Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Junk Mail - No More!

Junk mail.  Who wants it - no one.  Who gets it - everyone!  Before you throw away those preapproved credit card offers and those useless catalogs full of entertaining items you would never purchase, check out different ways to use your junk mail!

Catalogs - catalogs are full of fonts of all sizes and colors.  Hold onto these for the next time your kid is assigned a collage or a craft as homework.  Your printer will thank you.

Credit Card Offers - toss the paper and keep the card (as long as it doesn't have your name and an actual credit card number on it).  These make for great wallet stuffers for kids to play with.  I also keep one in my desk drawer at work.  It is the perfect size to pick a dust bunny out of a keyboard if bottles of air aren't available.

Direct Mail Pieces - similar to catalogs, these are great to cut up and use for arts and crafts.  I also tape index cards and recipes onto the thick paper and put those in my recipe books.  The weight of the paper helps keep the recipe from crumbling over time.

Return Address Labels - label everything!  Stick them on the inside of a DVD case, the cover of a book, or anything else you may lend to a family member or friend.  It's a sure way to guarantee you will be able to find your stuff once it's borrowed.

Envelopes and Letters - paper burns.  Keep a pile of junk mail readily available for a last minute fire.  It's a great alternative to the trash man digging through your trash and discovering personal information.

As you can see, junk mail can serve as more than an annoyance.  What do you do with your junk mail?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kroger Deals

This week's Kroger Circ Ad for the Cincinnati division is full of great deals and lowered prices!  While I do not have a comprehensive list of all of the great deals, here are the ones I am most excited about:

Coupon Items:
Colgate Toothpaste - $1
Coupon:  $1

Pillsbury Brownie Mix - $1
Coupon:  $1/2
OOP:  $0.50 each

Tide Detergent - $8.99
Coupon:  $3
OOP:  $5.99

Just Great Deals:
Kroger Peanut Butter - $1
Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables - $1
Bic Disposable Razors - $3.99
V05 Shampoo and Conditioner - $0.77
Pepsi and Coke 12 pack - $2.50 (Buy 4, get 2)
Kroger Dip - $1
Kroger Hot Dog Buns - $1
Kroger Hamburger Buns - $1
Doritos/Lays - $1.99
Pop Tarts - $1.80
Kroger Frozen Treats - $1

We are having some family over for Labor Day weekend, and will definitely take advantage of the soda sale.  We normally purchase 2 liters, but we can get many more drinks out of the 12 pack sale this week. 

What deals are you most excited for this week?
For a full list of Kroger deals in the Cincinnati area, visit http://www.mommysnacks.net/.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kroger Private Selection Grinders Giveaway

I am very excited to offer my first giveaway! 

I am a huge Kroger loyalist and can't imagine the idea of shopping any other grocery store.  The variety of products in their own store brand astounds me, and quite honestly, is normally better than a national brand in terms of taste, price, and quality. 

When I grill or need to add some subtle flavor to my meat, I grab Kroger Private Selection Grinders.  My favorite is Sea Salt.  Something about it just makes everything taste so perfect.  I also add it to my unsalted popcorn for just the slightest hint of flavoring. Mmmm!

To celebrate the end of summer and beginning of fall cookouts, I am giving away a set of Kroger Private Selection Grinders, valued at $20.  There are six in the set - Peppercorn Medley, Whole Black Peppercorns, Steakhouse Seasoning, Garlic and Pepper, Spicy Italian Herb Seasoning and Sea Salt.  The perfect combination for all grilled foods, right?!

You can enter this contest two ways:
1 - Leave a comment below on the medleys.  How would you use them?  When would you use them?  What kinds of food would you put them in?
2 - Tweet the following "Win a Private Selection Grinders Set from @BuddyBits. Contest ends 8/31/10! Enter at http://tinyurl.com/bbitsgrinder". Then leave a comment stating you tweeted the giveaway.

The contest ends 8/31/10 at 7pm EST.  Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  Winner will be chosen at random.

Disclosure:  I did not receive compensation or product for this giveaway from The Kroger Company.  The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the bloggers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Organizing Hundreds of Coupons

Keeping your coupons organized is a must for any avid couponer.  There is nothing worse than getting to the grocery store and having to sort through hundreds of coupons to find the ten or twelve (or fifty) that are applicable to your order.  (Well, dropping them all over the floor at the grocery store is worse I suppose).

Many couponers have found the secret to staying organized is not a one-size-fits-all system.  It all depends on how you shop and how you can stay organized.  It also is based on how many deals you want to take advantage of.  If you try and hit every deal, you are sure to become exhausted, but what if you wanted to stock up and donate?  Should you keep every coupon, every insert that comes your way?  I can't answer that - only you can choose the system that works for you.

I stay organized by using a 13 pocket organizer.  11 pockets are dedicated for storing coupons between trips to the store.  I have them grouped alphabetically (though within each pocket the coupons are not alphabetical).  A/B, C/D, E/F, G/H, I/J, K/L, M/N, O/P, Q/R, S/T, U/V/W/X/Y/Z.  Going through one pocket at a time is much easier and I can look based on the brand I want to compare.  I started out with a category heading (produce, meat, canned goods, frozen, etc) and found that I really just wanted to see if XYZ brand was going to give me a better deal with a coupon.  The back pocket of my file holds the coupons I plan to use on my shopping trip.  Getting them organized prior to the trip saves me lots of time in the store.  The front pocket holds any coupons for retail stores or restaurants.

I also keep a running spreadsheet with all of my coupons listed.  I have the following column heads "Item" "Quantity" "Deal" "Expiration" and "Source".  The item column contains the products, the quantity column contains the number of actual coupons I have available, the deal column lists the coupon value ($1/2, BOGO, FREE, $.25), the expiration column lists the expiration date, and the source column lists if it is a paper coupon that I have in hand, or a coupon loaded onto my Kroger Plus Card.  I sort the spreadsheet alphabetically and then by expiration.  That way, I know which coupons to use up first when there are multiple coupons for the same item.  I print this out and take it to the store with me for a quick reference guide.

Some may say this is a little excessive, but it's what keeps me organized.  How do you organize your coupons?  What methods have you tried and found to be unsuccessful?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Early Tuesday morning I stumbled across a tweet from one of my favorite deal finders, @TweetsDeals.  The tweet "Get FREE Flipped Movie Screening Tickets only available for http://bit.ly/9OFTu4".  I figured it wouldn't hurt to try.  And, guess what?!  I was able to score two free passes for the screening.  At this point, I need to get to work, so I quickly sent a few text messages, secured a 'date' for the evening, and was set to go.

As the clock ticks closer to 7pm, I get anxious.  I haven't heard of the movie Flipped before, and honestly didn't know what to expect.  My pass just had a small picture on it, which I presume will be the movie cover when it is released.  The copy said "You never forget your first love".  Sounds like my kind of movie, so off we went.

My friend Skye and I went into a very crowded theater and found two pretty awesome seats together.  We whisper about what we think the film will be about, and then it starts.

The next hour and a half went by so quickly.  We first meet our main characters, Juli and Bryce as adorable 7 year olds.  Skye and I are sucked in already - puppy love is too cute to resist.  We travel through time with the two of them, each telling their own version of turning points in their relationship.  Are their feelings mutual or one-sided?  Can they really be seeing things so differently?  How will this end?  All questions that are somewhat answered through the movie.  I won't give away the ending, because, I do recommend everyone see it at some point. 

My main takeaways?  Honesty is always best (note the egg plotline when you do see the movie).  A first kiss only comes once (the biggest plotline of the movie).  Family is important.  Outside appearances aren't always telling.  Taking a stand means you may get made fun of, but is sooo worth it in the end (sycamore tree plotline). 

Overall, the movie was excellent.  It drove home important values that don't seem to be prevalent in mainstream media today.  It is a wholesome family film that can be enjoyed by all.  My only complaint is the end.  I wish they had concluded it with that first kiss.  What a scene that would be.  Oh well, I hear it is based on a book, and I am not sure how the book ends.  Maybe I'll pick it up and compare it.  We shall see.  Until then, I saw a great movie, with great company, for FREE!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Friendship is not something to take lightly.  It takes a lot of time and effort in being a good friend.  Many people disagree, but I do have my reasons.  First - think of scheduling conflicts.  Trying to get away from the day-to-day for a phone conversation that has substance or a coffee break without kids, husbands, etc. can be a daunting task.  Second - it's hard to be a good listener.  Part of being a great friend is being a good listener and knowing when to interject and when to remain silent.  It's such a valued skill that college courses in Interpersonal Communication are offered!  Third - being a good friend means putting others before yourself.  This may come in the form of holding your tongue, going on a trip that is not your cup of tea, or letting someone else choose where to go for dinner.  All are sacrifices, and granted, they are great experiences that mold and shape you, but it can be hard to put your needs and wants behind those of others.

I could go on and on, but this is a blog post, not a novel.  The point of this post is to share how I view friendship.  Being a good friend means a lot to me.  So much so, that when I heard my best friend would be coming home for two weeks (home for her being a suburb of Chicago), I immediately scheduled some time off of work, booked a flight, and began planning a 48 hour whirlwind trip - just to spend some quality face-to-face time with her.  The last time I saw her was a year and a half ago at my wedding.  Prior to that, it had been at my cousin's baby shower.  Our friendship has always been long distance, with her living in Illinois, then Arizona, and now California, and me always in Kentucky.  But we made it work, and it is all because of our first encounter, 22 years ago.

Our first exchange goes something like this:
Kelly, age 3, snuck into the backyard of her grandmother’s neighbor and was swinging on the shiny swingset.

Marie, age 3, was not happy to find a stranger on her swing set. She came out of the house screaming “what are you doing? Get off of my swings.”

Kelly, horrified, ran into her grandmother’s house crying about the mean girl.

Nanny, Kelly’s grandmother, walked Kelly over and made her apologize to Marie.

Marie accepted and Kelly and Marie have been best friends since that day.

Since that fateful spring day more than two decades ago, hundreds of letters, cards, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages have been exchanged. Marie has since moved from Chicago to Los Angeles where she is pursuing an acting and modeling career while working as a therapist with young children. I have stayed in Kentucky, pursuing my goals of higher education, a career in the communications field, and marriage. Despite our drastically different lifestyles, we make it a point to get together whenever possible and catch up on all life has dealt us.

In Marie I have found the kind of friendship that I think all women need. She provides a shoulder to cry on and gives advice, but without being judgmental. She also tells it like it is, but without making me feel like a child. She is funny and easy to talk to. I think all women need this kind of friend, and this kind of friendship. The kind where you could go months or years without speaking then you pick up the phone and there you are, right where you left off.

Friendship is a true gift. One that should be cherished and treated like the finest treasure in all the land. I’m very grateful for all of the people who I can call my true friends.

Kelly and Marie - August 13, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fun Frugal Finds

I sometimes find myself fighting the urge to shop.  In college, I shopped when I was happy, when I was sad, when I needed a break from studying, or to kill time.  I didn't care about finding a great deal per se, I cared about finding a cute outfit or the most perfect pair of shoes.  And... I paid FULL PRICE!  The thought makes me cringe now, so I shop the deals. And, quite honestly, I get more compliments on my "fun frugal finds" than I ever did on my random shopping acquisitions. 

Below are just some of my fun frual finds of late.  Enjoy!

Sandals from Target - $4.94 (Regular $19.99).

Photo accessed from http://www.target.com/

Draped Asymmetrical Top from New York and Company - $4.99 (Regular $32.95).  I found this as it was just being marked down.  What a steal!

Photo accessed from http://www.nyandco.com/.

Chicago Cubs T-Shirt from Victoria's Secret - $19.99 (Regular $32.00).  I would have waited for it to be discounted even further, except they don't sell this in my area.
Photo accessed from http://www.cubbiesbaseball.com/.

What is your favorite frugal find?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scrumptious Savings

Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do.  Crazy, right?  Well, not so much.  I love the challenge of meeting a budget, yet not sacrificing my basic needs and some of my wants.  There are many ways I have learned to save money - couponing, manager sale racks, price lists, and NEVER paying full price for anything.  When I hit an especially good sale or I help someone who didn't know about a deal, I like to reward myself for a job well done.

One of my favorite rewards is a nice warm, freshly baked cupcake.  There is nothing better (okay, cookies and brownies tie for a close second) than the aroma of cupcakes rising in the oven, the sight of batter and sugar everywhere, and finally, the sight of the perfect dessert, right out of the oven.

It's so easy to save on these items too.  Betty Crocker regularly has coupons for cake mix and frosting, as does Pillsbury and Duncan Hines.  If you are in a hurry, it takes no time at all to run to the baking aisle in Kroger and pick up a box of mix and a tub of frosting.  Hand the cashier your coupon, and viola! - instant savings!  Pre-made frosting can get expensive though.  I try to keep ingredients for frosting stocked in my house so that I can make my own.  It's more fun to experiment with flavors and coloring this way too.  When I priced out the cost of a single tub of frosting ($1.19 - $2.09 in my local store), I found that I can make my own for about one-fourth of that cost - roughly $0.30 - $0.55 a batch.  All it takes are some basic baking ingredients and a little extra time.  So why not stock up on these ingredients and some cupcake/brownie/cookie mixes (I alternate making from scratch and using boxes) and make your own instead of buying from the store? 

After I make all the cupcakes and the frosting, I use Wilton's baking products and spread my icing on with icing bags and special tips, based on my mood.  Somedays I want smooth creamy icing, other days I want stars and flowers.  Wilton's had a ton of pans, icing, food coloring, decorating items and more! You can find Wilton's products 30% off this week only at Hobby Lobby. http://www.hobbylobby.com/weekly/coupon.cfm

How do you save while baking? 

My favorite frosting recipe is out of my mother's old cookbook, but also available on Betty Crocker's website:  http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/buttercream-frosting/47ee314b-a783-4bd9-907a-1829a60104aa

4 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of shortening
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat powdered sugar, butter, and shortening together with an electric mixer.  Add milk and vanilla in until smooth and creamy.  Add in small amounts of milk if a creamier texture is desired (I use 1% and find that I typically use about 3 1/2 tablespoons).  This will frost 2 13x9 cakes.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am "that person".  The one who sets high expectations for herself, the one who takes on project after project yet lets about 5% of them fall by the wayside for one reason or another.  The one who strives for perfection and cries in the bathtub when I fall short.  The one who wants to be the best that I can be.  You know, "that person".

This blog will act as a multi-faceted outlet for many things - savings, couponing, ways to be creative on a dime, my musings, thoughts and feelings, and a place for my life's stories to be told.  I hope that you find my tips and suggestions helpful.  I hope that you find my musings and stories entertaining.  That is my goal.

I want to be "that person" who can tug on some heartstrings by sharing some life experiences.  I want to be "that person" who shares some great deals so that we all can save money for the things we really want, and spend less on the things we need to survive.  I want to be "that person" who grows as this blog grows.  That is the person that I want to be.