New This Week


New Super-Couponing Tips column: Dollar store coupon shopping

“The 10-ounce pumps were on sale for $2 at the grocery store, but I saw a bunch of other pump bottles that said ‘50 percent more’ and had 11.25 ounces of soap. These were also on sale for $2. I thought…  


Hey Chicago, what do you say?

My Cubbies won it big today!  


I won a family trip, but I can’t go! Can you?

Earlier this month, I entered a contest to win an “Ultimate Staycation” trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and guess what? I won! As much as we’d love to go, we simply can’t swing this, so I’m giving it away! Can you go?  


Jewel-Osco’s O Organics line: Organic for All™

Recently, Jewel-Osco invited me to a bloggers’ event to experience, eat, and cook with O Organics foods! The event took place at Kendall College, Chicago’s leading culinary institute…  

Shopping and Savingnext >< prev

Coupon Matchups: CVS Deals of the Week 10/23/16 – 10/29/16

CVS pharmacy

.49 Colgate Max toothpaste, .74 Palmolive dish detergent, .99 Colgate mouthwash, $1.24 Dole fruit cups, $1.50 Brach's candy, $1.70 Hershey's Harvest, $2.58 Brawny, $2.78 Quilted Northern, $2.88 Angel Soft  

Coupon Matchups: Walgreens Deals of the Week 10/23/16 – 10/29/16


.49 Colgate toothpaste, .74 Ajax dish soap, $1 Brach's candy, $1.25 M&Ms, $1.32 Nestle and $1.49 Mars Halloween candy, $2 Lysol cleaners, $2.25 Dunkin Donuts creamer, $2.50 Kraft string cheese, $2.50 Revlon Colorsilk  

Rebate and Coupon Deals: Menards 10/16/16 – 10/22/16


$1.58 Splash washer fluid, $1.95 assorted chocolates, $6.99 Libman push broom, $7.11 Xtra laundry detergent, $59.63 Camo duffel bag set, $80.09 LED HDTV with DVD player, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers  

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 10/19/16 – 10/25/16


.50 Creamette pasta, .79 Dr. Pepper 2-liters, $1 Bertolli pasta sauce, $1.17 Old Orchard juices, $1.33 Dove, Snickers, Twix ice cream bars, $1.38 Kellogg's cereals, $1.48 Pop-Tarts, $2 Juicy Juice, $2 Marzetti's caramel dip  

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 10/13/16 – 10/19/16


.50 Ivory soap, .66 Pillsbury rolls, .66 Whisker Lickins cat treats, .75 Canine Carry Outs dog treats, .75 Chex Mix, .75 Old Orchard juice concentrates, .75 Totino's Party Pizzas, $1.12 Sunbelt granola bars, $1.49 Eggland's Best eggs changing to phone number authentication

cellphone announced today that they are moving away from the coupon-printing plugin in favor of a phone-number authentication system. You will be required to authenticate your device with a text message...  

What’s inside the Fall 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 Fall 2016 box this week, and here's what's inside...  

Current National Catalina offers: October 2016

Epson Catalina

Catalina offers for October 2016 include Abound pet food, Aveeno, Enjoy Life, Glade, Red Gold, Terra, Ziploc and more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: October 2016

coupon inserts

Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months. If you have any of the following inserts in your files, you can pull them out and recycle them... nbsp;

I’m covering the O Organics: Organic For All event


I'm in Chicago today to cover the O Organics: Organic For All media event for Jewel-Osco! I'll post a full writeup and update once I'm home, but if you'd like to follow along in real-time, you can follow my adventures on social media...  

One morning, two Menards, five deals. (Okay… six!)


I went to Menards this morning to grab some sale, coupon, and rebate deals. Today was all about bargain-priced cleaners, motor oil, and of course, free toothbrushes! I spotted a great price on coolers too...  

Great prices on clearance bedsheets at Meijer


I spotted some good bedsheet clearance prices at Meijer: Room & Retreat XL Twin sheets are just $5 per set! Black Label 600-count full size sheet sets are $17.50, marked down from $69.99 per set...  

Smile: You’re on checkout camera!


My local Walmart store had recently installed a bank of self-checkout machines. After scanning my items and inserting payment, I stood at the machine waiting for my transaction to finish, and that's when I saw it...  

Meijer Mperks savings for entertaining a crowd


I headed over to Meijer today to pick up a bunch of sale items that currently have Mperks electronic coupon offers too: Lots of meats, snacks, sides, and other ingredients perfect for entertaining...  

Summertime clearances all over town


Over the past week, I have seen some great deals on outdoor gear and summertime supplies at multiple stores. This is such a great time to pick up seasonal bargains on things as many warm-weather items are deeply discounted...  

Jewel-Osco partners with Hunger Is initiative


For the month of September, Jewel-Osco is supporting the national Hunger Is initiative to aid childhood hunger relief efforts. We are very fortunate that in our home, there's never a question that there will be food on the table...  

Current National Catalina offers: September 2016

Epson Catalina

Catalina offers for September 2016 include Axe, Band-Aid, Barilla, Cottonelle, Fixodent, Glade, Heluva Good, Huggies, Jell-O, Kleenex, Magnum, Milo's Kitchen, Morning Star Farms, Nature Valley, Nestea, Scrubbing Bubbles & more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: September 2016

coupon inserts

It's September! Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months. If you have any of the following inserts in your files, you can pull them out and recycle them... nbsp;

Meijer Mperks tips & tricks for new users (and old pros!)


Whether you're a new user of Meijer Mperks electronic coupons or an old pro, here are a few tips to help you maximize your savings with Mperks! It's worth reading the terms of each offer you load...  

I don’t think Kmart’s long for the world


My closest Kmart is more than 45 minutes away, and there simply isn't much in the way of sale enticement to encourage visiting the store on a regular basis anymore. That said, back in June, we stopped at the Rockford Kmart...  

Current National Catalina offers: August 2016

Epson Catalina

Here is a list of Catalina offers for August 2016. Most of these are believed to be national offers, though in each product's case, I am noting the store that the alert printed at. If a Catalina is known to be a store-specific offer...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: August 2016

coupon inserts

August already? Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months. If you have any of the following inserts in your files, you can pull them out and recycle them...  

Why you shouldn’t support printable coupon resellers


The same process that makes it easier to save coupons as PDFs for future printing also makes it easier to save them en masse and send the PDF files digitally to someone else. This spawned a new “industry” of resellers...  

It’s July: Summer’s over.


Summer officially began on June 20th, but at least as far as one retailer is concerned, summer is apparently over -- less than two weeks later! Yesterday we went to Meijer and were greeted with this sign...  

Home and Stylenext >< prev

Putting two new HD television antennas to the test


Our existing roof-mounted antenna is old and has multiple broken elements from tree branches falling into it over the years. Antennas Direct offered me two antennas to review, and I was really surprised...  

A budget book for my daughter’s college life


While there are plenty of software solutions for personal budgets, there's something to be said for the simplicity of a budget book -- and she liked the idea of a book that would also organize her bills...  

Goodbye to the wedding dresses

wedding dress

One of my friends reached out and said she didn't want to keep her wedding dress anymore. She wasn't sure if it was worth trying to sell it. "You're good with money -- do you think it's worth anything?"  

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...  

This weed torch is my favorite garden tool


Every year, our family plants a vegetable garden, and every year, despite my best intentions, there comes a point in time when the garden becomes more than a little overrun with weeds...  

How does my garden grow? With stinky deer repellent spray


Are you growing a garden this year? A new pest recently entered our yard: a beautiful doe who loves to eat our green bean and soybean plants. Don't get me wrong -- she's a very pretty deer, but...  

Kitchen and bathroom cleaning with Mean Green


One of my readers asked me to tackle a "dirty microwave" and see what Mean Green could do. In preparation, I stopped wiping down the inside of our microwave for (yuck!) two months. All in the name of research, I assure you...  

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...  

My deck stain report: One year later


I detailed my deck refinishing project in 2015 and had high hopes for the deck stain I chose. Since that time, I've had curious readers writing to ask how my deck currently looks. How did it weather over the past year?  

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...  

Reminder: Wash your reusable shopping bags


Here’s something I admittedly don’t do often enough: Wash my reusable shopping bags. I actually do prefer using reusable bags when I shop, because I think they’re much stronger than the thin plastic ones...  

Foodnext >< prev

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: 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...  

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 [...]

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..."  

Making a jar of cake-mix “upsizer”

Cake Mix Upsizer

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...  

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...  

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!  

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

Walt Disney World 2016: Social Media Moms, Animal Kingdom at Night, Star Wars Awakens


After our 2015 Walt Disney World experience, I told my children, "I hope you keep these memories for a lifetime, because we'll probably never do Disney quite like that again." How wrong I was. Two years in a row?  

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...  

Disneyland in one day… with preschoolers.


For a fresh perspective on Disneyland, I sent my sister and her family on assignment for my blog. Lynn is a public school teacher and mother of two preschoolers. This was her first trip to a Disney park with her children...  

Rushmore Cave and Ziplining in the Black Hills

Rushmore Cave

Rushmore Cave is located in Keystone, South Dakota and has been entertaining visitors since the 1920s. Unlike the national park caves, Rushmore Cave is more of an adventure destination with multiple activities...  

The staycation that turned to a… vacation?

Indianapolis Zoo

How far from home do you have to drive before your staycation qualifies as a vacation? Our friends invited us down for a visit to the Indianapolis Zoo. My boys were up for a little road trip...  

Our 2016 Walt Disney World trip: More Disney days, more fun!


We had such a wonderful time on this trip, and I still can't believe we went to Disney again, nearly one year to the day from our previous trip. Would it surprise you to learn that I am already thinking about our next trip?  

Visiting the Mall of America

Mall of America

The Mall of America is home to the largest indoor theme park in the United States, Nickelodeon Universe. There are 30 rides inside the mall, as well as a high ropes course and a mini golf course...  

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...  

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...  

Taking the RV from Indiana to Minnesota


We woke up to a sunny day in Middlebury, Indiana. The KOA campground we stayed at has a lot of amenities to enjoy, including mini golf, bicycle and paddleboat rentals. They had a large swimming pool...  

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...  

Three days in the Dells: A weekend away that’s close to home!


Ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed going to Wisconsin Dells for vacations, long weekends or short getaways. Our family recently spent a long weekend in the Dells, and there are truly so many things to do in this area...  

Make Thisnext >< prev

Building a kitchen countertop extension


Our daughter's new apartment really only has one issue -- limited counter space and no place to put a microwave or other small appliances. I got the idea to build a countertop extension for her kitchen...  

Our ultimate one-minute theme park tailgating setup

tailgating at six flags

Our family has had a fun summer of enjoying days at the zoo, water parks, and theme parks. My kids actually look forward to our lunchtime tailgating, as we can completely set it up in under one minute...  

Pooh to Pikachu

Pooh to Pikachu

This year, when I asked my son what kind of cake he wanted, he said "Pikachu." The popular Pokemon character is certainly cute, but how to best capture him in cake form? Many of my cakes take shape...  

Easy kids’ craft: Make a can candle

Can candle

I believe I was around 7 or 8 years old when we made tin can candles, and so I did a quick web search to see if my juvenile memories of it were correct. Incredibly, I couldn't find anything online about how to make these...  

Mending my family’s clothes: How to fix worn jeans “invisibly”

Worn jeans

While I could put patches over these ripped knees, I also don't want my kids to be self-conscious of an obvious repair job. I want to share how I've been able to extend the life of my sons' jeans by patching them invisibly...  

How to make a large utility tote for less than $20

How to make a utility tote

If you've been wanting a large utility tote without spending too much, and you have minimal sewing skills (like me!) read on and learn how you can make your own large utility tote from one yard of fabric for less than $20...  

The eighteen-year-old quilt

T Shirt Quilt

I came up with the idea to make a quilt for her eighteenth birthday. And for the past thirteen years, I've been saving our daughter's favorite shirts as she outgrew them. Everything from T-shirts and sports jerseys to pajamas...  

Here’s an idea for leftover wax from your wax melter


The wax melt packaging recommends that you pour the melted wax back into the clamshell packaging to dispose of it. Being frugal, I couldn't simply throw the wax away. So, we're reusing it in a creative way...  

Making a jar of cake-mix “upsizer”

Cake Mix Upsizer

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...  

Make your own “Slushy Magic” at home!


To recreate the Slushy Magic effect, it's important to understand how it works. Each cup comes with three plastic ice cubes filled with salt water. Salt water freezes at a lower temperature than plain water does...