Welcome FUSION readers!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

End of the month PRINT reminder

The last day of the month is here. That means that printable coupon sites will update their list of available coupons. One of three things can happen.

1. A coupon will reset. In this case, if you reached your print limit (2) in the previous month, you are now eligible to print that coupon again.
2. A coupon will disappear. This is a bummer if it was a coupon you really liked.
3. A new coupon will show up. Hopefully this will make up for #2.

Be sure to print any coupons you like now today. Remember, most coupons can be printed 2 times!

Some of my favorites printable sites are:
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cooking Ahead: Preparing for the Holidays

We have a lot on our plates in the next 8-10 weeks. For us, it all starts will a trip to DISNEY (whoo hoo) over Thanksgiving. The next week my bestie is coming for a visit, then it's my birthday, and Christmas parties, and Christmas itself. Then my parents are visiting before New Years and then my baby girl turns 4. Whew! I'm tired already.

I'm trying to get ahead of the game. I really need to, obviously! Over these next few weeks I am going to try to prepare as much food as possible in advance. We are going to be rushing from here to there but eating out can get pricey and I want to avoid that.

Right now at Publix some of the Hefty EZ-Foil pans are on sale for $0.99. When you combine this sale with the $1.00 WYB 2 printable, you get a pack for only $0.49. Plus, because they are all the same size, they should stack rather nicely in my fridge.

Also, the Hefty One Zip bags are BOGO this week. Combine with this $1.00 WYB 2 printable to get freezer bags for $0.65. I can use them for muffins, pancakes, ect.

Here are some of the things I am planning to prepare in advance. I hope to share some of these recipes with you as I go along and keep you up to date on my progress.

Cook and Freeze
Banana Bread
Pumpkin Muffins
Zucchini Bread
Corn Casserole
Buffalo Chicken Soup
Potato Soup
Southwestern Eggrolls
PB & J sandwiches
Pancakes
Monkey Bread

Dry Mixes
Brownie Mix
Cookie Dough
Pizza Dough
Oatmeal Packets

I've already prepared and frozen twice-baked potatoes and french fries and I hope to post soon about how that went. This is my first time to attempt such a large amount so I am all ears for suggestions and recipes that have worked for you.

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Save 65% - Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
November 19-December 24
Grand Old Opry House

For the locals or those planning to visit Nashville, there is a 24-hour sale going on right now where you can get tickets for any seat/any show for only $24. Main floor level seats are $66 so this is a big discount!

This sale is TODAY only and ends at midnight.

Go here to order your tickets and use code RCCS24. This is limited to 14 tickets per person.

We went a few years ago and the show was fantastic. You will love it!

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Frugal 101: Coupon Matchups


Coupons can save money no matter how or when you use them. However, it is ideal to use them when an item is already on sale. Basically there are 3 different price points for any given item.

Full Price >>>>>>>>> Sale Price >>>>>>>>>> Sale w/Coupon(s)

Naturally, I want to pay as little as possible for my groceries so the trick is doing coupon matchups. Doing coupon matchups is super easy, especially when you utilize a coupon database.
  1. You start by looking through the weekly ad. All of these items are on sale so you are already off to a great start.
  2. Circle the items you would like to purchase.
  3. Type them into a Coupon Database to see if there is a coupon available for that product.
  4. Now all you have to do is clip, click or print that coupon and you are on your way to more savings and deep discounts!
There are also websites out there that will do the weekly matchups for you. Check back tomorrow and I will give you my favorite websites for coupon matchups.

In the meantime, you might also enjoy this post on how I went from a casual couponer to a professional "coupon queen."

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Favorite Matchup Blogs

Using a Coupon Database is a great way to do matchups on your own. There are also some great bloggers out there who post weekly matchups. Some of them post the entire ad while others post only the best deals. Some even have sneak peeks. Here are my favorites.

Aldi


Publix

Walgreens

It is important to remember that the sales ad can vary by region, so it's sometimes helpful to find a local blogger so that the items and sale prices are accurate.

This is just a list of my favorite matchup blogs for the stores that I shop but there are several other frugal blogs that I follow. Maybe one day I'll do a post on those too!

What are some of your favorite matchup blogs?
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$6 in baking coupons found at Kroger

Yesterday I came across this display at my Kroger (Donelson, TN). There were several tearpads attached to it totaling $6.00 in coupons. I also saw a few recipe cards too.

Simply Delicious Holiday - All expire 3/31/11
$1.00 WYB 3 Nestle Toll House Morsels
$1.00 WYB 2 Glad Food Storage
$1.00 WYB 2 Diamond of California Nuts (8+ 0z.)

Save from Baker's, Kraft & Jell-O - All expire 2/7/11
$1.00 WYB 2 Baker's Chocolate or Coconut
$1.00 WYB 2 Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
$0.60 WYB 3 Jell-O Pudding or Gelatin Boxes

Fleischmann's - Expires 12/31/10
$0.40 WYB any 3-strip yeast

Has anyone else seen this display? Which location?

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Get $200 in Murad Products for only $10!


Murad just released their new book The Water Secret. With the online purchase of this book they will send you a gift bag with up to $200 in FREE products.
  1. Purchase the book on Amazon for $10.42.**
  2. Then, simply forward your email confirmation to TheWaterSecretGift@murad.com.
**Don't forget to sign up for Amazon Mom so that you get FREE 2-day shipping.
**I also used Amazon Gift Cards that I earned from Swagbucks!
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Cashbaq Vs. Ebates

I do a lot of shopping online, especially at Christmas time. Online shopping is even better when you get rewarded for it. Today I want to give you some information regarding Ebates and Cashbaq. Both companies will reward you by giving you back (in CASH) a percentage of your purchase amount when you shop through their site.

  • You get a $5 credit just for signing up.
  • Choose from over 2900 stores to shop at.
  • Payout is on the 20th of each month via PayPal or Check.
  • You can receive a payout when your account reaches $10.
  • Your transactions may remain in a "pending" status for up to 3 months.
  • Percentage values range from 1%-50% back.






  • You get a $5 credit just for signing up.
  • Choose from over 1200 stores to shop at.
  • Payouts are given quarterly via PayPay, Check or Donation to Charity of your choice.
  • You can receive a payout when your account reaches $5.01.
  • Transactions are posted within 48 hours.
  • Percentage values range from 1%-25% back.
Tips and Tricks:
I have both companies bookmarked in my browser. I simply visit their site to link to the store I want to shop at. Get into this habit right away. With almost 3000 stores to choose from, it is almost guaranteed that they are affiliated with the online store you plan to shop at. It's not just for retail merchandise either. Think travel, magazine subscriptions, gift cards and more! Basically, if are going to be buying it online, you should be getting rewarded for it. I do!

Don't miss another chance to be rewarded for shopping online. Sign up for Cashbaq and Ebates. Happy Shopping!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

RECIPE: Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies EVER!

I don't remember where I came across this recipe forever ago but these really are the easiest cookies.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Yep, that's it. One portion each of 3 simple ingredients. I bet you have these in your house right now!

Simply mix them together and roll out into one inch balls. Press down with a fork (criss-cross pattern). Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.

Easy, easy, easy!

This recipe works with both creamy and chunky peanut butter. Optionally, you can add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. (I do!)
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Frugal 101: Buying a Family Pack of Meat


Sometimes in order to get a good price on meat you have to buy it in a "family pack." Basically that is just a larger portion of meat but at a lower price per pound. I bought this pack from Food Lion at 50% off the regular price. That large package can look daunting at first and may deter you from buying. Today I'm going to show you how to split up a family pack of meat into more manageable portions, which you can freeze and use later.

1. Make sure that your hands and work surface are clean.
2. Score the meat into equal portions. This package was almost 4 pounds so I divided it into 4 sections.
3. Separate the meat. I just round mine into a nice ball.
4. Place into a freezer bag. The Ziploc Vacuum Seal Bags are my favorite.
5. Prepare the bag for freezing.
Notes: On this occasion I only had gallon-size bags. I simply put each of my four sections inside and made sure they were not touching. When I need a pound of meat, I simply reach in and remove one ball and allow it to thaw. If you have the quart-size bags, you can press the meat flat after your bag is sealed. This will allow you to stack the bags on top of one another for more freezer space. You can use this method for any type of family pack of meat. I often do this with ground beef (as above), chicken breasts and pork chops. It doesn't take too long and you've saved yourself money. Plus, the extra meat won't go to waste.

Anyone have any other tips for dividing up large portions of meat?

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

7 ways to encourage your favorite blogger

Blogging is fun but sometimes it can be tough. Here are seven simple things you can do to encourage me to keep at it.

1.
Subscribe. I know that I shouldn't measure things in numbers but subscriptions help me to know that there are indeed people out there who want to know what I'm up to. It's easy to subscribe. You can subscribe via RSS and have my posts delivered immediately to your reader or you can get daily email updates. It's up to you.

2.
Read. There's nothing like having someone come up to me and ask me if I know about a deal when I just posted about the same deal yesterday. I smile politely and nod but it kinda leaves me scratching my head. Coupon Queen Diaries is also filled with lots of Frugal 101 plus some Staci humor thrown in for good measure. Don't miss out on a single thing: Subscribe (see above)!

3.
Comment. After I've worked hard on a post and hit the send button, I sometimes think I hear crickets. That's what it's like if no one comments. If you've read a post and found it helpful, please let me know. If you tried a deal and had success or failure, comment with that too. It's a little known secret but bloggers live for comments. They are like little rays of sunshine in our day. I'm totally cool with blog lurkers (I used to be one) but I'd prefer if you'd at least let me know you are out there every once in a while. Besides, your comments could help out another reader. Comments are like the gift that keeps on giving.

4.
Like me (on Facebook). Not only do I give extra little tidbits of info on Facebook but my readers share things too. You can find all sorts of good deals and local activities on my wall. If you see something you like, you can show it to your FB friends by clicking "share" under that post. Another thing that brings delight to my day is when you "Suggest To Friends." Feel free to comment away on Facebook too. It makes a girl feel good and it let's me know that you do indeed "like" me.

5.
ReTweet. Twitter anyone? It took me a minute to jump on the Twitter bandwagon but it's pretty cool. It's a great way to get info on deals and it's really a no muss no fuss kind of thing. If you see something you like you simply put a little RT in front of it and share it with all your followers (friends). Seeing my info behind those two little letters is definitely encouraging because it means that you enjoyed something so much that you felt the need to share.

6.
Contact me. Have questions? Did you spot a really good deal? Did you totally rock it at Publix today? I wanna hear about it. There are several ways to get in touch with me. The best ways to contact me have already been mentioned (Comments, Facebook, Twitter) but you can also email me at couponqueendiaries@gmail.com.

7.
Click the links. Blogging as a business has certain costs associated with it. Therefore, I am an affiliate for several companies. When I promote their products, I get a teensy bit of compensation. The way they "measure" my advertising methods is through web clicks. If you see a deal you like be sure to click through with the links provided. If you happen to think about it, before printing coupons from popular sites like Coupons.com, SmartSource and RedPlum, stop by my site and use the sidebars or bookmark the links for future printing. You can also click on any of the icons down the side of my webpage. I am forever grateful for those readers who help me "pay the bills."

I can't thank you enough for being a reader of Coupon Queen Diaries. It's because of you that I continue to blog. I appreciate your encouragement for me to keep at it.
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Living Social Bucks - 50% off

Living Social is a 1-deal-a-day site similar to Groupon. Today, they are offering $20 Deal Bucks for only $10. Purchase today and they will be active in your account tomorrow. You have plenty of time to use them since they don't expire until 2015!

Go here to get this deal.

If you are new to Living Social, sign up here and then search for the Dayton area. Best of all, new members get $5 deal bucks to start with. That means you should be able to get this deal for only $5 out of pocket. Sweet!!!

I love all the entertainment deals they have. This is how I have been funding our date nights on the cheap. I just wish they had one for babysitting! :)

I also love how you can get their deals for FREE when 3 friends also purchase the same deal.

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FREEBIE: John Frieda Luxurious Volume

Kroger is offering free samples of John Frieda Luxurious Volume. Head over here to get yours. Kroger Plus Card # is optional, so this one is open to everybody.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

26 New Cellfire Coupons Available

New Cellfire coupons were released today. These coupons are available until Nov. 1 and will expire on Nov. 15th. If you are new to couponing, check out this post on E-Coupons.

  • $0.50 WYB 2 Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes
  • $0.40 off Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
  • $0.50 off Betty Crocker Cake Mix AND Frosting
  • $0.50 off Bisquick or Bisquick Heart Smart Baking Mix
  • B1G1 Budweiser BBQ Sauce
  • $0.50 off Chex Mix or Chex 100 Calorie Snack
  • $0.55 off Dessert Toppers
  • $0.50 off Betty Crocker or Fiber One Box Muffin Mix
  • $0.55 off Cheerios Original Cereal
  • $0.55 off Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
  • $0.40 off Green Giant Frozen Bagged Vegetables
  • $0.60 WYB 3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables
  • $0.50 WYB 2 Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
  • $0.50 off Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters
  • $0.50 WYB 2 Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • $0.75 WYB 2 Pillsbury Frozen Grands! Biscuits
  • $0.40 WYB 2 Pillsbury Italian Meal Bread
  • $1.00 WYB 2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough
  • $0.30 WYB 2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands! Biscuits
  • $1.00 WYB 2 Pillsbury Refrigerated Holiday Cookies
  • $1.00 WYB 2 Pillsbury Savorings Product
  • $1.00 off Pillsbury Sweet Moments Refrigerated Dessert
  • $0.40 WYB 2 Pillsbury Sweet Rolls or Grands! Sweet Rolls
  • $0.50 WYB 2 Progresso Soup
  • $0.75 off Select Total Cereals
  • $0.40 WYB 6 Yoplait Yogurt Cups
Go here to clip (click) your coupons.
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New Kroger Instant Win Game


Kroger has a new instant win game, Kick Off To Savings, where you can win TWO of 13 different prizes available. You can play once per day until October 31st. When you win, an electronic coupon will automatically be added to your shopper's card.

You could win:
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Kraft BBQ Sauce
  • Jell-O Dry Pudding
  • Kraft Mac & Cheese Cup
  • Nabisco Go Cup
  • Fuze
  • Coke Zero
  • Nestle Nesquik
  • Juicy Juice
  • Wonka Chocolate Bar
  • DiGiorno Pizza
  • Skinny Cow Cups

Let us know what you win!
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FREE Printer Paper

Paper can get expensive, especially if you print a lot of coupons.

This week at Office Max you can score a free BOX of printer paper. This deal is valid in stores or online (limit 3). The boxes are on sale for $39.99 with 100% back in Max Perks Rewards.

It's free to sign up for Max Perks. They offer an option for Businesses and Teachers.

If you are going to do this deal online be sure to shop through Ebates to get 3% back. You can also pair this with some of the other "Free after Max Perks" items. Once you get to $50, you will get FREE shipping too.

Since the limit is 2, I will probably purchase 1 for myself and 1 for my daughter's school. Can't beat FREE!
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Swagbucks TV + Bonus Code for New Members

If you've been waiting to sign up for Swagbucks, don't miss this bonus opportunity. New members can start off with 30 bonus bucks by using code SBTVisOnTheAir (case sensitive). Go here to sign up and enter the code in the blue Swagcode box.

This special promo is in honor of their new launch of Swagbucks TV. For all my current Swaggers out there, this is an opportunity to earn Swabucks by simply watching videos on a variety of topics and entertainment.

I do love me some Swagbucks and I am thrilled that they continue to keep adding more ways to win!
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About Me - Who is the Coupon Queen?


Just who is the Coupon Queen? Inquiring minds want to know.

Well, my name is Staci Bishop. I am a work-at-home mommy to a beautiful, three-year-old daughter and I have been married to my hubby since 2005. We currently live in Nashville, TN (Donelson area). God has done some amazing things for our family but leading me down a path of frugality has been eye opening. The Lord has always provided for us much to my amazement some days. His blessings and love never fail and never disappoint. I want to be a good steward of what He has given us and honor Him by being conscious of our spending.

In 2007, right after our daughter was born, I quit my full-time, adequate-paying but stressful, corporate office job and I have never looked back. It was so liberating! I now work from home as a part-time medical transcriptionist and I can now see that I was always meant to be IN the home.

Dropping an entire income while introducing a new person into the family can be tricky to say the least. I have always tried to be a savvy shopper but I've had to kick it up a notch in the last few years. I have completely changed my shopping style and habits,which has made all the difference.There were and still are weeks when the budget is very, very tight but I've seen our budget go from $125-$150 a week down to only $50. Our grocery budget currently includes groceries, toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, dog food... EVERYTHING! I don't coupon for the "fun of it" (though it can be exciting). Honestly, I coupon out of necessity.

One of the most thrilling things I have discovered through couponing is that I am able to not only provide for my family but be charitable as well without spending anything extra. I love being able to help other other families or organizations with a quick trip to my stockpile closet and picking out items that I either got for FREE or very inexpensively.

Couponing does take time and effort but what doesn't? I've never had money just fall in my lap and couponing is no different. However, with a few tips and tricks you will be well on your way. Saving money is exciting and it has made a drastic difference in our life. I hope to be able to help you on your own money-saving adventure.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Frugal 101: How Much Time Does Couponing Take?

The #1 complaint I hear about couponing is that it takes too much time. I agree that it takes time. You don't expect the savings to just fall in your lap do ya? However, I have some tips to help you streamline your couponing process.

I recommend the 60-minute method.

During this time, you are going to work on your shopping list for the week. When that timer goes off, you are done! Finished. Finito. You may not have accomplished everything on your to-do list but you will be way better off at the end of that hour than you were at the beginning. Most importantly, you didn't spend so much time that you feel like it wasn't worth the trouble. I used to do my shopping prep during Sunday afternoon nap time so that I would have the added benefit of not being interrupted.

Here's what you do.
Items needed: Time, notepad, pen, computer/printer, coupons, scissors.
  • Set the timer for 60 minutes.
  • Check the store advertisements and plan your meals around meats and produce on sale. (10 minutes)
  • Check your fridge/pantry and meal planning recipes for other items you need. (5 minutes)
  • Check the store flyers for additional sale items. (10 minutes)
  • Check a Coupon Database for coupons that match up to the above items. (15 minutes)
  • Print/Clip and organize coupons. (20 minutes)
That's it! You now have a meal plan for the week, coupons are clipped and ready to go, plus you have your trusty list.

After your shopping trip, I want you to look at the bottom of your receipt and see how much you saved for an hour's worth of work. I'm willing to bet that it's more (a lot more) than minimum wage. I often joke that couponing is the best-paying, part-time job I've ever had.

Practice makes perfect. The more you do this from week to week the faster and more efficient you will become.

How long do you spend preparing for a shopping trip?

If you are just joining us, go here to catch up on previous Frugal 101 topics. Don't miss future installments: Subscribe via RSS or get Email updates.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

RSS Feed - What is it?

RSS feed was totally foreign to me before I became a blogger. Basically, it brings you fairly instant notification whenever your favorite blog has posted new content. It saves you from having to visit the actual website (time after time) to see if your fave blogger has posted anything new. If you follow a lot of blogs, this makes it easy and convenient to keep track of them all in one place. It saves me so much time.

My favorite RSS platform is
Google Reader. It should be understood that I am a Google junkie. I'm a Google freak. I'll just be honest, I'm obsessed with Google. I cannot actually survive the day without accessing several Google programs. I receive no compensation for singing the praises of Google. I just happen to love them very, very much! Probably too much but they make my life so much easier.

Ok, back to Google Reader.
Go here to get started. If you already have a Google Account, you can use that info to sign in. Now, you are all set to start subscribing away to your favorite blogs.

Anytime you see something that looks like the icon above, you can click it and select your reader, which would be Google in this scenario. You are now subscribed to that website. You can also subscribe by hitting the "Add A Subscription" button directly from Google Reader and entering in the web address.
To view your subscriptions, you can access Google Reader directly from their webpage (www.google.com/reader). I've also been known to access it from my phone (um, daily) and I keep it on my homepage as well. Would it shock you if I said my homepage is iGoogle? I didn't think so.

You are now armed with Google power so off you go to subscribe to all your favorite sites. Just make
Coupon Queen Diaries first, okay? Thanks. :)
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Earn Mega Swag Bucks on Fridays!

Hey Swaggers! Don't forget that Fridays are Mega Swag Bucks days were your chances are increased to win bigger bucks!

If you are new to Swagbucks, see how you can use them to easily earn some Christmas Cash.

Happy Swaggin!
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