Saturday, October 31, 2009

Winterizing you

We are quickly heading into winter and if your like me that means at least 6 months of dry skin, broken nails and flyaway hair. I try to remember to use lotion on my skin every day once we start heating the house. The mere thought of the combination of dry cold air and dry warm air makes my skin start to flake and crack. Fortunately there are quite a few good products on the market now days, but remember, you don’t need to pay top dollar for a wonderful product. If you have especially dry skin its good to find a body lotion that has an oil base in the winter so you have a protective barrier between you and the dry air. Facial moisturizers are different from body lotions, an oil based body lotion used on your face can cause break outs, its best to find something a little lighter to use for your face. If you have serious skin cracking or severely drying skin a visit to a dermatologist is your best bet and will net you the greatest rewards. There are some coupons out right now for some good winter lotions: $1 off Jergens Naturals, $1.50 off Dove Cream Oils Body Lotion. Is your skin REALLY dry? You may want to try the new Vaseline prescription strength lotion (You don’t actually need a prescription for it), they are offering $1.00 off at: $1.00 Vaseline lotion coupon. If you love Bath and Body products they are currently having a sale on their new product scent line, however its important to remember that scented products can actually irritate dry skin further so if your skin is overly dry use it only for that special night out. Bath and Body deals. Its also important to remember to use sunscreen in the winter, the suns reflection off the snow can be even more harsh than in the summer, there is a $1 off coupon at Coppertone. Don’t forget your lips in the winter either, Carmex has a weekly drawing where 50 people are awarded a free Carmex: My Carmex weekly drawing. Burt’s Bees is offering a free lip balm with $25 purchase, use coupon code WINNER at their website Burt's Bees. They also have a kit called Tips ‘N Toes on sale for $8.50 that includes Peppermint Foot Lotion (.47 fl. oz.) Coconut Foot Crème (.56 oz.) Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème (.25 oz.) Beeswax and Banana Hand Crème (.25 oz.) Hand Salve (.30 oz.) Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme (.30 oz.) Honey Lip Balm (.15 oz.) and a Pumice Stone. Burt's Bees Tips ‘N Toes kit.

In the winter my hair gets as dry as my skin so its important to use a shampoo that moisturizes and conditioner on at least on the ends of my hair to keep them from getting split. Your hair is like your skin when it comes to hot water, try to use warm or cool water instead to keep it from drying out. Don’t go outside with wet hair, this can cause breakage. If you must leave the house with wet or damp hair remember to wear a hat or scarf. Aveeno has a new line of hair care products made to fit with your specific hair needs and it’s the one I have chosen to use over the Winter. You can try a free sample and see if its right for your hair at: AVEENO® NOURISH Hair Care sample. If you use styling products Dove has a free sample as well, their product is designed to work on damage caused by heat products. Dove hair care sample. Dove also has coupons available for their hair products at: $1 off any Dove hair care product.

Don’t forget your nails during the Winter, they can become dry and brittle too. Keeping your nails in water too long can weaken them and cause them to lose their natural moisturizer, you can use a moisturizer on both your fingernails and toenails to ensure they are well cared for, try this before bed each night and after a bath and you should notice a difference. Its also important to wear gloves on your hands in the cold weather to keep your nails from the extreme temperature changes. There is a wonderful on line source for any kind of glove known to man at Gloves-online, be sure to check out the sale section.

Hope this helps going into the Winter months.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween family fun:

M&M Mars Haunted Mansion has fun free games for the kids and recipe ideas for fun treats. You can also register for their sweepstakes, there is a link for one free entry and there are additional entries on each bag of M&M or Mars candy. Check it out at

Pogo features free games and now has options to dress up your Pogo mini avatar in spooky outfits and just for Halloween you can get in on the fun of playing Spooky Slots, who knows you may even win the progressive jackpot! They also have a sweepstakes with Spooky Slots, not part of the regular progressive jackpot, if you play between October 12 and October 31, 2009 you are entered each time you load the game. If you don’t have a free Pogo account you can get one at

Send a free e-card to a friend, relative or co-worker for Halloween, tons to chose from for all ages at Got a great picture of your pumpkin patch you would like to give to your friends? Why not send it as a free post card? At Hippopost you can upload your picture and they will make it into a post card and mail it for you free of charge, up to two a day: You can even liven up your email with free stationary from You can also find screen savers, wallpaper and active desktops to spice up your computer screen.

Once you have the pumpkin gutted and carved don’t throw away those seeds! Here is a simple recipe for oven toasted pumpkin seed, just remember to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Almost everyone has fond memories of Chex mix, this is a fantastic recipe for a Halloween version. Here is a coupon for $1 off any two boxes of big G cereal which includes Chex:

Want to spice up your phone for fright night? Here is a site with free ring tones for your phone as well as some cool music you can put on a CD and play at your Halloween mixer. If your in the mood to watch a spooky movie to get you in the spirit Hulu has dedicated an entire section of their site to the season, check out the Huluween section at: to find a free move to keep you up at night.

Not able to get out to the local haunted house this year,? Check out this one on line for free at: this one is not very scary but I would go through it before you let your little ones watch, every child has a different fear level. This is the link to the Bone Garden’s virtual haunted Inn:

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Driving up your savings

This is the perfect time of year to look at getting your car tuned up for Winter. Depending on where you live that could even include new snow tires. A tune up can increase your mileage as well as find any potential problems before they become major repairs. Check all your fluid levels, spark plugs, air and fuel filters, change the oil and remember to check the pressure in your tires, if they are under inflated you could be losing over 3% of your car estimate gas mileage. Currently Pep Boys has a coupon at their site for a free seasonal prep evaluation that includes checking the exterior lights, wipers, coolant system evaluation and battery/starter check, you can find their coupon here: Pep Boys this coupon expires 10/31/09. If you want to start small and just go for the oil change there is a coupon for $6 off at Valvoline: Valvoline savings and Jiffy Lube is offering a coupon for $5 off their Signature Service® Oil Change which features a whole lot of nice extra touches: Jiffy lube.

If you live in a northern climate and need new tires or snow tires for your vehicle there are currently some great offers available to you. First, Cooper Tires has a $40 to $75 rebate available if you buy 4 qualifing tires, good through 10/31/09: Cooper Tires Goodyear has a $50 to $100 rebate depending on if you have a Good Year Credit card that is good until 10/31/09 Goodyear Tires, Michelin tires has a $70 rebate until 11/15/09: Michelin Fall Savings.

Amazon currently has a slew of BOSCH wiper blades that are available for rebates, to find out if they have the blades for your car you can check here: BOSCH wiper blades they are all eligible for Amazons free super saver shipping.

Having a good roadside plan over the winter is a great idea in case of any emergency like going off the road, the car won’t start or you need help changing a tire. Now days a lot of new cars come with road side assistance of some kind, be sure to look it over and see what is covered and what you have to pay out of pocket, if anything. Another popular place to see road side assistance coverage is with your auto insurance, check with your agent to see if you have this coverage and what exactly is covered and if there is a deductible. Remember that there is always the tried and true AAA: AAA Membership , the advantage to AAA is that they offer discounts at many retailers including places like NAPA where you get a 7% break. They also will give you free maps of where ever you may be off to visit over the holidays; whether its over the river or through the woods.

Hope this helps get you prepared for the coming winter season!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saving green while being green

Going green is the currently the “in” thing to do, its cool, its fashionable. For me its nothing new, growing up I was the teen pushing everyone I knew to recycle. I was considered the tree hugging kid on the block, turns out I was just ahead of my time. Now I’m older and I have discovered more ways to help the environment. Of course being the practical sort I have found economic ways of being green as well.

One of the best ways starts with the food we eat, if you have access to a farmers market you can get some of the best quality food while supporting your community of local growers, many of whom are also organic which means no pesticides in the air or ground water. Better still, if you are patient you can start your own garden and have a wonderful payoff at the end of the growing season. There is a fantastic charitable organization called The Dinner Garden that supplies seeds, gardening supplies, and gardening advice free of charge to all people in the US, if you have too many seeds they would be more than willing to redistribute them to people in need, also consider sending them the seeds your garden produces at the end of the year. If you need seeds yourself just let them know and they will get them out to you, you can find them at: The Dinner Garden.

Change the light bulbs in your home, I know you probably have heard it before but ENERGY STAR® Qualified Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and indoor or outdoor hardwired light fixtures can last up to 10 times as long as regular light bulbs , use up to 75% less energy and save you up to $65 in energy costs. That’s $65 to do something fun with! GE is currently offering a coupon for $1.00 off two CFLs and you can print up to 2 coupons. GE Coupon. Switching your appliances to energy star ratings saves a lot over the course of a year as well, check the yellow sticker when you purchasing an appliance and it will tell you how efficient it will be per year.

Beyond changing a light bulb or getting a new dish washer the government offers tax credits for consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in existing homes; this credit is for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements "placed in service" starting January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. See for a complete summary of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers. (per the Department of Energy’s web page)

Bring your own bags to the grocery store, there are a lot of them now that are offering discounts if you have your own bag. One thing to remember though is to make sure you have a bag designated JUST for meats and poultry. I usually use a plastic bag from the grocery store and re-use at home to empty the cats litter box, then I know its not going to get used again and cause a potential problem. If you don’t want to wash the bags after each trip to the grocery store then it’s a good idea to at least spray the inside of the bags between uses lightly with something like Lysol just to make sure there is no cross contamination with other raw foods you may be eating. Let the bags air out after you use them and don’t use them for anything other then grocerys. Here is a cool way to give an old T-shirt a second life by turning it into a shopping bag: T-shirt shopping-bag If you get enough of these you will never need to buy a store bag again!

Paying too much for your city water bill? Consider putting in a rain Barrel or two. What you pay for the barrels you will get back in what you pay the water company in the summer. In a year with average rain fall you should be able to water your garden as well as your lawn. Sam’s Club has a 200 gallon green collapsible rain barrel available for only $135.32 with free shipping at: Sam's club rain barrel.

Love reading a magazine every week or month? That subscription costs cash and even recycled its hard on the planet. Check out the free eZines available on line, one of the best that fits right in with the cause can be found at: Living Green Magizine It is full of helpful and sometimes surprising information as well as ideas of things you can do to help the environment.

Considering buying a green product but don’t know how well it performs or if you will get your money‘s worth? Try this site, its considered the consumers guide to the green revolution and should have useful information on almost anything your considering: The Daily Green.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Trick or Treat……

Here’s the trick, finding great costumes for a reasonable price. Lets start with the costumes, this is something that can range in price from a few bucks if your creative to over $100, the thing to remember is that it’s a one shot thing, they will either outgrow what ever you decide on this year or it will be something outdated by next year. A couple of fun costumes I remember from my neighborhood growing up are the mummy and sisters that every year went out as a pair of dice. Both costumes are easy and inexpensive to make. The mummy just requires old white sheets, if you don’t have any at home try the 2nd had stores like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. The nice thing about this is your child can help make their costume. Begin by cutting starter slices in the sheets, then have the kids help you rip them into long strips. The strips are simply wrapped around your child’s body, arms and legs and tucked under to stay in place. Wrap one or two around the top of the head and one going around the chin and up over the head as well, be sure not to obstruct your child’s line of sight. To make the face light you can either pick up some white makeup (usually can be found this time of year at the dollar stores) or use a pressed powder that is very light. Dark lipstick or even black lipstick and dark eye shadow on the eyelids and under eye area will complete the look. For the dice all you need is a cardboard box that isn’t too big for your child, Whit spray paint, (A can 10oz can of Quick Dry Gloss white all purpose paint is only .97 cents at Home Depot. ) Black construction paper, glue, scissors, box knife or sharp knife, tape, black clothes. The instructions for this easy costume can be found at: This can also be modified to be fuzzy dice by simply using a fuzzy fabric and covering the boxes before adding the construction paper dots, covering the box in gift wrap and adding a bow to your child’s head changes them into a Christmas gift, paint the box as a Rubik’s Cube to mimic the popular puzzle, or paint the box robins egg blue and add a white ribbon and viola, it’s a Tiffany box. If your kids insist on being the latest greatest thing to come out of Hollywood I would try a second hand store, one of the big ones in our area is Rag-Stock. EBay is another source for costumes but if you find one that is inexpensive make sure you don’t end up paying too much for the shipping. If you don't have and EBay account you can sign up for free at Right now is having a sale on some of their really cute costumes for kids as well as some great items for adults, you can find them at: and if you use coupon code haunt65 you will get 10% off your order of $65 or more, there are more coupon codes for Buy Costumes available at

OK, now its time for the treat….. Candy!! Most of us don’t get a lot of kids that come through trick-or-treating, if that’s the case you can pick up candy now on sale at most retailers. This week Target has a great sale going, two 10 oz to 12.5 oz bags of candy for $5.00 or you could check out Sam’s clubs mixed Mars mini bag at 52 oz for $9.77 ( these are smaller than the fun size so kids will probably take a couple at a time so its about the same value as the Target bags with the fun size.) If you start running low remember that most Walgreen's are open 24/7, they currently have bags of candy available for $3.99 but I think if you need them on Halloween night the price will be even less by then. Nestle has two coupons available at their web site, one for a fun size bag of Butter Fingers and one for a fun size bag of Wonka Candy, the links to print the coupons are along the edge of the site at: If you get more children ringing your doorbell than most folks then try a place that specializes in mass quantity, ordering on line there is the Candy Warehouse, they are offering assorted chocolate 6 pound bags (96 oz) for $24.00 plus shipping, there are about 240 pieces in a bag but again they are the small size so kids may take two or more each. They also have non chocolate candies available starting at around $7.50 + shipping for mini packs of Gummy Worms but these are less cost effective since they are only 1.5 pounds or 45 pieces. You can get 15% off at Candy Warehouse using coupon code CWDC15. I checked a large number of online bulk candy distributors and they were the least expensive, however, shipping rates vary from state to state.

Hope all this is helpful, have a great week!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Making Halloween fun on a budget:

Its that time of year again when the air turns chilly and crisp and children start thinking of candy and costumes. I am not a big Halloween person, I have a few small things that get put out if I remember but I have a friend who lives for this holiday so she has been a big influence in writing this piece. If you are looking for creative ideas for your home there is no need to buy one of the tantalizing glossy covered magazines at the check out counters of the grocery stores or mass market retailers, now days you can find so many things on line that offer great suggestions. Of course the number one source for all things decorating or entertaining is Martha Stewart, her web site features a centerpiece with dark fruit, black candles and plastic roaches that can be found at most craft stores such as Michael's or a dollar store, you can check it out at One of the best places to find fun things for your home are the dollar stores and the thrift stores, don’t be afraid to check out the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, you could find the treasure of a lifetime as well as helping out a worthy cause. Towards the middle of October most of the craft stores start having sales on their Halloween items, but like with Christmas, if you can wait and go the day after you will net the biggest savings as well as have something to look forward to next spooking season. There are also a lot of things you can create on your own as well, even those who aren’t crafty can do something as simple as a bouquet of fall branches with colored leaves, and the best part is you don’t even need to add the water, once they are withered and done just toss them out and get more. If you have roses in the garden that are frost bit don’t be shy about using them either, just cut them and put them in a vase and use some food coloring to make colored water (orange or black works well, you can get black by adding a little bit of all the food colors) and tie a black or orange ribbing around the vase. If the petals start to fall off you can just cut the tops off until your left with a bouquet of thorny stems. (Remember the Adam’s Family?)

For outside you can always go with the traditional carved pumpkin, before you buy on at your local grocer though check with your friends and neighbors, a lot of people seem to have planted pumpkins this year and I have not been able to give away my extras. There are great kits out there for carving a pumpkin but you really don’t need them unless you have kids that want to help, then you will want the carving knives that won’t cut your little ones hands. If you would like something that is child friendly for carving your Jack-O-Lantern check for a Pumpkin Masters Kit, usually Sears has these at very reasonable prices. If you don’t want to go for the full traditional pumpkin Better Homes and Gardens has different stencils for dog breeds and just plain creepy, weird and fun. The free stencils can be printed from their web site: . If you have old clothes that have become too worn out or torn these are great for creating your own scarecrow. All you need is the leaves raked from your yard to stuff the clothes. There are easy directions at

If the kids are looking for something to do to help with decorating there are free pages that can be printed and colored for the fridge. This page has 25 nice designs to choose from: Yes, I know it says its for teachers, but really, aren't all parents teachers?

That’s all for now, next up will be costume ideas for little or no cash out of pocket.

I finally decided to start a blog because so many of the people already know I can be tight with a dime if I try. I have come to accept being called the coupon queen; but that just what folks see, what they DON’T see is the half hour I spend making a grocery list when its time for the “stock up” trip, the scouring I do on the internet to find what I am looking for at the lowest possible price (preferably with free shipping) or the time I spend looking for inexpensive or free things to do with my time locally. Surprisingly this is one of the “free” hobbies that fit’s the bill for me, it give me something to do, it doesn’t cost me a thing and hopefully you can get some useful information from it.

Thanks for checking it out!