Thursday, April 28, 2011

Earn Cash Back for Mother's Day with Ebates!

Mother's Day is just around the corner.  May 8th will be here before we know it!  I just ordered this beautiful floral arrangement for my Mom from FTD through EBATES!  Right now you can get 20% cash back when you shop at FTD through EBATES!

New to EBATES?

Shop through Ebates, and earn up to 25% cash back at your favorite stores. How? Our stores pay us a fee when you shop. We then share the fee directly with you - it's just that simple.

Incredible deals don't end with cash back. We hunt down cut-rate coupons and exclusive offers plus amazing deals on hot products. Unlike any other savings site on the internet, you can layer the deals. Save big by using coupons and getting cash back at the same time! With deal layering, you really stack up the savings.

Best of all, we never charge a membership fee or require mail-in rebate forms. We just send you your cash, no strings attached.

Here are some other great Mother's Day deals from EBATES! - 25% Cash Back
Lacome - 14% Cash Back
Godiva - 8% Cash Back
Kodak Gallery - 12.5% Cash Back
Teleflora - 20% Cash Back
Elizabeth Arden - 10% Cash Back

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 25, 2011

It's leftover week here at Spend Less 2 Save More!  One of the easiest ways to save money in the kitchen is to re-purpose leftovers into a brand new meal that everyone enjoys!  We apparently have a lot of leftovers from the long holiday weekend, so here is what it written in dry erase marker on the calendar board!

Monday - Creamy Turkey Rice Soup
Tuesday - Beef Tips and Noodles
Wednesday - Ham and Potato Soup
Thursday - Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Friday - Hamburgers
Saturday - Date Night
Sunday - My Nephew's Birthday Party!

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Happy Easter

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

May God bless you and your family on this Easter Day!  And don't eat too much candy and get a big belly ache!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day 2011

April 22nd is Earth Day!  While some people celebrate it by doing something to help our planet on one day, this is something that should be done year round as a habit.  Here are the top 10 things my family does to celebrate our Earth everyday!

1.  Use resuable bags at Aldi's and Target (Target gives you $0.05 off for every bag).
2.  We have a paper collection bin in the garage and all paper gets thrown in there.  Think of all the paper in your house every day just from junk mail!  We then dump the paper in the Paper Retriver bins located practially everywhere!
3.  We have a cardboard collection bin in the garage.  All carboard goes into this bin.  Think of the carboard that is often generated just from making dinner!  About every 2 - 3 weeks we dump the carboard into bins made available by our city!
4.  We have a garbage can in the garage for all plastic and glass that can be curbside recycled!
5.  Out of a room?  Lights off!
6.  We try to wash all clothes in cold water!
7.  Minimize as much drying clothes as possible in the clothes dryer bby hanging items outside!
8.  Donate clothes, shoes, and household items to people who can re-use them.
9.  Combine errands into one trip to reduce gas usuage
10.  Reuse plastic shopping bags as garbage can liners!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Disney 2011 on a Budget – Our Vacation Schedule

I am continuing my series Disney 2011 on a Budget. If you missed the first post, Disney 2011 on a Budget – How to Get There & Where to Stay, or the second post, Disney 2011 on a Budget – The Budget, be sure to check them out!

Wow – I normally like a nice relaxing vacation where the only thing I need to decide is whether we are going to the beach or the pool today. With Disney however, I wanted to make sure we have a schedule for each day we are there. We have some flexibility in case it decides on rain on our “Main Street Parade”, but this is how our week is planned!

Day 1 – Arrive at Condo after a long drive, eat dinner at condo, go to bed!

Day 2 – Resort Day (enjoy the pool and amenities)
Breakfast /Lunch – At Condo
Dinner – Grill out Steaks

Day 3Magic Kingdom
Breakfast – at condo
Lunch – at park
Dinner – at park

Day 4 – Resort Day
Breakfast – Breakfast with Characters at Chef Mickey’s
Lunch – at condo
Dinner – Eat Out

Day 5Disney's Hollywood Studios
Breakfast – at condo
Lunch – at park
Dinner – Grab Pizza on the way home

Day 6Disney's Animal Kingdom
Breakfast – at condo
Lunch – at park
Dinner – Reservations at The Rainforest Café (Downtown Disney)

Day 7 – Resort Day
Breakfast /Lunch – At Condo
Dinner – Grill out Chicken

Day 8 – Head Back Home!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 18, 2011

I cannot believe it is Easter Week!  Even though Easter is late this year, it still feels like it came too fast.  I am praying for lovely weather for such a blessed holiday.  May the true spirit of the Easter season be in your hearts.

Monday - Grilled Marinated Chicken and Easy Seasoned Potatoes
Tuesday - Skillet Lasagna
Wednesday - Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
Thursday - Grilled Pork Kebabs with a Cucumber Sauce
Friday - Tilapia and mac and cheese
Saturday - Eat Out
Sunday - Easter at my sister's house

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

General Mills Spring Savings

Be on the lookout for a display in your local grocery store for these General Mills Spring Savings coupon books.  I found them while shopping at my local Giant Eagle on Saturday.  Inside you will find over $15 in coupons for:

GM Cereals
Chex Mix
Nature Valley
Betty Crocker Brownies
Hamburger Helper
Suddenly Salad
Old El Paso
Pillsbury Refrigerated Baked Goods
Pillsbury Frozen Products

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snapple Full Rebate is Back!

Its back!  Be on the lookout at your local grocery store for the FULL rebate of any Snapple 6 Pack tear pads.  I found them this morning at Giant Eagle on a tear pad near the Snapple 6 packs!  Reciept must be dated between 3/27/11 and 6/30/11.  Submission must be postmarked by 7/11/11!  Right now Giant Eagle has the 6 packs on sale for $4.99 plus there is $1 off coupon in the 4/3 Smart Source!

I love getting items for free.  Snapple offered this rebate last year and I am excited it is back!  I am saving my Snapple for our trip to Disney!

Easter Necklace Giveaway

Lauren Nicole Jewelry and Gifts is hosting this Easter Necklace Giveaway!  Enter before 4-23-11! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free Reusable Bag from Kellogg's Plus S&H

Get a free reusable bag from Kellogg's in honor of Earth Day when you buy two Kellogg's cereals 10 oz or larger.  You do need to include $1.75 for S&H.  Limit 5 bags per household and valid until 9-30-11!  Get your order form here!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learn and Earn from Scholastic and Kumon

Scholastic and Kumon have partnered to encourage the development of reading and math skills and unlock your child's learning potential. Your child can complete MATH and READING activities and earn up to five FREE BOOKS from Scholastic! 


Download and print the READING and/or MATH activity sheet(s) for your child's age group.

Have your child complete the activities for his or her age group. Your child can complete the MATH activity sheet, the READING activity sheet (or both)! Children can earn two books by completing one activity sheet and five books by completing two activity sheets. The more they LEARN ... the more they EARN!

Download the reward redemption form, print and complete all fields. Mail the completed form and your child's activity sheet(s) to Scholastic to qualify for your rewards!

Favorite 2011 Baby Names, A-Z

I had to share this!

Favorite 2011 Baby Names, A-Z

A is for Aiden and Alexis
B is for Benjamin and Bella
C is for Connor and Chloe
D is for Dylan and Dakota
E is for Elijah and Emma
F is for Finn and Faith
G is for Gavin and Grace
H is for Hunter and Hailey
I is for Ian and Isabella
J is for Jacob and Jennifer
K is for Kaden and Kaylee
L is for Logan and Lily
M is for Michael and MaKayla
N is for Noah and Natalie
O is for Owen and Olivia
P is for Parker and Paige
Q is for Quin (and possibly, Quinn)
R is for Ryan...and Ryan!
S is for Samuel and Sophia
T is for Tyler (I have one) and Taylor
V is for Vincent and Victoria
W is for Wyatt and Willow
X is for Xander and Xzavion
Y is for Yoshi and Yasmine
Z is for Zachary and Zoe

Check it out here for the full article!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Disney 2011 on a Budget – The Budget

I am continuing my series Disney 2011 on a Budget. If you missed the first post, Disney 2011 on a Budget – How to Get There & Where to Stay, be sure to check it out!

Our family is all about budgets! We make one every month and stick too it (well most of the time)! Vacations are supposed to be a fun time. We plan for it and we save for it! Our vacation money is set up front. We normally pay with credit cards, but the money is available to pay them off when the bills come in after the trip. Below is our categories and budgeted amount for each category:

Fuel - $394.63

Tolls and Parking - $69.00

Lodging - $653.00

Breakfasts - $0.00

Lunches - $135.00

Dinners - $170.00

Extra Spending Money (at the parks) - $75.00

Groceries (while in Orlando) - $45.00

Park Tickets - $593.91

TOTAL - $2,135.54

Fuels, Tolls amd Parking – We are driving to Orlando, there are a few tolls along the way, and we need to pay for parking at Disney Parks ($14.00 per day)

Lodging – On the way down, we are stopping half way and staying at a Hampton Inn for free due to my Hilton Honors Points. We rented a condo for 7 nights off Disney property at a Resort. On the way home we are stopping half way and I booked a hotel room through Expedia through a recent Hotel Card deal.

Breakfasts – All breakfasts will be at the hotel (included) or at our condo before leaving for the day. These breakfast items will be packed from home. We do have a reservation for a Character Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s one morning (need to make reservations 6 months in advance). This will be paid for with Disney gift cards received as Christmas gifts.

Lunches – Will be eaten at the theme parks or at the condo on the days we are staying at the Resort and hanging out by the pool. These lunch items will be packed from home.

Dinners – We are grilling at our condo for a planned three nights. We have reservations one night at The Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney. We will use a gift card to pay for this dinner earned with Discover Points!

Extra Spending Money – We are packing drinks and snacks for the parks, but this money will be for those extras that pop up like popcorn, ice cream, souvenirs, etc.

Groceries – We are bringing a cooler from home with hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, chicken, lunch meat, bacon, sausage, eggs, etc. We are also packing non-perishables food from home that I get on sale. This will include water, pop, juices, juice boxes, snacks, macaroni and cheese, potatoes, cereal, etc. Grocery money will be used to buy items such as milk, ice cream, fruit, frozen pizzas, bread, etc.

Park Tickets – We purchased 3 day base tickets (2 adults and 1 child) through AAA before leaving home. I also have a AAA credit card in which I had $80 in rewards to spend which I applied to the park tickets. I have one child under three and he is FREE!

Did I miss anything you Disney experts out there?

To continue to Part 3 - Our Vacation Scheule...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 11, 2011

The warm weather has finally hit us, well at least for today!  It was a wonderful Sunday in the high 70's!  I loved opening the windows and smelling that fresh outdoor scent all through the house!  I even got to enjoy one of my favorite naptimes on the couch with a the breeze blowing on me!  Hope everyone has a great week and the weather stays pleasant!

Monday - Taco Salad
Tuesday - Hamburgers and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday - City Chicken (we missed this item from last week)!
Thursday - Pizza Night
Friday - Church Fish Fry
Saturday - Eat Out
Sunday - Dinner with family!

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Totinos Redbox Family Night!

Get a FREE* one–night DVD rental when you purchase a Totino’s® Party Pizza and Pizza Rolls® snacks (40ct. or 90ct.).

Limit 3 redemptions per household. Must have a valid email address in order to receive your FREE one–night DVD rental.

Offer ends 10/31/11. See specifically marked packages for deals. Totino′s is a registered trademark of General Mills Inc.   Find a Redbox location here!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Disney 2011 on a Budget – How to Get There & Where to Stay

So we are taking the plunge and planning our first family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Who knew so much planning could go into a one week vacation? We feel our boys are the perfect ages (2 and 5) to enjoy the park. Not to mention the 2 year old will still get into the parks for free this year which is a definite budget helper!  We were on a mission to visit Disney World on a a budget!

Choice #1 – Drive or Fly?

We have chosen to drive to Orlando. It is a long trip for us, 17+ hours, but definitely cheaper on the budget. It also allows us the flexibility to have our car with us on vacation to get to the grocery store, all the parks, and to eat out. Four airline tickets would have cost us at least $1,200. This would have included tickets, baggage fees, and airport incidentals. If we rented a car in Orlando the cost would be over $1,500. I calculated that driving will only cost us just under $600 or about half. This would include gas, tolls, parking at Disney parks, and hotel rooms (one of which is free due to Hilton Honors points) on the way there and back since we are splitting the drive into 2 days.

Choice #2 – Stay on Disney Property or Off-Site?

We chose to stay off-site. We found a lot of reasonability priced two bedroom condos in wonderful resorts very close to the Disney parks. Our 7 night stay at a condo within 5 miles of Disney parks is costing us less than $600 for the week. Yes we have to provide our own transportation to and from the theme parks, but we saw a lot more positives to staying off property.

First is the fact that we can eat breakfast at our condo every morning. Our condo has a full-size kitchen! We can also each lunch at the condo on the days we are not at the parks and relaxing by the amazing pool areas! We also have access to a grill. We are planning on grilling at least 3 dinners at the condo. We can also freeze water bottles the night before to pack for the parks!

Privacy! Need I say more? It is the parents’ vacation too! We have our bedroom and the boys have theirs. We also have the flexibility to put them to bed and stay in the living room and watch TV or relax outside on the lanai (yes in Florida it is not a balcony, but a lanai)! My husband and I are in complete agreement that we do not want to spend a week with everyone in the same hotel room. It is just not relaxing for us when we all have to go to bed at the same time!

Finally – we have a full size washer and dryer. For some reason this is important to me! This means you can pack half the amount as normal and do laundry mid week! Since we have stayed in condos and rental homes before, I love to do all the laundry the last day of our stay. I love to pack up all the clean clothes and have very little dirty laundry to do once we return home. Instead of coming home to piles of laundry, we get to come home and carry on with our normal activities. Plus with kids, you never know the messes they will make!

Continue to Part 2 - The Budget...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 4, 2011

Yeah, April has arrived, now we just need the weather to cooperate!  We were able to grill some steaks this past Saturday for my husband's birthday, hopefully there will be more grilling on the horizon!  Have a happy, safe, and blessed week!

Monday - City Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday - Ham and Potato Soup
Wednesday - Cheesy Pork Chops
Thursday - Meatball Subs
Friday - Tilapia and Mac and Cheese
Saturday - Date Night
Sunday - Family Dinner with my Parents who are finally back from The Sunshine State!

This post is linked at MPM on I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Triple Coupon Day

So I am assuming that are nice paper delivery person who delivers my paper on time every Wednesday and Sunday read my post on The Dispressing Grocery Budget, because look at the surprise I got in my Sunday paper!

Not one, not two, but THREE Smart Source coupon sections!  Thank you!  That made my lazy Sunday morning a little more exciting!  The sad part was I thought to myself, "why couldn't have I gotten 3 P&G inserts too"!  I can't be too greedy, I am happy with bonus I got!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Depressing Grocery Budget

I started the year with such high hopes of maintaining a $300 a month grocery budget.  I came in under budget in January, but February and March were both "disasters" in my budget planning mind!  I continue to shop at Giant Eagle (with coupons), Marcs's, and Aldi's plus I am still playing the Drugstore Game at Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens.  I am really confused why I cannot come in under $300!  By no means are we splurging on steak and lobster!

I have noticed a spike in some grocery prices especially milk.  I did some research on inflation. 

U.S. food costs will rise as much as 4 percent this year after a surge in prices for farm goods, more than the 2 percent to 3 percent forecast last month, U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Joe Glauber said. “Higher prices for crops and livestock will again pressure food prices,” as increased commodity costs work their way through the food-supply chain toward consumers, Glauber said today during remarks at a government-sponsored agriculture forum in Arlington, Virginia. Global food prices rose 25 percent last year and set a record last month as world grain inventories were headed for a 13 percent decline before the next harvest, the USDA estimates. Tighter supplies and higher costs have contributed to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East as rising demand causes isolated food shortages and accelerating inflation in poor countries, even as it boosts incomes for U.S. farmers. (source)

Estimates include:
  • Corn up 80% from a year ago.
  • Soybean meal is up 37%
  • Wheat is up 73%
  • Coffee — 45%
  • Barley — 32%
  • Oranges — 35%
  • Cotton — 40%
  • Salmon — 30
  • Pork prices expected to rise 6.5%
  • Eggs expected to rise 4.5%

Known as agflation, the continual, sustained increase in food prices has been an ominous trend in the U.S. economy, indicative of the disastrous effects of the Federal Reserve and its continued manipulation of American currency and consumer commodities. As food prices rise at a rate faster than inflation, companies such as Kellogg, McDonald’s, Kroger, and Safeway have been open about the economic dilemma faced by their consumers: The public will have to shoulder more of the higher costs for ingredients. For these companies, the big challenge will be how much they can swallow and how much they can pass along to consumers, in terms of offsetting the costs and benefits inherent in the inflationary food spiral. (source)

So what is the consumer to do with all of these prices out of control?  I am trying to refocus my efforts again this month to see if I can come in under $300.  My growing boys are eating more not less, so perhaps it is the season of life to increase our grocery budget?  Watch out Giant Eagle, I am on the prowl for some great deals this month!