found useful is Honey. Honey is a browser extension that helps you find coupon codes and sale prices on items that you are shopping for online. I used it to save over $145 when we bought the big kids new bed a few weeks back.

And I’ve been making masks for family and friends- I made some especially for the kids this week too.

kalecutI’m here y’all! I’m up to my eyeballs, but I’m here. And of course, I’m doing the Always Eat After 7pm program, so I’ll be posting about that. There are so many good recipes I am excited to try (dark chocolate dipped PB cookies, uh, yeah). and I’ll be posting some recipes this weekend- I’ve got a killer Kale Salad recipe that is so tasty and easy (and it keeps in the fridge for a few days too).

I’ll be hosting an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway soon! I want to spread the love with you!

 

Talk Back: What have you been doing lately? 

Special Cash Back Offers from Checkout51!

89281_separate_list_image_1584553711.jpgCheckout 51 is hooking us up right now with some great savings on staples that most of us are buying right now. 51.jpg

Bread, Eggs, and fresh bananas or apples! .25 per offer isn’t a ton of money, but these days with coupons drying up, and most stores not running really great sales, you have to take savings where you can!

If you are new to  Checkout 51, it’s a great app that’s been around for 5 years or so.

Checkout51 is NOT store specific! Checkout 51 is a savings program that’s so easy to use, and no Smartphone is needed! It’s an app on your iPhone or Android phone, or you use your computer.

Checkout 51 is so easy: Purchase specific products (and these products change each Thursday, so make sure you check out the app/website before heading out to shop), scan and upload your receipts weekly.

In addition to saving on groceries, there is also a cashback on GASOLINE component to Checkout 51. You can learn more here.

Oh, and if you are new and sign up for Checkout 51, you will score a $5 bonus after you redeem your first offer! It keeps getting better!

3/13/2020 Friday Freebies and Deals!

bright boxesI won’t be posting any in-store events or freebies this week, or for the foreseeable future. It will all be online deals (like Amazon), or freebies that you can request to be mailed to you. Better safe than sorry.

I will probably be posting more ways to make money at home (surveys, online research studies, etc) too.

Legit Online Research Studies/Money Making opportunities:

 

Samples and Goodies:

 

Deals:

 

Have a good weekend friends! Be Safe and Wash your hands!

1/23/2020 New Savingtar Rebates!

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SavingStar has some awesome new rebates available.

If you are new to SavingStar, it’s different from traditional couponing!

What makes SavingStar different is that you don’t receive money off at the register.  The savings in held in your SavingStar account, and once you reach at least $20.00 in savings you can transfer it to your Paypal Account or donate your savings to charity!

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SavingStar is the first national, fully digital, grocery eCoupon service, available for free at www.savingstar.com and on iPhone and Android mobile apps. There’s nothing to clip, nothing to print. Chose offers, shop, and save! SavingStar is currently available at over 70,000 locations!

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And it gets better: SavingStar members who redeem 2 offers per month (not counting any Healthy Offers) will unlock a full month of Healthy Offers for the next month! That’s money savings on fruits, veggies, and more!

Here are the latest offers:

Save $1.25 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Green Giant Harvest Protein Bowls™. Any Variety..Expires 2/26/2020.Save $1.25.

Save $2.00 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Atkins® Sweet & Salty Crunch Bites. Any Variety..Expires 1/29/2020.Save $2.00.

Save $1.50 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Atkins® Meal or Snack Protein Bars. Valid on any 5 pack..Expires 1/29/2020.Save $1.50.

Save $1.50 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Select Atkins Endulge® Treats. Valid on 5 pack. Excludes Atkins Endulge® Peppermint Patties..Expires 1/29/2020.Save $1.50.

Save $2.00 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Atkins® Chocolate Banana Shakes. Valid on 4 pack..Expires 1/29/2020.Save $2.00.

Save $2.00 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Atkins Endulge® Peppermint Patties. Valid on 5 pack..Expires 1/29/2020.Save $2.00.

Save $1.50 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Select Atkins® Shakes. Valid on 4 pack. Excludes Atkins® Chocolate Banana Shakes..Expires 1/30/2020.Save $1.50.

Save $0.75 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Select NABISCO Cookies or Crackers. Valid on 7 oz or larger. Excludes Belvita, OREO, Triscuit..Expires 2/5/2020.Save $0.75.

Save $0.50 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Campbell’s® Slow Kettle® Style Soups. Valid on 15.5 oz..Expires 2/26/2020.Save $0.50.

Save $1.00 when you purchase ANY TWO (2) belVita Breakfast Biscuits. Valid on 8.8 oz or larger, any variety. Items must appear on the same receipt..Expires 2/29/2020.Save $1.00.

SAVE $1.00 on any ONE (1) Emergen-C® Dietary Supplement (8ct or larger).Expires 1/19/2020.Save $1.00.

SAVE $4.00 on any ONE (1) Emergen-C® Protein Fuel or Superfoods Product, any variety or size..Expires 1/19/2020.Save $4.00.

SAVE $1.00 on any ONE (1) Barilla® Protein+™ or Chickpea or Red Lentil or Gluten Free Pasta Product (8.8-14.5 oz).Expires 2/29/2020.Save $1.00.

SAVE $5.00 when you spend $25 on any flavor General Mills cereal listed: Cheerios™ • Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ • Lucky Charms™ • Reese’s Puffs • Chex™ • Cocoa Puffs™ • Trix™ • Cookie Crisp™ • Golden Grahams™ • Kix™ • Fiber One™ • Wheaties™ • Raisin Nut Bran

Save $0.50 when you purchase ANY ONE (1) Russell Stover Sugar Free. Valid on 2.4oz Bag or Larger. .Expires 3/25/2020.Save $0.50.(Only at Walmart)

New Year, New Opportunities to Save!

file0001219719004.jpgFor years, I’ve been posting about printable coupons, highlighting some of my favorites at the beginning of each month. As the years go by, sometimes it’s harder to find printable coupons or any coupons that excite me.

Couponing rules have become restrictive in-store, combined with the terms and conditions on each coupon, making the tried and true couponing advice of old (gather a lot of the same coupon, wait for a sale and stockpile items that you eat or use frequently), no longer a solid way to save money.

So this year I’ve decided at the beginning of each month, I’ll be highlighting some of the money-saving apps I use and their new offers. Their offers change monthly, just like coupons. Most of the money-saving apps also offer bonuses or deals from time to time as well.

 Ibotta has a new year referral bonus going on right now. You’ll earn 100% of what your newly referred friends earn through the end of January. Ibotta also has online offers too. You can shop through the app to earn more cashback. I love that they have offers at stores like Joann’s. I can earn cashback for my craft addiction!

refer.pngFetch Rewards has a pretty sweet deal right now- Refer friends with your referral code (mine is ND2TB), You’ll get 4,000 points for each referral, and your friends get 2,000 when they snap their first receipt! (In order for you to qualify for the increased referral bonus, they must enter your referral code and complete a valid receipt now through 11:59 PM PT on 1/7/2020. After 11:59 PM PT on 1/7/2020, the referral bonus will expire)

Checkout 51 is sweetening the deal too- When you sign up here and scan in your first receipt, you’ll get a $5 bonus! If you are already a Checkout 51 user, refer your friends and you’ll earn $10 when a new user scans in their first receipt (and they still earn $5).  Everyone wins!

And I’m not completely discarding the notion that printable coupons aren’t useful. In fact, while working on this post I discovered a couple printable coupons that I would 100% use and printed them out:

Save $2.00 when you buy FIVE (5) Smart Ones Frozen Meals

I try to keep some of these on hand for lunches or nights when I’m too tired to whip up what I’ve meal planned for that night. They have vegetarian entrees too!

Save 35¢ On Any California Dairy Product That Carries The Real California Milk Seal

For us CA peeps, this coupon is super useful!

Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® Veggie Tots, Riced Veggies, Mashed Cauliflower, Roasted Veggies, Harvest Protein Bowls, or Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Those Veggie Tots- So tasty!

Talk Back: How do you plan on saving money this year?

Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Saving on Entertainment!

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This is one of the most divisive topics I write about. I am completely serious. Television. Specifically- cutting or lowing your cable or dish package to save money.

This is a big bone of contention for a lot of people who ask me how we live on one income. For some people, they “need their shows“ or they “have to” watch the game every week.

Cable and satellite television is expensive, and now with all of the streaming services in addition to cable, it is conceivable that a family may spend upwards of $300 a month on television. That’s JUST TELEVISION! That doesn’t include movie tickets!

Sit down and gather up the cost of each streaming service and/or cable subscription/dish subscription. Where is there overlapping entertainment?

  • Hulu Plus has a live option, which gives you access to sports, and television shows on the same day they air on cable television.
  • If you have cable that includes the Disney Channel, CBS, HBO, or Showtime, is there really a reason for you to pay for the subscription/on-demand versions of those networks?

If you feel like you are ok with changing your television viewing habits, ditching cable in favor for a few streaming options and over the air television which can be viewed with our digital antenna (which is easy to use/install) and is available for purchase for about $50-$100.

Depending on how strong the signals in your area are, you should be able to receive:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS (We get three PBS channels)

There are additional networks that are available in various areas of the county.  Here in So Cal, we also get:

Plus we get a few more Spanish language channels, and one Korean language channel.

Now that you’ve trimmed/cut the cord, what other entertainment do you see/attend/do? We don’t go to the movies too often, but we have a weekly date night budget of $50. I try to get it out of the bank in cash and if we are going out together, we spend it together, but if we are going out with other friends, or staying home with the kids, I give him half.  If we don’t use it one week, we roll it over to the next week!

images.jpgOne of my other main sources of Entertainment is the gym. I try and go at least 4 times per week for at least an hour.  Other places that you can trim and your family budget can include your gym membership. If you don’t require a gym that has the bells and whistles and lots of classes, you might consider changing your full-service gym to a more budget-friendly or discount gym like Crunch or Planet Fitness. Both of them have extremely reasonable rates, but they don’t offer classes or childcare usually.

If you’re looking at something that is slightly more family-friendly, I cannot recommend the YMCA enough! For our family, we pay $69 a month, and that is inclusive of childcare on-site for both children up to four hours a day (two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon as long as there is a lapse of four hours of time in between the two sessions), we can visit any YMCA location in San Diego County, and also have travel benefits if we go out of town. There are free classes for everyone in the family, on various types of exercise from family yoga to family kickboxing to open gym for the kids two-three times a week.

They have great swimming facilities for spring and summer, and the family swim is available year-round in the large pool at our local YMCA. I also like that they have trained people in the childcare/kids club area that know how to work with kids who have special needs, so I never feel like my big kid will be ignored or be feeling out of place. If you are a local and want to check out the YMCA, let me know and I’ll get you a guest pass!

In the past we had some really bad experiences with 24-Hour Fitness. We were also paying a lot of money to go to 24-Hour Fitness (upwards of $120/month Between our membership dues and the cost of the on-site childcare) and I felt like our fitness goals could not be supported because of the lack of support and education with their child care employees.

I also like that the YMCA offers discounted rates/scholarships for military families (active duty and retired), those with low-incomes, or receiving certain government benefits.

As far as kids’ entertainment, our local community library has us covered over school breaks. Between summer reading programs, spring break events, Star Wars Days, Back To School supply giveaways, and Christmas cookie decorating/Polar Express PJ parties. You would be surprised at all of the cool stuff going on at your local library!

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about how you save money on entertainment!