Friday, July 30, 2010

Savvy How To: Back To School Savings

Savvy How To:
Back To School Savings

It’s almost back to school time again – where did those lazy days of summer go!  Each week as I search the sale ads, I’m reminded that school supplies, clothing, backpacks and lunchboxes will shortly be required for that big yellow bus ride on the first day of school.  The checklist of needed supplies may seem overwhelming and outrageously expensive, but don’t let these purchases give you F’s (Financial Frustration)! 

Inventory Check:  First things first – you need to take stock of what supplies you already have. I buy extra packs of pens and pencils every school season – even notebooks and folders when they go on sale for ridiculously low prices.  I store them in a designated closet for future use throughout the school year and inevitably I always have leftovers.  Scavenge the office supply drawer/closet in your home and check off any items you’ve previously purchased so you don’t spend more than you really need to on supplies you already have on hand.

Recycle:  Rulers, scissors, pencil boxes and the like should not need to be re-purchased each school year.  Recycling as many of last year's purchases as possible will save you a pretty penny.  And recycling isn’t just limited to stationary items.  This will be the third year in a row my daughter has used her cute pink backpack. I bought a sturdy backpack at 75 percent clearance several years ago and just wash it as needed.  It has held up amazingly well and still looks like new! And no one said you had to have brand new pencils, pens, markers or crayons on the first day of school. This is a perfect time to clean out that junk drawer full of pencils and pens.  A pencil is a pencil – as long as it writes and has an eraser it will be sufficient.  If you’re worried your kids will feel badly that they’re using a slightly used writing instrument remember, once they’re sharpened they all look used and no one will know the difference! And, as my mother-in-law says, “Make do or do without.”

Make A List:  Just as in grocery shopping, make sure you take a school supply shopping list with you to the store.  Shopping without a list usually means buying extra items you really didn’t need.  And somehow many of those items never get returned to the store — they just sit around waiting to be used.  Once your list of essential buys is inked out, make sure your kids know you’re sticking to the list and your budget!  With thousands of pop-star themed notebooks and glittery gel pens for sale, it’s almost like taking your kids to the candy store.  Shopping without children is always my preference – it’s always cheaper and less stressful than hearing “Oh – I want that one, can I have that one pleeeeeeeeeease, pretty please?”

No Frills: When I was in school I actually looked forward to cutting up brown paper grocery bags to use as book covers and then decorating them with colored markers.  OK, I think I’ve just dated myself with that comment, but kids really don’t need designer stretchable book covers and a rainbow collection of glitter gel pens. Truthfully, that designer cover won’t make your child any more friends or come close in determining their self-worth.  Money can’t buy everything.  Stick to the basics and save your money for the impending braces! 

Limited Time Sales: Right now is the perfect time to stock up on school supplies! Stores are competing with each other for your business like no other time in the year.  By offering huge discounts on everything from pencils to paper, retailers, and even grocers, are vying for your back-to-school dollars.  Take advantage of these amazing deals and stock up when possible for next year's supplies.  Pencils and paper don’t go rancid or get weevils.  Buy a few extra if it’s in the budget and get a head start for next year.  And don’t forget to check back in September for all the back-to-school clearance sales.  All that extra stock of glue and crayons is quick reduced for up to 75 percent off savings!

Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to being broke!  Saving money on back to school items is as easy as 1+1 = 2.  Try these simply ideas and get back to school without breaking the bank!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pantry Potpourri: Baking Soda

Pantry Potpourri:

The Benefits of Baking Soda

Chances are, you've got a box or two of Baking Soda lying around your pantry just waiting for addition to your favorite cake or cookie recipe. Baking Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate as it's also named, is most commonly used as a levening agent in doughs and batters. But Baking Soda's usefulness doesn't stop there! There are hundreds of uses for this bubbly powder all around the home.

Deodorize your Fridge: If you want foods to stay fresh and eliminate overpowering food odors put a newly opened box of Baking Soda in your refrigerator every 30-40 days. There are even specially designed packages of vented Baking Soda for double the baking soda exposure and thus double the freshening results.

Liquid Laundry Booster:
Add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda to each load of laundry when using liquid laundry detergent to balance the ph and get your clothes cleaner, fresher and brighter.

Carpet Freshener: Did you know that one of the main ingredients in carpet deodorizers is often Baking Soda? If you don't want to pay for all the frills of floor powders, simply sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let stand for 10 minutes and then vacuum up the leftover residue. You'll get the same results or even better than name brand carpet deodorizers by using pure Baking Soda without all the added scented "fluff".

Shoe Deodorizer: Just sprinkle a little Baking Soda in shoes, boots or slippers to absorb odor causing moisture. Remember to tap out any extra baking soda before wearing again.

Chlorine Bleach Booster: Add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda with a 1/2 cup of bleach (instead of the usual 1 cup of bleach) will boost the brightening power of your bleach and help reduce smelly chemical odors too! www.arm&

Bee Sting Soother: Soothe the inflammation and pain of bee stings with a paste of Baking Soda and water and leave it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes.

Hand Cleanser: If you've got onion, fish or other strong odors embedded in your hands from food prep, rub a paste of Baking Soda and water between your hands and eliminate all the smelly traces.

Cleaning Grills: Sprinkle barbeque grills with dry Baking Soda on a damp brush, scrub and rinse clean. For tough, greasy stains, scrub with a wire brush and a Baking Soda paste (3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part warm water). www.arm&

Towel, Washrag Cleaner: Can't get the chlorine or sour odors out of towels or kitchen sink cloths? Add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda to the laundry rinse cycle to easily eliminate odors.

Garbage Can Deodorizer: Sprinkle Baking Soda in the bottom of your garbage can and in between garbage layers to minimize odor build up.

Polish Silver: Rub a Baking Soda cleaning paste made with 3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part water onto dulled silver with a clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry. This mixture will also remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors.

Fire Eliminator: You probably already know this tip, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Baking Soda can actually work as an excellent fire extinguisher. For small fires, unplug affected appliances or turn off gas/electricity if safe to do so and throw handfuls of Baking Soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire. Make sure to also call 911 just to be safe.

Modeling Clay: For a great homemade modeling clay that hardens after drying, try Arm & Hammer Play Clay. Use it to make decorations, ornaments, jewelry, magnets, boxes, and more!

2 cups Baking Soda
1 cup corn starch
1-1/4 cups cold water (can add food coloring to color clay)

Stir together Baking Soda and Corn Starch in saucepan. Add water (and food coloring if desired) and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches consistency of moist mashed potatoes (approximately 10-15 minutes).
Remove mixture to plate and cover with a damp cloth.

When Play Clay is cool to the touch, pat until smooth. Air dry clay shapes on a wire rack (eight hours to overnight). Or, pre-heat oven to lowest setting. Turn off, then place finished shapes on a cookie sheet in over for 10-15 minutes. Protect finished projects with clear nail polish or clear acrylic spray paint (follow manufacturer's directions). Store any unused Play Clay in the refrigerator for up to one week -

Baking Soda isn't just for cooking! It really is a household workhorse and can be used almost anywhere to freshen, brighten and clean. For more ideas on how to utilize your pantry staples visit, your #1 source for savings.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walgreens Deals

 :: Walgreens Best Deal List ::

Get a sneak peek of WALGREENS next weeks ad!
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