Couponing for the Rest of Us

My shopping trip at Publix: How much do you think I spent/saved?

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Okay, so here’s the details. Keep in mind there are 8 boxes of cereal, several organic/natural food items, plus items I did not have coupons for.

Total Before Coupons $191.94
Paid $85.74

Saved $106.20 – (the money I saved paid for new jeans for my kiddos)

Of the $85.74 that I paid, $8.25 was tax. Plus the cranberries, walnuts, & cashews were $12.27 by themselves. So without tax and my new favorite (expensive snack) it would have only been $65.22.

Here’s the breakdown:

Snacks:

  • GoGo Squeez Apple Strawberry Squeeze – Gluten Free/Dairy Free/100% Natural
  • (2) Kashi Almond Squares
  • Pepperidge Farm Jingos Crackers
  • Keebler Club Crackers
  • Townhouse Cheddar Crackers
  • (2)Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chunky Cookies
  • Santtitas White Corn Chips

Produce:

  • (3) Limes
  • (2) Apples
  • Red Onion
  • Yellow Sweet Onion
  • Bananas
  • Organic Baby Spring Mix Lettuce

Nuts:

  • Walnuts
  • Cranberries
  • Back to Nature 100% Natural Whole Cashews

Meal Starters/Side Dishes:

  • (6) Prego Heart Smart Natural Spaghetti Sauce
  • (3) Knorr Rice Mixes

Frozen:

  • (4) Green Giant Steamers Broccoli
  • (2) Aunt Jemima

Misc:

  • (2) Smart Balance Spreadable Butter w/ Olive Oil
  • (1) Smart Balance Spreadable Butter Light w/ Flax Oil
  • (2) Smart Balance Butter Spray
  • Bailey’s French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
  • Fleishman Dry Yeast
  • Publix Unbleached All Purpose Flour

Bread/Tortillas:

  • Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
  • Mission Blue Corn Tortillas with Flax Seed Oil

Breakfast:

  • Kashi Pumpkin Spice Bar
  • Kashi Trail Mix Granola
  • Kashi Strawberry Cereal Bar
  • (3) Quaker Oatmeal Variety Pack
  • (2) Quaker Breakfast Cookie
  • Kashi Indigo Morning Cereal – organic
  • (2) Quaker Cinnamon Life Cereal
  • (3) Quaker Whole Hearts Cereal
  • General Mills Rice Chex Cereal Gluten Free
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch

You can check out these deals this week at Publix.  Click here to see our weekly Publix Store Sales matched with coupons.  The weekly ad changes on Wednesdays, however we try to post it a day early on Tuesday’s to give you more time to prepare.  Click here to see the most recent Publix updates.


I did it! I started training for a 5K with the Couch-to-5K app!

 

 

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Recently I decided that I wanted to run a 5K.  I don’t know what it is about getting closer to 40 (I’ll be 38 soon), but it seems like a lot of my friends are jumping on the same bandwagon.  Or, should I say moving off the couch to a 5K.  I have been talking and talking about wanting to run (or walk for that matter) a 5K, I’ve been stalking all of my facebook friends who have been training but for some reason I kept waiting. Part of me doesn’t want to start something and not finish it.  Plus, it’s a lot easier to talk about running a 5K than to train for one.

Ya’ll know me, I’m gonna be real.  I’ve spent the better part of the past 3 years on my tail blogging and working online.  I’m totally out of shape and have had ZERO energy.  So, this summer I told myself that the kids and I would walk the greenway everyday. (I tend to be an over achiever 3 days a week would have been a more attainable goal)  Well, the summer is over and guess what?  We definitely didn’t make it to the greenway everyday, we didn’t even make it once a week.  So once again, I have been back where I started…..thinking and talking about it.  Until, this week.  Finally, I quit talking about it and DID it!!

Last week I attended a blogging conference in New York.  One of my roomies started the Couch- to-5K program a couple of months ago and she looks amazing.  She feels good and has tons of energy.  I know we aren’t supposed to covet, but I was jealous that she had done it.  She made a decision to make changes in her life, get healthy and she DID IT.  Unlike me, who couldn’t get past the thinking about it and talking about it phase.  I have to admit, it lit a little fire under me.

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I had already told a friend of mine that I would run a 5K with her on September 1st before I left for NYC.  I knew when I got home it was time for me to get to work.  I am happy to tell you that I started training this week using the Couch-to-5K app and I LOVED it!  I know I can’t get in shape in a week however, it felt so good to know that I started.

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So, Monday evening marked Day1 of Couch-to-5K  for the Trenum family.  We went to a nearby track and ALL of us ran together.  Even my 5 (almost 6 year old as of tomorrow 8/11) and 8 year old joined in. Yes it was hot, and yes I am totally out of shape but it was fun.  The 5K I am participating in on September 1st is called Love is Not a Fight for married couples. I noticed that even kids 10 and younger could join.

Here’s the Skinny Couch-to-5K:

  • 3 Days a Week
  • 30 Minutes a day
  • 9 Weeks to being 5K ready

Day 1 of Couch-to-5K is a 5 minute warm-up followed by 20 minutes of 1 minutes of jogging, 1minunte & 30 sec of brisk walking, 1 minute of jogging, 1 minute 30 seconds of brisk walking then a 5 minute cool down for a total of 30 minutes.  Actually all three days of week one follow the same sequence. Really it wasn’t too bad.  I’ve finished two days and didn’t pass out or throw up.  I think that’s a huge accomplishment.

If you’d like to join me in my Couch-to-5K journey you can find it on iTunes and download to your iPhone here.  If you have a android, there are similar apps on Amazon here.; What about you?  Have you recently started a new exercise program, joined a gym or started training for a marathon?  We’d love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below and share with us!

Please “bear” with us as we update the site.

Please “bear”  with us as we update the site.  We are making a couple of small changes here and there so that we can serve you better.

Thank you in advance for understanding.

Kirstan Cunningham: Interview with the host of #SuperSaverShowdown

kristan-cunninghamEarlier today I posted about the new TV show, Super Saver Showdown premiering on the OWN tonight (August 3) at 9/8c.  If you missed my post, click here to catch-up.

I had the amazing honor of chatting on the phone today with the shows host, Kristan Cunningham. After we made our introductions and chatted for a few minutes I was really interested to hear her take on the couponing world.  One of the first things she shared with me was how blown away she was by couponers as a whole.  During casting she quickly discovered that couponers were serious about being responsible.  Things like, not clearing shelves and leaving coupons behind on shelves for others to pick up are examples of the kind of spirit that many of us couponers share with each other.  In fact, she said it felt mission like in the process because coupons afford people the opportunity to live beautifully and create one of a kind experiences for themselves, their families and others that may have been impossible otherwise.  (YEA!!!  She gets it, coupons are just a tool that bring hope to peoples finances)

So, the shows not about hoarding, or even buying $300 worth of groceries for next to nothing.  Instead, two super savvy couponers are each paired with a family and given $200 and 48 hours to plan an amazing party.  I really loved the fact that they always shopped at a family or local grocery store that neither of the Super Savers had been in before.  They have no idea what was on sale, haven’t had time to check out the match-ups online or even organize their coupons.  They were handed a binder at the store with the party plan, allowed to pick one member of the family to shop with and 20 minutes to throw down their couponing and money saving skillz.

So often the human interest part of a story gets lost in the hype of reality tv.  It was refreshing to hear that OWN was intentional in bringing together moments that matter with real emotions and real stories.  In the premiere, the families are experiencing parallel emotions.  One is celebrating a family member going away to college, the other a family member returning from deployment.  One party is bittersweet, the other relief and joy, both an amazing sense of pride for their family member. 

As I said in my earlier post, although couponing is part of the show it’s not the primary focus.  Instead it’s a competition series about throwing parties with a $10,000 prize for the Super Saver who creates the most amazing party experience while saving money.  Kristan said that couponers are more resourceful that her DIY design buddies that the spirit of couponing makes people resourceful because many of us started from a place of need or desperation.  The Super Savers go beyond grocery store savings in planning their party as they are also responsible for decorating and creating authentic experiences for the families. 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see this fresh take on couponing.  I love the concept of showing responsible savers who have figured out amazing things to make their life better.  I think Kristan said it best,”It’s the spirit of who they are.  Inherently, couponers are givers.  Couponers are responsible savers who have made a choice to live small.

 

Since she’s the DIY design expert and party planning guru I had if she would share with us a couple party planning tips.

Here’s what she shared:

  • .Theme parties can quickly become tacky if you go with a package look. Skip the party supply store and the matching paper plates, napkins and cups with theme characters and patterns. Instead, use items you already own in your home and thrift store finds to add up to an authentic look.
  • A successfully executed party doesn’t necessarily sport the most tasteful decorations or most elegant food. It’s an event that guests walk away from having had the best experience. Whether it’s ambient lighting, the right music or the perfect fun activities, focus first on the vibe, then the details.
  • From anniversary parties to job promotion shindigs, every party is a celebration of someone or some group of people’s lives or achievements. Keep the focus on the special person or occasion you’re celebrating.
  • Every party doesn’t need to feature games to ensure that guests feel included and, more importantly, don’t get bored. From slideshows to crafting stations and speech giving to dancing, there are so many ways to create a unique experience. Remember that it’s about the memories you, your family and your guests take away from the event that’ll have made it special.

“If life is a cupcake, then parties are the sprinkles on it. When we look back, it’ll be those colorful little highlights that stand out. So many of life’s small and large moments deserve to be recognized and celebrated, and the more care we take with doing so, the greater impact those milestones will have on our lives.”  Kristan Cunningham

 

Do you have any money saving party tips? If so, we’d love to hear! Please share in a comment below.
You don’t want to miss tonight’s premiere episode. Tune in August 3re at 9/8c on OWN.

 

 

Do you have any money saving party tips? If so, we’d love to hear!  Please share in a comment below. You don’t want to miss tonight’s premiere episode.  Tune in August 3re at 9/8c on OWN.

Super Saver Showdown: Premiers TONIGHT on OWN @9/8c

 

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Image Credit:  OWN

Guess what ya’ll?  There’s a new show premiering tonight, Super Saver Showdown on the OWN network at 9/8c. Today, I had the amazing privilege of interviewing the shows host, Kristan Cunningham.  Yes! Y’all this is The Kristan Cunningham from HGTV’s Hit show Design on a Dime and judge for HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge and Bang For Your Buck. 

((insert squeal of excitement))

During our conversation I could hear Kristan’s heart, she truly has a passion to help others live beautifully.  It was inspiring to hear how much the Super Savers and families on the show impacted her.  You’ll have to come back later today,I’ll be posting about our conversation and sharing her take on the show, party planning tips and more.  Since the season premier of Super Saver Show Down is tonight, I wanted to tell you about the show.

 

Image Credit:  OWN

 

First, it’s a competition.  Two "Super Savers" compete against each other to plan a party on a $200 budget.  Each is paired with a family and given a party theme to shop for and plan. 

 

Here’s the skinny:

  • 2 Super Savers are paired with a family to shop and plan a party
  • Round 1 – Each Super Saver gets $100 and 20 minutes to shop with one member of the family
  • The Super Saver who saves the most money wins a weeks worth of groceries for the family.
  • Round 2 – Each Super Saver gets an additional $100 to purchase items needed to plan an amazing party for the family and 48 hours to plan and execute an amazing party
  • The Super Saver creates the best party experience while saving money wins $10,000

I’m super excited about the show and can’t wait tell you all about my conversation with Kristan! Don’t forget to tune in tonight (August 3rd) at 9/8c on OWN.  In the meantime you can check out a 5 minute sneak peek here.

 

Now, I already know what ya’ll are thinking, in casting for the show Kristan told me that they looked for responsible couponers. Although couponing is a huge component of the show, it’s not the primary focus. Remember, it’s a competition with a goal of creating an amazing party experience for the families while saving money at the same time. Then, the Super Saver who wins gets $10,000.

Happy Father’s Day: June 17, 2012

 

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My mom and dad on vacation.  (Sammy & Deborah Knight)

We hope you and your family have a wonderful day today.  I know that many of you have lost your daddy,  and today is especially hard for you. I pray that you would be able to hold on to the memories and celebrate the life he lived.

Enjoy time with all the daddy’s in your life. Celebrate with your kiddos!  Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Today is both a happy and a sad day for me.  It makes me happy to celebrate Father’s Day with my children, honoring my husband.  They are so blessed to have a father who loves them so much.  At the same time, I feel sad as I think about my daddy who passed away four years ago.  He was such an incredible father to my brother and I, husband to my mom and friend to so many people.  He loved to make people laugh, his laugh was contagious.  My father was a giver, he never sat me down and taught me about giving I watched him live it out in his life day in and day out.  Now, I pass his legacy of giving down to my own children.

I miss my daddy so much.  Although I know I will see him again and we have the promise of spending eternity together, I wish he was still here.  There is so much I’d love to tell him.  I wish he could see how big his grandbabies have gotten and how much they still adore him.  I can celebrate knowing that he is spending the ultimate Father’s Day with his heavenly Father.

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Happy Father’s Day!

#ChildHunger: Schools Out for the Summer but Child Hunger Isn’t

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School is out, and it’s officially S U M M E R T I M E!  Many of us are planning vacation getaways with our families and other fun family activities.   It’s so easy to get busy and forget about needs around us, especially since daily school routine has been interrupted with promises of summertime fun.  In reality, during the summer months free and discounted school lunches are gone. Therefore, the number of children are food insecure is even greater.

 

This summer, approximately 18 million children will face a greater risk of hunger while they’re out of school. During the school year, almost 21 million children depend on free or reduced-price school meals to help keep them from going hungry. But only 2.3 million children are enrolled in similar summer meal programs.1

(from http://www.hungerfreesummertour.org/)

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The past couple of months, I have posted several times about the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here campaign as one of their blogger ambassadors. I’ve include links below to a couple of my favorite posts!  Remember, all you have to do is enter the codes on the back of participating ConAgra products online and ConAgra will donate a meal.

Child Hunger Ends Here- 3 Ways to Include Your Kids in Giving

ConAgra- Child Hunger Ends Here! We can all help by entering

ConAgra Child Hunger Ends Here- Enter Codes to Donate Meals!

 

All you have to do is enter the codes on the back of participating ConAgra products online and ConAgra will donate a meal. If you have codes that you haven’t entered yet you’ve still got time!  Codes will be accepted up to a maximum of 3 million meal donations or until 8/31/2012

 

You can make a difference by purchasing participating ConAgra products at your local grocery store. Look for the push pin logo, and enter the code online at Child Hunger Ends Here. For every code entered, ConAgra will donate the equivalent of one meal.

You can also follow the discussion at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods, or tweet along by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods and using #ChildHunger.

 

I am a blogger correspondent for ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Opinions and experiences shared here are my own.

 

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture/FNS

Child Hunger Ends Here: 3 Ways to Include Your Kids in Giving

 

Last week, The Cleveland Daily Banner featured an article about our involvement as a blog ambassador with ConAgra Foods and the Child Hunger Ends Here Campaign.  Ya’ll know we are passionate about giving to others, especially since couponing affords us the opportunity to “Save Big so we can Give Bigger.”

I always knew there were needs in my community, however since I have been involved in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign my eyes have been opened.  Nationwide, 1 in 5 children are food insecure meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  In my county, the need is even greater 1 in 3 children.

Wow.  1 in 3 children where I live don’t know where their next meal is coming from?

I can’t imagine, my son wants a snack between snacks……….

 

 

Not only do I think it’s important to include my kids each time we pick out an item to donate, I think it’s important that they know someone sitting right next to them may not know where their next meal is coming from.

I want them to learn empathy, and the importance of looking beyond themselves to see the needs of others.  If I don’t teach them, their view will be based on what they see with their eyes.   To them, hunger and needy will be those on the side of the interstate holding a sign.  It will be the homeless, laying down on a park bench.

Reality.  1 in 3 children where my children play, go to church, participate in sports, etc. are hungry.  It’s up to me to teach them, it’s up to me to show them what compassion for others looks like, it’s up to me to show them we can help, we can make a difference.

 

 

How?  It starts with awareness.  I challenge you, to talk to your kids about child hunger.  Don’t know where to start?  Find out what the stats are in your community.  Educate yourself.

Did you know……..

Children who struggle with hunger face additional problems, such as:

  • Slower growth and inhibited brain development
  • More illnesses, including stomachaches, headaches, colds, ear infections and fatigue
  • Greater susceptibility to obesity and its harmful health consequences
  • Lower concentration and alertness in school
  • Lower academic achievement

Stats – from Consequenses of Child Hunger

 

 

Here’s how to find the child hunger stats in your county:

  1. Click here, then look for the image above – click “See how many children are affected in your county.”
  2. Click your state to see the overall stats.  I live in TN – 17.6% of children are food insecure.  Right around the corner in GA 19.9% are food insecure.
  3. Hover your mouse over the county you live in, talk to your kids about this number.

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Now, go one step further.  Do something.
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Feed a hungry child, with your children.
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It’s as simple as entering a code from a participating ConAgra product online.  (go here for a list of participating products)  Look for the push pin like in the image above for the code.  ConAgra will donate a meal, for every code entered up to the equivilant of 5 million meals.   Depending on how old your children are, walk them through the process from picking up the ConAgra products at the grocery store that qualify to actually entering the code online once you get home.  If they own the experience, it will make a greater impact on their hearts.
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After your kids enter the code, they’ll get to download a copy of the song, Here’s Hope written for the campaign by their choice of artist, either Jewel, Owl City or Jay Sean.
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Not only will our kids feel like they got special time with mommy (depending on their age) but together you took the time to make a difference in someone else’s world.  It’s what giving is all about, looking beyond our desires to invest in someone else’s life.
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But.  Don’t let it end there.
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Each time you go to the grocery store, include your kids.  Let them pick out the donation item.  Every week there are items at the grocery store that are free or super cheap.  There’s no reason, not to pick up an item or two.  Your kids will love it, you will be doing something every time you shop that WILL make a difference.
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We make it easy for you.  Every week we post a Time 2 Give list, that includes all of the items in our grocery and drug store matchups that are $1 and under.  Look for your store, then ask your kids to help pick out the donation item.  Depending on their age, if it’s a printable coupon let them cut it out.  If the coupon is in your binder, ask your kids to grab it.  Give them an envelope and put them in charge.  Once you get to the grocery store, allow them to pick the item off the shelf and hand over the coupon to the cashier.
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It will take a little extra effort on your part, but the lessons your children will be learning are invaluable.  After all, couponing it’s just about getting a deal, it’s about making a dfference!
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You can make a difference by purchasing participating ConAgra products at your local grocery store. Look for the push pin logo, and enter the code online at Child Hunger Ends Here. For every code entered, ConAgra will donate the equivalent of one meal. Codes will be accepted up to a maximum of 3 million meal donations or until 8/31/2012. If you missed our previous post about Child Hunger Ends Here click the following links here and here.

You can also follow the discussion at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods, or tweet along by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods and using #ChildHunger.

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I am a blogger correspondent for ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Opinions and experiences shared here are my own.