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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gas Prices Rising and Our Hydrogen Car..

Wow! Gas here in S. California is now over $4.00 a gallon and rising! I've heard/read reports that by summer it may be $6.00 a gallon and $10.00 by the end of the year. I don't know how much of that is truth and how much is hype, but I honestly never thought two years ago it would be this high, so who knows?

As gas prices continue to climb so will the prices of near everything else. What are struggling families to do? What is your family doing? How is this all affecting the way you shop and handle money? Are you making any changes? I would love to hear from you all!

Several people have continued to ask about our hydrogen hybrid car.....sorry to say I still don't have any new updates. We've been busy and have had alot of family issues and just haven't had the time to switch over to the purified water or make any further adjustments. But we are still planning on converting our Jeep over completely, probably the first weekend in June. About that time my brother is coming over with his older Honda to work on converting his using his own plans. Between my husbands engineering experience and my brothers electrical expertise I am curious to see what they come up with and will be sure to share photos and details as they work on these projects. Sorry I have been slow in the updates lately, life just keeps us busy these days.

Has anyone who reads here tried making any changes to your cars yet? If so please share. If not what are you doing to counteract these gas prices? I am really curious how others are dealing with this "crisis".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunday Shopping...Daddy Style!!

Yesterday would normally be my shopping day, but I realized after church I was coming down sick and probably shouldn't go out again. I was hoping to go today, as the sales change tomorrow and I didn't want to miss the deals I had planned for this week! But I got up this morning still not feeling well, so my brave and highly devoted hubby got my Couponizer, Grocery Game list as well as my regular shopping list and headed out all by himself.
Either he is really sharp or my system as well as my Couponizer are just highly organized(maybe a bit of both?) as he got it all done by himself and managed to save $108.00!!!! Our total bill was $124.00 and included alot of stocking up items as well as some OTC meds and diapers.
There were a few freebies this week such as kitty treats and food, marinates and a few others. Unfortunately, quite a few items were sold out, which is why I diligently try to get there Sunday right after church! But not too bad as this will cover us for the next two weeks and add a few items to our ever growing stock pile. I do still need to run back and get some Clariton D(with a coupon of course!) But even with that, we still came within our budget!
So ladies, (and Gents..) this coupon stuff really is simple, so simple that even when you can't make it to the grocery, you can hand your list over to your dear hubby or older children and let them do it pretty much hassle free!
Thanks to my hubby for being a good sport and an excellent care giver while I've been under the weather!

This Pretty Much Sums It All Up!!

I have literally been awake at nights wondering/worrying about who to vote for this year. For the first time in my voting life I am tempted not to vote!! There have been times I felt like I was voting for the lesser of two evils, not who I'd really like to see in office, but this time I don't think there is a lesser of two evils...they are all pretty much the same in my book!

Sad, as we started off with some really strong, good candidates in both main parties, and this is what we're left with??

You can find these stickers and shirts here if you'd like. I think they'd be hilariously funny, if they weren't so sadly true....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday Shopping and Coupon Organization

This week at Ralph's was one of my better takes: Between my store card and coupons I saved 120.76!!! I spent a total of 57.09 and got TONS of stuff!! Lots of freebies this week with the 10 for $10 sale stacked with double coupons, I LOVE free!!! Lots of near free and just lots of good deals!!

At Stater Bros. I picked up a few items, like Suave body soap for .49 and Airwick Air Fresheners for about the same.

I haven't done CVS yet this week and other than taking advantage of the Coke deal again, I may just skip it.

One thing that made this trip so much easier for me was my new "Couponizer"

If you use alot of coupons at the store I HIGHLY recommend this!! For coupon organizing at home I just use file folders with the date of the paper on them and file them in a small portable filing case. At Grocery Game and the other sites where I find the best deals, they tell you the date of the newspaper which had those coupons, so having them filed accordingly makes sense(thank you fellow grocery gamers over at Sonlight for that tip!) Then each week I'd clip the coupons I was going to use and just put them into an envelope to take to the store. I'd bring a separate envelope to put the coupons in once I loaded the item into my cart. This worked great when I was using 20 or so coupons. But now that I use 50 or so, it is just too time consuming and frustrating to sort through 50+ coupons for the right one to match to my item. With the Couponizer my trip was so much easier. I was able to quickly locate the right coupon, put it in the check out folder and move on. If you go check out the site, it explains how it works.

Right now if you order you also get a free copy of "Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom"

I haven't had a chance to look it over in detail yet, but I expect it to be great! I briefly glanced over the "Cut out Hunger" portions and can't wait to read it fully as this was kind of my purpose in starting couponing again(besides needing to save money myself!)

See, there are lots of organizations around here that have rehab type centers and street outreaches that are always in need of toiletry type items. With couponing and CVSing I get so many of these things for free, I plan on donating them! These programs take in young men and women literally off the street in some cases, and one thing these individuals don't have themselves and the programs lack are toiletry items, so I plan on calling a few to see if they would like some of our surplus. Many of these programs in the past have told me they need these items even more than food and clothing donations.

Coupon Moms idea is very similar but on a larger scale and filling food pantry programs. I think it is great that we can not only save money for our own families but also help others in the process!!

BTW.....the book normally(according to the price on the back) is $17.99 and the Couponizer is $19.99, so this really is a bargain to take advantage of while supplies last.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I actually LIKE getting the mail now!!

The above photo is just a sampling of the freebies we've gotten in the mail this week! Starbucks Coffee, Toothpaste, Tea and more!! Not only did we get these, but we also had dog food(the dog ate it already!) Caulking(which hubby used this morning!) and a single serve hamburger helper(even included the "meat").

I have even more to look forward to!

With being behind on bills and only get late notice reminders, I have dreaded getting the mail for months now, but thanks to couponing and CVSing freeing up more money to pay bills with and getting caught up(almost!) as a result, we aren't getting those nasty letters quite as much anymore! And then of course the fun freebies! They are just little things, but it is fun to get something beyond the regular bills and advertisements in the mail!

I find many of these freebies from scanning many of the sites listed in my sidebar. I have also gotten free coupons for Pick-up-Stix and Dell Taco for free meals and tacos no other purchase required!

So, if you're bored and just surfing the web anyways, spend a few minutes looking for freebies. Even if you don't get excited as easily as I do, I bet you're kids will!!

Can you really save using coupons??

That is a question I get asked alot. Rather than try to explain myself, I'll let these ladies do the talking:

Then follow this link for a clip from one of my very favorite money saving sites: Refund Cents This is where I get some of my best tips for finding the best bargains and deals. I highly recommend a subscription to the magazine as well as the site. You will more than make up the cost with your savings! Take the time to follow the link for the video clip, it is a good one!

I have seen many books and articles about how these "coupon queens" save coupons for months and do this grand shopping trip for the cameras and it is NOT typical of what you can do on a regular basis. NOT TRUE!!! After just a few short months of doing this, these results ARE about typical for me! With rising costs of everything these days, it certainly is worth a try!

The first two video clips were from Coupon Mom and Hot Coupon World. Both are excellent sites for tips and ideas also!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Still Waiting for your IRS Stimulus Rebate?

Were you expecting a Stimulus Rebate check from the IRS to be direct deposited into your account and still haven't received it? This may be the reason why:
Dear Valued Customer,

We want to provide you with the most up–to–date information about the tax rebate to which you may be entitled.

Recently, you may have received a letter from the IRS advising you when to expect your Economic Stimulus Payment (rebate). That IRS letter may have inadvertently left off some important information. Taxpayers who chose to have their tax preparation fees deducted from their federal tax refund will receive their tax rebate in the mail, not via direct deposit.

Our records show that you chose this payment option in TurboTax. As a result, the IRS has determined that you will receive your tax rebate in the mail. This may result in you receiving your rebate on a date later than expected.

This situation, while not unique to TurboTax, is understandably causing some concern and confusion. To help further clarify the situation, below is the most current IRS rebate payment processing schedule, as well as additional resources about the tax rebates.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you still have questions, the best source for the most up-to-date information is (see the "Rebate Payment Questions" link).


Bob Meighan

Vice President, TurboTax Customer Advocacy

If the last two digits
of your Social Security
number are: Payments will be
mailed no later than:
00 – 09 May 16
10 – 18 May 23
19 – 25 May 30
26 – 38 June 6
39 – 51 June 13
52 – 63 June 20
64 – 75 June 27
76 – 87 July 4
88 – 99 July 11

Other sources for current information on the rebate program are.


For more information on TurboTax and rebates, please visit

It seems those of us who had our filing fees taken out of our refunds will be getting a check mailed rather than direct deposited. This is disappointing for many. I was expecting a direct deposit on May 2 and now have to wait for the 23rd for a check to be mailed. I just hope they don't make any mistakes like I've been reading about and hearing on the news!!

Going ALL the way!!

We still haven't made any adjustments or progress on the hydro-hybrid car. We are still holding at about 8 or so miles per gallon improvement. We have heard from others that they are noticing another 5% increase in mileage using distilled water vs. tap water. So we are going to try that this next week and see if that helps.

We aren't content with the savings and know we can do much better, and are now planning on completely converting the car. But first we want to test it on our older model jeep('89) It will be a couple of weeks while we save money before we begin, but I will share the progress here!

In the meantime, I will share the end of next week whether or not we've had any more savings using the distilled water.

An Amazing Story

For school right now my oldest son and I are reading Run Baby Run which is the true story of Nicky Cruz who was a leader of a violent New York street gang in the 50's. Honestly, this guy was so bad that in parts of the book where he was describing what was in his heart and mind I just wanted to quit reading, it was that bad. He was just pure evil. He was the type you just give up on (most everybody has given up on him including a court ordered psychologist) there was just no hope for some one like him.

I am glad I kept on reading, because where there is God there is hope! Thanks to David Wilkerson of the popular book The Cross and the Switchblade Nicky gave his life to God and gave up the gang life. It is an amazing story!! His story has given me a new hope for someone who I care about deeply who many have given up on.

I love reading about miracles, stories about how lives were saved or how people were rescued from a financial crisis but the biggest and greatest miracle of all is the miracle God can perform on someones heart! That is the miracle I am praying for for my loved one, with a new faith, that it can and will be done!!

My son and I were both so intrigued with Nicky and his story that we started googling to find everything we could about him and guess what?? They are in production right now on a feature film about his life story!! I am so excited!!

We also found this youtube video clip with Nicky himself telling his story:

His is an amazing story, I recommend reading the book before the movie comes out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ralph's New Coupon Policy

Here is a statement I received back from Ralph's after asking them about their new coupon policy. Good news for me, this only applies to San Diego County, so I am safe here in the Inland Empire area. The only one double coupon rule is new for my area now though. In the past if I have bought 2 shampoo's, I've been able to use 2 coupons and get both doubled. Now only the first will be doubled. No biggy, I will just make two transactions.

I think Ralph's is making a huge mistake in this new policy to be honest. I think they will lose alot of customers with this new policy. Yes, their new rewards program is nice, but if my area were being affected by this, honestly, I'd start looking for a new store.

I love my local Ralphs and am loyal to them even outside of my couponing, just because they are clean, well stocked, short lines, etc... but the icing on the cake has been the double coupons. And in all honesty as much as I use coupons now, I would seriously have to consider finding a new store. Rising prices of everything is what drove me to investagate and eventually use coupons, I don't do it just because it is fun, a "game" of sorts(which it IS fun!) but I NEED to out of pure necessity, as so most other moms using coupons these days.

Anyway, here is the response I received, I left out my full name as well as the name of the person replying, for privacy/security reasons:

Dear Ms. :

Thank you for contacting Ralphs Grocery Co regarding the changes in our coupon policy beginning on May 7, 2008.
These changes are for our San Diego County only. Coupons that are 50 cents or more will be valued up to a $1.00.
Up to $1.00 may be doubled (the first dollar is doubled, and the remainder is taken off at single value). Some
exceptions apply. A limit of 1 coupon for each Like ITEM WILL be doubled per customer. The following coupons
may not be doubled: ACT MEDIA, ACTNOW, Checkout coupons, Free coupons, Fluid Milk Product coupons,
Liquor, Ralphs, Store and Tobacco. Coupons that exceed the value of the item may not be doubled.

We are limiting the double coupons, but with our new rewards program Ralphs is rewarding our customers for
shopping with us. Customers who enroll in Ralphs rewards can earn points on almost everything they buy, every
time they shop at San Diego locations. No other supermarket rewards their customers on almost every item they
buy, every time they shop.

Additionally, we reserve the right to accept, limit or refuse manufacturer coupons issued by other retailers.

Thank you again for your inquiry regarding our new policy. Please continue to contact us any time you have a
question or comment.


Consumer Affairs

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hit and Miss Shopping Week

We had a hit and miss shopping week this week. At Ralphs we were unaware of some new coupon policies for our area and didn't get our second coupons doubled. Had we been aware of the policy change, we would have done our trip in two separate transactions. I wont complain to much as the new policy in the next county over is even worse. They are only doubling up to 99 cents or something like that! I have a copy of the official policy, if anyones interested I will post it here later.

CVS went much better. Our first trip was for necessities so we didn't have a lot of freebies or ECB's back, but used our saved ECB's for things like Clariton(which we got for the cheapest we ever had with ECBs back!) We also got a really cool razor with mini samples of Dove shampoo for free or near free(That's why I need to blog right away, otherwise I forget or lose my receipt!)got a great deal on soda's and a few other things.

Our best deals were Monday night at CVS. They have Huggies Supreme on sale for $7.99 which is a great deal to begin with, but I had 2 $1.50 off coupons, making them about $6.50 each!! Other than the buy one get one free deals I come across occasionally, this is the best deal I have gotten on Huggies!! I also got Huggies Clean Team Wipes for fifty cents each and Smart Start Cearl for fifty cents( 2 of each!) and Pert Plus Shampoo for fifty cents! The only ECB deal we got was Viactiv Calcium supplements that came to 45 cents after coupons and 3 ECB's back.

So, while not our best shopping week by far, we did still manage a few good deals. I like the Smart Start Cearl quite a bit, I am planning on seeing if I can locate a few more coupons and get some more before the sale ends. I am not a huge cearl eater, but for 50 cents, I can manage a few breakfast's of cearl!

If you have babies in the house, I recommend looking for some Huggies coupons and taking advantage of the deal! In some areas they are 8.99 rather than 7.99 so be sure to check your flyer's. They also have CVS brand on sale for buy one get one free. I am not sure on the price, but I think they are around 8.99. They are good quality, I compare them to the Pampers in the green bag!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Links To My Favorite Frugal Sites and Blogs

Finally I got around to adding links to my favorite frugal blogs and sites to my side bar. When you have time check them out. These are the places I learned of CVS, Couponing and more. Several of these ladies also post freebies almost daily. These are fun as it is always nice to go to the mailbox and get something that is not a bill!! These are real freebies too, not ones where you fill out endless surveys and never receive your promised item. Some are small such as samples and some are full size products. I try to fill out forms for at least 2-3 freebies daily, then I almost always get something neat in the mail every day!

What I do is scan these sites twice a day most days. Once in the morning and again in the evening. Then I am made aware of all the new deals, freebies and best uses for my coupons. Between that and The Grocery Game I really feel I am getting the best use of my money and time!

I suggest you try for a week or two and just see if you save anything. IT certainly can't hurt any, and you might be surprised to find you actually save a little and have some fun in the process!

Another Quiz..

I came across this at another blog this morning. I love taking quizzes. Most are just fun, but I am often suprised at how accurate some are! Today's was on what color you are. While not my favorite color the decscription is fairly accurate. ( favorite color is PINK!!)


You are usually very straight-forward. You have a passive personality and enjoy nurturing those around you. You are very grounded and prefer to keep things simple and honest.

Find out your color at!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! has an article with lots of great links to others on the issue of foster care. Go ahead and check them out.

I think May is an appropriate month to celebrate Foster Care as it is also the month we celebrate Mothers Day. Being a mom is just plain hard work! Sometimes loving and caring for our own little ones can be trying, how much more trying to care for a child that is not your own that needs all the love he/she can get, yet knowing that child may have to go back into the same situation that brought him to you to begin with! Lots of these kids come with issues that many of us couldn't even imagine, and these show up in the form of behavioral issues that can be very difficult to deal with. Yet these foster moms(and dads!) love these children and care for them as if they were their own, with little thought of themselves and the grieving they may experience as/if they lose these children back to the system. Now that is something to be celebrated!!

If you know a foster parent, be sure to let them know how great you think they are! Perhaps do something extra special for them this month. Perhaps learn more about foster care from them and consider becoming a foster parent yourself! The challenges are many, but the rewards are great!

No matter what you do, please consider doing something to help raise awareness about foster care. MANY more foster families are needed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm Back!!!

Of course it just occurred to me I never announced I was leaving!! I went on a little retreat of sorts. All I can say is it was way too much fun! I needed the time away, and I had lots of great company, and now feel refreshed and ready to deal with my crazy life again!!

So, if you've been wondering why I haven't been posting, that's why!

Being gone, I didn't do any grocery shopping, so I can't share much there, although I did stop by CVS on my drive home.(am I addicted or what?) Being so tired from my trip I didn't think to get photos, but basically I took advantage of some of May's deals and go quite a few items for free!

I have no new updates on our hydrogen car yet as all is pretty much the same. We are still saving about 8 miles to the gallon and constantly looking for ways to improve. My husband got some new plans, but has not had the chance to work on it as he was alone responsible for all the kiddos while I was away.

I am planning a shopping trip later today and may share the results. I am not sure if anyone is really interested in all the photos and receipts, if so please comment and let me know, otherwise I am thinking of doing away with that feature for now and just adding links to my sidebar of some of the sites I find my deals. I will do both if there is an interest, but you need to comment and let me know, OK?

Until later......