Friday, September 30, 2011

We're Moving!

Dear Mindfully Frugal Mom Readers,

Tonight we will be making a very exciting move to a self-hosted Wordpress blogging platform.  I think this change will be a vehicle to improve the content I have to offer you through this blog.   
What do you have to do? Nothing. When you type in, you will automatically be redirected to my new site:  What you may want to do is update your bookmarks.  This will make it easier and quicker for you to read your favorite articles and stories at Mindfully Frugal Mom.  
Thank you in advance for your patience this weekend as we work out the kinks and get the new, improved, MindfullyFrugalMom up and running!

See you on the other side!

Frugal Friday: Four Unusual Ways to Use Applesauce

 I love living in a part of a country where we have 4 distinct seasons, and Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year in Upstate New York.  I love it so much, sometimes I go a little bananas picking apples. (Get it, bananas. . .apples. . .see, that’s cute? Oh, nevermind.)  
I’m not exaggerating when I say that every year I end up with bushels of apples in my kitchen, all ready to become yummy, cinnamon-y applesauce.  My kids would eat applesauce every day, at every meal, so I never have to worry about making too much. But if you are like me and have lots of applesauce to make, here are a few different things to do with your applesauce. (And I promise none of them involves pork chops!)
1. Homemade Apple Leather -- this is a healthy, easy, and delicious snack.

2. As a substitute for oil in baked goods -- in general, you can substitute applesauce for oil in a 1:1 ratio: that is, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, you can use 1/2 cup applesauce instead. If you are using sweetened applesauce, you may have to decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe.  Applesauce can also be a substitute for eggs, and even milk, but I only use it to substitute for the main fat (such as oil) --otherwise the final product might have a rubbery or tough texture. Applesauce works best in making sweet, fall-like baked goods such as pumpkin bread and oatmeal muffins.

3. Stirred into oatmeal -- Instead of sweetening with sugar or honey, add 1/4 cup of applesauce to your morning oatmeal. Applesauce is an all-natural sweetener and it helps cool down the oatmeal so you can eat it immediately. Add raisins for even more yumminess.

4. Slow Cooker Applesauce Chicken -- one of my favorite recipes, and the whole family loves it!
You’re next! I’d love to hear some more out-of-the-box uses for applesauce!

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free: Pumpkin eCookbook!

Download this free cookbook on all things pumpkin from Amazon.  You can, of course, download it to your Kindle, but also to almost any other device, including your Mac, PC, or iPhone. Click here to find out how.


Wegmans: Seafood Coupon and a Tip!

My family loves seafood, and I love the health benefits, but seafood has definitely become a splurge item in our household.  
I'm excited to see this week's Wegmans coupon for $1 off a $5 seafood purchase.

Speaking of seafood, did you know that frozen items, like shrimp and salmon, often are a better bet than the items in the "fresh" refrigerated case at the store?  That's because  they are frozen immediately, sometimes even at sea, while the "fresh" items are frozen first, then defrosted and set on ice.  So you don't need to feel guilty about purchasing frozen seafood. The most important thing is to purchase the highest quality fish you can afford; as a rule, wild-caught is usually the healthier choice versus farm-raised. 

I'd love to hear from readers: How do you incorporate seafood into your diet and budget?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FREE $2 MP3 Credit at Amazon

Can't wait to download those amazing West Side Story covers from Glee last night?  You can get a $2 MP3 credit at Amazon today when you use code FALLMP3s at checkout.

Oh, and you can use the credit for any genre you want. :) But now you know what I'll be downloading.

Amazon also has 100 downloadable albums for only $5 each -- I think you could apply the credit to one of these albums to make them only $3 each.

(Thanks, I am That Lady!)

Labels: ,

Don't Try This At Home: My Take on Extreme Couponing

TLC's newest hit show comes back for a second season, and I'm sure we're in for even more gratuitous stockpile shots and nail-biting cash register scenes.  In terms of entertainment value, Extreme Couponing definitely has it. If it's reality we're talking about, though, the show comes up woefully short.

One of the best articles that summarizes the holes in the Extreme Couponing argument is this one from Hot Coupon World.  To summarize, one of the stars of season one admitted to using coupons fraudulently -- which is a felony. There are also rumors flying around that store managers relax the rules for this show because it brings so much publicity to their store. 

You might be thinking: It's "reality" TV. So what? How does this affect me?

Many retailers have changed their coupon policy as a result of this show, making the rules stricter for the responsible couponers. Target, CVS, and Kroger are examples of stores who have changed the rules, either by limiting the number of coupons in a transaction, or prohibiting doubling or stacking.

In my view, there is nothing mindful or frugal in breaking the law.  Check out my series on Extreme Couponing Lite. I'll teach you how to use coupons responsibly in a way that makes sense for you and your family.

Labels: ,

Consumer Reports Magazine: $25.95/year

Today's Best Deal Magazine Deal of the Day is really rare: a 1-year subscription to Consumer Reports for only $22.06 per year. There are never deals on Consumer Reports so if you like this magazine, make sure to snatch it up!  A regular subscription costs $29.00, so this is almost a 25% savings. Consumer Reports is a great resource for any purchase -- their panel reviews items from cell phones to coffee makers. 

Go here to place your order and make sure to enter code PXCJ1002 at checkout to get this fabulous deal!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Countin' Out My Pennies at Wegmans

I was really, really nervous walking into Wegmans for this shopping trip. I only had $65 in my wallet for Wegmans. Since we've been doing the cash envelopes, there are no more impulse purchases at the grocery store. It makes me kind of sad. Wegmans has some really amazing stuff. What tempted me today? Whole vanilla beans and organic ice cream.  Had I indulged in these impulses I would have been out over $15.  I'll have to try again next week. Although it could be argued (rationalized?) that life is just not worth living without ice cream. 

Maybe everyone already knows this and I am late to the game -- but I had to buy several spices this week for an Indian dish I hope to make tomorrow. I found that many spices were much, much less expensive in the International Foods aisle than they were in the regular baking aisle.  

For example, whole cinnamon sticks cost $5.99 in the baking aisle, but they were only $2.69 next to the Mexican section. I also found ground ginger in a 7 oz bag for $3.49 with the Indian spices; in the baking aisle it was $4.39 for less than 1 ounce.  That's not extreme couponing -- that's a no-brainer!

That doesn't mean I shopped without coupons. Here are my best coupon deals:

Luna Bars -- $.99 each, free with $.50 off coupon (no longer available)
Simply Organic Spices -- $1 off with this coupon
Jasmati Rice -- $2.25 off with coupon (no longer available)
Wegmans Organic Frozen Vegetables -- $1 off using a coupon I found (no kidding!) in the parking lot. Some people bend down for change on the ground, I pick up coupons!

Ultimately, I didn't have to break out the debit card. I was able to stay under my $65 budget, although I paid for $1.36 of it in change.  So yeah, that's me. I'm that lady who is picking up stray pieces of paper in the parking lot and scrounging through her change purse to pay for groceries.  Should I feel bad? I don't think so. 

Labels: , ,

Plum District: $21 for $60 credit to EcoMom

Today's PlumDistrict deal is really amazing.   First, PlumDistrict is offering a $60 credit to for only $30. BUT -- you can get 30% off that with code PLUMLOVE.  So you're only paying $21 for $60 worth of natural, organic, and eco-friendly products for you and your family.

Oh, and by the way -- shipping is FREE! 

Yeah, I'll be buying this deal. :)

**UPDATE***This deal is only for customers who have NOT bought the previous EcoMom deal on PlumDistrict. You can be a returning PlumDistrict customer, and a returning EcoMom customer. You just can't have purchased EcoMom from PlumDistrict in the past. Make sense? Sorry about the confusion! *** carries a huge variety of skin care, food, baby care, household items, and toys for everyone in the family.  Each item they carry  is audited with a 70-point checklist developed with experts in environmental health and child development. 

Go here to snag this deal, and don't forget to use code PLUMLOVE at checkout!


Overnight Peach French Toast

In October’s All You magazine, there is a section on what to do with canned fruit.  First of all, the idea of canned fruit is annoying at best, and kind of gross at worst, but stay with me.  One of the recipes featured was an “Overnight Peaches and Cream French Toast.”   I had two beautiful, overripe, local peaches (from Mason Farms in Williamson, NY) sitting on my counter, begging me to transform them from soft and mushy to juicy and delicious. I knew they would be perfect for this recipe -- but of course, I had to doctor it up a bit first. 
Overnight Peach French Toast Bake
(inspired by All You, October Issue)
1 small loaf challah bread (I prefer homemade, but Wegmans has a passable substitute)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (any kind -- I used Almond Milk)
3 tbsp  brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
For Topping:
1-2 cups of sliced peaches
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1. In a large, buttered, glass baking dish (8x8 works well), arrange the bread slices so they are covering the entire bottom of the dish.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together  the eggs, milk, 3 tbsp brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
3.Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Arrange the peach slices on top, and sprinkle the additional 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until the top is browned and all the egg mixture is cooked.  Serve hot and dig in!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Make it Yourself Monday: Eco-Friendly Liquid Hand Soap

For a long, long time, I bought hand soap on an almost weekly basis, usually either a store brand (if I was feeling cheap), or a more expensive brand from a specialty store.  
Then I started reading the ingredients. The soaps my family and I had been using contained multiple unpronounceable ingredients. For example, virtually all conventional hand soaps (and most other conventional body cleansers) contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a known neurotoxin (For more information, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website).
Like many changes in our household, the decision to use a more natural hand soap was born out of concern for toxic ingredients, but also out of the need to find a less expensive alternative. 
Instead of costly and chemical-laden traditional hand soap, I use a combination of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap and plain water.  
All you need to make your own liquid handsoap is a reusable foaming pump like this one from Amazon, and a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s -- any type.

Fill up the foaming pump bottle nearly full with plain tap water. Add 1 tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. That’s it! 
Since there is only .5 oz in each tablespoon, and Dr. Bronner’s is $.40/oz at Amazon right now, you are only paying $.40 for each bottle of hand soap you make.  Considering an average store-bought dispenser of hand soap costs between $2 and $6, that is quite a savings, especially if your family is like mine and does a LOT of hand washing.
I’ll be honest -- there are plenty of other recipes floating around cyberspace for making your own liquid hand soap. I like my Dr. Bronner’s mixture because I think it’s the easiest. When I run out, all I have to do is fill up the container with water, add a tbsp of soap, and screw the top back on.  I can’t see myself making anything that involves boiling soap scrapings. I never thought I would talk on the internet about Mama Cloth either, though, so never say never!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plum District: Two Years of Parents Magazine for $8

Plum District just offered this deal: Two full years of Parents Magazine for only $8.  That's only $4 a year!  
Since this is a "Plum Steal," you cannot use Plum dollars to pay for this deal. 
Parents Magazine would be a great gift for a new mom or day! Go here to take advantage of this deal.

Labels: ,

Wegmans Deals and Coupon Match-Up - 9/25

We’re looking at 2 inserts this week: Smart Source and Red Plum.  Even though the Summer Savings coupons have expired, there are plenty of other sources for Wegmans coupons. The Fall Menu Magazine came out, there is a coupon mailer from Wegmans circulating, and I’ve found several coupons in-store -- including the ever-elusive Catalina (A Catalina is a coupon that prints with your register receipt, and Wegmans rarely uses them.)

All the HOTTEST deals -- Free or Under $1 -- are in red.  Remember, not every region gets the exact same coupon inserts, so the denominations in your paper may be different. Also, my match-ups are done using the prices in Rochester-area Wegmans’ stores.
Have you found any amazing deals at Wegmans lately? Please leave a comment about your best scores this week, too!
Wegmans has pledged “Consistent Low Prices” on over 200 items. Find that list here.

Wegmans Printables:
Benvenuti Coupon Mailer:
$1 off a $3 or more Nature's Marketplace Purchase
$1 off a $4 Health & Beauty Purchase (go here to see a list of free and near-free items with this coupon)
$1 off any Fresh Seafood Purchase ($4.99 or more)
Prescription Insert Coupons (these come on the back of your prescription information in the pharmacy; because of allergies, we've had quite a few of these in our house lately):
$1 off any Wegmans Brand Fruit Flats ($1.69 after coupon)
$1 off any Wegmans Super Pasta ($.99 after coupon)
$1 off any Wegmans Rice & Grains Blends ($1.99 after coupon)
Nature's Marketplace:
Clif Kids Z-Bar -- $.89
Final Price= FREE!
Oregon Chai Concentrate -- $4.79
Final Price=$3.79
Santa Cruz Organic Juice -- $4.29
Final Price = $2.79

Nature’s Path Boxed Item -- $3.19
Use $.50/1 from August All You Magazine
Final Price= $2.19
Kashi TLC Cereal or Granola Bars -- $2.99
Use $1.50/2 Printable -- no longer available
OR Use $1/2 in Wegmans August Nature’s Marketplace Magazine
Final Price= $2.24- $2.49/each when you buy 2
Kashi Individual Frozen Meals -- $3.79
Final Price= $2.29
Kashi Frozen Pizza -- $5.99
Final Price= $4.49
Kashi TLC Snack Crackers -- $2.99
Use $1/1 Printable -- no longer available
Final Price= $1.99
Simply Organic Seasoning Packets -- $1.29
Final Price= $.29
Simply Organic Vanilla Extract, 2 ox -- $4.49
Final Price= $3.49
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce, 8 oz -- $.99
Final Price= FREE
Stacy’s Pita Chips -- $3.99
Use $.75/1 from 6/26 SS (exp 9/26)
Final Price=$2.49
Eatsmart Naturals Veggie Crisps -- $3.49
Use $1/1 from 7/31 SS (exp 10/31)
OR $1/1 From September Nature’s Marketplace Magazine
Final Price= $2.49
Terra Blues Potato Chips -- $3.69
Use $1/1 from 8/28 SS
Final Price= $2.69
Morningstar Farms Veggie Patty -- $3.59
Final Price=$2.59
Silk SoyMilk - $3.39
Final Price= $1.89 
Stonyfield Farm YoBaby or YoToddler 4-pack -- $2.49
Or Use $.50 off any YoBaby Multipack -- doubled to $1
Final Price= $.99 - $1.49
Alexia Julienne Sweet Potato Fries -- $2.99
Final Price=$1.99
Cascadian Farms Organic Edamame -- $2.69
Final Price=  $1.69
Brown Cow Greek Yogurt -- $.99/ea
Final Price= $.98 when you buy 2, or $.49/ea
Balance Bar -- $1.29
Use $.55/1 from 9/11 SS
Final Price=$.19
Cheerios Cereal -- $2.50 on Shopper’s Club
Final Price= $1.50/box
Old El Paso Refried Beans -- $1.29
Use $.50/1 Old El Paso Product from 9/18 SS
Final Price= $.29
Barilla Whole Grain Pasta -- $1.39
Use $.55/1 from 9/18 SS
Final Price= $.29
Phila Cooking Creme -- $2.29
Plus $.75/1 Printable (no longer available)
Final Price= $.79 total for 2
Ball Canning Discovery Kit -- $10.49
Use $2/1 Peelie on display
Final Price= $8.49
Seattle’s Best Iced Lattes -- $5.99
Final Price= $4.49
Birds Eye Steamfresh Selects, Chef’s Variety -- $1.99
Use $.50/1 from 9/25 SS
Final Price= $.99
Carnation NonFat Instant Dry Milk -- $4.39
Use $.50/1 from 9/25 RP
Final Price= $3.39
Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast Strip -- $1.59
Final Price= $.79
Sunsweet Prune Juice -- $3.99
Use $.75/1 from 9/11 SS
Final Price=$2.49
Barilla Pasta Sauce -- $2.29
Use $1/1 from 8/28 SS
Final Price= $1.29
Bison Sour Cream Dip -- $1.79
Use $.50/1 from 8/28 SS
Final Price= $.79
Wholly Guacamole -- $4.99
Final Price= $3.99
Eggland's Best Eggs -- Dozen Medium Cage-Free Organic -- $3.29
Use $.75/1 from 7/31 SS (exp. 12/31)
Final Price= $1.79
French’s Classic Mustard, 8 oz. -- $1.29
Final Price= $.69
French’s Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, 12 oz -- $2.19
Use $.50/1 here OR $.75/1 in 8/21 SS
Final Price=$.69
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, 5 oz -- $1.19
Final Price= $.19
French’s Worcestershire Sauce -- $1.49
Final Price= $.49
KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce -- $1.89
Use $.50/1 from 9/25 SS
Final Price= $.89
Yoplait Smoothies -- $2.49
Use $1/1 from 9/11 GM insert
Final Price= $1.49
Health & Beauty
Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm -- $1.99 on Shopper’s Club
Use $2/1 Neutrogena Cosmetics from August All You Magazine (exp 10/1)
Final Price = FREE
Johnson’s Naturals Baby Wash -- $2.99 on Shopper’s Club
Final Price= $1.49
Tom’s of Maine Deodorant -- $4.49
Use $1/1 from 9/18 SS
Final Price= $3.49
Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste -- $4.29
Use $1/1 from 9/18 SS
Final Price= $3.29
Oral-B Floss -- $.69 on Shopper’s Club
Use $.75/1 from 8/28 P&G insert (exp. 9/30)
Final Price= Free
Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap -- $1.99 on Shopper’s Club
Final Price = $.59
Colgate Toothpaste - $1.99 on Shopper’s Club
Use $1/1 from 9/11 SS
Final Price= $.99
Bic Soleil Shavers - $5.49
Final Price= $3.49
Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner -- $2.49 on Shopper’s Club
$1/1 Shampoo or Conditioner from 8/28 RP
Final Price= $1.49 
Herbal Essences Shampoo or Conditioner -- $2.99
Use $1/2 from 8/28 P&G (exp. 9/30)
Final Price=$1.99-$2.49 each
Olay Daily Renewal Cleanser -- $4.99
Use $1/1 from 8/28 P&G
Final Price= $3.99
Cover Girl Cheekers Blush -- $3.99
Use $1/1 from 8/28 P&G
Final Price= $2.99
Method Daily Shower Cleaner -- $2.99
Use $.50/1 from 9/18 SS
Final Price= $1.99

Labels: ,