It’s Back! Earn 300 Points with Fetch Rewards! That’s a $3 Amazon GC!

FetchRewards_Logo

Fetch Rewards is hooking us all up this weekend!! Starting today, earn 3,000 bonus points every time a friend enters your code and scans their first receipt! Plus, they’ll get 3,000 points.

3,000 points is enough for its own reward and there’s no limit on the number of referrals you can make! That means every person you refer to Fetch Rewards by Sunday earns YOU a reward and THEM a reward.

Don’t miss out on your chance to earn big this weekend – the referral bonus ends Sunday night!

unnamed.png

So, if this seems like an app you’d enjoy, check this out: Use my code ND2TB when you sign up and you’ll score 3000 points after you scan in your first receipt with Fetch Rewards. That’s a $3 Amazon Gift Card (or whatever $3 Gift Card you choose). You can find Fetch Rewards in your app store.

You can learn more about Fetch Rewards here. I’ve been using it for about a year, and I’ve earned over $100 in Amazon GC, just by doing my regular shopping!

*In order for you and anyone you refer to qualify for the increased referral bonus, they must enter your referral code and complete a valid receipt now through 11:59 PM local time on Sunday, September 9th. After 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 9th, the referral bonus will return to 2,000 bonus points per referral.

 

Top Ten Must Haves for Your Summer Swim Bag!

pexels-photo-61129.jpeg

We braved the very very cold pool at our HOA today, which prompted me to go through our Swim Bag and make a list of new Pool Toys that we “need” (according to the kiddos).

I usually replace the pool toys once every 2-3 years. We swim 5+ days a week in the late spring and summer, that means our pool toys and swim equipment gets a lot of wear. I tend to buy a lot of the items on the list below at Dollar Tree or 99 Cents only. The quality is usually the same as what you find at Target at the Dollar Spot area, or at Wal-Mart in the seasonal area. The main reason we’re doing an overhaul or our pool toys this summer is it has been 3 years since I’ve bought new ones. Some of our current pool toys will be kept as they are in good shape, but some of the older toys (mainly the squirt guns) are starting to fall apart or have developed extra holes.

Here are the Top Ten things you need in your Swim Bag:

First off, you need a good bag! I like the All Purpose Utility bags, like these. They’ve got pockets on the outside. Roll up your towels and stuff them into the pockets, or use for SPF, bottles of water, or snacks- You can’t forget the snacks!

    1. Goggles. We go through a lot of goggles, mostly because my kids are clumsy, or they share them with friends and they disappear. I usually pick some up at 99 Cents Only to keep just in case, but we have several pairs of these Aegend goggles and they are excellent.
    2. Floaty toys- Like Inflatable Rings, or animal shapes. We’ve got a giant shark that lives in the garage in the off-season (November-May).  I like picking up a handful of inflatable rings at Dollar Tree and stashing them in the closet. If I need extras when friends swim with us, we won’t be short. I like these rings. I ordered 8 online for store pick up. Kick boards and arm floaties also fall under this category. I usually keep a few of each in the arsenal, just in case.

3. Fun Toys. Henry enjoys playing frisbee in the pool, so we’ve got a couple. Margaret likes trying to swim after an inflatable ball, so we’ve got a few of those. They both love the diving sharks. They are big, and they glide like a torpedo under water. The weighted diving toys like dive rings and the little ribbons with the weight attached are nice too.

4. Squirting Toys. Squirt Guns are a favorite. Not Super Soakers, but regular, old fashioned small squirt guns. Another favorite are the water squirters that look like long, giant pencils.  I usually get them at 99 Cents Only. Our rule is: No squirting people in the face!

5. SPF- Ok, this should really be #1. A good SPF. Water proof, sweat proof. You want a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against UVA (the rays that age skin) and UVB (The rays that burn skin). I like mineral sunscreen. And remember to reapply as needed!

6. Good Towels. I’m not talking about Egyptian Cotton, plush, fluffy towels that cost a fortune, but good, durable towels. I like to get white ones, since the chlorine from the pool can bleach the colors out. We tend to get the larger towels, or bath sheets. We have these from JCP. They were around $7 each.

7. Extra sunglasses. I don’t know what it is about my kids, but they lose sunglasses ALL THE TIME. I pick up a fistful at the beginning of the summer at 99 Cents Only or Dollar Tree, and dole them out. I keep 2 pairs in the swim bag.

8. First Aid Kit. Seriously. Kids get hurt all the time. It doesn’t need to be a fancy one. You can get small first aid kits with everything you need for less than $8.

9. Reusable water bottles. It’s hot and you are in the sun playing. Hydration is important. We have an Extreme Canteen, and it’s really awesome. I fill it with ice and water, and it stays cold all day with minimal ice melting.

10. A waterproof sealable pouch or bag to keep your keys, phone, and other important stuff in (Like snacks). We usually use a large ziploc bag (or two and double bag).

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.02.31 PM.png
Henry age 3, swimming with Mommy.  I’m pretty sure the pool was freezing then too. 

Now a few bonus items that Henry told me to mention (we may have a guest writer on our hands soon) include a swim mask (like this one), a shark fin and tail (like the one he got for X-mas), and diving fins. Those are all items that he uses regularly in our swim time.

Talk Back- I’d love to hear what’s in your Swim/Pool Bag!

I’ve included many links for reference. Please refer to my disclosure policy regarding possible bounties or compensations I might receive.

 

11/13/17 Meal Plan Monday!

dsc07997

We’re scraping the bottom of the produce drawer, so I’ll be hitting up .99 Only to pick up some salads, veggies, and berries.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Potato Cheese soup and fruit

Tuesday:

  • D: breakfast for dinner- probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad

Weds:

  • D: BBQ chicken (in the crockpot), green salad, biscuits

Thursday:

  • D:  Grilled chicken and grilled veggies 

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: DIY pizza night!

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

Earn Rewards with Fetch Rewards!

FetchRewards_Logo.png

Have you heard of Fetch Rewards? It’s the newest in receipt scanning, cash/reward apps. Most of us already know about all of the other smartphone apps (my list is here) that get you cash back or other rewards (like gift cards).

Fetch Rewards is different. Shop at any store, scan your receipt and earn points that you can redeem for Amazon Gift Cards (or other GC’s, I just love me some Amazon GC’s). You can use coupons, you can even use other apps like Ibotta, Checkout51, or Find&Save to double or triple dip.

Gift card cash outs start at just 3000 points for a $3.00 Amazon gift card!

Here’s how it works…

Purchase your regular groceries.. Seriously! Fetch Rewards is partnered with brands like Pepsi, Quaker, Starbucks, Naked Juice, Axe, Dove, St. Ives, Suave, Jello, Dreamwhip, Kraft, Coors, Miller, Polly-O, Oscar Mayer, Boca, Cool Whip, Weight Watchers Smart Ones, the list goes on! You can see the full list here.

Open the app and scan in your receipt. The app does the rest. It goes through your receipt and picks out the brands you bought and gives you points!

And it gets even better, they have Bonus Point Deals! Score Extra points when your purchase specific items! Here are a just a few available now:

See, it’s actual food from actual brands you have heard from before! And you don’t need to pre-select the deals before you go to the store to shop!

So, if this seems like an app you’d enjoy, check this out: Use my code ND2TB when you sign up and you’ll score 1500 points after you scan in your first receipt with Fetch Rewards. That’s half way to your first $3 Amazon Gift Card (or whatever $3 Gift Card you choose). You can find Fetch Rewards in your app store.

If you use my code, I’ll get 1500 points when you do. Win/Win, right? Honestly, my disclosure statement is here. I’m here to help ya’ll save money, not make a million dollars!

This is a great way to save up giftcards for holiday shopping or to defray other costs (They also have CVS and Target GC’s available).

Cutting down on food waste in 30 minutes!

One of the ways that we save money is to cut down on food waste. For me that means once we are home from the store and all of the perishables are put away, I pull out the cutting board, a sharp knife, the spiralizer, some zip top bags, and reusable storage containers.

IMG_3168

This was last weeks fresh fruit and veggies (plus 3 bags of baby carrots and a cantaloupe- not pictured).

I set to work, chopping, packaging, and spiralizing.  In less than 30 minutes I had all of the fresh fruits and veggies prepped and measured into small bags to be dropped into lunches, or packed into plastic containers.

This of course is only for the fruits and veggies that require prep. The oranges, apples, and bananas require no prep to eat, so they just go into the fruit bowl.

IMG_3169
Fruits and veggies all ready for a week of healthy lunches!
IMG_3170
Cantaloupe chopped up and ready for my belly!! The bottom container has 3 spiralized Italian zucchini squash, ready to be made into “pasta” salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By spending a little time each week getting veggies and fruit ready to eat, you’ll cut down on food waste, because the food is all ready to eat. No scrambling to cut up cucumbers for lunch early in the morning, no putting off eating something because you are short on time in the evening.

You will also be saving money over purchasing pre-chopped and pre-packed vegetables and fruit. All of this produce was purchased at 99 Cents only for less than $12.00. So you can eat well (and healthy) on a budget!!

And if it turns out atthe end of the week that you aren’t able to eat all of your veggies and fruit and they can be frozen (pretty much anything except melons), toss the bags in the freezer and you now have veggies for a casserole, or fruit for a smoothie!

The average American family of four throws away $25.00 in food a WEEK!  Here are a few more tips to help your family curtail food waste!

Eat your leftovers:  this seems like a no brainer. When you divvy out your portions for dinner, make yourself your lunch for the next day.  If you won’t eat it right away, pop it into the freezer- label it, so you don’t forget what it is.

When it looks like your fruit is about to go south, freeze it
. This includes bananas!  You can use defrosted bananas in banana bread or frozen bananas are great in smoothies.  Other frozen fruit can also be used in smoothies.
Citrus fruits can be juiced and frozen or the juice can be consumed for breakfast or put in smoothies.   Apples can be peeled cooked into applesauce or made into apple butter.

When I buy fresh tomatoes and they get just a little too ripe- I freeze them whole, then I bake them with chicken breasts and herbs and top with fresh parm- Yummy!

Buy less. I know it seems like a strange concept, especially with all of the really great deals you will be finding, but, the one proven way to waste less is to bring less home to waste.

Ten Great Buys at 99 Cents Only!

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.22.28 AM
For those of us living in CA, NV, AZ, TX we have the opportunity to save money by shopping the great deals at 99 Cents Only. 99 Cents Only is different from other discount/dollar stores in that the majority of locations feature a refridgator and freezer case with a variety of name brand foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to fesh and frozen foods, most locations have a great diverse stock of shelf stable foods too.
And 99 Cents only has more than food, they carry the same types of items that you have grown accustomed to seeing at discount/dollar stores, such as health and beauty aids, school supplies, and kitchen tools.
While 99 Cents Only does not accept manufacturer coupons, they frequently send out coupons that are good for a free item when you purchase X number of items (most recently they have been buy 5 items, receive one free). And there are a few apps that are not retailer specific (such as checkout51, snap by groupon, Mobisave, berrycart, shrink,and shopnimium) that you can submit your receipts to to earn a little extra cash back!
Not everything is .9999/each, many of the items are .7999/each, .6999.each, 2/.9999, or 4./9999. .9999? What? That’s right, after many years in business, last year 99 cents only had to increase prices just a fraction to keep up with inflation. So at .9999/each (or really, rounded up to $1.00), many things are still a screaming deal.
Here are just a few of the great deals that you shouldn’t pass up:
Carrots. A 20 ounce bag (that’s 1.25 lbs) of baby carrots is .9999. At most regular grocers The same bag is upwards of $2.50.
Bagged greens. Most locations carry multiple brands including Dole, Ready Pac, and Earthbound Organics (just to name a few), which can sell at most mainstream grocers for upwards of $4.00/bag!
Disposable person care items, such as cotton swabs.  1000 cotton swabs for $1.00! That’s a lot of clean ears! A box of 500 or so can run upwards of $5.00 at most mass merchandisers.
Men’s dress socks. I’m serious. At $1.00/pair, you’re saving approximately 75-80% over department store prices. Most of hubs socks come from 99 cents only, and he’s been wearing them for about 2 years.
Cake mix. I’m talking name brand here. Unless there is a sale and you have a coupon at the local grocery store, you’ll be spending a few bucks for a cake mix. Drop by your local 99 cents only and take a gander, you’ll be surprised by the variety and brands of cake mixes available. Last time I stopped in to my local store, they had Pillsbury cake mixes!
Bananas. Most grocery stores in San Diego charge .65/-.80/lb for bananas! Most 99 cents locations have bananas for just .49/lb. some select locations have 3 lbs/$1.00!
School/art supplies. Perfect for the parent of an artistically minded kiddo or a homeschooler, most locations have a great selection of construction paper, paint, craft kits, and bulletin board supplies. We get most of our craft supplies at 99 cents only!
Party Supplies, from disposable plates and utensils to goody bag filler, most locations have a decent variety. Not just plain colors, but fun themed goodies as well. Our local store has princess, pirate, minion, TMNT, frozen, sweet 16 themed party supplies.
Bread. This photo isn’t the best representation of what they have most of the time,cut most stores have a variety of fresh breads from companies like Sarah Lee, Orowheat/Arnold’s, and bread in the freezer case too from brands like Ecce Pannis and Texas Toast. Don’t forget to look for bagels and buns too!
Ethnic spices. Making a batch of menudo? Trying your hand at curry? Need Jugo? Don’t forget to check your local 99 cents only for ethnic spices before you start cooking! I get a large bag of bay leaves twice a year and split it with a friend. Perfect for soups and stews!
There is a lot of stuff that may be a good deal, depending on what your rock bottom price for specific items is. To determine if something is a good deal for my family, I keep a price book with the prices of the top 20 items I buy most often at the 5 stores I shop at most in my area. You can learn more about price books here.
IMG_3024
Yummy fresh strawberries- right off the truck!

Recently I spied .79/can Starkist Tuna can, 10 lbs of potatoes for .99, 1 lb packages of fresh Dole Strawberries for just .99, and name brand ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce for just .69/each.

If you are hesitant to buy produce at a discount store because you are concerned about freshness, call your local store and ask them what day their produce truck comes.  Most of our local stores receive their produce truck on Thursday mornings, so I am ready to shop for fresh fruits and veggies as soon as I drop the Kiddo off at school.
For my family, 99 Cents Only is the starting point for my shopping each week.  I start by filling my cart with tons of fresh fruit and veggies, checking the freezer case for any deals, and picking up any needed canned goods that are not on sale elsewhere. By starting my shopping at 99 Cents Only, I am able to keep our food budget at $50/week! When there are really good deals (like the case of Larabars for only 99 Cents!) I tend to spend a few extra bucks and stock up, since quantities are limited and 99 Cents Only doesn’t offer rain checks.
What’s your favorite thing to purchase at 99 Cents Only?

Dole Fruit and Oatmeal Money Maker Deal!

 

IMG_2969Right now, most 99 Cents Only locations  have Dole Fruit & Oatmeal for 99 Cents a 2 pack.

A Facebook fan told me these retail for $2.00 a pack at the mainstream grocery store- that’s nuts!

Here is a way you can score these little beauties for free- and make .50 on each package!

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.59.34 AMThere is a Snap By Groupon rebate for $1.50 back! Which means you pay $.99, submit for the $1.50 Snap Rebate and it’s a .50 Money maker (and there is no limit as to how many you can purchase and receive the rebate on).

Not a SNAP by Groupon member, You can sign up here! SNAP by Groupon is an app for your enabled device that gives you cash back when you buy specific items (at any store!)- items change about once a month, and there is always in interesting mix of items, including fresh fruits and veggies! You can cash out once you reach $20 in savings!

I tried one of these oatmeal cups this morning, and it was pretty good (but a little sweet). They’d be great to stash in your desk at work, or to donate to a food bank or shelter. Deals like this are just one way that you can help others and maintain your food budget!