New This Week

Dollar bill

New Super-Couponing Tips column: The value of HOA fees

Is there value in paying a monthly fee to ensure a predefined quality of life at home? Homeowners’ associations exist to define and enforce a code of regulations for the appearance and quality of life…  


What’s inside the Summer 2016 Walmart Beauty Box?

Are you a member of Walmart’s Beauty Box program? These boxes are FREE with a $5 flat fee to ship them to your door. Walmart issues four Beauty Boxes per year. I got my Summer 2016 box this week, and here’s what’s inside…  


Have you tried Mean Green? I’m putting it to the test…

Mean Green recently approached me about learning more about the brand as a Mean Green brand ambassador. One of the first things that I learned about Mean Green products is that they’re extremely affordable…  

Shopping and Savingnext >< prev

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 6/30/16 – 7/6/16


.79 Lipton Recipe Secrets, .94 Kraft salad dressing, $1.44 Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, $1.49 Chili's entrees, $1.49 Garnier Whole Blends haircare, $1.50 Skittles, Starburst, Twizzlers, $2 Dial body wash  

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 6/29/16 – 7/5/16


.25 Sweet Baby Ray's marinade, .30 Buddig deli lunchmeats, .79 Nabisco snack crackers, $1 Hefty bags, $1 Old Orchard juices, $1.16 Hefty bowls and cups, $1.24 Kraft salad dressing, $1.25 Betty Crocker fruit snacks  

Rebate and Coupon Deals: Menards 6/26/16 – 7/4/16


.98 DeBug windshield washer fluid, $1.24 Mr. Clean Outdoor cleaner, $1.98 Sunnyside deck wash, $2 Twizzlers, $2.88 Swiffer refills, $3.24 Ivory bar soap, $3.24 Swiffer WetJet refill, $3.94 Defense Zone sunscreen  

Coupon Matchups: Target Deals of the Week 6/26/16 – 7/2/16


$1.19 Sally Hansen Xtreme nail polish, $2.50 Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper 12-packs, $2.99 Tom's of Maine products, $3.14 Reynolds Wrap, $3.14 Tums, $5.49 Tide Purclean, daily percent-off deals  

Coupon Matchups: CVS Deals of the Week 6/26/16 – 7/2/16

CVS pharmacy

FREE Garnier Fructis haircare, .99 Colgate Total mouthwash, .99 Revlon nail polish, $1 Speed Stick, $1.25 Pringles, $1.50 Hefty OR Ziploc slider bags, $1.50 Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, $5.99 CVS diapers  

Coupon Matchups: Walgreens Deals of the Week 6/26/15 – 7/2/16


FREE Herbal Essences haircare, FREE Colgate toothpaste, .46 Dentyne and Trident gum, .50 Sure or Brut deodorant, .99 Revlon nail polish, $1 Twizzlers, $1.38 Kellogg's cereals and Pop-Tarts, $1.49 Suave Gold Professionals  

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 6/23/16 – 6/29/16


$1.09 Meijer baby wipes, $1.45 Country Time, Kool-Aid or Tang canisters, $1.62 Triscuits or Good Thins, $1.75 M&Ms, $1.96 Palmolive, $1.99 Silk soymilk, $2 Hostess Suzy Qs, $2.12 Ritz and Chips Ahoy  

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 6/22/16 – 6/28/16


.25 Sweet Baby Ray's marinade, .25 Signature tomato sauce, .50 Signature mustard, .75 Lucerne eggs, $1 Hefty bags & $1.16 bowls and cups, $1.16 Magic Shell, $1.29 Kellogg's cereal, $1.50 Luigi's Italian Ice  

“Unicorns” in the wild: A new name for counterfeit coupons


"I know you say never to buy coupons, but the CIC says if they have the gold foil strip, they are real. I have bought some online and they have the gold CIC hologram, and they worked at the store. As long as I stick to the gold ones, I'm okay right?"  

Current National Catalina offers: June 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for June 2016 include Dove body wash, Tradewinds Iced Tea, Ice Mountain bottled water, Aveeno, Kikkoman, L'oreal and more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: June 2016

coupon inserts

Can you believe it's June? Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months...  

Shippers beware: My UPS Store lost package saga


I recently had an issue shipping a package from my local UPS Store, and the saga that ensued seemed so incredible to me that I wanted to share it with you. I had done some work for a colleague that was extremely time-sensitive...  

CVS/pharmacy says goodbye to long receipts

CVS pharmacy

Do you love or hate CVS' long paper receipts? (I have to confess, I actually like them, because I never lose them in my purse!) If you're not a fan, though, CVS has announced that you'll soon have the option to choose a digital receipt...  

Walmart eliminates price-matching from 500 locations


Price-matching fans, your days may be numbered if you ad-match at Walmart. Walmart has announced that as part of an overall price-lowering strategy, they will eliminate ad matching at 500 store locations...  

Thanks for more bargain bed pillows, JC Penney


I never let a good $10-off-$10 coupon go to waste (and neither should you..!) JC Penney is particularly good about sending these out, at least to me – and they never fail to get me in the store...  

The return of the Trial-Size Dawn detergents


You may remember that last year, I reached out to Proctor & Gamble to inquire why some 9-ounce bottles of Dawn dish detergent were marked “Trial Size,” while other identically-sized 9-ounce Dawns were not...  

Sweet Blue Bunny $1.67 ice cream deal at Jewel


Here's a fun deal that will please ice cream lovers all over Chicagoland! Buy two Blue Buny novelties and one tub of ice cream ($7.) Use two $1 coupons from the 4/24 SS and the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE coupon. Pay $5 for everything!  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: May 2016

coupon inserts

May Day! If you have any of the following inserts in your files, you can pull them out and recycle them - all of the coupons inside each insert have expired...  

Current National Catalina offers: May 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for May 2016 include Carnation Instant Breakfast, Cascade Platinum, Gerber baby foods, Huggies, Klondike, Off, Pledge, Ragu, Solo, Tradewinds, Zest and more...  

Police officer arrested for stealing coupon inserts from newspaper


A few days ago, a man was arrested for stealing coupon inserts from a Rhode Island newspaper. Unfortunately, this insert thief was a police officer himself – a 19-year veteran of the Providence police force...  

Jewel-Osco launches Signature product line

signature event

Earlier this month, I met up with the Signature product team to celebrate the Signature family of brands at a launch event in Los Angeles! 25 bloggers from around the country experienced the new Signature line...

Shopmium changes terms to disallow coupon stacking


Previously, Shopmium offers could be stacked with manufacturer coupon discounts. Now, if you pair a manufacturer discount with a Shopmium offer, you will no longer receive cash back from Shopmium.  

An under-$20 all-around-town shopping trip

$20 Day Out

I headed out this morning to do a few coupon deals and pick up some things around town. Between Meijer, Walmart, JC Penney and Dollar Tree, I spent $19.62 on all of these things - so many deals!  

Celebrate Earth Month at Jewel-Osco with “Every Cart Counts”

white wave

To celebrate Earth Month, Jewel's launched "Every Cart Counts." Wouldn't you be surprised if your cashier told you your entire cart of groceries was being paid for by someone else? That's what Every Cart Counts is all about!  

Home and Stylenext >< prev

My quest to find a great deck stain: Bond’s One Time

deck stain

As anyone with a deck knows, they are not maintenance-free. This time around, I wanted a deck stain that would last for many years without the disappointing results of the last stain I used...  

We put a glass top on our wooden kitchen table

glass top table

Whenever you have something new that you've invested some money in, aren't you inclined to try to keep it as nice and new-looking for as long as possible? We discussed getting a piece of glass cut for the tabletop...  

My laundry room cocktail bar

Laundry cocktail bar

The top of my washer is truly a laundry cocktail bar. I rotate brands and varieties of detergent based on what I'm washing. Whenever I suggest this to people, it's like a proverbial light goes off -- "What a great idea! I never thought of that!"  

I hate my front-loading washer. Here’s how I “hack” it.

laundry mess

I've written at length about my misadventures in laundry with my front-loading machine before, but if the laundry's really dirty, it often comes out of the washer nearly as dirty as it went in...  

A wasp-free climber and swingset makeover

wasps everywhere swingset

For whatever reason, wasps have decided to make our children's backyard swingset their home. The number of wasps living in every concealed crack and crevice in this thing was astounding...  

Meat Claws are my new favorite kitchen tools

meat claws

I picked up a pair of Meat Claws recently and couldn't wait to try them out! I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets, and the package promised that they would "shred meat easily." My sons told me I looked like Wolverine.  

We couldn’t throw our old couch away


Something strange happened when we tried to get rid of our old couch. Our family room couch has seen better days. I bought this sectional when I was in college -- one of my first "grown-up" purchases...  

My black leather trenchcoat

My black leather trenchcoat

I've owned this black leather trenchcoat for more than 17 years, but the coat is older than I am. This coat has a story, and this seems as good a time as any to tell it...  

Why don’t they make bed sheets like this any more?

Bed sheet with a mitered corner

I found this delightful vintage package of two cotton fitted twin-size bed sheets for $1.99 that were made sometime in the 1950s! These sheets have no elastic -- they're truly a "fitted sheet" with a mitered corner...  

What’s in your trunk? Three things to carry at all times…

Trunk backpack

I believe everyone should be prepared, even minimally, for a situation in which you may not reach your destination due to weather or other complications. What's in your vehicle's trunk right now? At a bare minimum, I recommend you carry...  

My love for old Corning Ware dishes

Corning Ware

If I ever wrote a second blog, it would be an ode to my favorite cookware, Corning Ware, and all the things I do with it. My mom got me hooked on Corning Ware when I was a 20-something setting up my first house...  

The Clean Dishes Challenge: Battle of the Dishwasher Detergents


Is your dishwasher not getting your dishes as clean as it used to? If it isn't, you might be surprised to learn that your dishwasher may be fine -- the actual problem could be with your detergent...  

Foodnext >< prev

Sweet & Tangy Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

This one's a family favorite in our house -- the kind of food that everyone runs to the table to eat once I serve it up!  

A year’s worth of Survival Soup for under $300? I tried it.

survival soup cup

“Have you seen the recipe for a survival soup for preparing for disasters? It says you can store a year's worth of soup ingredients for four people for under $300..."  

Recipe: Ridiculously Easy 5-Minute Tortilla Soup

tortilla soup

This "Ridiculously Easy 5-Minute Tortilla Soup" is one of my favorite slow-cooker recipes to make! Aside from opening cans and dumping them into your slow cooker, you can have this simmering in a pot in less than five minutes...  

Making a jar of cake-mix “upsizer”

Cake Mix Upsizer

As we’ve discussed before here on the blog, it’s getting difficult to find a cake mix that hasn’t been reduced from 18.25 ounces to 15.25 ounces. This week, two things came up that made me want to work on a solution of sorts to this issue. First, I wanted to make my favorite lemon streusel [...]

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes – make it at home!

Artisan bread

This week, by reader request, I added a Recipes section to the Forum here on the blog. And, reading the recipes readers have been posting inspired me to share this one with you all. Around fall of last year, I came across this Instructable online for “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” It seemed [...]

The Most Perfect Hawaiian Pizza

Coconut water pizza crust

When we visited Kauai in August, everyone in our family was enamored with the pizza we enjoyed in Hanalei. It featured a multigrain crust made with coconut water. For this recipe, I wanted to incorporate coconut water and coconut oil...

Recipe: Campfire Dutch Oven Apple Dump Cake

Campfire dump cake

Dutch ovens are great for making "Dump Cakes," meaning, you dump everything into the oven, close it up, and let it bake. My boys made their own Dump Cake during our weekend campout -- so simple and so delicious...  

Octopus Flowers, “Cobra Skin,” and Watermelon Tuna: My gastronomic dining experience

Cobra Skin

Chef Adam Melonas prepared a gastronomic dining experience that lasted over three hours. Adam specializes in progressive cuisine, or what some call molecular gastronomy. It is an art of presenting foods in ways you've likely never seen...  

Travelnext >< prev

My search for the perfect family camping tent

Large Ozark Trail tent

I love to camp. My parents were (and still are!) avid campers. My earliest childhood memory is camping in my mom and dad's big blue canvas cabin tent. Incredibly, that big canvas tent is still around...  

Driving across South Dakota

Beautiful South Dakota

Our RV tour's scheduled stops for the day included a visit to the Mitchell Corn Palace, an on-your-own lunch, and an ice cream social at the legendary Wall Drug, which my boys were very excited about...  

Our 2015 Walt Disney World Vacation – Part 1: MagicBands, Memory Maker, park days and downtown days


My family and I were privileged to head back to Walt Disney World for the Flower and Garden Festival. So much has changed since our previous stay at Walt Disney World five years ago...  

A bargain-priced idea for luggage organization

Travel bags

A few months ago, when I went on the All American RV Blogger Tour, one of the gifts I received was a set of Eagle Creek Pack-Its, which are small zipper bags that you can use inside a suitcase to organize socks, underwear and other items: The lightweight bags are made of nylon. After using [...]

The All American RV Blogger Tour: Indiana to Utah


I and 15 other bloggers took part in the All American RV Blogger Tour! This was a first-of-its-kind event designed to send bloggers on a cross-country journey from Indiana to Utah...  

Day-pack essentials for theme park trips

Swiss day pack

Whether our family's headed to Disney, Universal, Six Flags or another destination, I always bring what my family affectionately calls my "black backpack" on all of our theme park trips. I don't like carrying a purse when we're in theme-park commando mode. A few years ago I discovered the perfect small, yet durable sling-style backpack...  

A Midwest Spring Break Staycation

oh yes kiss

Our children are on Spring Break, and we're staying in the Midwest "staycationing." In the past two days, we've visited a museum, gone bowling and played at an amazing arcade...  

My must-have when traveling with carry-on luggage


One of my favorite travel tips when I’m traveling with carry-on luggage? Always take a second, lightweight tote bag with you that’s slightly larger than the “personal item” you carry on. You just may need it to comply with the airlines’ “One carry-on, one personal item” rule. I typically travel with a rolling carry-on suitcase [...]

Devil’s Tower and a drive to Utah

Devils Tower

Our campground host let us know we'd likely see both wild turkeys and deer outside our cabin windows in the morning. My husband woke up and stepped outside onto the deck, where he took this photo...  

Top ways to save on your Walt Disney World vacation


I'm always happy to answer questions on where to stay, resort amenities and dining. Learn about Disney resort rooms for under $100 per night and a special "Buy 4, Get the 5th day FREE" offer on park passes - just $64.59 per day!  

Go west, Disney dreamers! Disneyland on a budget

Cars Land

We were due for a Disney trip again, but several elements came together to lead us to consider Disneyland in Anaheim, California over heading in the Orlando direction...  

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse

Mount Rushmore

I cannot fully express in words how beautiful Mount Rushmore is in person. It's breathtaking. I remember seeing it as a child and being in awe of how beautiful it is. My boys, ages 6 and 9, were also completely enamored...  

Entertainmentnext >< prev

“High Strung” opens in theaters April 8th

high strung movie

If you enjoy stories of triumph over adversity, music, and lots of dance, there's a new movie that fits the bill! "High Strung" is the story of Ruby, a dancer who moves to New York City on a dance scholarship...  

New trailer for Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR


We've got a brand-new trailer today for Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR today, and does it ever look fun. (Wait til you spot who shows up at the end!) Our entire household is looking forward to this one...  

Festival of the Sugar Maples: Coral Woods


Looking for something fun to do with your family this weekend? Coral Woods Conservation Area is hosting its annual Festival of the Sugar Maples March 12-13, 2016. Taste maple syrup made right in McHenry County, Illinois!  

Review: Medieval Times Schaumburg, IL

Medieval Times

Have you ever experienced Medieval Times? Cheering for your favorite knight, watching the incredible horsemanship, and eating 11th-century style (with your hands!) is all part of the fun.  

We just wanted to watch the original “Jurassic Park” tonight…


Earlier this week, we took the kids to see "Jurassic World." Our boys knew it would be all about dinosaurs, but they hadn't seen the first movie. We promised the kids that we'd watch the original "Jurassic Park" this weekend...  

Avengers: Age of Ultron Gillette razors have taken over our household

Gillette Avengers Age of Ultron razors

The Cataldo household is in full Avengers-anticipation mode right now. You can only imagine the excitement that was brewing in our house when this Avengers-themed briefcase arrived at our door...

Bounty with Dawn paper towels are great for scrubbing the stars


A week ago today, I was in sunny Hollywood, California for a television appearance. My hotel was located just a few blocks from KISS' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And, you see, the KISS Army takes good care of this star...  

Gymboree punctuation police

Gymboree Whats Canoe

During a recent Gymboree pajama sale, I bought these cute applique camping-themed pajamas for my youngest son. When they arrived, I noticed something that I hadn't seen clearly in the online preview..!  

Our #DisneySide @Home Celebration: Disney sent a party to our house!

Mickey Mouse cake

Disney selected our family for a DisneySide at Home party! Disney sent a box of party supplies, treats, party games, prizes home decorations, goodie bags and gifts for our guests. We picked a date, invited friends and family...  

Signs, signs, everywhere the signs!

Sasquatch Sized Deal

I thought I'd share some of the funny signs I spotted over the past month or so while shopping around the area... like ""Find Out What Happens When You Get Your Girl Some Camo!"  

Grocery sticker shock from down under

Expensive Aussie Cokes

Some friends of ours are spending their vacation in Australia. My friend Jen shared these photos today from a Queensland supermarket. She writes, "Some interesting differences in Australia!"  

Off the grid

Cave camping

My 4G signal doesn't work so well when I'm 77 feet underground. Our family's been camping in a cave in Wisconsin for the past three days. It was chilly, wet, muddy and amazing...