REWARD YOUR KIDS’ HARD WORK: Good Report Card Freebies List!

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Good Report Card Freebies

With summer peeking around the corner, it’s almost time again to share those good report cards!  With those good grades comes great rewards, aside of course, from the vast knowledge acquired represented by said good grades.  Here is a current list of FREE rewards for kids who bring home good report cards!  Consider using them as incentives to motivate your kids to finish the year odd strong!

Also, make sure to look at all the great Kids Free Summer Reading Programs available to your kiddos over the summer break – you know, to ensure good report cards next school year.

Teachers, feel free to share this with your coworkers, students, and parents!

I HIGHLY suggest calling ahead to be sure that your area business is participating in these promotions!!  Also, if you know of other freebies not mentioned here, please let me know! 🙂

Many thanks to Saving Dollars and Sense for compiling such an extensive list!
[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Shopping at Aldi: Hints and Tips

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



shopping at Aldi

Shopping at Aldi

If you’re lucky enough to live near an Aldi grocery store, I highly recommend you take advantage of this great, simple grocery store! Here are a few simple tips to get you started so you can make the most while shopping at Aldi: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Calculating Sales Tax with Coupons

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Calculating Sales Tax with CouponsWhen you use coupons, it’s important to understand how sales tax works with manufacture and store coupons.

Consider the following points:

    1. A store is reimbursed by the manufacture for the value of a coupon used. Thus, the store still generates revenue from the couponed item. Therefore, sales tax IS applied to the amount of the coupon.
    2. When you use a store coupon, OR when a store doubles the value of a manufacture’s coupon, the store is NOT reimbursed for that amount. Therefore, the amount for which the store doubles a coupon or the amount of a store coupon is NOT subject to sales tax.

Make sense?  Here are a few examples, to make it crystal clear:

Calculating Sales Tax with Coupons

Let’s set up a scenario, with easy round numbers.

  • Let’s say you are able to take advantage of a 10 for $10 sale at Publix, and you indeed purchase 10 items. Each item is thus priced at $1.00.
  • Let’s further say you are lucky enough to have matching manufacture coupons worth 50¢ for each item. That’s $5.00 in manufacture coupons.
  • If your Publix DOUBLES those coupons, then you’re essentially getting $5.00 in store coupons. (Look at your receipt — it’s always broken up as a separate coupon.)  This scenario would work the exact same way if you had ten Publix coupons for 50¢ off said item.
  • So, your pre-tax total is ZERO. But, because the store will still generate revenue off the $5.00 in manufacture coupons, you’ll be taxed for that amount.
  • Tax around here is 7%; so for me, I would pay $0.35 out of pocket for $10.00 worth of items.

Make sense now?  Want another example?

  • Let’s go to Kroger, where they also have a 10 for $10 sale.  But remember, Kroger doesn’t double coupons anymore.
  • Let’s say you buy 10 items for $1 each.
  • And again, you have 10 manufacture coupons for 50¢ each.  Therefore, you have $5 in manufacture’s coupons.
  • So for $10 worth of items, you pay $5 plus tax.
  • Since you don’t tax the amount of a manufacture coupon, you pay $5 plus 35¢ in tax (assuming tax is 7%).
  • For $10 worth of items, you ‘ll pay $5.35 after coupons and taxes.

Ok, one more example:

  • Take those handy-dandy Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.  There are generally two kinds: 20% off or $5 off.
  • In either scenario, since it is a store coupon, you are taxed AFTER the couponed amount.
  • So, if you buy an item at BBB for $100, and use a 20% off coupon (please, oh, please don’t ever buy something from there without a 20% off coupon!!), you are taxed the post-coupon amount of $80.
  • In the most of the metro Atlanta area, that means you’ll pay 7% tax, or $5.60.

Disclaimer: this is most certainly the case in the state of Georgia. I cannot speak for any state elsewhere. However, I would imagine the same principles would apply. There are some areas where sales tax is lowered or not applicable to food and medicine.  Any out of staters who can verify or deny this, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Smartphone Apps that PAY – Get Paid to Shop!

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Smartphone Apps that PAY - Make-Money-from-Your-Smartphone

Did you know you can make money from your smartphone?  I have some AWESOME smartphone apps that PAY you for shopping: iBotta, Checkout 51, Shopkick, Berry Cart, Shopmium, Groupon Snap, and now Top CashBack!  All reward you for doing the shopping you already do!  And they’re pretty darn easy to use, and therefore to make money!  And the best part is ALL of these are free apps, available in the app store!

Disclosure: these links are my personal referral links or affiliate links, and you do support AFM if you sign up under me.

Smartphone Apps that PAY You to Shop
Smartphone Apps that Pay - Berry Cart

Berry Cart is the solution for those who think it’s just too expensive to buy fresh organic fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods.  Once you’ve reviewed the items eligible for rebate, scan them within the app, then upload your reciept.  Once your reciept is reviewed, your money will go in to your account.  You can cash out via PayPal or select a gift card, including Target, Starbucks, and more! [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

I Was Going to Give Y’all A New Recipe Here, But… {How to NOT Make Meatballs}

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*sigh*  This was supposed to be a post about a new recipe for meatballs — a take on my “better for you meatballs” — but instead, I bring you a lesson on how to NOT make meatballs.

First, here is the quick recipe for how you’re SUPPOSED to make these meatballs, using Kraft Fresh Takes breadcrumbs and cheese, and ground turkey:

How to NOT make meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 pkg Kraft Fresh Takes Four Cheese blend
  • ~1-2 cup minced onion, celery, green pepper blend (I use a frozen variety from Kroger.)
  • 1-2 cup finely chopped spinach

Preheat oven to 350.  Sautee veggies if desired, then using a mixing bowl gently fold with spinach and Fresh Takes in to ground meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (This allows for easier “scoop ability”.)  Using an ice cream scoop, place 1″ meatballs on pan, sprayed with cooking spray or brushed lightly with EVOO.  Place in oven for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160.

How to NOT Make Meatballs

How can something look so good, but go so terribly wrong?!?

See?  Seems easy.  And if I hadn’t missed one crucial step, I’m sure this would’ve turned out well.  But -well, that would’ve been WAY too easy!  And y’all know by now, I don’t do “easy”….

I placed my scooped-and-balled meatballs on to pans, and placed in garage fridge to chill.  And then -through a series of events I no longer even fully recall!- I forgot about them.  For three days.

Yeah, ground meat just doesn’t do well out in the open like that.  SO, I went ahead and baked them as the recipe called for, sans EVOO, and fed them to the dog.  Then I stuck a new box of baking soda in the garage refrigerator.  *sigh*

So, if someone ends up making these, and actually follows the recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out.  In the meantime, just have a good chuckle on my behalf.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Rewards Programs You SHOULD Join

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Free lunch bags, FREE Shutterfly, FREE diapers, FREE Coca-Cola, and more are all awaiting you, if you join all the right programs.  Rewards programs, that is.  The gist of most of these rewards programs is the same, enter their codes or save UPCs/proofs of purchase, and you can redeem some cool gear.  Where there is variation, I’ve tried to clarify.  If you are part of a rewards program that’s NOT listed here, pretty please let me know about it!  🙂

Rewards Programs to Join

Here are some great rewards programs you may wish to join, if you purchase their products: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Dirty Secrets: My Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine Review + giveaway

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



I was recently given a complimentary use of the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine, in exchange for this review.  All opinions, and nasty carpet pictures, are completely mine.

I have a terrible confession to make: in over six years living in our home, we’ve never cleaned our carpets.  For over four years, they’ve been riddled with little kid grime; yet, we somehow just never got around to getting the carpets cleaned, even though it was always on our long list of things to do.  *sigh*

I digress.

When I was approached with an opportunity to try out the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine in my home for a trial period, my husband and I both eagerly jumped at the chance!  Tanya from Fizz Word of Mouth Marketing dropped it off, and that very weekend, we got to cleaning!

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine princess husband collage

Well, actually, I was putting the kids down for their naps, and my husband took over the carpet cleaning duties.  To be honest, I never got to even TOUCH the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine during the entire trial period — my husband was in.  the.  zone.  So, to be perfectly clear, this review is really a second-hand account of HIS use of the machine.  But I assure you, it was an incredible experience.  😉

The Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine proved to be light weight, even when full of the sloshy water and cleaning fluid.  I’m not sure if you were supposed to vacuum the carpets before hand -remember, my husband took control and you know men and directions….  In any case, we didn’t, but the dirt was just effortlessly pulled away from our carpets, rugs, stairs (all three flights!), and couches.

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine in action

The day we did this, it was overcast outside (imagine that, during this summer in Atlanta!), so it was difficult to get great pictures contrasting the clean and dirty carpets.  But I managed to capture a few, mainly the rugs in our den.  First, my husband did the big one, so I put the runner OVER it afterwards, for comparison purposes.  You can clearly see the difference!  This is in a super-high traffic area, but those filthy rugs didn’t stand a chance against the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine!

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine - before after

With enthusiasm -and the “help” of our daughter, dressed as Princess Merida- we tackled the whole house: all the carpet upstairs (including four bedrooms and a super long hallway), all the downstairs rugs, our carpeted dining room and formal living room, the finished basement (half carpeted), as well as front stair case, back stair case, and the basement stairs.

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine - water pouring collage

All in all, each time we poured that nasty water tank in to the laundry room sink, we were assured that we were successfully lifting the grime out of our house.  Okay, and we were equally disgusted with the level of filth we’ve been walking upon, and our KIDS had been playing in!  With each dumping of the water tank, we felt a little -um- relief knowing that the grimy layer of disgust was literally going down the drain and OUT OF OUR HOUSE!

Enter for a chance to win a rental of the
Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine!

Would you like a chance to try out this bad boy?  I’m offering five vouchers each good for a 24-hour rental period (a $24.99 value) of the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine.  It’s super simple, just comment below on which room(s) you’d most love to tackle with the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine, then fill out the entry form here.

Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine vouchers

And even if you’d don’t win, grab this coupon, good for $5 off your rental.  Your local Lowes Home Improvement store offers rental of this machine, as well as the Bissell Pawsitivity Clean Machine, which is designed for pet owners.  …..now, go enter to win a free rental trial!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Easy Puzzle Storage Solution (and CHEAP!)

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Easy puzzle storage solution: YES!  It is possible to find a clutter-free way to store all those wooden puzzles your toddlers and preschoolers love.  A friend of mine came up with an ingenious way to store toddler/preschooler’s puzzles in an efficient manner: a file folder box!  She used hanging file folders to separate each puzzle, and the clear storage container allows you to easily see each puzzle, and contain them in a small space.  With a lid, you ensure pieces won’t spill, and it won’t take up too much space.  She was able to put this together for under $10.

In addition to hanging file folders, you could also use large plastic baggies.  Can you think of other creative solutions for storing your child’s bulky toys?

 

Easy Puzzle Storage Solution

Heaps of thanks to Dr. Cassie B. of Connected Family Chiropractic for sharing this wonderful idea!!

Also, check out this nifty storage solution for your kitchen:

DIY Rollout Pantry - 13sqft of space for $60!

DIY Pot Rack

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Missing

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What SHOULD you do if your dog is missing?  We recently went through this terrible experience, and I don’t wish it on anyone.  While we were extremely lucky with our outcome, it could have easily not rather unfortunate.  SO, I’d like to share what I’ve learned from my experience, to perhaps save y’all the trouble and heartache, if you ever find yourself in my shoes.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Missing

Prevention – Things to Do Beforehand

  • Get the chip.  If it’s within your budget and your pet is young, get the chip implanted. It’s the easiest and fastest way to have your beloved pet return home to you.  Our dog is almost 15 years old, and the chip wasn’t available when my husband got him.  (Yes, he got the dog before he got me…)
  • Keep updated tags on him.  Our dog is prone to losing his tag, so it’s a good idea to keep an extra one handy, if yours is the same way.  Check frequently to ensure tags are still in place, and that the information hasn’t rubbed off.
  • Take pictures!  You’ve probably heard about taking pictures of your children before going to a big amusement park, so you’ve got an instant identification of her if you were to get separated.  The same principle applies to your pet.  Make sure you have updated pictures of you pooch, so people will know who to look for!

During the Search – the First Few Hours

  • Begin walking around your neighborhood, calling your dog’s name.  If you frequent a particular route when you walk, go that way.  
  • Perhaps bring a treat or favorite toy, especially if it makes noise.  
  • Also, bring a leash, so he’s easier to walk back home.
  • If a walk around the neighborhood doesn’t turn up results, hop in your car, and do the same thing, only cover a larger radius.  If there are enough adults to do so, have one person walking the route, while another drives around, to cover more ground and faster.
  • If your dog is at all like ours, once he’s spotted, don’t rush over to him — that may just make him run further, and if you’re in a high traffic area, that’s obviously a no-no.  Just continue to approach your dog at a normal pace, with an upbeat tone, perhaps offering that toy or treat.

During the Search – Getting the Word Out

  • Put up posters immediately.  Keep it simple.  Offer a brief description, and make a phone number easily visible.  I recommend running to the dollar store and grabbing some neon poster board. Use a BLACK sharpie to legibly write information, or just type the info (Arial font is best) and paste to poster board.  Posters should be visible all around the neighborhood, and in spots where folks are most likely to see them, like on busy streets.
  • Also, the posters our dog’s founder used were wrapped with plastic wrap, to prevent the rain from ruining them.  Or if you have easy access, laminate them.  (But bear in mind, this could get expensive if you go to an office supply store to do so.)  Clear contact paper may also work well, too; you can grab a roll at Big Lots for $2.
  • Remember the frequent pictures you’re supposed to be taking fo your pup?  Now’s the time to find the best ones to put on social media.  In this day and age, a dog could potentially be lost, found, and returned in an hour’s time, thanks to the overwhelming amount of technology on our hands.  Facebook has groups for neighborhoods, but you can also post on your feed, and ask locals to share. 

During the Search – Contact local establishments

  • Of course, contact your local animal shelters.  Since I live on the border of THREE counties, we contacted all three county’s animal shelters.  One had a way to upload his picture to their “missing” board online, but they all required you to come in person to ID and pick up your dog.  Each suggested we check their “up for adoption” list, which was updated at various intervals.
  • Contact local pet stores and veterinarian offices.  Lost pets can turn up there, and are frequently held there, at least temporarily.  One easy way to see how many pet stores are near you is to do a simple “Yelp” search by proximity and key word.

Our dog was found because my husband happened to spot a poster on his way home from work for a “found dog” about 3 miles from our home.  It turns out, he showed up in the neighborhood of a sweet, older couple the next morning, and was enjoying their company that day.  They’d taken him to the local vet (our vet!) to check for a chip.  They’d gone out and gotten a small supply of dog food, and bought supplies to create about 8 posters.  We came prepared to pay them, but they absolutely refused payment.  However, we did go around the neighborhood, and removed all of their signs for them.  That was the very least we could do!

My hope, of course, is that you’ll never need to take this advice.  But chances are great, if you’re reading this, you’re already looking for a missing pooch.  I certainly hope this proves helpful, and that you and your fur baby are reunited quickly!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Egg Breakfast Muffins & Frittata Muffins

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



I finally got around to making an easy, convenient, AND healthy breakfast meal last week. Actually two variations of the same thing: egg breakfast muffins and frittata muffins! And to run the risk of tooting my own horn, I must admit, they turned out pretty darn well!

First, my flubs: I learned that there’s a reason refrigerated biscuit dough has an expiration date! lol So, I improvised and used breadstick dough instead — with delicious results!  Second, I did not brown the potatoes beforehand for the frittatas, and they came out a little mushy; still tasty overall, but I would prefer a little more frittata-like crunch.

Also, search for coupons for these ingredients here.  (I didn’t link to them because they’ll change too frequently!)  🙂

Ingredients (makes both egg breakfast muffins AND frittata muffins)

  • 1 can refrigerated breadstick dough (or any dough of your choosing)
  • ~ 1 c. frozen diced potatoes (I used potatoes o’Brian, for an extra kick)
  • ~ 12 eggs (I used egg substitute: 3/4 egg whites, 1/4 “regular” egg substitute)
  • ~ 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 c. spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen onion and three pepper mix
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Egg Breakfast Muffins

Egg Breakfast Muffins:

Preheat oven to 450.  Spray muffin tins, and press thin layer of dough in to each spot.  (I just used enough to cover bottom and sides — you’ll have to mold a little bit, and make sure there are no gaps or holes in dough.)  Whisk eggs together in bowl, along with salt and pepper.  Stir in chopped spinach and cheese.  Spoon (or pour) in to muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  Top with additional cheese if desired.  Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until tops are gold and bubbly.

 

Egg breakfast muffin

Frittata Muffins

Preheat oven to 450. Spray muffin tins, and place a thin layer of potatoes* on bottom of each muffin tin cup. Pour egg mixture, in to each cup, about 2/3 full. Place about 1 tbsp onion and pepper mixture in to each cup. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 17-20 minutes, until tops are gold and bubbly.

* – I did not cook the potatoes beforehand. However, I may opt to brown them in a skillet next time, as I think it’ll add a little more crunch to the muffins.

egg breakfast muffin

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta's Frugal Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. In other words, if you click through to Amazon from some of the books or products I recommend and make a purchase, I get a small percentage in exchange for your purchase. It's a small way you can support AFM.