New This Week


New Super-Couponing Tips column: Ghost coupons: Do they exist?

“I went through the ad for a national chain pharmacy when I saw a product on sale with a note in the ad saying that a coupon for the product is in Sunday’s paper. Guess what? It’s a ghost coupon … no coupon in my paper.”  


Pop-culture-infused fun at Wizard World Chicago

Wizard World is Chicagoland’s annual go-to event for all things pop culture. Whether you’re a fan of cosplay, superheroes, horror, manga, anime, comics, video games, or simply films and television shows…  


Sweet Island Ham & Pineapple Snackers + Giveaway!

I partnered with Buddig as a Deli Mom and create snacks with deli meats that aren’t sandwiches! This time, I took a reader’s suggestion to incorporate the sweet flavor of Hawaiian rolls with another Buddig lunchmeat treat…  

Shopping and Savingnext >< prev

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 8/31/16 – 9/6/16


FREE Noosa Sweet Heat, .48 Febreze products, .74 Pringles, .75 Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, .75 Wish Bone salad dressing, .99 Signature Select ice cream, $1 Tropicana lemonade, $1.38 General Mills cereals  

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 9/1/16 – 9/7/16


FREE Puffs tissues, .62 Dole mandarins or pineapple, .66 Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt, .68 Michelina's entrees, .83 Kleenex, $1 Dole Fruitocracy pouches, $1 Pringles, $1.17 Speed Stick deodorant, $1.49 Ziploc food storage  

Rebate and Coupon Deals: Menards 8/28/16 – 9/5/16


FREE Invinceable spray cleaner, FREE Picture hanging kit, FREE Pizza cutter, FREE Safety glasses, FREE Tool Shop rafter square, FREE Tool Shop tape measure, FREE Vinyl mini blinds, .99 Vermont American torpedo level  

Coupon Matchups: Walmart Deals of the Week 8/26/16 – 9/10/16


$5.47 Huggies baby wipes, $6.92 Alive multivitamins, $8.57 Clorox wipes 3-pack, $16.47 Bounty paper towels, many school supply deals  

Coupon Matchups: CVS Deals of the Week 8/28/16 – 9/3/16

CVS pharmacy

FREE Trolli gummy worms, FREE + moneymaker Puffs tissues, FREE Colgate toothpaste, .50 Renuzit cones, .74 Dawn dish detergent, .79 Wet & Wild cosmetics, .99 Colgate Total mouthwash, $1.25 Chex Mix, $1.49 Crest mouthwash  

Coupon Matchups: Walgreens Deals of the Week 8/28/16 – 9/3/16


.16 Crest mouthwash, .99 Butterball ground turkey, .99 Colgate mouthwash, .99 OxiClean laundry detergent, $1.49 General Mills cereals, $1.50 Windex, $1.50 Ziploc, $1.63 Shout, $2.50 Tums, $3.49 Cottonelle  

School Supply Deals: Office Depot & Max 8/28/16 – 9/3/16


.50 Office Depot composition books, .50 Office Depot filler paper, .50 Office Depot index cards, $1 Highmark hand sanitizer, $1 Office Depot 2-pack scissors, $1 Pentel RSVP pens, $1 Pentel Twist Erase mechanical pencils,  

School Supply Deals: Staples 8/28/16 – 9/3/16


.17 Staples 1-subject notebooks, .25 Westcott wood rulers, .48 Staples index cards, .50 Bic Round Stic grip pens, .50 Crayola crayons, .50 Staples report covers, .50 Staples composition books  

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 8/25/16 – 8/31/16


.75 Annie's mac and cheese, $1.12 Ball Park franks, $1.49 Post cereal, $1.50 Totino's Pizza Rolls, $1.62 Nabisco crackers, $1.94 Juicy Juice, $2.33 Quaker cereal and oatmeal, $2.49 Silk milk, $2.99 Tyson chicken nuggets, $3.49 Gorton  

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 8/24/16 – 8/30/16


FREE Noosa Sweet Heat yoghurt, .55 Dannon Oikos yogurt, .71 Dannon Light & Fit or Triple Zero yogurt, .75 Snack Artist pretzels, .78 Quaker Chewy and Snackwich bars, $1.25 Armour meatballs, $1.99 Stayfree products  

Rebate and Coupon Deals: Menards 8/21/16 – 9/5/16


FREE Aurora makeup remover, FREE gutter screen, FREE magnetic pick-up tool, FREE Paint brush, FREE Spic & Span wipes or dust mitt, FREE Splash car wash, FREE Tool Shop saw blades, .99 DAP Alex Plus caulk  

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...  

Current National Catalina offers: July 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for July 2016 include Cottonelle bath tissue, Mars ice cream treats, Gerber, Huggies, Tradewinds, Windex, and more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: July 2016

coupon inserts

July is here! Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months...  

Meijer Mperks: Have you signed up?


If you shop at Meijer and aren't taking advantage of the discounts available through Meijer's Mperks ecoupons, you're missing out on savings on everything from groceries to clothing! It's free to sign up for Mperks...  

“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...  

Home and Stylenext >< prev

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...  

Welcome to my summer office


One of the best parts of blogging for a living is being able to set my own hours and work from just about anywhere. I have a setup that I've nicknamed my "summer office," which is ready for summertime fun...  

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...  

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...  

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?"  

This weed torch is my new 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...  

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...  

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...  

Our daughter’s college journey: Weighing costs and education


"Have you shared any tips from shopping for colleges with your oldest daughter?" I've been receiving a few emails and messages asking about the path we chose for our daughter's education. and I'd be happy to share...  

Back to College: Is your student ready?


I can't believe back-to-school time is upon us again, and for our family, this time of year brings even more impact, as our oldest daughter is moving to college today. National College Move-In Week begins August 14th, 2016...  

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...  

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.  

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!  

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

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...  

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..."  

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...

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...  

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 [...]

Travelnext >< prev

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 [...]

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?  

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...  

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...  

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...  

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 [...]

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...  

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...  

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...  

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!  

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...  

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...  

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...