A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer

by Melody on July 24, 2011







Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.

  • We seriously have so much kale in our garden that it could easily go to waste.  I’m trying really hard to use it creatively, but there have been times I just can’t use it.  I pureed what was left over and froze in ice cube trays.  This week, I pulled out a few cubes and threw it into our spaghetti sauce.  Extra veggies and not one member of my family was the wiser.  All from a packet of $1 kale seeds.
  • I’ve been reusing my Ziploc bags for awhile now, but just realized I have never mentioned it here.  Any time I use a bag for crackers, bread, vegetables or other non-messy food items, I rinse the bag out and reuse it.  I don’t ever reuse them if I have used raw meat or anything greasy, but most everything else.  Honestly, we can usually get freezer and sandwich bags for fairly inexpensive, but it seems silly not to use them again if I can.
  • My kids and I were at my parents for most of the week and when we got home, I was scheduled to deliver dinner to a friend who had just had a baby.  Instead of stressing out and trying to make something super last minute, I pulled out one of my freezer meals, added a green salad and was ready to go.

Frugal family vacation

Our summer is absolutely jam-packed this year.  I’m pretty sure I say that every year, but it just seems to be flying by.  We are doing fun stuff, but it’s feeling crazy.  A deal came up on Groupon a few months back for an inexpensive hotel stay in Liberty Lake, WA, which is just a few hours from us.  We decided to head up, just our family.  Nothing super planned, just easy and relaxed.

We definitely would not have been able to fit this into our budget without getting such a great deal on Groupon.  I subscribed to Groupon Spokane over the last few months, and was able to find a great deal on the Spokane Falls Skyride.  Our hotel comes up with a free continental breakfast as well, to help save some money.  Crystal over at Frugal Chic Living gave me some great, inexpensive dinner ideas as well.

Tips of the Day:  Watch daily deal sites for unexpected deals.  Once you have a trip planned, follow the sites in that city or area for fun things to do that you might not have otherwise tried.  Ask for ideas from friends or family who might know the area better and will have suggestions.

Fabulous tips from reader Janice

  • Her family loves the foaming hand soap, but it doesn’t often go on sale.  She has found that she can make her own by thinning standard hand soap with a little water.  She’s also thinking of thinning down all the body wash and dish soap we are able to get for free or super cheap.  Has anyone tried this?
  • She has been making tons of meals for friends or potluck BBQs and has been “shopping” from her stockpile.  Their family is trying to eat less dessert, so she is using her stockpile of dessert items creatively to make things for others to enjoy.  She made one huge batch of her favorite potluck pasta salad, to split and take to three different events.
  • She found a great deal on bonus buy yogurt at Albertsons that was generating a catalina.  She turned around and used those catalinas at Fred Meyer to buy produce that was on sale for the week.
  • She is very intentional about their budget.  They were under budget for the month on groceries and used that extra money to buy curtains for their home that will hopefully reduce their energy bill.  They chose to take their kids to an event instead of paying a babysitter, and are now using that money to drive to a berry farm and pick berries for the rest of the year.

Thank you so much for sharing, Janice!

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel July 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Oh my! How I love a budget vacation. We snagged the groupon for the 7 night stay at World Resort earlier this year, and will happily be staying in a 2BD Condo at resort with 8 swimming pools in Palm Springs this summer. Yes it will be hot, but I won’t be paying the bill for air conditioning! This is the kind of vacation I never really imagined consciously affording!


Heather July 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I didn’t do anything spectacular. My husband sacrificed his time and ran my errands so I could save gas. We then used the saved gas to go surprise my father in law for his 75th birthday. Totally worth it.


Lora July 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I use the watered down soap method too for hand soap. I got the foam hand pumps from Bath & Body Works for a good deal. I just add hand soap from Costco when they run out. I fill them a little less than half full with soap and the rest of the way with water and shake them up and VOILA! Foaming hand soap! I’ve never tried it with dish soap or anything else, however.


Jane July 25, 2011 at 2:56 am

I have just discovered your blog and what a joy.
I have4 children aged 11-19 and it doesn’t get any cheaper.
I have just finished a postgrad course and a friend told e about Amazon. I have just mailed 14 books and made £108.
Not only will the money be very handy I have also realised just how much I have wasted on books that I didn’t read.
I have also joined my local Groupon too.
I will be a regular reader from now on.


Emilie McFarlane July 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

Janice is so smart. Seriously. Every idea she has is brilliant. Keep those tips coming Janice! :o)


Rhonda July 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

Under the sink in my kitchen, I have the large Costco size dish soap and hand soap containers that have 3 parts of water to 1 part of soap for the foaming soap dispensers around my house. It makes for a quick and consistent refill that even my kids can do when needed. I also refill my sons’ Kadoo soap dispenser with the same ratio using baby wash.


Maegen July 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I really enjoy these posts, Melody! Love the idea of pureeing the kale and freezing it. I had no idea you could do that!

We are on a serious budget right now because my hubby went seriously over budget planning a surprise birthday for me. I can’t be too mad-lol.

I haven’t had luck with the adding water to the soap dispenser thing, but I have seen hand soap recipes round the internet. I need to try one because we go through that like crazy!

Thanks for all your practical, real-world ideas and keep ’em coming!


Melody July 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Thanks Maegen! It’s been fun to blog about things that don’t involve couponing. I’m on a bit of a summer burn out, so it’s been nice to make do with what we have.

P.S. Hooray for your husband! 🙂


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