You'll have to forgive my negligence...again! I'm terrible about keeping this updated regularly. And those weekly features? Pffft... great in theory, not so much in execution.

We only have 2 weekends (one is a long one!) and 5 work days left to survive endure enjoy before the vacation of the year begins. I have to start my check-lists soon - what to do, what to buy, what to pack. (I'm the queen of checklists; do they help keep me organized? Debatable!) I also need to come up with one more meal plan and do one more grocery shop before we go - bare basics so the ants don't infiltrate my home while we're gone and have a party those valuable food products we spend our hard-earned money on don't go to waste.

The subject of meal plans and groceries inevitably turns to how I can get the most value for the least money. An interesting topic - I can't believe the number of times in the last few months I've heard or read about "extreme coupon-ing". (i.e. the show on TLC which I've never watched.)

Apparently some crazy (but impressive!) people (particularly in the States where coupon rules are different) can do serious shopping for pennies. I've been getting coupons/samples from some places for ages... but having only one car and limited time in which to run all my errands, I don't always find store-hopping to combine sale prices and coupons a great idea, particularly when I think of the old adage "Time is money" and more relevant, the fact that gas prices are exorbitant (I had no idea how to spell that word!) Nevermind that I tend to forget to bring the coupons with me - oops!

My cousin of sorts, Shannon, posted on her blog about her amazing grocery savings - check out her post here.  It prompted me to share my own coupon resources - something I keep thinking I should do but tend to forget about.

Here are some of the sites & blogs I refer to for shopping deals (some more regularly than others, some of which Shannon has also mentioned):

and for group-buying deals, I subscribe to WagJag and Groupon.

My best coupon experience to date was the recent Pepsi/PC promotion - spend $20 in any PC store on select Pepsi/Quaker products (most of which were on sale and tax free the weekend I went) and submit a mail-in rebate for a $30 PC gift card. What?!? You'll give me an extra $10 to buy some of the products we already regularly consume?

I'm also a HUGE fan of the SDM Optimum program.  Loyalty points don't always mean you're getting a good deal but I earn big savings regularly with my diabetic supplies. I can spend a couple hundred dollars on insulin, needles, etc. (not on prescription), remit for coverage through insurance (so I'm technically spending $0) and if I shop on bonus or multiplier days, I rack up the points. I tend to hit the redemption peak 3-4x a year and try to redeem them on bonus redemption days to stretch it further... and that doesn't count the times I need just a few basics so I'll redeem here and there instead of spending cash.

If you're in the US (or even if you're not but want to know how they do it!), one of the blogs I subscribe was featured in a "my favorite things" type of article by this lady, The Money Saving Queen.   Amazing!

It's always nice to find a deal... leaving me with more in my pocket for purses shoes clothes savings!

On a sidenote, my critter problem has been resolved. Last weekend we tackled the shed briefly. We found baby mice (they startled me and I screamed!) nesting in the yard waste bag (and I didn't want to kill them. agh!) Kevin's effort at mowing the lawn means the bunnies have evacuated and we haven't seen them since - so sad :(
On another note, I got one of the thank you cards I made for my sister's shower gift in the mail the other day (hehe!). This was the finished product:

Ain't it cute?!   Have a great weekend!


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