Monday, July 27, 2009

Before The Frugal Muse: Guest Post By Kristen H.

A Big "Thank You" To Kristen, who submitted this as a guest post for us all to enjoy! I'm so thankful that some of the savings tips here at The Frugal Muse has helped Kristen and her family!

Before The Frugal Muse….. I paid retail for diapers… I might use a coupon if I remembered to bring it…

I now save coupons and stock up when there’s a big sale.

Before The Frugal Muse….. I didn’t even know that you could use a store AND a manufacturers coupon on the SAME item!

I am now bummed that Wal-Mart doesn’t have store coupons because I can save so much more elsewhere using both…

Before The Frugal Muse….. I might use a coupon, but pare it with a sale? If I was lucky!

I now can leave the store saving more than I spent…

Before The Frugal Muse….. I rarely shopped at Walgreens. It was much more pricey than Wal-Mart…

I now shop Walgreens and other “expensive” stores using manufacturer and store coupons, often leaving with the cashier still unsure if the computer had malfunctioned because of my total! ;)

Before The Frugal Muse….. I shopped Target – but didn’t save very much!

I now wish we had a Target closer – because I consistently save a significant amount combining manufacturer and store coupons with sales and clearance items – I recently spent $8 on $65 worth of stuff.

Before The Frugal Muse….. I began to panic when Thanksgiving rolled around and Christmas shopping barely had a dent in it…

I am now finishes with one child and well underway for the other two (including a Leap Frog Didj and four Didj games that I got for $40 (versus the $200+ retail)

Before The Frugal Muse….. I would pick up cleaning supplies as needed…

I now currently have 156 of the expensive dishwasher tabs in reserve. (And only paid $5.94 for them -- $41.04 retail!)

Before The Frugal Muse….. I would cringe when my husband told me his list of hygiene items that he was in need of – deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, body soap, shampoo, etc.

I now can smile as I walk to our “stockpile” and hand him everything on his list.

Before The Frugal Muse….. I wasn’t too excited about the lists that came home from school, church, etc. for hygiene items for the needy. Don’t they know how expensive they are?

I recently sent a shopping bag full of hygiene items full for a church missions trip and didn’t have to run out and put a dent in our budget at all!

Before The Frugal Muse….. I loathed the Box Tops for Education program. Don’t they realize those don’t come on the Great Value and Equate boxes?

I now have about 40 Box Tops (plus the ones that I haven’t clipped yet) already for the start of the school year from items from the past two months….

Before The Frugal Muse
….. I would have apologized to the person behind me for using five coupons and taking so long.

I now hold my head high as the cashier scans my two inch stack of coupons and begin telling the people that it was worth it for the $50 or more dollars I just saved (and watch as they scramble into their purses to find something to write down the Frugal Muse address).

Thank you, Cherissa, for all the hardwork and time you spend sharing your “secrets” with the rest of us, so that we can also learn to be home economists for our families. I still have a long way to go and so much more to learn, but I am well on my way. J

Friday, July 24, 2009

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: Guest Post by Kim D.

Many thanks to Kim, who sent in this guest post this week!  I know you'll all appreciate her words of wisdom!

First of all, I want everyone to know I indict myself on everyone of these things, not you! But, if the shoe fits..put it on, girl!

Also, I aspire and ascribe to Cherissa's philosophy-if we have more, we can give more.

I'm titling this "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish". My dad, always full of sayings, taught this one to me. What is the meaning of this saying? Don't be so smart about saving on the small things, and not so smart about saving on the big things.

I'll be anecdotal, and hopefully inspire you to become more "pound wise". Remember, I have been foolish and am still working on trying to be wiser in all these areas

Potential areas to examine (not in any order):

1. Expiring and rotting food. Look at the fridge and pantry and freezer. Are you stewarding it? I fight this with lettuce continually (my lettuce is usually poorly stewarded :). My husband challenges me on full pantries and freezers; I finally got everything in one outside (and one fridge-side) freezer. Make a list of what you have. Steward what you have, instead of buying more. Label and rotate. Do not throw food away if you can avoid it. I know I sound like your depression-era granny; but, they had to work a lot harder for their food than we do.

2. 1/4 to whole custom slaughtered beef- lots of beef for the money, and super cheap roasts and steaks, and hamburger as lean you want it

3. Garage sales and thrift stores...Still a great source of everything. My 17 and 19 year old still wear clothes from these places. And, they buy most of their own clothes.

4. Cars..don't buy new. I bought a new car before I was married, my husband and I have bought one new car together. It is 9 years old, has 170K miles, and I have told everyone I will drive it until the wheels fall off.. then i will get new wheels! but, seriously, a pound wise person finds a top-notch shop, gets an older car, fixes it up, and keeps it fixed up. This alone has probably saved us $100,000 in the last 25 years. Hey, and if you need a nice car for vacation-rent one.

5. Term Life insurance- get it. No excuses. If you're married and you die, your husband would need to pay for housekeeping, child care, etc. If your husband dies, your provider cannot pay your bills. For you youngsters, it is very cheap. Talk to your moms/dads about the wisdom of this.

6. Store brands- not always great (you just can't substitute for Windex); but Wal-mart slimfast is cheaper and as good as regular.

7. Evaluate your money in a budget. Simple. You just do it. I don't always hit mine (I am operating in August's budget now), but I am faithful to it even when it goes south. I try to "do less" so i can be on track for the next month.

8. DO IT YOURSELF. Biggie. My husband has saved us 10s of thousands of $ over the years. Our son and he fix and maintain just about everything in and around the house. My husband, who still works full time, has a second career doing this for others! Teach yourself how to cook, clean ( (house/clothes (DRYEL)/cars (get a shop vac and car wash solution and a hose)), paint, stain, iron, water, mow, weed, fertilize, trim.. you get the picture, Some of you super girls are gardening and canning and sewing and baking again! Awesome!. When you need some help, consider a teenager, or someone who needs the money. And, yes, I have a housekeeper once a month. So, I am not being a hypocrite; I just can afford one at this time. Sometimes, I pay my kids to do it. My son is earning money this week by washing all the windows. Consider renting the tools to ge the job done- a man-lift for two days is $300-versus paying someone $5000 to paint your house.

9. Don't give your kids spending money (except as bd/Christmas presents,, and other rare worthy occasions). They have to earn it or get a job. Sorry, very old school, but your kids will take great pride in this. They will learn budgeting, not to overspend, how to save, what is the purpose of money, etc. I watched many kid's parents give them $5 a day for lunch when they got to jr. high. I paid mine $1 to take their lunch (saved $1 on a meal ticket per day, encouraged responsibility on their part)..They turned around and paid me that money for their cell phones

10. Get a side job. Lots of $ falling off might as well be in your yard. Write articles, babysit, be a secret shopper, do transcriptionist work, or

11. (my favorite) Want less. The pound wise woman simply just "wants" less. Thomas A' Kempis "Choose rather to want less than to have more".
It's ok if your car is clunky, your clothes are funky, and your furniture is junky ( I just made that up:). What is penny wise (getting that cute top on sale, gettting that top of the line mattress on sale) may be pound foolish if it puts you into debt, and is just satisfying a want. Really, how you spend your money is God's and your family's business. Do not be worried about what others think. Our kids still ask us from time to time why we don't have this or that, because others have this or that. We say maybe they can afford it, but we cannot because we are thinking about the future. That is not to say that someone who has nice things is not thinking about the future..but let's just say when I was 30 years younger if someone had a Mercedes that meant they had money... nowadays, that can mean you just qualified for a loan.

12. Be easily entertained. My folks used to have friends over, someone brough pop and beer, and they played bridge. We kids played our own games, made up games, and learned to be easily entertained. The library was literally the coolest place in town. Most municipalities (except Owasso:) have swimming pools, skating rinks. I cringe at my cable bill every month, and we don't even have movie channels! I am so sorry I have to pay so much to entertain my now lazy self.

13. Ask for free prescription refills at the Dr. If I can do it, you can do it. Next time your kiddo needs allergy medicene, ask them for some samples.

14. Turn the lights out, set the thermostat up in summer, down in winter. Unplug appliances not in use. Change your filters in your air ducts

15. Don't throw it out. Our saying around our house is "dad can fix everything but plastic-and he can even fix that sometimes!". Teach yourself how to use a needle and thread. FInd a good is sometime cheaper to re-make something than to buy new.

16. It is your money, given to your family by God. He alone can make you wise to manage money on a gross scale. And, scripture says hear instruction and be wise. This is a great blogspot fro instruction, and teaches us the value of saving everywhere. Just remember your money is HIS gift to you, and he give it to you to save/spend as you should.

17. Keep engaged in everything. If the Doctor bill look wrong, it might be. If your phone bill does not show your roll-over minutes, ask. Ask about the details of your insurance policies, your investments. Surround yourself with smart people when you need money help.

Love to all, and happy money thoughts!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some big news for our family

Our family has some big news: we're moving across the country! I want to thank you all in advance for your patience as I won't be able to devote much time to The Frugal Muse over the next couple weeks while we pack and move. But never fear: The Frugal Muse will return in full force starting August 1.

If any of you are interested in doing a guest post while I'm busy moving, just let me know! It would be really fun to hear some frugal living tips from some of our readers.

I'll do my best to make a few posts in between now and August 1st, but I look forward to seeing you back "full time" at that point!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Walgreens Deals: July 12-18

Free this week:

Reach Ultra Clean Toothbrush & Floss: 3/$9.00
Get a $3.00 RR When You Buy 3
Use the
$2.00/1 Reach/Listerine Product Coupon
Final Cost: Free after Coupons and RR

Dove Body Mist: Buy 2 Get $2.00 in Register Rewards
Buy (2) Dove Travel Size Deodorants ($0.99 each)
Buy (2) Dove Body Mists ($4.49 each)
Use (2) Free Body Mist Coupons when You Buy Dove Deodorant from 6/28 RP
Use (1) $1.50/2 Dove Deodorants from the 6/7 RP
Final Cost: $0.48 Out of Pocket/ $1.52 moneymaker after RR

Goody Ouchless Flex Headband: $3.99
Use $1.00/1 Goody Ouchless Product
Get a Full $3.99 Mail In Rebate Form at Checkout
Final Cost: $.56 moneymaker after stamp to mail in the rebate!

Other good deals this week:

Coppertone NutraShield: $10.99
Get $10 RRs when you buy 2
Use $5/1 Coppertone NutraShield
Final Cost: $0.99 ea. after coupons and RRs!

All Detergent (40-36 loads): 2/$10
Get $3 RRs when you buy 2
Use $1/1 ALL Laundry printable
Or $1/1 ALL Laundry Detergent (RP 6/28/09)
Final Cost: $2.50 ea. after coupons and RRs!

Buy $20 in Huggies or Kotex Products
Get $5 RR when you buy $20, Get $3 RR when you buy $15

Huggies Diapers or Pull-Ups, $10
Kotex Products, 2/$6
$3/1 Huggies Pull-Ups printable
$1.50/1 Huggies Diapers, exp. 7-18-09 (SS 6/21/09)
$0.75 Mail-In Rebate via Caregiver’s Marketplace
$1/1 Kotex printable
$1/1 Kotex Lightdays Pantiliners, exp. 8-8-09 (SS 6/14/09)
$1/1 Kotex Pads, exp. 8-8-09 (SS 6/14/09)
$1/1 Kotex Security Tampons, exp. 8-8-09 (SS 6/14/09)

Deal Scenarios:

Buy (2) Huggies Pull-Ups at $10 ea.
Use (2) $3/1 Huggies Pull-Ups printables
Submit for (2) $0.75 Mail-In Rebate via Caregiver’s Marketplace
Final Cost: $3.75 ea. after coupons, MIR, and RRs!


Buy (7) Kotex Products at 2/$6
Use (7) $1/1 coupons
Final Cost: $1.29 ea. after coupons and RRs!

Colgate Total Whitening or Advanced Toothpaste: $2.99
Get $1 RR
Use $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste, exp. 7-18-09 (SS 6/28/09)
Final Cost: $0.99 after coupon and RR!

Glaceau Smartwater: 5/$5
Use $1/2 Glaceau Smartwater, exp. 8-20-09 (SS 6/28/09)
Final Cost: $0.50 ea. after coupon!

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, $0.69 (with in-ad coupon)
Use B3G1 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, exp. 7-28-09 (SS 6/28/09)
Final Cost $0.52 ea. after coupon!

Coffee-Mate Liquid Creamer, $1.99
Use $1/1 Coffee-Mate printable
Final Cost: $0.99 after coupon!

Starbucks Frappuccino or Double Shot: $2
Use $1/1 Starbucks Frappuccino or Double Shot, exp. 9-13-09 (SS 6/21/09)
Final Cost: $1 after coupon!

General Mills Cereal, $1.99
$1/1 Cheerios printable
$1/1 Honey Nut Cheerios printable
Various General Mills printables
Final Cost: $0.99 after coupon!

Hat tip to Deal Seeking Mom for compiling these deals.

Free Arby's Sandwich with Drink Purchase

Click here to get your coupon for a free Arby's BBQ Bacon Cheddar Roastburger with purchase of any soft drink. Good through tomorrow, July 12!

Great Target Deal on Kashi

Check out this post over at Lizzy's Language to see how to get 2 boxes of Kashi cereal, 2 boxes of Kashi Waffles, and 2 boxes of Kashi cereal bars for only $.14 total at Target right now!

This deal is good through Tuesday, July 14 (the date when the Target store coupons for Kashi items expire).

Hat tip to Rita for pointing us toward this great deal!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Did you get your Free Chicken?

We had SUCH a good time at Chick-Fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day! We all dressed up and got four free meals... even 2 kids meals for the kids, which is a big treat for them! Plus, our local Chick-Fil-A had a wheel to spin to win free prizes, and we won a free 8-pack of nuggets, a free waffle fry, and two free brownies. All in all, I'm guessing we got at least $30 of free food for showing up in our cow attire- how generous of Chick-Fil-A! But most importantly, we had a great time as a family. We will definitely do this again next year!

Free Chocolate Today!

Don't forget! Free chocolate today! Go here to sign up for free chocolate from Mars Chocolate!

Today! Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A!

Wanna have some fun and get free food today? Put on your best cow costume and head on over to Chick-Fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day! Everyone who is dressed like a cow from head to toe today will receive a free meal! Everyone who is accessorized in any way like a cow will get a free entree item. How fun!

Just check out how one family of Frugal Muse followers is already decked out to enjoy the day:

I love it! Hope many of you get to join in the fun, as well. I know we are planning to get in on this fun day with our family!

Hat tip to India!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Short sleeve or long sleeve t-shirts: $.50 each

I just spotted this deal on Cashbaq: Get 48 (Yes, 48!) long sleeve or short sleeve t-shirts from for only $22.80. Lots of colors to choose from. That's just about $.50 per shirt, for shirts that normally retail for $8.99 to $13.99 each. Normal retail price for 48 shirts is listed at $431!!

Plus, you'll get 5% cash back for shopping through Cashbaq, and you'll get an extra $5 back if this is your first time to sign up for/use Cashbaq. Sweet!

This could be a great deal if you are looking for matching shirts for something like a youth group camp, church event, community event, or a family reunion!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Free Redbox Code! Good today only!

Wow! Another free redbox code already! Use this code to get a free one-night rental at redbox, today only: 4J7LF6

Also, don't forget to use code 7HE79B  to get free rentals through tomorrow. You can use each code once per debit or credit card you own.


Home Made Simple Book available again

Even if you've requested one in the past, you can still go here to sign up for another Home Made Simple coupon book. These books always have GREAT coupons, including free product coupons!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Free Redbox Rental Code

Use this code to get a free one-night rental from your local redbox location now through July 7th: 7HE79B 

It's a rare treat to get a code that good through new release day on Tuesday, so enjoy this one, folks!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Harps/ Price Cutter Deals: July 1-14

For all you Northwest Arkansas friends, here are a few Harps/ Price Cutter coupon match-ups I was able to find this week:

Ball Park Franks: $.99
Use $1/2 from 6/28 RP
Final Cost: $.50 each

Bar S Jumbo Franks (16 oz.): $.89
Use $1/2 (16 oz.) from 5/10 RP
Final Cost: $.39 each

McCormick Grillmates seasononings: 4/$3 ($.75 each)
Use $1/2 from 5/10 RP
Final Cost: $.25 each

Land O Frost Chicken, Turkey or Ham: $3.49
Use $1/1 peelie found on product
Or use $.55/1 or $1/1 from 5/31 RP
Final cost: As low as $2.49

Breyer's Ice Cream: 2/$5
Final Cost: $2 each when you buy 2

Kraft BBQ Sauce: $.88
Use $.75/1 from 6/14 insert
Final Cost: $.13

Walgreens Deals: July 5-11

Free (or almost free!) this week:

Reach Ultra Clean Toothbrush & Floss: 3/$9.00
Get a $3.00 RR When You Buy 3
Use the
$2.00/1 Reach/Listerine Product Coupon
Final Cost: Free after Coupons and RR

Mars Chocolate Bars: $0.89
Buy 2 Chocolate Bars
Use Free Coupon from Free Chocolate Fridays (Mars Chocolate Relief Act)
Use In-Ad Coupon for $0.49 to deduct $.40 each
Final cost: $0.05 each after coupons

Dove Body Mist: Buy 2 Get $2.00 in Register Rewards
Buy (2) Dove Travel Size Deodorants ($0.99 each)
Buy (2) Dove Body Mists ($4.49 each)
Use (2) Free Body Mist Coupons when You Buy Dove Deodorant from 6/28 RP
Use (1) $1.50/2 Dove Deodorants from the 6/7 RP
Final Cost: $0.48 Out of Pocket/ $1.52 moneymaker after RR

Goody Ouchless Flex Headband: $3.99
Use $1.00/1 Goody Ouchless Product
Get a Full $3.99 Mail In Rebate Form at Checkout
Final Cost: $.56 moneymaker after stamp to mail in the rebate!

Other good deals this week:

Keebler Products: 4/$10.00
Get a $5.00 Register Reward when you buy 4
Use the $1.00/1 Keebler Sandies Coupon (If you already printed it: no longer available)
Use the $1.00/2 Keebler Fudge Shoppe Coupon
Final Cost: $0.25 - $0.75 each depending on which Q you have

Buy $10.00 in Cover Girl Products Get $3.00 in Register Rewards
Use $1.00/1 Coupon from the 6/7 PG Insert
Final Cost: Varies based on what you buy

Crest/Oral B Products: 4/$10.00
Buy $10.00 and get a $3.00 Register Reward
Use the $1.00/1 Oral B Toothbrush Coupon from the 7/5 Insert
Final Cost: $0.75 each after coupon and Register Reward

M&M’s - 9.9 oz. - 12.6 oz. Bags $2.50
Use $1.00/2 Coupon from 6/7 RP
Get $1.00 in Register Rewards
Final Cost: $1.50 each after coupon and RR

Starbucks Ice Cream: Buy 1 Get 1 @ $4.79
Use 2 of the $2.00/1 Starbucks Ice Cream Coupons from 6/21 SS
Final Cost: $0.40 each after coupons
*If any of you aren't huge coffee fans (like me!) there is a "Hot Chocolate" flavor of this brand!

Nestle Pure Life Water: $3.99 with In-Ad Coupon
Use the $1.00/1 Nestle Pure Life Coupon
Final Cost: $2.99 after coupons

Anything else you all are seeing that I don't have listed?

Hat tip to NWA Deals for compiling these deals!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gap Jeans: Stock Up Price!

Wow! I came across what I thought was a GREAT deal on Gap jeans today. The Pinnacle Hills Promenade store in Rogers, Ark. had almost all of their jeans on sale for $19.99- which is in itself a good price on jeans normally priced between $49-$69. 

But, through July 6th, they are also running a promotion that gives you an additional 30% off any sale or clearance item when you buy four items in one transaction. 

After this additional 30% off, that makes each pair of jeans only $13.99. In my book, anytime I find nice Gap jeans at a price cheaper than I would pay at Walmart, it's stock-up time!

In order to get reach the required four items, I teamed up with my parents, who also wanted to take advantage of the jeans deal. All in all, we ended up with three pairs of jeans and a really nice men's sweater for my husband for around $50 including tax... less than you would normally pay for one of the pair of jeans. Sweet!

Based on the extensive corporate signage advertising these deals, I'm guessing that these deals are probably running company wide. So check your local store to see if they are participating.

Sephora Go Smile Deal

Right now at Sephora, you can get a FREE Go Smile kit ($66 value!) with ANY purchase. All you have to do is enter code GOSMILE at checkout. You will also get 3 additional free samples, and shipping starts at about $5.95. Purchase something like a Nail polish priced at $2 to make this a great deal.

To make this deal even sweeter, click on
Ebates first, then click through to Sephora's site and make your purchase. This will earn you 8% cash back from your Sephora purchase, plus a $5 bonus if you're a new member!

Hat tip to Hip 2 Save.

Walgreens Deals: Dove Deodorant and Excedrin

Check out this sweet money-maker deal at Walgreens:

Buy (2) Dove Travel Size Deodorants: $0.99 each 
Buy (2) Dove Body Mists: $4.49 each
Use (2) Free Body Mist Coupons when You Buy Dove Deodorant from 6/28 RP
Use (1) $1.50/2 Dove Deodorants from the 6/7 RP
Cost out of pocket:  $0.48 

Plus, there's a montly RR deal: when You Buy 2 Body Mists you will get a $2.00 Register Reward, so this is a MONEY MAKER after the Register Rewards!

Hat tip to NWA Deals.

And here's a great reader tip on a good deal on Excedrin:

I went to Walgreens for diapers today and found a great deal by accident! There's a RR deal for Excedrin. At the Owasso, Oklahoma Walgreens, they had two boxes packaged together as a B1G1 free, for the sale price of $4.99. I bought 2 of those, so I got 4 boxes of 40-ct. Excedrin for $8.83 with tax, plus got back $5 RR. I was happy! I don't know how many Walgreens would have those packages, but I thought I'd share with you.

Use (2) $.75/1 or $1/1 coupons from the 5/3 insert to snag this deal!

Hat tip to Rita!

Free Chocolate Friday!

Hooray! Go here for free chocolate from Mars Chocolates! The first 250,000 who sign up today get a coupon for a free candy bar from Mars.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Old Navy Flag Ts- Only $1 on July 3!

*Update* There are rumors that this sale has been cancelled due to insufficient stock. Call you local store before making a special trip to snag these cheap t-shirts!

Old Navy just keeps these great deals coming, don't they? On Friday July 3rd, get Old Navy flag t-shirts for only a dollar each. Limit 5 per customer. 

If you want to snag this deal, get there early. These Saturday deals at Old Navy always fly off the shelves in a hurry!

Free Goody Ouchless Headband at Walgreens

Purchase a Goody Ouchless Flex headband at Walgreens for $3.99, and a catalina will print for a full mail-in rebate. Use the $1/1 coupon here to make this a small moneymaker as well!

Hat tip to NWA Deals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

KraftMaid is back!

It's the first day of the month, and KraftMaid is back! Click the image above to get your FREE idea book. These are really, really popular, and this is a freebie that is only available for a couple of hours on the first day of the month. So get yours QUICKLY if you want to take advantage of this free book!

Throw a Luau... on the cheap!

Looking to throw a fun party this summer? We all know that it can be really expensive to buy all the cute little partyware items to dress up a party. That's why I thought this was a great find at my local Walmart:

The Siloam Springs, Arkansas Walmart has an ENTIRE line of hawaiian luau party items on 50% clearance! It's unusual to find more than one or two items of a certain item on clearance at the same time, so this is a real find if you are needing hawaiian party supplies! I found grass skirts, leis,  plates, napkins, table and room decor, and much more. How fun!

I'm not sure if this clearance would be available at other Walmarts or not. This store has started a MAJOR renovation/ reorganization, and I get the idea that they are trying to significantly reduce their inventory with LOTS of clearance prices all throughout the store.

I'm not needing any hawaiian party supplies this year, but I thought I'd pass along this great find in case any of you in the area are party planning!