Financial Stuff

Build a Bear Coupon & McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

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Do you have a Build-A-Bear fan in the house?


I have two.  Oy!


Both little men decided they wanted to go to Build-a-Bear to build a Frosty the Snowman.  And they wanted to use their own money!


Figuring this was a good life lesson we decided to grant their request and planned to head off to BaB  on Sunday morning.

Saturday afternoon, Max wanted to see all the different options Frosty could come with.   He is a details man.



Guess what I discovered – McDonald’s was offering a coupon for $10.00 off your $30.00 order.  (FYI – your order will always be over $30.00).


Well, I always look for an excuse to head to McDonalds (even if I should know better).


However, did you know you could buy the happy meal toys without actually having to PURCHASE a happy meal?


This is one of those times this knowledge came in handy.


Not because we didn’t get a kid meal – we did.  But my boys are not fans of being the “recipient” of a girl’s toy.


(I guess the McDonald’s brass never realized that boys are Build-a-Bear fans too?).  So, for $2.50-ish I purchased two girl toys in addition to our meals and I received two $10.00 coupons.


Our boys ended up loving their Frosty’s!

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Goggles, Slip & Slides, Mike Wazowski- Oh My! End of Season Sales

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Ahhh, I do love a good end –of-summer sale.  I just picked these bad boys up at Target for less than 6 bucks total.


Max & Cooper both had their eye on Mike since the summer but at $7.00….. I wasn’t going to cave and buy it.  But at $1.46?  Yes, please.


Granted, this seems to go against some of what I have said previously (My post over at MSM & my little “Dollar Store Mishap”) but I know my boys are going to use these items.  The goggles alone are a steal!


I also picked up two more slip and slides for $5.00 each.  Why do I need so many slip and slides?  I am not sure – I was thinking one could be a gift down the line.  Or I could bring it to a friend’s house for a play date.  Or, more likely, I will lose one of them in the house and find it at the end of next season.


Did anyone find some good end of season sales?

Guest Post : Tips for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

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A Guest Post all the way from Australia!   It is packed full of tips everyone can use.


When it comes to saving money on your energy bills, there isn’t a whole lot you can do after the bills arrive, but beforehand, well there are some tips and tricks that will save you a bunch on your energy bills. Just by paying more attention to how you use your energy, you could save big on your energy costs and realize how much you had been wasting in the first place.

One of the big ones is insulation. Just by adding good insulation to your home, you are keeping all the warm or cool energy inside, so your heater or air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard to keep the temperature just right. Both these appliances work to get your house up to an optimal temperature, it’s harder for them to do that when so much of the energy they are using escapes through walls or unsealed doors. Windows are another place that wastes energy; they let in all the heat in summer and all the cold in winter. Just like your walls, it’s a good idea to insulate you windows by using multiple panes or tinting. If that is too expensive a job, simply investing in high quality, thick curtains can do wonders for temperature control.

Older appliances use much more electricity than the newer models that are rated against a new energy efficiency system. If you are going to by second hand, make sure you choose an appliance that has a higher energy efficiency rating to ensure the best energy performance.


Simpler ways of ensuring the energy efficiency of your home include simply checking up on your appliances to make sure they are working up to scratch. For example, your water heater doesn’t need to be set to the hottest setting, set in the range between 45 and 60 degrees celsius (113 – 140 degress Fahrenheit) will work better than making your system work harder to reach a higher temperature. If you have a heating system throughout the house, make sure you clean your air filters to allow air to flow more freely, and close the ducts in rooms that don’t need to be heated as regularly.

Try replacing your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent.  It may seem to cost more initially but they save energy by lasting longer and by producing a more pure light that doesn’t waste energy by producing heat. Also check with your energy company to ensure they are providing the best rate for you.  You can compare them with other providers by using sites like Save Central, so you can make sure you aren’t paying too much on your bills.

Another affordable trick is to plant a shady tree on the side of the house that is exposed to the most intense sunlight. This will provide much needed shade in the warmer months, cooling down that area of the house.

Finally, if you are really committed, consider installing solar panels on your roof to further save on your energy costs by harnessing the free power of the sun!

 Ivy Delfin works in Marketing for Save Central.


 Does anyone have a tip they want to add?

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Simple Ways to Save : Keeping Berries Fresh

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I had a berry problem.  Max loves berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – even black berries (I find them weird… sorry Blackberry Fans!).


But they didn’t stay fresh for long!  Even in the fridge.

 Keeping berries fresh


The scenario :  Saturday morning, while I do my weekly shopping, I grab a pint of one of the afore-mentioned berries.   By Tuesday morning they would be gooey, disgusting and occasionally covered in fur.


Especially the organic ones, which would drive the non-organic-loving hubby of mine out of his skull.


Now if I was my grandmother, I would just cut around the offending matter, but mentally I can’t.  Sorry, I am easily grossed out.


So, I started doing some reading.  Some people suggest soaking the fruit in a 1:10 mixture of water to white vinegar.  Ehhhh…. Not really my thing.


Then I found a tip that the berries need to stay dry.


Ding!  The bells started going off.



Now I prep my berries by wrapping them in a paper towel.  I definitely notice getting some additional time out of the package.


Do you have a fruit/veggie storage tip?  I could use it!   I lose more money in  unused fruit than anything else.

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The Dollar Store – A Cautionary Tale

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I believe the moniker ‘The Dollar Store’ is a bit of a misnomer.  I have never, ever,  ever, never, EVER spent only a dollar.  Maybe these stores are just Dizee-Kryptonite?  More likely, I should just learn some self control.


I usually head over there for some benign reason – typically it is wrapping paper.  I hate spending $3.00 or more on wrapping paper that will be destroyed in minutes.  I also cannot cotton to my husband’s notion of always wrapping gifts in Christmas Paper (which, somehow, we have a never-ending supply)


So, this particular day I was heading over to buy some wrapping paper for my friend’s Baby Shower (Yes, yours Myra).


This is what I ended up buying. 




Here was my rationalization process:


  • Wow,  Tiki’s.  Max loves Tiki’s. I can never find Tiki stuff- it’s ok, I it’s only a dollar
  • Spiderman Shield?  Got to buy two for the boys – it’s ok, I it’s only a dollar
  • Water Balloons? Bubbles? Yes please, its summer – it’s ok, I it’s only a dollar
  • What a cute re-useable bag-  it’s ok, I it’s only a dollar


And so it went until I got to the register. 

My bill was Thirty Dollars.

Granted, this shouldn’t have been a surprise.  All I had to do was count the number of items.  But I was still like ‘Oh Crap’

And that is how my quest to save $2.50 on wrapping paper utterly failed. 

Consider yourself warned.



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Let’s Start Saving For the Holidays!

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Well, now that we are in September, it is time to start thinking about Christmas… 2014…




Yes, you heard this girl read this blog correctly. 


Holiday Clubs have been a savings mechanism for years.  My Aunt has been doing it since the dawn of time (aka the 70’s).  Simply allocate a certain amount of money each week for your Holiday Fund.  Then you can pay for most, if not all, of your gifts in cash.




(This is the same technique we used to save up to buy our plane tickets for Disney.  )


 I decided to start saving for next Christmas now simply because I find we do most of our Christmas Shopping early.  I have elected to allot twenty dollars a week as my saving target which would translate to over $1,000 by September 1st  of next year (It will be here before we know it!)


I set up this snazzy envelope to track my contributions.  My biggest problem is forgetting if I added money to my fund.  This way, I can check off as I go while also keeping a running tally of what should be in the envelope.  Double Win.


This system will also help me determine if someone with sticky fingers ‘borrowed’ anything from the stash.  Yeah, we all know who I am talking about…


See, I am always thinking!

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Shopping Adventures : Stop & Shop 8/31

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 This weekend was a very exciting Stop & Shop weekend for Dizee. 


I was stoked when I saw these bad boys in the weekly circular….  The real challenge was making sure I hit the minimum purchase.


I ended up buying a bunch of staples I normally would spread out over a bunch of trips – King Arthur Whole Wheat and White Whole Wheat flour.  Soda for a family party I am hosting in a few weeks.  Dawn Dishwashing Soap (this is the base of a sugar hand scrub which is great!!! Post to follow next week). 


Overall I ended up saving $48 with my Stop & Shop card and $25 with coupons. 


But the biggest score?  This baby.


The boys have been eyeing this all summer.  It is a three in one slip and slide, pool and sprinkler.  Apparently, it is the Bentley of Slip and Slides…  It had been going for anywhere between $35 – $40.  I got it Saturday morning for 10 bucks!!!! 


Now, I just have to make sure I stash it somewhere out of site until next summer.

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Simple Ways to Save : Junk Mail, Skunk Mail

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See this wad of mail? I  commonly refer to it as “Junk Mail”.  It goes right in the trash.  Ok, maybe it sits on my table for a week day or two and then I dump it in the circular-file (aka garbage).

 However, I recently started perusing these documents before throwing them out and look what I found?  Jackpot !  Coupons to our favorite destination – Friendly’s.

Another hidden gem – my friend told me about the Valpak Website.  You can print coupons to restaurants and stores.  Some are local  (like  my favorite pizza place- Gino’s of Bethpage) and others are for national places (like Home Depot).

So, the moral of the story is – keep your eyes peeled for the good stuff.


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