Have You Started Saving Money with Checkout 51? It’s My All-Time FAVORITE Grocery App!

On February 26, 2014, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I’m pretty picky about what gets loaded onto my phone.  Just sayin’.  I don’t like anyone else checking their Facebook or tweeting from it and I sure don’t want them downloading anything new onto it. Norton Mobile Security is installed on my phone, so I’m confident of the security and protection, but I’m just one […]

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I’m pretty picky about what gets loaded onto my phone.  Just sayin’.  I don’t like anyone else checking their Facebook or tweeting from it and I sure don’t want them downloading anything new onto it. Norton Mobile Security is installed on my phone, so I’m confident of the security and protection, but I’m just one of those people who is a hyper-control-freak when it comes to my personal electronics.  My grandkids see it as my ONE and only flaw.  :)  There’s no Angry Birds or Snap Chat or Floppy Birds, on my phone, and I prefer to keep the home screen as uncluttered as possible.  I put everything in neat little folders to keep them organized.  So, yeah, I suppose you could say I’m a little OCD when it comes to adding apps.  For that reason, no one was more surprised than me when I went out on a limb and downloaded Checkout 51.

cell phone home screen

Fairly clean home screen, but my Checkout 51 app is where I can get to it quickly and easily. It’s easy money in the bank and I like keeping that handy!

I have tried several different couponing/grocery apps in the past and ended up removing them from my phone after just a couple of weeks.  They’re all about the same, and when you live in a small community, they’re often just not relevant, since you need to have access to large chain stores on a regular basis to get the benefit. This was the feature that actually inspired me to install Checkout 51. It makes no difference where I live.  It’s simple to use and I can just buy my regular groceries to save money. On top of that, if I happen to have a manufacturer’s coupon, stacking that additional savings, means more easy money back into my budget.  So how does it work?  Well, it’s so crazy simple, it would be silly NOT to use it!

Checkout-51-page-one

First page of this week’s offers. These will change tonight at midnight (new offers every Thursday).

All I need to do, and you can do it, too, is to look at the new offers when they come out on Thursday.  So far, the list has been about two screens long for me, with tons of product options.  Some are for products I buy all the time and some are for products I’ve never tried.  Typically, I don’t buy new products.  If I have a manufacturer’s coupon AND it’s on my Checkout 51 list, however, I might make an occasional exception, because it would likely end up being free or nearly so.  What I’m really excited about is that, so far, each of the two weeks that I’ve been a member, the list has included fresh items and unbranded staples, like bananas, fresh broccoli, a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread.  Those items are on my shopping list every week!  Also, for the branded items that are listed, it isn’t always new products, but regular recognized pantry staples.  For our family that would include the Jif Peanut Butter and Angel Soft Toilet Paper listed, this week. So, even if I never try a “new” product, my chances to save are still awesome. And in the end, even if you didn’t purchase a single item from the list, if your weekly shopping trip was at least $60.01, you’ll still want to scan in your receipt and be entered into the weekly drawing for $500!  (One more reason to add to the long list of why it’s better to do all your grocery shopping, at once, once a week.)

Checkout 51 offers page

Page 2 of my current offers.

 

It’s simple to use, since the list is in your phone, right at your fingertips while you’re shopping.  You can easily refer to it, if you can’t remember what items are featured that week.  Then when you get home, use the simple app to photograph and upload your receipt.  If it’s a long receipt, the app is set up to allow you to photograph it in sections.

checkout51 instructions

Just line up the edges of your receipt with the lines on the screen, follow the instructions and the app does all the work. Simple!

 

Once you’ve snapped the receipt and clicked the Finish button, the app will direct you to the list of products, where you will check off each offer you are claiming from that one receipt.  A green check mark will appear.  You can upload as many receipts as you have, but each offer can only be claimed once, so the green check mark will remain by the offers you have already claimed.  If you upload a second or third receipt, you can check off and claim any offers that haven’t already been used.

Checkout 51 offers checklist

Check off the offers you are claiming and hit the Claim Offers button. You’ll be notified by email and by text when a receipt has been uploaded and when the the cash from your selected offers has been added to your account.

 

Once the receipt is uploaded and I’ve claimed the offers, I see this screen to let me know everything went through.

saving screen

Immediate gratification! I instantly see how much was saved when I complete the receipt upload process.

 

Checkout 51 utilizes email and a notification system that sends me a text to let me know when my receipt has been uploaded and has offers processing.  Then it notifies me, again, when the money is added to my Checkout 51 account.  Here’s the beautiful part.  It pays me REAL cash!  Once the account reaches $20, I can “cash out” and the money is sent to my PayPal account, so that I can use it to pay bills, buy groceries or save for a family vacation.  It’s free money!  What’s not to like?  :)

Imagine this scenario, if you think it’s not that big a deal.  If you printed Angel Soft coupons from our Free Coupon Center at Busy-at-Home, last week, you have a BOGO free coupon and a 30¢ off coupon, both of which are for 12-pack double rolls.  You’ll pay the full price for 1, minus that 30¢ coupon, PLUS get the second package free.  Then when you get home, photograph your receipt and claim the additional $1 in cash, from Checkout 51.  That is going to net you TWO double roll 12 packs for a little over $6.00 in my neighborhood!  That’s what I call smart shopping and great savings!  It just makes good sense and will save your family money on the products you’re already using.  I encourage you to check out Checkout 51 on your smart phone and see how much you can save.  It’s easy and it’s budget-wise.  Now, go have fun and save some money!  :)

Checkout 51 doesn’t have a clue who I am.  They don’t know I wrote this post and I don’t suppose it would make any difference to them, what I think, but I know all of us are on this money-saving journey, together.  I couldn’t keep using this great app without letting you know about it, too!  Have a blessing-filled and budget-wise week!

 

Hasbro’s Annual Fan and Games Event! Over 125 DOLLARS in Q-pons and Daily Deals!!!

On January 19, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Are you looking for great savings and amazing daily deals on some of your favorite Hasbro toys and games, then check out Hasbro’s Annual Fun and Game Event going on now! You (U.S. only) can register today at www.hasbro.com/fun to print over $125 in coupons (quantities are limited) and get access to incredible daily deals. […]

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Are you looking for great savings and amazing daily deals on some of your favorite Hasbro toys and games, then check out Hasbro’s Annual Fun and Game Event going on now! You (U.S. only) can register today at www.hasbro.com/fun to print over $125 in coupons (quantities are limited) and get access to incredible daily deals. All daily deals include free shipping!

Kids, ages 6 – 13, can also get in on the action by playing games for a chance to win hourly prizes from their favorite brands, such as My Little Pony, FurReal Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Beyblade, Nerf, Transformers, Connect 4, Bop It! and Simon Flash.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes in a Hurry! A Bob Evans Review and Give Away!

On December 13, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Have you ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy, busy – doing, doing, doing; and at the end of it you feel as though not much has gotten done?  Have you ever been at the weary end of one of those days and been faced with putting a tasty meal on […]

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Have you ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy, busy – doing, doing, doing; and at the end of it you feel as though not much has gotten done?  Have you ever been at the weary end of one of those days and been faced with putting a tasty meal on the table for your family, but not having anything prepared?  Fortunately, that isn’t a frequent occurrence around here, but when it does happen, it is definitely unsettling.  I have several go-to recipes to get the main dish/meat on the table in a hurry, but I am often challenged to come up with quick side dishes that will satisfy my meat and potatoes guy.  Peeling, boiling and mashing potatoes for our crew definitely takes some time and doesn’t really fit with the idea of getting a “quick” meal on the table.  Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes are a great option to have in the fridge for those hectic evenings.

Bob Evans

These potatoes were creamy, smooth and buttery and ready to put on the table in 6 minutes!  That’s speedy and though my sweet (and incredibly intelligent) guy says they’re not quite as good as my homemade ;), I noticed that he enjoyed seconds.  They were a perfect accompaniment to my crispy baked chicken and spaghetti squash.

potatoes

One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will get to experience the Bob Evans convenience for themselves!  They will receive two coupons for a FREE Bob Evans product (up to $5 each).  That means the winner can select any two from the Bob Evans line of refrigerated or frozen products at their local grocer -  Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Sausage Egg and Cheese Burritos, Sausage Links, Ground Sausage or Sausage Patties or one of the other fabulous Bob Evans products!  It’s as easy as entering the giveaway, below.  You just may win a “quick-fix” dinner surprise of your own!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I received Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes, through BFPR,  in order to test the product and write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Saving Money in the Laundry Room: How Close are You to $1000 in Savings? @bhg #SwitchandSaveChallenge

On August 9, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I wish we were one of those AVERAGE families that only do about 400 loads of laundry per year.  I’m guessing we are closer to the 600 range, since that’s closer to a dozen loads per week.  I know, it’s sick and wrong, but, to be fair, and in the interest of full disclosure, I […]

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washing machine

I wish we were one of those AVERAGE families that only do about 400 loads of laundry per year.  I’m guessing we are closer to the 600 range, since that’s closer to a dozen loads per week.  I know, it’s sick and wrong, but, to be fair, and in the interest of full disclosure, I actually HAVE previously mentioned that I do not live with neat and tidy people.  That being said, I want to be as careful as possible to take all the frugal measures I can, in the laundry room.  There are several ways to help keep costs down as I attempt to keep my family presentable and sanitary.  :)

  1. Always wash full loads.  You will waste a lot of electricity, water (and gas if you have a gas water heater, like we do) by doing several small loads, as opposed to one or two full ones.
  2. Use cold water, whenever it is possible.  We all want the cleaning and germ-fighting power of hot water for our towels, tough stains and whites, but for everyday washing without a lot of stain challenges, you’ll be amazed at what a good job cold water does with a good detergent, like Arm and Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean.
  3. Use a good detergent!  Saving money is a big deal, especially in our present economy, but buying the cheapest product isn’t always the best value.  If I have to wash something twice or more to get it clean, not only has a cheaper detergent not saved me money, it may have cost me even more, in electricity, gas and water costs.  Finding a reliable detergent that can meet all your laundry needs in the first wash without buying additional products, like pre-treaters or stain removers, saves money in the long run and saves you time re-doing a job, that in my case, is not my favorite, anyway.  Arm and Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean is a good example of a single product that can do multiple jobs in the laundry room.power gel
  4. Use an energy efficient washing machine.  When it comes time to replace your washer (Mine gasped it’s last and then belched a flood into my laundry room, last October.), look for a machine that has a good Energy Star rating to save on your energy costs to run it, but also look for a high efficiency machine that saves on water use, as well.  Now, these efficient machines can be found in the same price range as conventional water guzzlers and it makes no sense not to make the switch.  I’m loving my new LG high efficiency machine.
  5. Use the correct amount of detergent when you wash your clothes.  Not enough and you run the risk of having to rewash a load, but too much is a problem, too, especially in high efficiency machines.  HE machines have water pumps that can be adversely affected by high-suds detergents, so using the correct soap in the appropriate amount is critical to helping your machine function properly for a long time.
  6. If you are fortunate enough to have a clothesline, use it.  This is actually an item you would never think of someone wishing for, but I do.  The dollars you can save by simply hanging clothes on the line, rather than using a gas or electric dryer can be significant to your family’s budget.  So, yes, in moments of weakness, I covet your clothesline.  I’m working on that.  :)
  7. Watch your local ads and online coupon sites for savings on the detergent that you know is the best value for your family’s cleaning dollar.  Right now, you can print a coupon to save $1 on 2 of any Arm and Hammer Laundry Detergent.  (You’ll actually find $14 in coupon savings there.)  I LOVE saving money!

So with a little pre-planning and thinking it through, you can save some money in the laundry room and put a few dollars back into your family’s budget.  Remember, putting only $19.24 into savings, each week, nets you $1,000 by the end of the year!  What fabulous, fun thing could your family do or give with $1,000?  See, it’s definitely worth the effort and it won’t be hard to get your family on board when they recognize the excellent pay-off, from their frugal efforts.

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save $1.00 on any 2 ARM & HAMMER Laundry Detergents. And be sure and head over to The Switch & Save Challenge for the chance to win $25,000.

Laundry, It’s an Ugly Business, But Someone’s Got to Do It: Arm & Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean Review @bhg

On July 26, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I’m not gonna lie.  I am probably one of the most spoiled blessed women I know.  I have lived in homes where the laundry room was too tiny to do more than turn around in there with a basket, to ones where there was no laundry room, at all.  (Picture, a five-gallon diaper pail filled […]

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I’m not gonna lie.  I am probably one of the most spoiled blessed women I know.  I have lived in homes where the laundry room was too tiny to do more than turn around in there with a basket, to ones where there was no laundry room, at all.  (Picture, a five-gallon diaper pail filled with bleach water and dirty cloth diapers, on the way to the laundromat.  It was the best, most rational reason I know, for switching to disposables!  :)  )  So, I have certainly been at the other end of the spectrum and no one is more painfully aware of just how amazing my current laundry room is.  It’s HUGE!

laundry room 2

It's a lovely and extravagently large laundry room. I couldn't get the camera angles wide enough to do justice to how spacious it is, so....

laundry room sink

I took three pictures to try and round out your view of how great it really is. This is, of course, the bath area and the built-in cubby for the washer and dryer with 4 cupboards above.

There’s not only room for my washer and dryer, but a five-foot folding table and a shelf with hang bar, for hanging clothes above it.  There’s a beautiful, large and extraordinarily deep wash basin sink, as well as a shower and toilet.  It gets natural light and fresh air from the window and when it’s too hot for the window to be opened, this beautiful laundry room is air conditioned!  I also have tons of beautiful cabinetry and storage space in there.

more laundry room

I love that deep sink and when hubby installed the shelf and hang bar, the room was complete. My wheeled hampers tuck in perfectly under the folding table. Yup, I'm definitely a very lucky woman.

Ya know what?  I still HATE laundry.  –  lol  –  Don’t get me wrong, I understand how blessed I am to have people in my life who happen to get lots and lots of clothes dirty and how blessed we are to have the clothes we need.  I get it, and appreciate that, but on a scale of 1 to 10, laundry is still probably at about a negative 11 on my list of favorite household chores.  They can’t all be #1, right?  I think part of the reason I dislike it so much is I am someone who likes to do a job or project all the way through without stopping.  If I start it, I want to get it done and see the results.  Laundry has stages — the sorting, the washing, the drying, the folding and hanging, and then finally the putting away.  And frankly, by the time the final stage is reached, my many “blessings” can produce a whole new pile of laundry I need to get started on. As you can imagine, then, I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to asserting which products and procedures work for me, in this job.  I’m picky and I tell it like it is.  I’m not going to use anything that takes longer, costs more or is inefficient, causing me to have to re-do any part of the process.  So, I’m excited that my Switch and Save Challenge for the next four weeks is Arm and Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean.

power gel with oxiclean

Arm and Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean is more than just a detergent, it can also be used as a pre-treater.  A product that can do more than one job is always a plus and a money saver!  It has the added power of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda for freshening laundry and the most amazing gel texture.  I’ve never seen any other laundry detergent made in such a thick, gel formula.  It’s a glossy, brilliant blue liquid/gel that is designed to work even in my high efficiency machine.  The gel clings to and saturates fabrics, working hard to remove tough stains with its OxiClean boost and then rinses away cleanly.

The timing for this Switch and Save Challenge couldn’t be better, as I have a brand new laundry challenge in my home, this summer.

detasseling

Stay tuned as I put Arm and Hammer Power Gel with OxiClean through its paces, decrusting and removing stains from the horrifying laundry our resident detasseler brings home, every afternoon, now.  :)  It’s going to be a valiant battle and from what I can tell, so far, Arm and Hammer Power Gel should be an excellent weapon tool!

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save $1.00 on any 2 ARM & HAMMER Laundry Detergents. And be sure and head over to The Switch & Save Challenge for the chance to win $25,000.

Stretching Your Budget with Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

On June 14, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Two weeks ago, I shared with you that I am participating in the Arm and Hammer Switch and Save Challenge.  This month, I’ve been working specifically with baking soda.  I’ve shared a couple of the different ways I use baking soda around our home, but one important benefit we haven’t discussed yet, is the way […]

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Two weeks ago, I shared with you that I am participating in the Arm and Hammer Switch and Save Challenge.  This month, I’ve been working specifically with baking soda.  I’ve shared a couple of the different ways I use baking soda around our home, but one important benefit we haven’t discussed yet, is the way that Arm and Hammer Baking Soda can stretch your  budget, saving money for other things your family needs or helping to grow your savings account.

baking soda

Because we live in a “quick-fix”, convenience oriented society, we have a plethora of product options when it comes to tasks we need to complete around our homes.  There is a specialized cleanser, spray, or gel for just about any job you can name.  Many of those products are toxic for our children, pets and environment; and are available only if you are willing to pay a premium cost.  Often, we have been using a product for so many years, it never occurs to us that there may be a better, or at least equal, cleaning solution, at a more affordable price.  For many years, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has been an inexpensive alternative to chemical cleaning products, but convenience and habit compel us to pick up the same cleansers week after week, month after month without giving it a second thought.

This week, I challenged myself, and now, I want to challenge you, to think about the products you use and the money you spend on them.  How much could you save, doing your regular chores just as effectively, substituting Arm and Hammer Baking Soda for your usual cleaning products?  Remember when we discussed, here, that saving only $19.24 per week nets you $1000 cash in your savings account at the end of one year!??!!  How much of that $19.24 can you save, by switching  from your usual cleaning products to non-toxic, environmentally friendly Arm and Hammer baking soda for some of your routine household tasks?

At less than $1 per box, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda has always been an exceptional value whether I’m baking or doing household chores.  The familiar orange box is always in my cupboard,  but I only recently discovered that it can be purchased in bags as large as 13.5 lbs.  We all know that buying in bulk is a great way to cut costs on products we use most often.  Plus, money-saving Arm and Hammer coupons are available at their website, so all you have to do is print them and save money at your local store!

For tips and ideas of all the ways you can use baking soda for cleaning in your home and replace expensive cleaning supplies, visit this great Arm and Hammer resource page.  You’ll be amazed at all you can save (and maybe win) taking the Switch and Save Challenge along with me!

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save 50¢ off two 2lb or 4lb boxes of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. And be sure to visit The Switch & Save Challenge to tap into more resources and enter to win $25,000.

New Coupons for March

On March 1, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Coupons.com has rolled out some new coupons to add to the line-up for March.  Don’t miss out on printing these high value savings for your family!  Click the links, below, to print the coupons or to see all the coupons available, this month, visit the Busy-at-Home Coupon Center. $.55 off ONE bag of NESTLE NestEggs™ […]

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Coupons.com has rolled out some new coupons to add to the line-up for March.  Don’t miss out on printing these high value savings for your family!  Click the links, below, to print the coupons or to see all the coupons available, this month, visit the Busy-at-Home Coupon Center.

$.55 off ONE bag of NESTLE NestEggs™
$1.00 off TWO bags of NESTLE NestEggs™
$2.00 off on any Slo-Niacin
$.55 off ONE bags of Wonka Jelly Beans
$1.00 off TWO bags of Wonka Jelly Beans
$0.50 off any 32oz. or larger Formula 409 cleaner
$1.00 off one Kashi TLC Soft Baked Cereal Bar
$1.00 off any Hidden Valley Salad Kit
$1.00 off any one Kashi Berry Blossoms™ cereal
$1.00 off on Phillips’ products
$1.00 off on any ONE (1) Irish Spring Deodorant
$1.00 off ANY Campho-Phenique Product
$1.00 off any Hidden Valley Farmhouse Original
$1.00 off Clorox 2 Stain Fighter & Color Booster
$0.25 off on any 96oz Clorox Liquid Bleach
$100 Visa Gift Card for Joining ADT
$0.75 off On any Glad Trash bag products
$1.00 off ANY NEO-SYNEPHRINE PRODUCT
$1.00 off any Kiss PREMIUM EYELASH Product
$0.50 off Yoplait Kids Yogurt
$0.75 off JELL-O Pudding, Gelatin or Mousse Snacks
$0.55 off HORMEL™ COUNTRY CROCK side dishes
$0.30 off Yoplait Greek Yogurt
$0.40 off Yoplait Yogurt
$0.55 on two (2) HORMEL Pepperoni packs
$1.50 off Wanchai Ferry Frozen Entrée
$0.50 off Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls
$2.00 off HALO SleepSack wearable blankets
$0.75 off Muir Glen products
$0.50 off Nature Valley Granola Bars
$0.50 off Chex Mix
$1.50 off ON ONE (1) BOTTLE OF EMETROL FOR NAUSEA
$4.00 off Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
$0.50 off 1 any Spic and Span Product
$1.00 off any ONE (1) POISE Pads
$1.00 off any ONE (1) POISE Liners
$0.50 off Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
Free Portrait Package & 50% OFF
$0.75 off Fiber One cereals
$1.00 off General Mills cereals
$0.30 off Pillsbury Sweet Rolls
$1.00 off two (2) HORMEL Refrigerated Entrees
$0.75 off Cheerios cereals
$0.55 off Lucky Charms cereal
$0.50 off Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Pastries
$0.55 off Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
$0.55 off Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
$0.75 off Yoplait products

The Costs & Payoffs of Saving Money: Part 1

On February 16, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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What price are you paying to save money in your family’s budget?  What?  You didn’t realize that saving money was going to cost you something?  “Lucy, let me ‘splain.”  (Please tell me you’ve watched “I Love Lucy”, so I don’t feel ancient and awkward.)  … I had the honor, at the end of January, to […]

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money

What price are you paying to save money in your family’s budget?  What?  You didn’t realize that saving money was going to cost you something?  “Lucy, let me ‘splain.”  (Please tell me you’ve watched “I Love Lucy”, so I don’t feel ancient and awkward.)  :)

M.O.P.S.

I had the honor, at the end of January, to speak at our local chapter of M.O.P.S., a fabulous organization, by the way, for all of you with pre-school age children, or younger.  I would encourage you to see if your own community has a chapter.   The topic, for that meeting, was tips to help moms save money and live abundantly on a frugal budget.  As I was organizing the thoughts I wanted to present, I realized that one of the biggest obstacles we all face in earning and/or saving money, is time.  “I don’t have time to clip coupons, plan a menu, check the ads, cook at home…”  I think we all understand, that no matter what, we MAKE the time for the things that are important to us.  If it’s something we care about, we juggle our schedules and make it work.  Saving money to get out of debt, cover unexpected expenses and have more to give  is a “big deal”.  And it DOES have a price.  For it to work and to be really successful, saving money (or building money back into your budget) has to be a priority, something you are passionate about.  If it isn’t, you just won’t do it.  As wives and moms, we juggle so many hats, and if we’re honest, the ones we keep in the air, are the ones that are our highest priorities.

I laughed with the other moms at the M.O.P.S. meeting about an article I had once written, “The Legend of the Super Mom (or I Have Really Big Closets)“.  The article was to encourage wives and moms that regardless of what the world has tried to tell us, no one can “have it all”, “be it all”, “do it all”, all the time.  When my older girls were small and people would stop by to find us working on a homeschooling project, with the house reasonably neat and everything seemingly running smoothly, I would have to confess that there were often baskets of unfolded laundry and another of random toys and books, stacked in my very large closets.  As a homeschooling mom, I can tell you that if we are having a great day with school, the dishes are done AND we had 4-H or dance or whatever, today, their is a mountain of unfolded laundry somewhere in our house.  If I have a month’s worth of menus planned and spent two whole days cooking for the freezer, school has been mostly math and reading (recipes) and life skills (doing dishes and helping around the house.)  Those things aren’t wrong, they are reality.  Beating yourself up, having unrealistic expectations, can put a mom into such a depression that she doesn’t accomplish anything.  I’ve been in that place, too.  It’s not fun.  BUT, you can definitely come out of it.  You HAVE to come out of it.  Here’s what you have to do.  You have to have a plan.

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I’m not talking about a rigid schedule that you never deviate from and burn yourself out on.  I’m talking about spending a little time thinking about what is most important for you to achieve, prioritizing them and organizing them into a plan of action.  The plan is NOT in charge of you.  You have the flexibility to make it work for you within the circumstances of your day; but you cannot be flexible within your plan, if you didn’t take the time to make a plan in the first place.  So, start with what you know MUST be done.  Your family needs to eat; yes, on clean dishes, and yes, multiple times per day.  :)  They’re going to need clean clothes.  As much for yourself, as for the ones you love, you are going to want your home to be a reasonably clean, peaceful, comfortable place to relax and that makes guests feel welcome.  Then comes fitting in those priority things like homeschooling or saving money or running a home business or blogging or volunteering or …. fill in your passion(s).  Now, do you see what I mean?  All those things need to get done, plus you need a date night with your husband and an afternoon with your girlfriends and even a movie night with your family.  I’m telling you, now, you CAN’T do it all without a plan.  And you need really big closets.  :)  Well, and help.

Remember the baskets of unfolded laundry and random toys and books, stacked in my very large closets, when my children were small?  That wasn’t wrong, it was a survival skill.  The priority for that moment was to have a clutter-free, picked up environment, but be focused on our homeschool project.  Two or three quick minutes of “surface” tidying, created an environment that let us be able to move on with what was important for that moment.  After school was done, we divided the tasks.  Part of what you teach your children MUST be the life skills that will serve them into adulthood.  Even though it often seems easier to “just do it ourselves”, we have a responsibility to prepare our kids to be responsible, productive adults.  You can’t possibly do all that is necessary to keep your home running efficiently and handle all your other responsibilities, without help.  If you’re a mom, you weren’t meant to.  Part of your job is training and managing, preparing the next generation of responsible, capable adults.  I don’t care what you’ve been told or who told it to you, you cannot do it all and do it well, unless you learn to delegate, as ALL effective managers do.

Here’s another news flash!  I know, I know — enough already.  You are going to have to invest MORE time to make this happen.  But, it truly is just that — an investment.  You will reap the rewards many times over, in the future, for the time you invest right now, making this happen.  Your children are capable of  learning the skills that will train them to be responsible, contributing members of a family.  They are NOT, however, born with that knowledge.  You are not going to be able to say, “Please, take out the trash.” and have it done correctly the way you would like it done, until you have taken the time to train that child that “taking out the trash” means:

  1. Remove the bag from the trash can.
  2. Pick up any loose trash around the can and sweep the area to get anything that may have “missed the can”.
  3. Tie the bag shut.
  4. Carry the bag to the trash barrel and make sure the lid is replaced tightly.
  5. Wipe any spills from the outside of the trash can.
  6. Put a new trash bag, neatly, into the can.
  7. Put the trash can in its proper place.

Taking out the trash is a simple job, when you know exactly what’s expected and have done it a few times.  But, if when you make that request, you have 7 steps in mind, you had better have invested the time to teach those 7 steps, ahead of time.   Otherwise, you may get an open bag of trash, tossed into the garbage barrel and the empty trash can left in the middle of your kitchen floor.  And in the mind of your helper, that would be exactly what you asked them to do, “take out the trash”.  You haven’t given birth to mind-readers.  Invest your time wisely; train to your expectations first, which will save you the time of re-doing a job, later.  Training your children to help with household chores will be ESSENTIAL to you being able to juggle all the other responsibilities that come with wearing the wife/mom hat.  Decide what chores are appropriately handled at what ages and then invest the time in training.

A four or five-year-old may not be able to unload the entire dishwasher on their own, but they can certainly put the silverware away.  They can pick up toys and put them in a basket or toybox and they can put laundry into a hamper.  They can dust furniture and fold dishtowels and wash cloths.  And with a dose of grace and patience from you, they can make their own bed.  They can learn to set the table, clear the table and wash the table when the meal is finished.  They can empty bathroom wastebaskets and replace the bags.

An eight or nine-year-old can most certainly unload the dishwasher, though you may need to provide a kitchen stool, to help them reach higher cabinet shelves.  They can run a vacuum and sweep floors.  They can learn to operate the washer and dryer, hang clean laundry on hangers and distribute it to the correct closets.  They can make their own beds and keep their own rooms neat.  They are capable of folding larger pieces of laundry, cleaning bathrooms and completing any tasks that younger children can do.

You are also going to have to let go of some of your ideas of “the right way” to do some specific tasks.  For instance, if your bath towels are not only folded, but are put away AND fit into the linen closet, it’s all good.  It really doesn’t matter if the towels weren’t folded the exact same way you would have folded them.  (Sorry, Honey.)  Learn to discern whether something is a matter of laziness /disobedience, a lack of training or a matter of personal “style”.  Laziness, disobedience or a lack of training will certainly all need to be addressed.  However, if a job is done – differently, but done with skill and neatness – bite your tongue and walk away.  The task is complete and you were saved the time it would have taken to do it yourself.

I was going to make some simple spreadsheet schedule/planners to share with you, but the reality is that the Internet is full of free ones.  So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to link you to some of my favorites.

A schedule, that’s right –a plan– and trained time- and money-savers to help you implement it.  Those are going to be the core of what saves you the time you can invest into some serious money-making or saving activities.  Some of what we will talk about in our next post will save you money AND time all in the same activity!  But, to wind up today’s post, I want to leave you with a little bit of inspiration.  It was one of those “epiphany” moments for me, when the truth of this hit me.  I even did the math myself.  :)  What would you do with an extra $1000?  If I said that one year from today, I would come back here and give every person who comments on this post $1,000, would you be excited?!!!!  Me, too!  But, I’m not going to do that.  Sorry.  :)  The good news is, one year from today, you can come back here and YOU will be able to tell me that you just paid yourself $1000!  It’s not as outrageous as it sounds.  Did you realize that if you divided $1000 by 52 weeks, it  is only $19.24?  AMAZING!!!

$1,000!!!


What small changes would you be willing to make in your spending to save $19.24 a week?  For many of us, it’s as simple as planning ahead for that hectic night (For our family, it’s Wednesday nights.  Oy!) when you are so rushed you don’t have time to cook.  Eating at home, instead of eating out might be all it takes to put $19.24  in your savings each week.  For some others, it might be giving up that $3.50 gourmet coffee drink each afternoon on the way home from work, or cutting out soda (Breaking my Coca Cola habit could save our family thousands and likely improve my health, so trust me when I say, “I’m not picking on soda drinkers.”).  I’m just saying that each of us, when we really weigh the difference between wants and needs and between investing time or investing money, could find innumerable ways to pull that $19.24 out of our existing budgets.  In the next post, we’ll also discuss ways to combine saving a small amount of money each week  and increasing it by earning a little extra cash, too, so that the $19.24 is even easier to achieve.

It just takes a plan and then working the plan!  You can definitely do this!!  This week, get a schedule on paper — for you and your kids.  Invest some time teaching them skills that will serve them the rest of their lives and free you up to make some dramatic changes to your family finances.

Schick Quattro High Value Coupon!

On January 25, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Be sure to grab this coupon at coupons.com. There are bound to be sales on the way and this high value coupon can help you get these great razors free or close to it. $3 off Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle!

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Be sure to grab this coupon at coupons.com. There are bound to be sales on the way and this high value coupon can help you get these great razors free or close to it. $3 off Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle!

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Busy-at-Home Coupon Center

On January 19, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I’ve added a new tool in the money-saving, money-making arsenal for my family.  I will make a few cents each time you print from it and you will save big dollars on your family’s groceries.  I have been approved to offer coupons.com coupons for you, right here at Busy-at-Home, in our very own coupon center.  […]

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I’ve added a new tool in the money-saving, money-making arsenal for my family.  I will make a few cents each time you print from it and you will save big dollars on your family’s groceries.  I have been approved to offer coupons.com coupons for you, right here at Busy-at-Home, in our very own coupon center.  This will provide you with easy access to all the coupons.com coupons without having to leave our site or maneuver through all the ads.  It’s coupons and coupon codes in one handy location.  I hope you’ll enjoy the convenience and the savings in our new Busy-at-Home Coupon Center.  You will always find it easily located under the Budget-Wise tab.

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