Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pinecone Research Sign up!

This is really exciting news for those of you who are not yet members of Pinecone Research - HERE is a link to register! Sign up is usually not open for very long, so now is the time to jump on it. Only one person per household may register.

As I mentioned before, Pinecone is my favorite survey company. They sent out only a few surveys a month, but you never are disqualified (a huge time-saver) and they usually take no more than 15 minutes. Surveys pay $3 each, and they are very prompt with payment (I receive a check in the mail, but Paypal is also available).

A heads-up for anyone who is accepted to Pinecone, you must take the first survey they send you, or you will not receive additional surveys. This is a way for them to ensure that members are willing to complete surveys in a timely manner. Additionally, if you are ever going to be on vacation or away from a computer for an extended period of time, you can let Pinecone know so that they do not think you are no longer interested in doing surveys. They really are a great company!


Things have been a little crazy lately, and I have not kept up with my normal M, W, F posting schedule. The main reason for this is because I am pregnant with our second child! (Due mid-October)

We are very excited about adding to our family, and things are going very well with the pregnancy; I am just a lot more tired and it has been taking me longer to keep up with things around the house.

All this to say, I am committed to bringing regular content to Thrifty Living, though some weeks may be less regular than others. Thank you so much for reading. I really enjoy sharing my thrifty thoughts on this blog, and I hope that I am able to continue to encourage others to be more thrifty also!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

DIY - Resurrection Easter Eggs

When I was growing up, my sisters and I always enjoyed this Easter version of an advent calender. Every day for the 12 days leading up to Easter, you open one of the eggs. In each is a slip of paper with verses to read from the Easter story as well as a prop - a little object that goes with that day's verse.

Last year, my mom made a set for our family, and we are enjoying going through them after dinner every night. Even though our daughter is too young too understand the story, she enjoys playing with the eggs and the little objects.

I've seen places where you can buy a set of these eggs, but I think that making them yourself is so much better! Not only is it really easy to do, it is more special to have unique objects in your set. Here is the set that my mom made for us, along with instructions for how to make your own set of Easter Eggs!

Click here for a printable version of the instructions. Once you have printed the sheet, the verses and can be cut out to go inside the eggs.

The plastic eggs fit in a regular egg carton

and are numbered to make it easy to know which day is which.

Here are some examples of what is inside the eggs - cup and bread

Crown of thorns and rod:

This is a great opportunity to be creative with the little objects, and even change them out through the years as your find new or different ones that work better. If you have any questions about putting this together or what other objects I have in my set, just let me know!


Monday, March 22, 2010


After my post on rebates, I thought it would be good to share some great rebates that are going on right now.
Get a free bottle of Quench Body lotion (purchase must be made between 3/19/10 and 4/16/10)
Deal Idea: Walgreens has Quench 20 oz on sale for $7.99 this week, with a free bottle of Olay in-shower lotion when you purchase. The Walgreens I went to was out of the in-shower lotion and told me that it was discontinued, so they substituted Ribbons Body wash instead. Stack with the Quench coupon from the P&G insert and get 2 for free plus a little moneymaker!

Walgreens also has Renpure Organics products on sale BOGO this week. Many Walgreens have Try Me Free tags on the shampoo and conditioners (including the new location on 301 by Kohls). Submit for the rebate and get 2 for free!

Rite Aid has Organix shampoo and condition on sale BOGO this week. There are Try Me Free tags on Organix shampoo and conditioner also (including at the Middletown location - they were on an end cap last week). Submit for the rebate and get 2 for free!

As you can see, I have taken advantage of both of these rebates already - I should have waited for a buy one, get one free sale!

Money Making Opportunities: Rebates

One of the ways that I've been able to try many products for free (and sometimes even make a little money) is through rebates. There are so many places that offer rebates, including: displays in grocery and drug stores, satisfaction guaranteed rebates, Rite Aid (Single Check Rebates), manufacturer's websites, Sunday coupon inserts, and free coupon websites.

I post many of the printable rebates I see, but there are so many more opportunities for rebates out there. One of my favorites is the Try Me Free rebate, usually found on a product on the shelf in stores. These tags indicate that the company will reimburse you the full shelf price of the product via mail-in rebate. Occasionally when I am shopping I will walk a little slower down the isles, keeping my eyes peeled for Try Me Free tags.

Rebates are not going to make you rich or even cut your food or toiletry bills in half, but they are a great way to stretch your budget. I try to factor in the cost of a product without the rebate into my budget. Then, when my check arrives, it is simply extra money that can go in the bank.

A few specifics that I've found are very important to make rebates work:

Read the terms of the rebate. There is almost always a dollar value listed for the rebate, which is the most the company will pay you. If the product is more than the amount listed on the rebate, just be aware that you will not get the full price you pay. Pay careful attention to the date(s) listed in the terms. Sometimes rebates expire! Other times you must send in the recipe for the rebate within a certain time frame of purchase.

Stack with a coupon or BOGO sale. If you use a coupon, you will still be reimbursed for the shelf price! This means that if the product is $5 and you use a $1 coupon, you will be sent a check for $5. If a rebate product is on sale buy one, get one free, you could end up with 2 free instead of just one!

Be organized and prompt. Save your receipt!! I prefer to fill out rebates the day I make my purchase to stay on top of things. If it is a rebate where I must save multiple receipts, I keep an envelope on my fridge to not lose anything. You must send the original receipt with your rebate. Never send a copy; companies will not honor this. This is especially important to remember if you are thinking of buying 2 different things in the same transaction that require rebate receipts. It is better to break it up into two separate transactions.

Be honest. Only one rebate per household unless it says otherwise. This means you cannot submit for the same rebate more than once. The company will not honor your request. Some rebates will say 'limit 2 per household'; then you can submit for more than one.

Rebate checks take time to arrive. You need to allow 6-8 weeks for most rebate check to come in the mail. Make sure that you are not buying something just because its free, when it would be better to have the money during that time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Whew...this week I had to throw out a few slices of lunch meat, a little bit of heavy whipping cream, and the orange this is an acorn squash I bought months ago (like October). I used it as decoration for a while and then planned to puree it for my daughter to eat. She started eating real people food sooner than expect, so I forgot about the squash. It was green when I put it away, and weighed about twice as much...ewww.

Thanks again to The Frugal Girl for her encouragement to waste less food!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick by Jonathan Rogers

Very little is known about the actual man, Patrick, missionary to Ireland in the 400s. This short work by Jonathan Rogers is drawn heavily from the two surviving written works by Patrick. While many legends sprung up around the man, Rogers seeks to temper those stories and paints a picture of a man with a powerful conversion, a passion and love for "barbaric" people (the Irish), and a humble reliance on God.

I appreciated how faithful Rogers was to stick to Patrick's own words throughout this book. I felt like I was really able to learn about Patrick instead of just reading another fable. I also enjoyed that he included the two letters written by Patrick at the end of this book. It was so fascinating to be able to read something written over 1500 years ago! If you are looking for a quick read about a little known historical figure, then this is the book -- and just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

I review for BookSneeze

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free copy of this book to review! If you would like to learn more about how you can review books for free, click on the above picture or read my post here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Congratulations to the winners of the Herlocher's giveaway! picked

#2 - Beth

#12 - Gina

I have contacted you both for your addresses so that I can mail your mustard!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I am so excited to report that we had no waste to throw out today! This has not happened for a while, and it took a little bit of work this week.

Visit The Frugal Girl to see if anyone else had no waste this week!

And remember to enter my giveaway! The giveaway will close tomorrow night at midnight.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free coffee and cheap Sunday paper

Starbucks Coffee

I am really excited about this! Starbucks is running an 8 week promotion to encourage you to try their different bold varieties...and there is a reward at the end! Every week for the next 8 weeks, they will be brewing a different variety of their bold coffee. You can get a cup for $1.50, and you will also receive a card with a sticker showing that you tried the week's brew. At the end of the 8 weeks, if you collect all 8 stickers (that is, try all 8 varieties) you will get a free pound of your favorite!

Many of my favorite Starbucks brews are going to be featured (Gold Coast, Sumatra, Komodo Dragon!), which is why I am so excited.

Week 1 has already started and runs through March 14th. The rest of the schedule is as follows:
Week 2: March 15-21 French Roast
Week 3: March 22-28 Starbucks RED
Week 4: March 29-April 4 Komodo Dragon
Week 5: April 5-11 Cafe Verona
Week 6: April 12-18 Cafe Estima
Week 7: April 19-25 Gold Coast
Week 8: April 26-May 3 Sumatra

Notice that the week starts on Monday and runs through Sunday. You can read more on the Starbucks Bold site.

Delaware News Journal

There is a great deal running on home delivery of the Sunday DE News Journal - $1 a week! I am currently getting the Sunday paper this way. This offer is for new subscribers only (must have been inactive for 30 days to join) and is running through April 30, 2010. So if you are currently subscribing, I think you could cancel your subscription, wait 30 days, and then still be able to take advantage of this offer. Also, when you subscribe via EZ pay or pay all at once when you order, you will receive a free 2010 Entertainment Book!

This is a great way to get easy access to the Sunday coupon inserts every week!

Go here to get all the details.

Remember, there are still a few days left to enter my giveaway!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Homemade Pizza Bagel Bites

I am always looking for ways to improvise for different snack foods. Buying a bunch from the store is super convenient, but can get really expensive. Pizza bagel bites are one of my favorites, and I'm usually really good about not buying them because they are ridiculously expensive! (I saw them on sale last week, 40 for $10....25 cents a bagel bite yikes)

SO....I decided to make my own!

I used the bagel recipe that I wrote about a few weeks ago here...though I made a few changes. I doubled the recipe, and then made smaller bagels to look more like the bagel bites. I also opted not to flip the bagels during the baking process, which worked fine and saved a little time.
Once my bagels were completely cooled, I cut them in half with my bread knife and placed them on baking sheets like this:
Then I put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I took the first tray out at 30 minutes to start working, but the others were in longer). The reason I did this was so that the sauce would sit on top of the bagels instead of soaking into the soft bread. There's nothing worse than mushy pizza!
I used my homemade sauce on the bagels, and then topped them with mozzarella cheese. This was the most time-consuming part. I found that it was easier with a smaller spoon (I used a soup spoon first). Here's what they looked like after the toppings:

Then I popped the baking sheet back into the freezer for another hour or so to let the sauce and cheese set. After they had frozen, I packaged them into large ziplock containers. I made 3 trays worth, so I ended up with 80 or 90 bagel bites!
Bake in a preheated oven at 450 for 8-10 minutes for perfection!

I really enjoy how these came out. They actually taste better than store bought because of the homemade sauce and the bagels are better. And of course, these are way cheaper than store bought. Since it takes a little while to make, I recommend doing a large quantity. My daughter is too young to help at this point, but I can imagine that this would be loads of fun for older kids to help with!

There's still time to enter my giveaway here!


Sunday, March 7, 2010


Welcome to my first giveaway!

Last week I told you how I came into a large quantity of Herlocher's, my absolute favorite mustard. Today you can enter to win one of 2 jars of Herlocher's! I will be giving away 1 jar each to 2 different people.

Here is what you will be winning:

My favorite way to enjoy Herlocher's is with cheese and crackers, as pictured above, though it adds so much to a sandwich, burger, or hotdog as well! Maybe you're not a "mustard person" -- you should still enter because this is not regular mustard at all. This is a great party mustard; its the perfect complement to a meat and cheese tray.
How to enter:
Everyone can enter once. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post. It can be as simple as 'Enter Me' or your thoughts or experience with Herlocher's.
The giveaway will close Saturday, March 13 at midnight ET, at which point I will use a random number generator which will choose the 2 commenters who win the mustard.
Have a fun, good luck, and happy dipping!
This giveaway is not sponsored by Herlocher's Dipping Mustard. These are my own jars that I will be giving away.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I'm trying to cut back on the amount of food that we throw away every week, but going through the fridge so I know what needs to be used up.

This week I only threw out a few chopped tomato from tacos earlier this week.

Have you taken a look at your fridge this week? Any leftovers that need to be prioritized for this coming week? I've got some baked bean leftovers I need to take care of in the next few days.
Thanks to Kristin @ The Frugal Girl for her inspiration to waste less food!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing to Companies: An Exciting Result

A while back I posted about the idea of writing to companies with compliments instead of just with complaints. This is something that I really enjoy doing, because I feel like my feedback can make a difference. Usually the only "reward" for complimenting a product is a thank you email from a customer service rep, though sometime there are coupons and even freebies.

I recently wrote to Herlocher's Dipping Mustard. This is my favorite mustard ever.

I grew up on this mustard at my grandparents house, where I have fond memories of snacks of cheese and crackers with Herlocher's. Where I grew up in Maryland as well as where I now live in Delaware, I have not been able to purchase Herlocher's in grocery stores, so I would rely on my grandmother to get it for me. In fact, I received several jars of mustard for Christmas this year (as I do every year!).

I wrote to Herlocher's to tell them about how much I have enjoyed their mustard throughout my life and how I have converted my husband to saying the Herlocher's is his favorite mustard too! I also told them about the trouble I've had locating the mustard where I live. A few days later I received an exciting reply. I was given information where to buy Herlocher's in my area (at Giant, which is close to me!), as well as telling me that the deli manager can order it if they do not have it in stock! Then I was asked if they could use my email as a testimonial on their website, and as a thank you for my support of the company, they sent me 4 jars of mustard!

Wow I was shocked! It was like Christmas all over again. Like I said earlier, this is not the norm when writing to companies, so it was a great surprise. I really hope that this encourages you that companies really do listen to the customers that write to them, and that our compliments are deeply appreciated!

Now here is the best part for you the reader. I want to share my beloved mustard with you! Starting this Sunday, you can enter into a giveaway to win one of 2 jars of Herlocher's! The company did not ask me to do this at all; I just want to make sure I am able to use up all this mustard by the 'sell by' date!

Additionally, my testimonial is not yet up on the Herlocher's website, but I will be sure to link to it when it posts.

Check back Sunday for more information about this giveaway!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Survey feature on Common Sense with Money!

Be sure to check out my guest post on Common Sense with Money today about my experience with Ipsos I-Say, an online survey company! It is a little more of an in depth look at a specific company than the post I wrote a few weeks ago about the various companies that I use. You can read my post about the different survey sites I use here.

If you found this blog through Common Sense with Money, welcome! To find out more about me and some of my thrifty endeavors, check out the About Me tab! I'm so glad you decided to visit.

Thanks to Mercedes @ Common Sense with Money for letting me share my survey experiences with her readers!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Catalina week at Acme!

There are several Catalina deals running at Acme this week. Mindi @ Moms Need to Know has coupon match-ups for both the General Mills Cat and the frozen foods Cat.

When I went to Acme today I discovered yet another Catalina! This one will overlap with the GM Catalina.

It is for General Mills Betty Crocker fruit snacks. Get a coupon for $$ off your next purchase in the following amounts:

buy 3 and get $1.50
buy 4 and get $2.50
buy 5 or more and get $3.50
My husband and I really enjoy fruit snacks as a treat, so I'm stocking up this week!
Related Posts with Thumbnails