Blog

Cyber Monday Tips and Tricks!!

Cyber Monday

CYBER MONDAY!

tips & tricks
Did you get my tips for Black Friday!? Well… just in case you decide to skip the store and stay home with the family, don’t worry! You can still snag some GREAT deals on… Cyber Monday!
Last year, I did all our shopping exclusively on Cyber Monday and was able to get all my shopping done in just a few short hours! It was GLORIOUS!
I will say that our family Christmas lists are usually pretty small. Even with 5 kiddos, we like to keep things low key when it comes to gifts. You know… try and remember the REAL reason we celebrate the holiday and mushy stuff like that. For the past 10+ years, we have been using this really cute and simple Christmas gift list (if you click on the picture you can download a copy you can use – you’re welcome).
Christmas List
With this list in hand for each of my kids, I hit Cyber Monday like a champ!! Cyber Monday is all about getting the most bang for your buck. So here are a few tips, websites, and apps to help you win the day!
Cyber Monday – Best Sites & Apps
EBATES – If you are going to shop online, you might as well earn money back while you are at it. Just by clicking on your favorite stores THROUGH Ebates.com you can earn cash back on all your purchases… even AMAZON! This site is a no-brainer for sure! All you need to do is register on the site, click on the store you were going to shop anyway, and BAM! Money back! Slick, right?
EARNY – This one is another no-brainer site/app. All you need to do is sign up, and then based on purchase receipts from your email, Earny will watch for any price drops on the items you purchased. Then you get a refund! If you are worried about not getting the best deal. Sign up for this app and then you don’t have to fret. You will get the money back when the items go for a cheaper price! Easy peasy!
RETAIL ME NOT – While you are shopping through Ebates, before you click to purchase, open up Retail Me Not online and see if you can add a coupon code to your purchase! There are LOADS of coupon codes in this app and all you have to do is click to copy the code and you’ve just scored another sweet deal! Seriously soooo many offers!
AMAZON – Amazon will have LOADS of options for Cyber Monday. But here’s the thing. You MUST have Amazon Prime to get a really good value from this thing. When you are searching products, you can filter them by ones that offer Prime shipping which will save you a bunch. However… here’s the thing. Just because something is offering you Prime Shipping, that company may still be based in China and it will take you closer to 8-10 WEEKS to receive your items instead of the typical 2-day Prime shipping. Just speaking from experience here. When you look at your cart right before you checkout, Amazon will sort out how everything by when it will be shipped. Just do yourself a favor and double check that your Cyber Monday items will actually get to you before New Years. 🙂
SWAGBUCKS – This is a fun site. You can add an extension on your web browser and it will automatically find coupon codes for you for the items you are searching for. You can also earn more SB by taking surveys and such. Just be careful not to get sucked in too far in those. You can waste a LOT of time online doing those. BUT… if you are shopping online anyway, then you might as well double dip and earn extra rewards, right?!
Here are some obscure sites where you can find fun little oddities for that one really tough customer on your list…
Pick Your Plum – This site is supported by many small businesses, which I LOVE. There are tons of really fun items at low prices and a LOT of stuff that you can have personalized!
Zulily – Again… super fun site with loads of unique options. If you are looking for that one thing that you can’t find at a brick and mortar type store, check this site out.
Live Life on Less – Favorite Things – Or maybe you are looking at some direct sales or other small business type deals. I have a bunch of friends who have their own small businesses which I have linked on my site at the bottom of my Favorite Things! Have fun and tell those crazy friends of mine I said hello!
Ok – That’s about it.
What are your best Cyber Monday deals? Is this your first year trying it? I want to know what deals you snagged!! Join my Facebook group to share your awesome finds!
Happy Holidays!!

Black Friday Done Right!

 
Black Friday Done Right!
 
You guys!! How is Black Friday already happening NEXT WEEK! Does it feel like it has come a little earlier than normal this year? Or is it just me??
 
I have chatted with a few of you after the coupon classes about my best secrets and tips for getting the most out of Black Friday deals. Well… I decided it was time to share these tips with EVERYONE!
 
First thing you need to know is that not everything you see advertised for Black Friday is a good deal! Remember… those ads are ADVERTISING! If you are super excited to go buy something in the ad that means those marketers have done their job and done it well!
 
Decorations!
Do not buy decorations on Black Friday unless the store does like what Target did last year where you got a $25 gift card for spending $75 on holiday decor. Otherwise… wait until AFTER the holidays and scoop up goodies for next year at up to 75% off! Such a better deal if you wait a bit.
 
Winter Clothing!
I know it seems like a perfect time to snag a nice big puffy jacket, but the best deals will arrive in JANUARY! If you NEED to get jackets for the kiddos, you might save about 50% off Black Friday which isn’t a TERRIBLE deal, but if you hang tight until after the first of the year you can grab some even better deals!
 
Fitness Equipment!
You may be tempted to get a jump on your New Year’s Resolutions, but really the big sales hit AFTER New Year’s. Don’t get sucked in just yet. Take advantage of the extra few weeks and fill up on all the sweet things!! You have my permission. 🙂
 
Furniture!
Just to keep with the theme here… New furniture is released in February, so in January furniture stores will be looking to clear some floor space. That’s a great time to pop into your favorite furniture store place and then… ask to see the old floor models or the items that have a slight flaw or imperfection. If you know your kids are going to chew the legs of a dining room table anyway, why not get one pre-chewed for a song!?
 
Toys!
Yes, toys! These are some of the most advertised items on Black Friday, but typically stores put these items on deeper discounts closer to Christmas. Again… they need to clear those shelves. You DO run the risk of stores running out of “THE” toy of the season, but hey… kids need to learn about disappointment sometime, right?! HAHA! I’m only half kidding. Plus, if you were really planning ahead, you would have scooped up some major clearance items back in July!! What? You didn’t… well… now you know how to plan for next year. 

 

Anything Outdoors-ey!
I’m not sure that’s a word, but you know what I mean. Patio furniture, grills and those sort of items. Those best deals happen around Labor Day or as soon as summer is over. Same theory as getting Christmas decorations AFTER the holiday. Summer is just one long holiday, so next summer if you want to gift a grill, buy it early and try and keep it a secret for 4 months. Good luck.
 

 

Want some great tips for snagging those best deals??
 
#1 – Do your homework!
Most retailers have their Black Friday ads out right now! Look up your favorites, Kohls, Target, Walmart, GameStop, JCPenny, Amazon, and start making your Christmas list right away! Some of these stores are offering their BF Deals right NOW! Avoid the crazy and still start saving.
 
#2 – Get there early!
Some stores may be offering an extra bonus for their first few shoppers. If you are willing to stand in line, you could snag some extra cash, rewards, or even high end products. Throw on an extra layer of clothes and you may come home with a bonus!
 
#3 – Bring a friend…or 2…or 3!
My most successful Black Friday was when I went out with four of my friends. We each had copies of each other’s lists. We started at one store, and two of us stood in line while the others quickly gathered everyone’s items. When they were brought to the front of the store, we traded places! Two of us went on to the next store even to get a head start on deals down the street. We leapfrogged our way through a fun night of savings! We were extremely tired, and cold, but all our Christmas shopping was done in one day! This is CRAZY fun, but make sure the friends you bring along have the same eye for deals that you do! 🙂
 
#4 – Bring your coupons!
Did you know that some retailers offer coupons for non-food items for Black Friday?! Check the Coupon Database for items before you head to the store.
 
#5 – Stick to your BUDGET!

 

There may be some other items that catch your eye. Beware! These items could end up breaking your budget. If you are typically an impulse shopper, then go ahead and add a few extra bucks to your budget just in case. Make sure you have planned ahead for this special day.
 
GREAT BUDGET TIP… Plan out the stores you want to shop and plan the amount you will spend at each of them. THEN check your local grocery store and see if they sell gift cards for those stores! If you have a set limit to spend at the store, then you can easily make decisions to buy or cut back. ANNNDDD…. if your grocery store offers a rewards program or gas reward program, then you can double dip on the savings!! Whoot whoot!!
 
 
SHAMELESS PIG… I mean PLUG…
If you want more fun budgeting tips like this one… tune in to my Webinar tomorrow night, November 15th at 7:00PM (eastern time) for even MORE ways to get control of your spending!

 
With your registration you will automatically receive my Ultimate Budget Planning Kit that way we can walk through it together on Thursday! Fun, right?! I will ALSO open the webinar up for a live Q&A after we have discussed the REALLY coooooolll budgeting tool I’m sending you for the low, low cost of $10 :). Not bad, right!?
This kit will be sold in my Saving Shop after the webinar, but it NOT be this low of a price!
 
 
Have fun this Black Friday!!
But remember that while these deals may be spectacular, they may not be worth giving up valuable family time. You can always find another deal, but time with loved ones is priceless!
 
I hope you have a very happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday!!

 

 

Sources: 

Dealnews.com | Nerd Wallet | My Own Crazy Experiences

FREEZER MEALS – What they are and how to start a meal swapping group of your own!

IT’S FREEZER MEAL TIME!!
 
Freezer meals are quite possibly my most favorite-est thing EVER!! If you are looking to take your savings to the next level and to save yourself a ton of time in the kitchen, this newsletter is for YOU!
 
Picture this… It’s a super busy weekday night and kids have to be picked up and dropped off at 3 different locations all at the same time that you would normally be preparing dinner. Because you have so little time, you hit a drive through to quickly feed the munchkins between piano practice and wrestling (yikes) because it is quick and easy. But, then you end up spending upwards of $25 to feed the brood and well.. fast food… bleh. And, there goes your food budget for the week too, right?!
 
Instead… It is still a busy night so that morning you open your freezer to get dinner prepped. You snag a ziploc bag of deliciousness and throw the contents of the bag in the crockpot and you go about your busy day. When it gets to be crazy time that evening, you can still feed your family a yummy home-cooked meal for a fraction of the cost of that fast food meal. WINNING!!
 
 
Freezer meals are a great way to save money and TIME! By having your meals prepped and ready to go ahead of time, you can spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen.
 
A Freezer Meal GROUP is really where the fun begins! Grab a group of friends who are all sick of wasting time planning and preparing dinners for their families. Feel free to be a little picky with who gets to be part of your group… I’m just sayin’… You will be eating food your friends have prepared. Each person prepares one meal multiple times. Then, you meet to exchange your handiwork. Everyone goes home with several different meals to fill their freezer. YUM! It’s like trick-or-treating for moms!
 
Being able to buy ingredients in bulk will help you save a ton of money! Expect to spend several hours preparing your set of meals. That is the only down side. Your kitchen will be a hot mess for a day, your back and feet will ache, and you will probably hate the idea of doing this again next month. However… it will all be worth it when you meet up on swap day and are giddy with excitement at the idea that for the next several weeks you will never have to stand in the kitchen for more than 15 minutes popping your meal in and out of the oven,crockpot, or Insta-pot!
 
Your NEW BEST FRIENDS!!
 

Here’s an example of how our group worked… Each participant chose their three favorite meals to prepare for the next 3 months. I chose a pork chop dish and prepared nine (9!) pork chop meals, one for each member of the group. I was super sick of looking at pork chops, but then came exchange day. All 9 of us met for 30 minutes to exchange meals. Each person left with a chicken pot pie dinner, a penne and cheese dinner and so many more! For a few hours of work, we each have nine completely different meals in the freezer to feed the family for almost two weeks if we really stretch it!

In the past each meal that fed 6-8 people only cost around $4.75! Having a Freezer Meal Group can save a considerable amount of money if you keep the main course under $5. You can definitely get a complete meal for under $10 for a large family!

There is so much more information on how this all works if you click on the link below and check out the listing on my site. You will get everything you need to get your group started…
 
  • Freezer Meal Group Information Sheet
  • Freezer Meal Group Workbook
  • 57 Tried and True, Morris Family Approved Recipes
 
For real!! All of that! AND….
 
Until November 12th this listing is only $5!!! Snag it QUICK!!
 
I can’t wait to hear how many of you jump on the Freezer Meal Train!! It will seriously change your life!
 

CLICK HERE FOR FREEZER MEAL GROUP KIT!

 

 

What do Expired Coupons & the MILITARY have in common??

I think I need to start an series called “Did You Know?” For example…. Did you know that you can send your expired coupon inserts to companies that will send them to military bases overseas. Our brave men and women serving outside the US can use those expired coupons for up to 6 months AFTER they expire at the commissary! How cool is that!! This does only apply to overseas bases. So once you are done with your inserts, DON’T throw them away!! 

Here are a few links to services I found who are ready and willing to process your inserts for our troops! Take a few minutes and CLICK on the links below to find a service that works best for you. 

 

Troopons

Coupon Cabin

That should keep y’all busy for a bit! 

THANK YOU to all our military families for your service and sacrifice for our country! Here’s hoping we can help ease your burden a little with a few more coupon donations. Love you all!! 

 

Homemade Laundry Detergent… and BONUS… Dish Detergent!!

Are you ready for one of my BIGGEST money saving tips of the YEAR!?!? I make my own laundry detergent! If you can imagine what doing laundry looks like for 7 people then you might be able to grasp the cost that goes into that chore as well. I mean… some of you may be able to afford a small vacation kind of money!! Not to mention that dishes and laundry are my LEAST favorite chores which makes it doubly painful to pay big bucks for tasks I hate doing!

Here is how I make the load just a little lighter on my wallet (see what I did there… “load”? Haha). Several years ago I started making my own laundry detergent. I DO still snag some “real” detergent if it is a screaming good deal, but I always go back to my fav homemade detergent.

A5DA9B49-8A16-44F7-B95D-EEB1D8C906BF

 

HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT

  • 1 Box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Approx. 4lb box)
    • This is your detergent booster and overall smell-getter-outer
  • 1 Box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – I love this in there because I always add vinegar as a fabric softener to the wash and, well …. science!!
  • 1 Box of 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz box)
    • Don’t freak out… as long as you don’t ingest this stuff it won’t hurt you. It will fight those tough stains in your laundry! It also helps your detergent by removing the minerals and softening your water. If you have any left over, you can also make some slime!
  • Oxi Clean (2 of the 1.3 lb containers – watch for coupons**)
    • You’ve seen the infomercials… “It get’s the stains out!”
  • 4 bars of the Fels Naptha laundry soap.
    • This is where you get the kids involved. You need to grate these all up. I use my food processor and then clean it really good after. But any sort of grater would be fine.
    • I usually put 3 in the detergent and make sure I have one set aside as a stain treatment. Just get your fabric wet and then scrub the stain with the bar and then wash. MAGIC!
  • 1-2 containers of either Downy Unstoppables or the Purex Crystals fabric softeners – basically, whoever has a coupon available when I am preparing my mix will determine which one I will use**.

**You can also get the 3 lb tub, but many times you can get coupons will cover the smaller size. Pro Couponing Tip: Use coupons on the smallest size allowed and use several coupons. You will save more in the long run! Same thing with the Unstoppables or Crystals. Look for a coupon and then get several small containers and use several coupons.

IMG-5056
I got a little excited and started mixing, but I wanted to show you what the bars should look like when you are done grating them. Very small chunks or balls are what you are going for.

The hardest part of this whole thing is grating up the Fels Naptha bars! Then you just dump all the ingredients into a 5 gallon bucket, garbage bag, or you can alternate pouring and stirring as you add ingredients to a really pretty jar. I found this big gallon jar at Walmart for around $11. It just looks so nice sitting in my laundry area. It ALMOST makes me want to actually DO the laundry!

Here’s the BEST PART!! You will fill up that gallon jar and only use 2 TABLESPOONS of this detergent for each load! That’s it! For real! It is going to last a REALLY long time!

IMG-5059
Isn’t it so pretty! {sigh} I wish you could smell it!

This works for HE machines, top loaders, front loaders, you name it! I love to add vinegar to the wash as well just to make sure all the musty mildewey stuff is out of the clothes. If you have ever accidentally forgotten about a load that was left in the wash… VINEGAR is your best friend for getting that stank out of there. My many years in Vegas and my less than stellar laundry skills can testify of this. Vinegar. Every time.

What about the dryer??

I know you are wondering what goes on there. I have tried dryer balls & tennis balls to save money and to help aerate the clothes while they are in the dryer. I really don’t see a big difference and hubby really likes the smell of dryer sheets. So to save a few bucks… and a few disagreements on the laundry… I buy dryer sheets. BUT I cut/rip them in half and only use half per load. Sneaky and cheap. I have seen some DIY dryer sheets in Pinterest but I’ve never tried them. Have you?? Let me know. Maybe that will be my next experiment.

HOMEMADE DISH DETERGENT

As an added bonus and because you will now have most of the ingredients already out to make your laundry soap, with just a few more ingredients you can also make… dun dun dun… Dishwasher Detergent!

I used to use 2 cups of borax instead of the 2 cups of baking soda. I’m not so much concerned about whether or not there is Borax residue on my dishes, I just wasn’t completely IN LOVE with that mix. So I am trying this one out instead, and since I already have all the ingredients out… why not??

Feel free to double up this recipe if you end up loving it! It will last quite a while because you will only use ONE TABLESPOON per load!! And if you want a tip on another super cheap but effective rinse agent for your machine… VINEGAR!! Haha. It’s seriously the best thing ever!

Well… that’s about it. I want to say THANK YOU to Heather in St. Louis who asked me about my laundry tips while I was there teaching my class! YOUR questions are what help me to know what kind of content to put on this site and in my newsletters. So, please, please, please… ask away!

Have an amazing day!! I am going to take some left over Epsom Salts, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and soak my feet! 🙂 Time to treat myself for a change… get it… “change”… as in… this won’t cost me anything because I have the ingredients out already?? (apparently I need a good night’s sleep as well) 😉

IMG_2427 (2) Signature

P.S. I have added links to Walmart in this post so you can see the products that I used. I will say that most of the prices are WAY better in store than they are showing online so be careful. I’m not cool enough to get any sort of kick back from Walmart for these links :). I just want you to have all the info.