Tag Archives: rewards

My 20 favorite tips (that have saved us the most money!)

my logoI go through spurts of time where I am too busy to clip coupons or find new ways to save (and to blog!). However, there are some tried and true tips that have become part of our regular routines and daily life that help us save a lot of money!

Check out my favorites! How many do you do?

1) Keeping a price list – This is probably my favorite resource. I update it frequently and keep it in my purse to refer to when shopping. It helps me know when a price is right!

2) Rewards for shopping – With OfficeMax rewards we have saved hundreds of dollars! They have great clearance and sale items and coupons, too. It is one of my favorite stores!

3) My favorite find – swapping books – It used to be that you could make some money selling your used books on Amazon. One year I made a few hundred dollars selling old books. Now the market is saturated and books go for pennies. However, this site allows me to create a wish list of books I want and trade books I am done with. I have gotten many great books for my family and for teaching!

4) Preparing for gift giving = savings – My gift drawer has come in handy many times for birthday parties and teacher gifts! I always stock up on things when I spot a good deal.

5) Making your own challah – Since we got a bread machine this has gotten even easier. My husband also makes pizza crust and loaf bread in it. Between that and shopping at our local bread outlet, we spend so little on bread products!

6) Menu planning – We often get too busy to do this, but when we do, it helps so much! We make less trips to the store and eat better. Our family loves homemade meals better than pinch hit dinners like eggs and toast!

7) Brighter savings – I cannot remember the last time we had to buy light bulbs. Using fluorescent bulbs saves us a lot of money and we have to replace them so infrequently!

8) Staying on top of your kids’ clothing – We are so fortunate to have generous friends who give us their hand-me-down clothes when they are done with them. I love to go shopping in my basement for the next size clothes when my boys’ need it! I rarely have to buy things for them except for socks, underwear, and a few other items!

9) Become a member – Our zoo and science center memberships have more than paid off and give us other things to do at each place that we normally could not afford! I just wish they both weren’t up for renewal around the same time!

10) SodaStream soda makers! – I admit that I love soda, even though it is bad for me! However, SodaStream uses healthy artificial sweeteners and is much cheaper than canned and bottled sodas. It also makes a nice treat for Shabbos guests that we would normally not be able to afford!

11) The advantage of buying paper goods online – I try to limit our use of paper goods, but around the holidays (especially Pesach), they really come in handy. Buying them in the store (even Sam’s) can be so expensive. See my reasons for why shopping online is better!

12) Recycle your ink – earn money – OfficeMax offers $2 back now on each ink cartridge you recycle with them. It just gets added to your rewards. Simple way to earn a few bucks!

13) School Supply Shopping Strategy – With school supplies already out on the shelves, my shopping tips really help us spend very little on supplies each year. And with four kids, it can add up quickly!

14) Are “dollar stores” really a good deal? – I love Dollar Tree and frankly probably shop there too much! But, I find so many great deals there – teaching items, kitchen tools, containers, and more!

15) Why I love Target! – Target has so many ways for you to stack your savings – manufacturer’s coupons, Target printable coupons, Cartwheel mobile app, your Target Red Card, and gift card rewards. I always come out with a feeling of accomplishment and save at least $20 or more this way!

16) Printer ink can cost a fortune – I print a lot from home for teaching, so my tips for buying affordable ink are crucial! We also changed to a Brother printer, which has been much better than our HP printer.

17) Making the most of the whole bird My husband is a master at using as much of a chicken as possible. We let very little go to waste and end up with several meals from one chicken!

18) Follow-up on ditching cable – we love our Roku!This change has made the biggest difference in our monthly expenses. It was hard to do at first, but I cannot imagine going back and am so glad we are not wasting our money anymore!

19) Post-Christmas shopping successI love after-holiday sales. I can always find good deals on special treats, snacks, items for my gift drawer, and more. You don’t have to celebrate the holiday to save from the special seasonal items!

20) Saving on Black Friday without spending much money! I do not stand in line for hours, but I still save a ton each Black Friday. A little planning and knowing the right stores to go to make the difference!

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think of my favorite tips and other posts!

Hope you are enjoying your summer!


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Summer 2013 Dollar (or Free) Movies

5 Movie Tickets for 1 Day

I am sorry to post this so late, but this summer I have all my kids home, which means less time to blog and do my own things! However, there are so many great things to do in the summer, many of which are cheap. Summer movies are great to avoid the heat and perhaps see some movies on the big screen that you missed the first time around.

I have updated last years’ list of theaters that offer free or cheap movies. These are typically only offered during the summer. But check your local theater’s website, because they may offer other promotions like senior discounts, mom and baby viewings, concession discounts, etc., year-round.

I have culled sources from across the Internet to provide you a comprehensive list. If you find a theater offering a program that I missed, please let me know! Participating theater state locations are provided for each listing so you don’t have to click on all of them one to see if the program is being offered near you!

CarmikeSummer Kids Series. This theater chain offers $4 movie combo, which includes movie, popcorn drink, and snack. Some theaters start June 3 while others start June 10; days vary by theater. Participating locations vary each year. Be sure to look at both sections below the general information to see if there is a participating theater near you. Some locations even have showings more than once a week. They have participating theaters in 33 states: AL, AR, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO (Warrensburg), MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, and WV.

Cinemark TheatresSummer Movie Clubhouse. $1 per show or $5 for 10 shows if purchased in advance. They have participating theaters in 37 states: AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MS, MN, MO (Kansas City), MT, NC, NM, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV and WS. Click on your local theater for details.

CinemaworldSummer KidFest. June 7 – Aug. 1, seven days a week. FREE for kids, adults $2 or donation of non-perishable pet-food item. Schedule may vary by location. Locations in FL and RI.

Classic Cinemas Wednesday Morning Movie Series. $1 per ticket. Runs June 12 – Aug. 7. Multiple theaters in IL.

Clearview CinemasClearview Cinemas Kid’s Club. July 10 and 11 – August 22, 2013. Wednesdays and Thursday, Tickets FREE. Schedule of movies varies by theater. Participating locations in NJ and NY.

Cobb Theatres – Free Summer Kids Shows. Their website does not have details for this program except to check your local theater for a schedule. Locations in AL, CO, FL, GA, and VA.

Dickinson TheatresSummer Vacation Movie Series. Prices vary between FREE and $2 per ticket. Select the theatre near you and then click on the box with SVMS. This will then lead you to the flier for that theater. Locations in AR, AZ, KS, MO (Lee’s Summit and Kansas City), NE, OK, and TX.

Georgia Theatre Company Summer Movie Series. This series is offered for $1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June and July. Participating locations are in FL, GA, SC, and VA.They are showing the entire Harry Potter series of movies, as well as other favorite animated kids’ selections.

Goodrich Quality TheatersKids Summer Movies. Begins June 10, Monday through Friday. Tickets $1. Participating locations in IN, IL, MI, and MO (Jefferson City and Columbia).

Harkins TheatresSummer Movie Fun. Less than $1 per ticket. Locations in AZ, CA, CO, OK, and TX. Click on your preferred theater for their schedule and movies listings. Shows start as early as May 27.

Malco Theatres Kids Summer Film Fest. Runs June 4 – July 31, 2013, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. $2 per ticket. Locations in AR, KY, MS, and TN.

Marcus TheatresKids Dream Summer Film Series. Runs June 18 – Aug. 15, 2013, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. $2 per ticket. Locations in IA, IL, MN, ND, NE, OH, and WI.

Marquee CinemasKid’s Summer Movie Program – June through August, start dates vary by location; Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tickets FREE. Participating locations in CT, FL, KY, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA,and  WV.

Muvico TheatersFREE Summer Film Fest. June 11 – Aug. 15, 2013, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays. Locations are in CA, FL, and IL.

Regal CinemasSummer Movie Express. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, $1 per ticket. Start dates vary by location. Participating locations are in AK, AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MO (Fenton, Hazelwood, and Springfield), MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, and WV. Great Escape Theaters are now owned by Regal Cinemas.

Wehrenberg TheatresFamily Summer Series. June 5 – Aug. 15, 2013, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tickets FREE. Locations in IL, IA, MO (Chesterfield, St. Charles, O’Fallon, South County, Des Peres, Arnold, and St. Peters), and MN.

* For more summer family activities, click on the links here or on the “Family ideas” category on the right menu and/or click on the “Family Fun Outside the Home” page on the top menu bar.

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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Family ideas, Other savings tips


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Why I love Target!

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

Tonight I had a very successful trip to Target. Some trips, particularly those when I take the kids, I leave exhausted and frustrated. However, there are those like tonight when I find so many good deals that I can’t wait to get home and share them all with my husband. For those of you who haven’t discovered Target’s finer points, or for those who just want to save more there, here are my reasons Target is one of my favorite stores:

1) Coupons:

Target has their own coupons you can print from their website. They can be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons, so you save even more. They have coupons on everything from name brands to their own brands to specific sections of the store. On most trips, I can save at least $20 in coupons! I even get coupons in the mail from Target. I think I get these from having a Target baby registry at one time and for making purchases online from their website.

2) Red Card:

You can get a Target Red Card: either debit or credit card, which gives you 5% back on each purchase. The discount is applied immediately – no waiting for rebates or reward cards. We do not have any credit cards, so I love that I can get these same rewards with the debit card. The money comes right out of my checking account as a regular debit card does. Tonight I saved an extra $10 from using my Red Card!

3) Bag discounts:

When you bring your own bags to use for your purchases, Target will give you $.05 back for each bag. This also comes right off your total purchase cost. Every little bit adds up. For more information on bag discounts, see my post “Reusable shopping bags = savings.”

4) Seasonal sales:

Target is a great place for getting great deals on seasonal items. No matter if you celebrate the holiday or not, the days after can provide some wonderful sales! See my post tomorrow for all the goodies I found during after Christmas sales! Target also has a great variety of items they only have available for different seasons and holidays and some that are only found at their store such as: home decor, organizational items, food, novelties, gift items, dining/cookware, and more. We have gotten several things during some of these seasonal sales that have lasted us years. See my related post on “Shop those Easter sales today!”

5) A fun shopping experience:

I love finding new items every time I go to Target. Maybe it is a new line of dishware. Maybe it is a new line of craft items. Or a new line of toys for that time of year. There is always something new to find and normally at great deals. The dollar aisle has also yielded some great gifts, toys, and teaching items for me and my family!

6) Sales on staple items:

I know that even if I don’t have a coupon, Target is going to have a sale on items I use often at some point. And for many items, even if I do not have a coupon and it is not on sale, their price still beats many competitors. I like not feeling so guilty if I have to make a purchase there without a sale or coupon! This is where my price list really comes in handy. See my post on “Keeping a price list.”

7) Good quality clothing for reasonable prices:

With my busy schedule, I do not get a lot of time to shop. I love that I can find clothing for everyone in the family at Target. I especially like that I can find staple items for good prices, whether or not they go on sale. I depend on Target for pajamas for the family, sweats for the kids and myself, socks and underwear for everyone, etc. Pajamas for my boys can get quite costly. At a department store, you can easily spend $10 or more for one set. At Target, I get the Carter’s First Year brand and spend $12-$13 for two sets together. They sometimes go on sale for a few bucks less, and then there are days like today where I found three sets of the same size for half price! They sell sets year-round tailored for each season and the designs change. They are comfortable and last. My boys love them!

Their clothes last and look good. My little boys wear many items that their older brother wore that I probably paid less than $5-$10 a piece for! I often find such good deals that I even buy sizes for later and then store them in the basement. Today I found hoodie jackets for $2.98. I also found sweatshirts and sweatpants for $2.08 in the boys’ department! I bought three hoodies for each size S – L (I could only find one XL)! They will be set for a few years! See my post “Staying on top of your kids’ clothing.”

8) Black Friday is a breeze!

I am not a diehard Black Friday shopper that will stand in line hours before a store opens or camps out the night before. My Black Friday shopping route in simple: CVS and Target and occasionally one or two other stores. For the past two years, Target has had some great Black Friday deals like cheap pajamas for the family, great toy deals, and cheap hat/glove sets for the kids. I have not had to go right when the store opened. I get there mid-morning, and for the most part all the items I have been looking for were still in stock! They don’t just provide a few each of their good deals, but plenty for many shoppers! I am not shopping high-priced items, but I still come out with some great deals and am quite happy!

9) A clean and usually well-stocked store:

I know I can find good deals, too, at Wal-Mart, but I found the clutter and disorganization to create more stress than success. I like that Target is always clean and orderly and I know where everything is. The order of the store makes sense and it is not so large that I am very exhausted when I finish a trip complete with groceries, too. Occasionally the dollar aisle is a mess, but overall the store is pretty well-kept!

10) Plenty of online deals as well:

Target often has a sale on something I need more than one of, but the store doesn’t have that many or the right size in stock. However, the website does. I recently got tennis shoes for my boys and paid a minimal amount for shipping! Shoe costs can add up, so we were all very excited! And compared to the Wal-Mart shoes I have purchased, these have lasted a lot longer! I have also gotten some great skirts from their daily deals as well as other items. See my post “Online shopping tips” to make the most of your Internet shopping.

11) Clearance sections:

It seems that so many stores have junk in their clearance sections. However, at Target, I find stuff all the time. I particularly love to shop the clothing clearances, as I mentioned before. I always find great deals on clothing for my kids. By putting those purchases and hand-me-downs aside for later, my kids love when they grow out of a size and I bring up boxes of great stuff for the new season. The boxes include new and used, but they don’t care. By thinking ahead, I rarely have to buy much for the new season!

Target also has clearance sections in other departments. The end caps of aisles are always full of surprises and there are always tons of items on clearance in the home department! Today I got two great toys to put aside in my gift drawer and gingerbread cheesecake cookies only available for a limited time and so yummy! See my post on “Preparing for gift-giving = savings.”

NOTE: To find the best deals for Target each week, check out “Kosher on a Budget” and “Totally Target,” two great blogs.

Happy shopping!

Please feel free to share why you love Target in the Comments section!


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Kosher Birthday Freebies T – Z

Geoffrey's Birthday ClubHere is the last installment of my kosher birthday freebies as promised. I also have included a few additions at the end. Enjoy all these great birthday freebies!

The Children’s Place – By signing up for their Birthday Club, you will get a special coupon for your birthday and your child’s.

Toys “R” Us – When you sign your child up for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club, your child will receive a special birthday card and gift (until he or she is 10). Last year the gift was a $3 gift certificate for use at the store. You can also get a birthday call for your child from Geoffrey. If you shop at the store on or near your child’s birthday, they will give him or her a crown, balloon, and special announcement broadcast to the entire store.

Walmart PictureMe Studio – You can receive a free birthday portrait collage from Walmart when you schedule a birthday appointment.

Walt Disney World – NOTE: Walt Disney World used to offer free admission on your birthday. This promotion has been discontinued.

World Market – This is my favorite birthday freebie! By joining their World Market Explorer Rewards program, you will get a birthday surprise. Last year it was a coupon worth $10 to use at their store. You will also receive coupons via email throughout the year. You also get a 10% off coupon just for enrolling.


If you have already signed up for the rewards on my previous Kosher Birthday Freebie posts, check out the latest additions I have added today (I also added them on the corresponding posts):

Benefit Cosmetics – Sign up on their Facebook page to receive a free Birthday Brow Arch!

Krispy Kreme – I could not confirm this on their site, but other sites state that you can receive a free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it for your birthday! Their sign-up for their Friends of Krispy Kreme does ask for your birthday. Check with your local kashrus agency for the certification of each store and location Krispy Kreme is sold.

Pottery Barn Kids – When you join Pottery Barn Kids’ Birthday Club, your child will receive a personalized birthday card and you will get 10% off one item during your child’s birthday month. This club is for children ages 9 and under.

Related posts:


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Kosher Birthday Freebies R – S

Happy BirthdayThere are many websites that list birthday freebies you can get from various restaurants, stores, and online retailers. However, it can be very time-consuming to sift through all of them to find the kosher ones. Some of the offers have also expired and have not been updated. I have combed through several sites and am pleased to provide you with the fourth part of my series on Kosher Birthday Freebies. Enjoy all these great freebies!

Rose of Sharon Jewelry – By joining the Rose of Sharon Jewelry Birthday Club you will receive jewelry discounts throughout the year to celebrate their staff birthdays. They also sponsor monthly giveaways.

Sephora When you sign up as a Beauty Insider, you get a free gift from Sephora on your birthday. Right now it is a Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo. By joining this rewards program you also get one point for every dollar spent. You also get access to special products and sets available only to members.

Shoe Carnival – You can sign up for the Shoe Perks Rewards Club and receive points for your store spending. You can even receive bonus points for your birthday.

Signature Brands – By signing up for their Birthday Club, you will get an email with special coupons for their products. Products include: Betty Crocker, Cake Mate, and Marble Mix’Ins.

Spirit of Living – By signing up for an account with this women’s clothing source, you can get a free item. According to other websites, the gift for 2011 was a bamboo tank top when you spend $30 during the calendar year. I could not confirm this year’s offer.

Starbucks – Sign up for My Starbucks Rewards and earn 1 Star every time you pay with your registered Starbucks Card at a participating Starbucks or their official online store. You also get a free drink on your birthday. Just buy something at a participating Starbucks using your card within 12 months of your card registration. You will then get a birthday postcard in the mail before your birthday. Use that in a store to get your free drink.

Stein Mart – Sign up to be a Preferred Customer and you will get special birthday discounts as well as other privileges.

Steve Madden Shoes – Join Steve Madden’s birthday list and receive a special birthday surprise from Steve Madden. You must be a Steve Madden Facebook fan. 

Swagbucks – I could not confirm this deal, but other birthday freebie sites say that you earn 50 Free Swagbucks for your birthday. Swagbucks is a program that allows you to earn points from surfing the Internet, watching videos, playing games, taking surveys and shopping online.

Related posts:

Please let me know if you are aware of a kosher birthday freebie I have missed in any of these posts.


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Summer 2012 Dollar (or Free) Movies

There are so many great things to do in summer, one of which is go to the movies. Especially on a hot day, a cool theater is the perfect place to relax! However, movies can be expensive, even if you have a rewards card, like AMC stubs (see my post “Get rewarded for shopping – updated!”). So, I have compiled all of the theaters that offer $1 movies. These are typically only offered during the summer. But check your local theater’s website, because they may offer other promotions like senior discounts, mom and baby viewings, concession discounts, etc., year-round.

Carmike Summer Kids Series. This theater chain offers $2 movie combo, which includes movie, popcorn and drink for $2. Some theaters start June 7 while others start June 21. (Locations in AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, MT, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, and WY. NOTE: The Missouri location is in Warrensburg.)

Cinemark TheatresSummer Movie Clubhouse. $1 per show or $5 for 10 shows if purchased in advance. (Has theaters in AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MN, MI, MS, MO, MT, NV, NJ, NM, NC, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, and WI. The Missouri location is in Kansas City.)

Classic Cinemas Wednesday Morning Movie Series. $1 per ticket. (Multiple theaters in IL.)

Cobb Theatres Free Summer Kids Shows. Their website does not have details for this program except to check your local theater for a schedule. (Locations in AL, CO, FL, GA, and VA.)

Dickinson TheatresSummer Vacation Movie Series. Prices vary between FREE and $2 per ticket. Select the theatre near you and then click on the box with SVMS and pictures of the Chipmunks and Puss and Boots. This will then lead you to the flier for that theater. (Locations in AR, AZ, KS, MO, NE, OK, and TX. NOTE: The Missouri locations are in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, and Kansas City.)

Great Escape TheatresSummer Kids’ Movies 2012. Prices vary by location. (Locations in GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, NE, OH, PA, SC, TN, and WV. The Missouri locations are in O’Fallon and Fenton.) *

Habersham Hills Cinemas One Dollar Summer Movie Series. This theater is located in Mt. Airy, GA.

Harkins TheatresSummer Movie Fun. Less than $1 per ticket. (Locations in AZ, CA, CO, OK, and TX.

Malco Theatres Kids Summer Film Fest. $2 per ticket. (Locations in AR, KY, MS, and TN.)

Marcus TheatresKids Dream Summer Film Series. $2 per ticket. (Locations in IA, IL, MN, ND, NE, OH, and WI.)

Regal CinemasSummer Movie Express. $1 per ticket. (Locations in AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, D.C., FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and WY. For Missouri, the locations are in Hazelwood and Kansas City.) *

Wehrenberg TheatresFamily Summer Series. Tickets FREE. (Locations in IL, IA, MO, and MN. Many locations in MO.) *

For my St. Louis readers, look for the * above. These are the theaters with nearby locations participating in these programs.

* For more summer family activities, click on the links here or on the “Family ideas” category on the right menu and/or click on the “Family Fun Outside the Home” page on the top menu bar.

Updated post:

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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Family ideas, Other savings tips


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New page: Family Fun Outside the Home

Down the barrelI have recently been posting about family activities to do in the summer. However, summertime is not the only time for excursions! We are fortunate that we have a lot of great websites and booklets of events in St. Louis. However, not every town has this and there are some national sources for outings that are not always publicized locally.

I have thus created a new page on my blog with links and ideas for all kinds of outings – year-round, holiday-related, and summer. I have tried to provide links to resources so that you can find what is available in your own town. I will add new ideas there as I find them and occasionally link back to related posts. I hope you will check it out!

Click on the heading “Family Fun Outside the Home” in the menu toolbar under the website name.


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