Mexican Side: Corn Casserole

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 by Jen · 3 comments
Filed under:

When we go out to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, they serve a tiny scoop of Corn Tomalito. If our children are with us, they devour the entire thing!

So my Mom actually pointed out this great recipe for Corn Casserole (the name's not as exciting) in my handy dandy St. Mary's Church cookbook.

When I served it with tacos this week, my picky eater 4 year old said, "I really like this" over and over--so you know it must be good. My husband thinks it's similar to a scalloped corn recipe that his mom used to make using corn and cracker crumbs. It's fairly inexpensive using a box corn muffin mix and canned corn. We think it's a pretty good match to the restaurant version, and it makes a nice side for taco night.

Mexican Corn Casserole
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 T onion powder
1 can corn, undrained
3 eggs
1 can creamed corn
1 pkg corn muffin mix

Melt butter in large bowl; add 1 tablespoon onion powder. Add remaining ingredients; mix. Put into a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Read Entire Post

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

by Jen · 2 comments
Filed under:

These Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins have become a family favorite at our house. Friends and family are always asking for the recipe, so I decided to post it here!

I like it because they use an entire can of pumpkin, so I like to think these are a bit healthier for my family--provide a sweet treat with some fiber. It's also a Weight Watchers recipe, so I like to think they are a bit lighter than some. It's a great way to use those cake mixes you find on sale, and there are lots of variations for the recipe. Hope your family likes it as much as we do.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
1 German chocolate cake mix
2 egg whites (or 1 egg)
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix cake mix, egg whites, pumpkin, and water using a mixer. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, divide into 18-24 muffin tins. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I love to store these in the freezer and pop in the microwave to defrost and melt the chocolate chips before eating!

Variations: You can use any kind of chocolate cake mix for these, but I do like the balance of the lighter German chocolate with the darker chocolate chips. You can also use any variety of chips you like--mini, peanut butter, white chocolate, etc.

Read Entire Post

Having a Baby Freebies

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 by Jen · 3 comments
Filed under:

Last fall 2008, I had just started seriously reading lots of "saving money" blogs. So in November, when we found out we were expecting our third baby (August 2009), I started searching for frugal baby blogs. I did a Google Search for something like "frugal baby blogs" or "saving money baby blogs" and started checking out the resources that were out there.

I also used my "coupon" email and started signing up for every baby mailing list, diaper list, and so on, so I could start receiving lots of baby coupons and deals. I can't even tell you all of the things I signed up for--just tried to find some resources to get me started.

This winter, I received coupons from both Target and BabiesRUs for FREE giftcards if I completed a baby gift registry at each store--how cool is that! Since this is my third child, I'm not really planning on having any major showers, but I thought my family--especially those living far away--might find them useful.

So I spent a few hours at BabiesRUs, browsing the baby aisles and completing a gift registry. In doing so, I earned a $10 gift card, free onsies, a free baby bottle, and lots of coupons (pictured above on the right). I did the same at Target, and received a $20 gift card, free diapers, and lots of manufacturer and Target coupons for diapers and baby supplies (pictured on the left)! How cool is that--free things for browsing the baby aisles--something I love to do anyway! I also got a few ideas for the "baby necessities" that I plan to buy soon--most likely using those gift cards!

So if you are expecting a baby, begin doing your research and finding those resources that are out there. Oh, and now that I've been reading the baby blogs, my two current favorites that I still follow regularly are BabyGoodBuys and Baby Cheapskate--my two recommendations for you. Both of these baby blogs have great resources to get you started!

Read Entire Post

A Full Cup Minnesota Get Together!

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

Grocery Coupons at A Full Cup
This past weekend, I attended the third annual AFC Minnesota Get Together for the first time. If you are not familiar with AFC, it is an online coupon community that provides resources and discussion for deal seekers and coupon users like myself. It also has a strong MN presence--especially in the forums for Cub Foods and Rainbow Foods, the two grocery stores I frequent.
Since I was a newbie, I kind of sat back and took it all in. I did talk to some very nice people and met some shoppers in my community. It was also very fun to see others like myself who are trying to use coupons and resources to save money at the store.

I believe that everyone has to develop a coupon and shopping system that works for them. Sometimes I shop the deals, have lots of fun doing it, and save lots of money; and other times, I can barely get to one grocery store in a week and plan a menu of food for my family.

I did leave this get together inspired to get my coupon "act" together and to keep trying to use those coupons to save money. These are the things that I took away from this fun event:

--Use AFC Forums --These forums are a great place to share ideas for both experienced and inexperienced shoppers. I'm going to try to participate more on these forums--sharing and learning about ways to shop and save!

--Coupon Kick It Up! I've only been buying one paper, and I can easily do more with not much extra effort. After this get together, I subscribed to another Sunday paper, and I'm going to ask (bribe with sweets) my carrier for extra coupon inserts if available. Might also reach out to my neighbors for their extra coupons as well.

-Staple Multiple Inserts! I learned about a simple yet easy way to organize multiple inserts: store and/or staple like pages together and throw out the insert pages that lack coupons. What a great idea! And pretty easy to do!

--Play the Drugstore Game! I shop at Walgreens occasionally, when I see a deal that really spikes my interest, but I have yet to shop at CVS. I'm going to try to plan better--with both budget and time--to hit the deals at these stores on a regular basis, because you can get lots of products for very little $$. Just have to do it!

So if you haven't checked out AFC yet, now is a great time to do so! It's a great resource for shoppers in MN and all over the country. Thanks for reading!

Read Entire Post

Gearing Up for Garage Sales!

by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under:

It's getting to be garage sale season in our neck of the woods! I love garage sales--especially for children's clothing, baby supplies, and even household items. But I feel like I need to be prepared to make the best of them. Here are my tips to gear up for garage sale season:

1. Set a Budget -- I could spend lots and lots at garage sales, but I have to set up some boundaries to control myself. I build garage sale purchases into my general budget. Every two weeks throughout the year, I set aside money for garage sale purchases. This is all I give myself to garage sale, and when it's gone, it's gone!

2. Create a Wanted List -- I read this tip in the Tightwad Gazette (reserve at your library), and I am going to put it into practice this year. Before heading out to the sales, have a list of the items you really want or need. Having a spreadsheet that takes an inventory of your child's clothing can help you remember what to buy at a sale. Here is a spreadsheet that I have just started in order to plan some purchases for clothing for baby and for my son. It's in the draft state, but it might give you some ideas.

3. Children Clothing Plan -- Decide how you will buy based on your child's age, the seasons, and your storage space. My storage space is limited, so I only buy clothing 1 year in advance. For example, my son is 4 going on 5, so I am going to look mainly for size 4/5 in both winter and summer clothing. I might also look for size 6 in spring/summer clothing to be prepared for next spring/summer.

4. Define Your Spending Expectations -- Even though I'm buying at sales, I still like to get a deal, and I don't like to spend a lot--especially on children's clothing. I also like to buy quality items and clothing that is not worn out. So decide on your spending limits and what you are willing to spend on a used item--BEFORE you go. Since I can often find new children's clothing on clearance for under $5, I set my garage sale expectations pretty low.

5. Plan Your Route Before Leaving -- There are lots of places to find out about sales in your community, but my current favorite is Craigslist. I live in the NW corner of my city, and am very near three or four other towns. So I just do a search in the garage sale section of Craigslist for the name of the town, and that will help me decide on a direction to go. It will also help me identify the large neighborhood and community sales, and helps limit the driving I do. This is especially important when trying to conserve gas.

So those are my Gearing Up for Garage Sales tips! I'm sure you have a great garage sale tip that I can learn from, so please leave a comment and share it with everyone! Thanks!

Read Entire Post

Cub This Week--4/26 thru 5/2

Monday, April 27, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

There is a lot going on at Cub this week. I've included the coupon match ups on the deals I like below. Using coupons, you can get inexpensive Freshexpress salad and Dannon yogurt. There are also a lot of Cub products for $.47. I've also included coupons for the Kellogg's deal where you buy 10 products and get two free movie tickets.

Hope this match up might help your shopping trip this week! If I plan out more specifics on how I'm going to do these deals, I will post more later. Thanks for reading!

Glaceau VitaminWater10 20 oz bottle
Sale Price: $1 , Coupons: $1/1 in SS 4/26 , OOP: $FREE

Air Wick I Motion Starter Kit
Sale Price: $5.99 , Coupons: $4/1 in 4/26SS , OOP: $1.99 (save 72%)

Fresh Express Garden Salad, Shredded Lettuce or Cole Slaw
Sale Price: $1.25 , Coupons: $1/1 found in in-storeCub Coupon Book , OOP: $.25

Dannon Danimals Yogurt 4-6 packs
Sale Price: $2.00, Coupons: $1/1 in SS 3/1/09 , OOP: $1 (67% savings)

Dannon Light & Fit Nonfat Yogurt 6 pack
Sale Price: $ , Coupons: $1/1 in 3/1 SS , OOP: $1 (67% savings)

Dannon La Creme 4 pack Yogurt
Sale Price: $2 , Coupons: $1/1 in 3/15 SS , OOP: $1 (67% savings)
Kelloggs Cereals
Sale Price: $2.50 , Coupons: $1/1 in 4/5 SS2 , OOP: $1.25 (58% savings)

Malt-O-Meal Cereal
Sale Price: $2.50/1
Use Cub Coupon in ad: Buy 2, get 1 free
-Use 3 $.75 printables here and here (I could only get these to print 2x--hope you have better luck); there might be some expired printables from a few months ago to use as well

Pace Salsa or Picante Sauce

Price Shocker Price: $1.99 , Coupons: $1/1 or $.75/2 in 4/26 SS; Expired: $.75/1 in 1/25 SS,
OOP: $.99 or $1.24

Johnsonville Fresh Breakfast Sausage
Sale Price: $2.99, Coupon: $1/2 in 03-29-09 SS or $1/1 04-05-09 SS. $1/1 01-11-09 SS
(When I bought eggs at Rainbow a few weeks ago, they had a peelie for $1 off eggs when you purchase 2 sausages, so I'm going to use these also)

Buy 10 of these participating products, get 2 FREE movie ticket vouchers at checkout (includes expired coupons)

--Kellogg's Cereals
Sale Price: $2.50
Coupons: $1.50/2 Printable; $1.50/1 04-05-09 RP; $1/1 04-05-09 RP
Expired: $1/1 02-22-09 RP, $.70/1 02-22-09 RP, $1.50/2 01-18-09 RP, $1.50/2 01-18-09 RP

-Kellogg's Pop-Tarts
Sale Price: $2.50 Coupons: $1/2 04-05-09 RP, $1/2 02-22-09 RP, $1/2 01-18-09 RP

-Sunshine Cheez-It Crackers, No Coupons Found

-Kellogg's Eggo Waffles, Sale Price: $3 ,

-Kellogg's Fruit Snacks
Sale Price: $1.89 , Coupons: $1/2 02-01-09 RP

-Kellogg's Eggo Syrup, Sale Price: $2.50

-Keebler E.L.Fudge or Fudge Shoppe Cookies, Sale Price: $2.50 , Coupons: $.55/2 04-05-09 RP ,

--Keebler Town House Crackers
Sale Price: $2.75 , Coupons: $1/2 12-14-08 RP , OOP: $

--Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats, Sale Price: $2.25

--Kellogg's or Keebler On the Go Caddies, Sale Price: $5.48

--Keebler or Sunshine Gripz, Sale Price: $2.75

Cub Brand Items on Sale for $.47:
-Shoppers Value Paper Towels or Bath Tissue
-Cub Frozen Vegetables
-Cub Past
-Shoppers Value Pizza
-VanCamp's Pork & Beans
-Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
-Cub Mushrooms
-Tomato Sauce
-Cub Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup
-Cub Cucumbers
-Carrots 1 lb

--3 lbs Ground Beef (73% Lean) for $4.77 (Cook in casseroles, rinse after cooking to wash off more fat)
--Fresh Chicken Breast, $1.89 lb

-Mangoes $1
-Avocado $1
-Canteloupe $2
-Blueberries or Blueberries $2

Cub Cheese 16 0z, $3.00

Old El Paso
Buy 3 Old el Paso products listed, get $1 off Ground beef, buy any 6, get $3 off your ground beef purchace (you could buy your Old El Paso products first and then go back and buy your meat)
Old El Paso Enchilada sauce 2/$4
Old El Paso dinner kits 2/$5
Old El Paso refried beans 2/$3
Old El Paso Taco Shells 4/$5

Read Entire Post

MN Grocers Assocation--Free Bag and Contest!

Sunday, April 26, 2009 by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under:

Minnesota readers, did you register to receive a free reusable bag from the MN Grocers Association? Pictured is the bag I received in the mail only a week after I registered. It's pretty large, and it folds up and buttons into a small bundle--very nice.

I also received a challenge postcard where I document the dates I use a reusable bag. When I send back my postcard by June 1, 2009, I will be entered to win one of 10 $100 gift cards at my local grocery store.

I have a good feeling about this contest--would love to win $100 at my favorite grocery store! If you haven't registered for your bag, I'd do so today! Thanks for reading!

Read Entire Post

Winners of RecycleBank Giveaway

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under: ,

Thanks for everyone who registered to win my RecycleBank giveaway! And thanks to everyone who left a comment about recycling this week. The winners of my giveaway, as chosen with's Integer Generator, are. . .

#10 Sandra M (winner of t-shirt and canvas bag)

#22 Marie R (winner of two t-shirts)

If you are a winner, I will be emailing you for your contact information so I can send your items!

Thanks again for reading! I do appreciate it!

Read Entire Post

Lovin' My Library -- Museum Adventure Pass

Friday, April 24, 2009 by Jen · 3 comments
Filed under:

Your local public library is a great source for family entertainment! We are fortunate in the Twin Cities, because our library systems offer the Museum Adventure Pass--a great program where you can obtain 2-4 FREE admissions to local museums and attractions. Many other library systems including many in Michigan, Chicago, New York, and hopefully others I am not familiar with also offer the program--it is growing! This Museum Adventure Pass article from the Hennepin County Library system explains how it works for it's users. Here are my tips for taking advantage of the program:

Winter Trip to the Zoo: adults free, only paid for children!

What Are Your Choices
Over the past two years, my family has used this pass to go to the MN Zoo, the MN Landscape Arboretum, and, most recently, the Works Museum. There are tons of other great choices--check out the link above or your library for more information!

How It Works
The passes for each Museum/Attraction are located at the front of the library. You select the pass you want and take it to the circulation desk to check out on your library card. They give you a paper receipt, good for one week, which is your pass into the attraction. The pass is good for either 2 or 4 participants--FREE!

Recent Fun at the Works Museum
Use the Catalog to Check Availability
Each library in the system has passes available at its branch. The day before going to the library to find the pass you want, do a search in the library catalog at home to see what's available (just search "museum pass"). If the pass you want is due today at your location, that branch should have available passes the next morning! We frequent two specific library branches, so this helps us decide which library to visit.

Go Early
The Museum Adventure Passes are EXTREMELY popular. If you planning a specific outing using the passes, be at the library when it opens, and your chances are better for actually finding an available pass.

Use More than One Library Card
Many of the passes allow admission for only two people, and you are only allowed to check out one Museum Pass on one library card. But if you have your child or husband's library card along, you can check out an additional pass on their card as well. Many of the librarians I have talked to about the program have mentioned this as an option for check out--otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it! It's such a great program for our community, so we need to make sure not to abuse it!

This program has offered some great educational entertainment for me and my family! I hope you can take advantage of the program as well. If you have used this program in the past, please leave a comment and share your recommendations for museums/attractions to visit! Thanks for reading!

Read Entire Post

Reusing Plastic Bags

by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under:

A month or so ago, I read an article that inspired me to start re-using my plastic bags. I am taking my used quart and gallon sized freezer bags, turning them inside out, and washing them on the top rack of my dishwasher. I then let them drip dry on a large towel in my kitchen. I don't wash the bags that have had meat in them, but all of my other bags are in that dishwasher.

So far it's going OK--I'm still trying to learn a system that works for me. The large bags get kind of mushed after a dishwasher cycle, but they drip-dry great, and I have definitely been buying less bags! At first I was a bit worried about washing the plastic in the dishwasher--was it safe? I don't have the article I found a few months ago, but I did find some information that Ziploc bags were the OK kind of plastic, so I'm not overly concerned about exposing them to heat in the dishwasher.

If anyone has some tips on how to wash, dry, and reuse plastic bags, I'm all ears! If you haven't entered my RecycleBank Giveaway, for a chance to win some t-shirts and a canvas bag, the contest ends this Friday evening, so enter now!

Read Entire Post

Inexpensive Children's Place on Amazon!

by Jen · 1 comments

Learned something new this morning about Children's Place on Check out Baby Good Buy's post on using Amazon to buy from the Children's Place. She provides links to lots of items as low as $1.99, and shipping is only $5--no matter how much you buy! Sounds like a great chance to stock up on clearance winter clothing! Thanks BabyGoodBuys!

Read Entire Post

Reusing Household Papers!

Thursday, April 23, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

So I knew I was doing a good job recycling all of the paper that comes into my house, but once I read this blog post, I was inspired to do more with such a simple idea.

Before recycling all of the paper, I am first reusing it! I have created this folder that sits by my computer, where I house it all--scratch paper, school papers, envelopes--anything that has a blank size. I am even re-using the full size sheets in my computer printer to print coupons or just about anything. How cool is that! And then when I'm done using it, I recycle it! Reusing paper,saving paper, and recycling--doesn't get any better!

Don't forget to enter my RecycleBank giveaway for a chance to win some t-shirts and a canvas bag--ends Friday, April 24th, so enter today!

Read Entire Post

Beyond Paper Towels!

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

Pictured here is our last roll of paper towels! We've decided to take the plunge and go paper-towel-less in our kitchen. We love our paper towels, so this is not going to be easy! I keep wondering what I'm going to do when I need to kill that spider or bug??

Instead of paper towels, I'm storing this plastic bin of rags under my sink, and when I need a paper towel, I will grab a rag instead. I also have an empty pail under my sink to house the dirty towels before washing.

Buying paper towels doesn't really cost that much--especially since I always bought store brand, but every little bit helps. And by using rags, we are using less paper--and I think that's a good thing. My husband still thinks he needs paper towels for his garage, but I'm going to make him but them out of his Car Budget--what a meanie I am!

If you haven't entered my RecycleBank Giveaway for a chance to win a t-shirt or canvas bag, you should do so now--the contest ends Friday, 4/24 at 9 p.m. Thanks for reading!

Read Entire Post

Recycle CFL's at Home Depot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under:

Hopefully most people know that you should not recycle CFL lighbulbs in your household recycling. But you have a recycling option--just bring your CFL into Home Depot. Here are the details:

"At each The Home Depot store, customers can simply bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulbs, place them in a plastic bag and deposit them both into a collection unit. The bulbs will then be managed responsibly by an environmental management company who will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance. Customers will be able to locate the CFL receptacle on the front end of the store near the entrance, by the Returns desk or near the exit doors inside the store."

Read Entire Post

What Impact Does Your Recycling Have?

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

When you are recycling that aluminum can, plastic milk jug, or the many papers your child brings home from school, it's easy to forget why you are really doing it! According to a letter I received from RecycleBank, your efforts can really have an impact:

"By recycling one aluminum can, you can save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours, or run your television for three hours. In addition, by recycling your water/soda bottles and other plastics, you help us to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. And if those same plastics made it to a landfill, they would last up to 400 years before breaking down.:

Now doesn't it feel good to know you are doing your part! Keep up that recycling or make a commitment today! Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win some RecycleBank t-shirts and a canvas bag!

Read Entire Post

A Recycling System That Works for You!

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

When RecycleBank told us that we were one of the top 25 recyclers in our community, we were pretty surprised! We are a typical 4 person family, putting our garbage out like most families.

So what are we doing to be such "successful" recyclers? What's working for us?

1. Make a Commitment! We have always used available recycling services, but our efforts were always a bit half-hearted. So when we really decided to do a better job about a year ago, we found that it really wasn't that hard, and that our efforts slowly improved. Now, it's just second nature to do it. You would be amazed at how much you can actually recycle just by doing it!

2. Develop a system that works for your family. We have split level home, so, at first, we put a copy box for recyclables on each level--one near the kitchen and one in the computer room. When the box was full, we would take it out to the recycle cart in the garage. Since the box was in a location we walked by all the time, we were reminded constantly to use it--and we actually did! When we remodeled our kitchen last summer, we added a double garbage (pictured above), using one side for our recyclables.

3. Recycle Everything! As we made a conscious effort to recycle, we remembered to do it more and more--and we reminded each other--"Hey you can recycle that!" I used to throw away messy cans or jars, but it's really not that hard to rinse them out a few times and throw them in the box. We recycle every scrap of paper, every cereal box--everything that our recycle company allows us to recycle.

4. Ask Your Garbage Company to Accommodate Your Needs. When our garbage company went to a single sort, every other week system, we knew we would fill one cart every week, so we talked to them about it, and they provided us with a second recycle cart at no charge! We do have to store it, but it's worth it--we use it!

And that's it--that's all we do! I was sure there was something else, but that's it! And our family reaps the benefits:

The Benefits for Us:
--The one small garbage cart we take out to the curb each week is rarely full. Instead, every two weeks we put out two, full recycle carts!
--We empty our recycle bins when they are full--daily, but the smaller kitchen garbage only needs taking out every 3-4 days--how cool is that!
--Our commitment to recycling has encouraged us to reuse the things we can--paper, plastic bags, grocery bags, plastic containers, glass containers etc.
--We are teaching our children that it is important to recycle--that each person, each family can do their part and have an impact--that it's making a difference!
--We are also earning monetary rewards through our garbage company's program. See my article on RecycleBank for more information. It's great to get rewarded for something you are already doing!
--It actually feels great to know we are doing our small part to take care of the Earth and impact the environment in a positive way!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway contest where you can enter to win some RecycleBank t-shirts or a canvas bag--and leave a comment sharing your great recycling tips!

Read Entire Post

Recycle Bank--Earn Rewards for Recycling--and a Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Jen · 5 comments
Filed under: ,

In honor of Earth Day this week I am talking recycling at our house all week long! I also have a great giveaway for you from Recycle Bank--let me tell you about the program, and then I'll tell you about the giveaway!

We do lots of recycling at our house. Through our garbage company, Allied Waste Twin Cities, we also take part in Recycle Bank, a great program where we get rewarded for recycling. How awesome is that--to get rewarded for something we do anyway!

A few weeks ago, I was very happy to learn that I had enough RecycleBank points to earn a $10 gift card--we could select from a large assortment of retailers, and we choose Macaroni Grill--an out-to-eat treat for us!

The same week, I got an email from RecycleBank letting us know we are one of the top 25 RecycleBank Households in our community. As a reward they sent us a great gift bag including a reusable organic canvas bag, a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle, a bundle of environmental buttons, and some RecycleBank T-shirts. How great is that! My husband is pretty excited about the water bottle!

(Select Read Entire Post to learn more about RecycleBank and to enter my giveaway!)

How Recycle Bank Works:
1. Recycle: Every two weeks, we put out all of our recyclables in one cart for curbside pick up--no sorting to do on our part--just put it out there!
2. Record: Each cart has an ID tag on it that is recorded when the recycling truck empties our cart.
3. Reward: The amount we recycle is converted into Recycle Bank points, which we use to redeem rewards. The rewards you can earn include coupons to TONS or retailers such as Target, Kmart, and Sears. You can also earn manufacturer coupons, clothing coupons, and tons more. I'm actually surprised by the number of companies partnered with Recycle Bank. Check out Recycle Bank's sample list of retail partners and rewards. You can even enter your zip code to find out about partners in your area!

Can You Take Part in Recycle Bank?
The best way is to contact your local municipality to see if they participate in the RecycleBank program. You can also request service at Recycle Bank, and they will let you know when/if service is coming to your neighborhood!

My Giveaway!
When I told RecycleBank about Cents in the Cities, they agreed to send me some extra T-shirts and an extra canvas bag that I can give away to my readers--in my first giveaway ever! So one lucky reader will win a canvas bag and a RecycleBank T-shirt (XL in brown). A second reader will win two T-shirts (brown L and XL).

To enter this giveaway, fill out the form below before 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2009. Your name and email address will be kept private, and I will only use them to contact the winners! I will use an online tool to randomly choose two winners, and I will announce them the next day!

Because I know you have great recycling ideas, after you have filled out the form, just for fun, please leave a comment sharing one of your recycling tips--click on Comments by the title of this post! Every day this week, I'll post another recycling tip from my household as well!

Read Entire Post

Earth Day 2009! Ideas and a Giveaway!

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

In honor of Earth Day 2009 (which is Wednesday 4/22), all week at Cents in the Cities, I will be talking recycling and recycling tips! I believe everyone can do their part to care for our environment, and that we have to start somewhere. Here's some information:

--Watch for my upcoming RecyleBank post, where I am launching my first giveaway ever--I'm so excited, so please enter!

--Every day this week, I will post a recycling idea that we are implementing in our household. I'm hoping to hear your tips as well, so we can learn from each other.

--Mommy Snacks has put together a list of free goodies for Earth Day--check them out HERE!

Thanks for reading and doing your part! It's a great week to honor our Earth!

Read Entire Post

Kashi Printable Coupons! Use this week at Cub!

Monday, April 20, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under: ,

There are lots of Kashi printable coupons available now and there is a Kashi deal at Cub foods this week--great place to use these coupons!! Go to and Kashi to print your coupons. Use your printer "back" button at each link to print the coupons two times! These are the coupons you can print:
$1.50 off of 2 Kashi TLC Bars
$1.00 off of Kashi Sunshine Cereal
$1.50 off of 2 Kashi Cereals
There is also a $2/1 Kashi printable, but I'm not sure if this is working.

Now take your coupons to Cub and do their Kashi deal this week! If you buy $15 worth of participating Kashi products, there is a Cub coupon in the ad to take $3. off your order. This is the deal I have worked out for myself.

Buy in Order 1:
2 Kashi Granola Bars $6.
2 Kashi Granola Bars $6.
1 Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal $3.49
Total: $15.49
Apply coupons:
-$1.50/2 Kashi TLC Snack Bars
-$1.50/2 Kashi TLC Snack Bars
-$1/1 Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal
-$3 Cub Coupon (from ad)
Total OOP: $8.49 (works out to about $1.70 per item)

Another Possible Order:
1 Kashi Cereal $3.49
1 Kashi Cereal $3.49
1 Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal $3.49
2 Kashi Granola Bars $6.
Total: $16.47
Apply Coupons
-$1.50 off 2 cereals
-$1.00 off Honey Sunshine Cereal
-$1.50/2 Kashi TLC Snack Bars
-$3 Cub Coupon (from ad)
Total OOP: $9.47 (works out to about $1.89 per item)

Read Entire Post

Free Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream--Tuesday

by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

Ben & Jerry's is offering a free ice cream cone on Tuesday, April 21st! I know there are a few Ben & Jerry's at Twin Cities locations. If you are heading to the mall, might be a great chance for a free ice cream! If you are heading out just for the IC, it might be smart to check with your local Ben & Jerry's before going. (Thanks Bargain Briana!)

Read Entire Post

Cub Foods Deals: 4/19 thru 4/25

Sunday, April 19, 2009 by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under:

Here are the best deals I have found at Cub this week with coupon match ups. Hope this coupon match up might help your shopping this week--enjoy!

My Notes:
--There are some great Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) deals on meat and a Conagra deal where you buy $25 and get a $10 coupon off next order!
--I have listed coupons from the Sunday inserts, Internet printables, and expired coupons. Don't forget, most Cub's take expired coupons up to 3 months after expiration date.
--There are also a number of applicable coupons from the All You Magazine--a magazine that offers a lot of manufacturer coupons.
--My formatting isn't consistent, but I need to go to bed--enough already!

Select "Read Entire Post" for all the coupon matches!

Free or Under $1:

Purina Friskies Party Mix Cat Treats 2.1 oz. pkg.
Sale Price: $1
Coupon: $1/1 in SS 3/1
Final Price: Free (100% savings)

Kens Salad Dressings 16oz
Sale Price: $2.25
Coupon: $2./1 in SS 3/8
Final Price: $.25 (84% savings)

Kotex Lightdays 18-22 ct. pkg.
Sale Price: $$1/1
Coupon: $.75/1 in SS 4/5
Final Price: $.25 (84% savings)

Buy One Get One Free using Cub Coupons (
Remember, when you use a BOGO Cub Coupon, you can use TWO manufacturer coupons if available!)

--Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Stuffed Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
--Johnsonville Fresh Ground Italian Sausage 16 oz. pkg., Coupon: $.55/1 in SS 4/5/09
--Hormel Always Tender Fresh Boneless Sirloin Pork Chops or Stuffed Boneless Sirloin Pork Chops, Coupon: $1/1 in 02-08-09 SS
--Hormel Always Tender Boneless Flavored Pork Loin Filets 1.7 lb. pkg, Coupon: $1/1 in 02-08-09 SS
--Oscar Mayer Meat Bologna or Cotto Salami 12 oz. pkg
--Carl Buddig Premium Deli Cuts 12 oz. pkg

Buy $25 of Participating ConAgra Products, get $10 Off Next Order

(I found some coupons to apply to this deal, but there aren't tons available. It might be a good deal if you plan it right--if you have enough coupons to apply to your purchase to bring your $25 down.)

(Note: On the Cub AFC Forum, one shopper found a coupon book at the customer service desk that had manufacturer coupons for many of these items. You might want to see if it's available at your store.)

Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta or Microwave Meals
Sale Price: $1.25
Coupon: $1/5 or $0.35/3 01-04-09 SS, $1/4 in All You Magazine 5/22/09

Hunts Pasta Sauce
Sale Price: $1.25
No Coupon Found

Peter Pan Peanut Butter, 18 oz
Sale Price: $2.19
Coupon: $1/1 All You, May 22, 2009,

Hebrew National Beef Franks, 11 oz
Sale Price: $3.50
Coupon: $1/1 in All You, February 2009
Printable: $1/1 Here and Here

Hunt's Tomatoes, 28 oz
Sale Price: $1.67
No Coupon Found

Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding or Gels, 4 pack
Sale Price: $1.25
No Coupon Found

Egg Beaters, 15-16 oz
Sale Price: $2.22
Coupon: $1/1 All You, April 2009,
Printable: $1/1 Here and Here

Hunt's Ketchup, 24 oz
Sale Price: $1.25
No Coupon Found

Hunt's Manwich
Sale Price: $1.25
No Coupon Found

Ro-Tel, 10 oz
Sale Price: $1.
Coupon: $.30/1 01-18-09 SS, B2G1 All You, February 2009 - valid up to $0.83,

Van Camp's Pork and Beans, 15 oz
Sale Price: $.50
No Coupon Found

Orville Redenbacher's Microwave Popcorn, 3 or 4 ct
Sale Price: $1.66
Coupon: $.40/1 04-19-09 SS, $1/1 All You, May 22, 2009, $1/2 or $.40/1 01-18-09 SS, $1/1 All You, December 26, 2008, $1/1 November 21, 2008,

Pam Cooking Spray
Sale Price: $2.89
Coupon: $.35/1 03-29-09 SS

Banquet Meals
Sale Price: $1.
No insert or printable found

Marie Callender's Entrees
Sale Price: $2.50
Coupon: $0.75/1 03-29-09 SS, $1.00/2 All You, May 22, 2009

Kid Cuisine Frozen Dinners
Sale Price: $2.25
No insert or printable found

Healthy Choice Complete Selections, Cafe Steamers, or Paninis
Sale Price: $2.75
Coupon: $1/2 in 4/5/01 SS
Final Price: $2.25 (buying 2 to use q)

Other Deals I Like:

General Mills Cereals
Sale Price: $2.25
Coupon: printable, printable

Marzetti Dressing 15 oz. jar
Sale Price: $2.88
Coupon: $1.00/1 04-05 RP
Final Price: $1.88

Johnsonville Smoked Sausage Links 13.5-16 oz. pkg.
Sale Price: $2.99
Coupon: $0.55/1 04-05 S1
Final Price: $2.44
(If you bought eggs a few weeks ago at Rainbow, you might have a peelie coupon for $1 on egggs with purchase of two Johnsonville breakfast sausages)

Fresh Asparagus, $1.88 lb
Oranges, $.88 lb
Celery $1.99
Red or Yellow Pepper $1.50

Fresh Express Garden Plus or Spinach Salad, 2/$3
(According to AFC Cub Forum, there is a $1/1 manufacturer q in the Cub booklet out at stores now. This would make one salad $.50)

crystal butter sale 2/$4.44

Kashi Products (Buy $15 get $3 off with Cub Coupon)
Kashi Cereal, Sale Price: $3.49
Kashi Granola Bars, $3.00
Kashi TLC Cookies or Crackers, $2.78
Coupons: $2 printable

Culinary circle cookies
sale $2.50, $1/1 printable

Earth Best baby food
sale $0.99$1/1 printable Here

Cub Twin Pack Milk, $3.28 with Cub Coupon

Read Entire Post

Lovin' My Library--Use Your Library's Reserve System!

Friday, April 17, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
Filed under:

One of the best recommendations that I can make for REALLY using your library is to use their Reserve/Request/Hold system. This is an INVALUABLE tool for so many reasons! Basically, you search for an item you want, put a request in for that item, and wait for your library to contact you saying it's your turn for the item. If you have never placed a hold for an item at your library, go do it TODAY!

The Benefits!
--Request Popular, Current Items. Allows you to check out the really popular items--the best sellers-- that are always checked out and NOT in the library. You might have to wait a while for your turn, but it will come eventually!

--Request Items that Help with Frugal Living! The library has materials on every topic you might need. Just to name a few I've used . . . everything from how to cut hair, how to make your own soap, how to use coupons, how to invest your money, how to make your own cleaning products, etc. etc etc! I've found books on inexpensive cosmetics, gardening, frugal cooking, homemade cooking, and tons more I can't even think of right now.

--Plan Your Library Trips! You can plan to go to the library once you know you have a hold available--guaranteeing an item you want to check out. Makes the most of your time!

--Access to All Library Materials. It provides you access to the library materials at ALL of the libraries in your system, not just the one branch that you usually visit.

--Reserve Popular Cd's/DVDs. You can reserve popular Cd's or DVDs, award winning movies, current movies, old movies, children's Cd's.

--Reserve Items On Order. You can even reserve the very popular items that are in the library system's catalog but are on order, increasing your chances of getting it soon!

Select "Read Entire Post" below if you would like to read more about how to place a request and how I use my library's system to reserve awesome items!

Below I will walk you through how it works at my library system (Hennepin County). I'd suggest exploring your own system or asking your local librarian for specifics on how your reserve system, because it might vary from my explanation!

How to Place a Hold

Here's an example with the steps. A number of people have recommended the book "The Shack" by William P. Young. I do not want to go out and buy this book but I would like to read it some time, so I will reserve it at the library.

1. Go to your library's catalog and do a search for the book/item you want to check out. Notice that my catalog (above) tells me how many copies are available (76) and how many current requests (919) there are right now. See also that there is a button to click called "Request Item."

2. Click on
Request Item, and you will need to enter your library card number and pin number (if you don't have this set up, ask your librarian). Then it asks for my Pick Up Location, and I select my local library.

3. Then I just wait to get a notification that it is my turn, and that the item is available to me. This might take a while. Because I make a lot of requests, I probably receive at least one email each week letting me know I have an requested item waiting to be picked up!

4. Once I am notified that a request is available, I head to the library to pick up my items on the Reserve Shelves at the library.

Note: The amount of time you are given to check out the reserved item may be limited, especially if it is really popular and others want it to. If this is the case, you will not be able to renew the item for longer check out.

What I Use the System For:
--Popular Books! To check out the really popular books that I hear about on the news, blogs, or Oprah. I like Oprah but I would never buy those expensive books--I reserve them at the library. Another example, Harry Potter books or, Stephanie Evanovich books (a new one comes out every summer, and it is one of my guilty pleasures (can't believe I am admitting it here). I just wait my turn.

--Frugal Materials! The library has everything--I already talked about this above. I recently checked out a book on how to make Artisan breads, and I'm waiting for one on how to make my own mixes (like make my own Bisquick).

--Cd's! I like to request the CD with the Grammy winners each year. Or if I watch a TV special about a musician I loved in the past, I will place some holds. Soundtracks are also great Cd's to reserve.

--DVDs! I like to look at the movie lists at Redbox, Blockbuster, or Netflix, and then do a search and request for those items at my library. I also like to search for award winning movies or movies I wanted to see but didn't. I made requests for the DVDs Hotel Rwanda and Mystic River, two movies I had wanted to see but missed--a lot cheaper than Blockbuster!

--Children's Materials. Besides requesting popular kids DVDs, I will often request information books. When I was going through potty training with my kids, I loaded up on the books. At birthday party time, I request books that fit our theme and read them as quiet fillers during the party. I will also request award winners and books from my past that I want to read to my children.

Just in case you are interested, here is a sample of my current reserve list and what I am waiting for at my library:

So I hope this information on placing Reserves are your library might help you. For me, I would be lost if my library did not have a request and reserve system--it really adds a lot to a library experience. Thanks for reading!

Read Entire Post