Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Remove Silk from Corn the easy way

I had a friend tell me about this tip and I have to admit I had my doubts but living in the country and putting up lots of vegetables from the garden, I just had to give it at try.  Anyone who has spent a day preparing corn for freezing knows that the worst part i trying to get all the little strands of silk off the cob.  This tip makes that super easy.  All you have to do it put the whole ear of corn, yes shucks, silks and everything, into the microwave for 8 minutes.  My friend told me to do two ears at a time but I tried it with up to six and it worked fine.  After 8 minutes, allow it to cool in the microwave for a few minutes.  Take out with a towel because the will be hot.  Use the towel to push the corn out of the shuck.  You will be amazed at how it will come out perfectly clean, no silk.

Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning

Just a quick post to let you know about a new cleaner I have discovered.  Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle.  It is a great general purpose cleaner but it is by far the best on those little crevices around sinks and showers.  Spray it on, allow the bubbles to do the work, and come back later and rinse away.  And best of all it's super cheap.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CVS Coupon Saving

Saving Money at CVS

CVS is a coupon lovers paradise.  In my opinion, it is the easiest store for a beginner.  

The first and most important component of saving money at CVS is to get an Extra Care card.  You can get this card by either signing up on the CVS website or by signing up with the cashier inside the store.  Only one card is allowed per household.

Once you have the Extra Care card in your hand, you hold the key for savings at CVS.  You should make certain that you sign up with and register your Extra Care card.  They periodically email special coupons to card holders.

The next thing to know about is the magic coupon machine.  This is a large red machine, normally found near the front counter at all CVS stores.  The reason couponers call this machine magic is because all you have to do is scan your card and it will spit out coupons.  Important note: Scan your card until the machine tells you that no more coupons are available.  Normally you can scan 3 times.  

This is what the coupons will look like that come from the machine.  The best coupons will normally expire quickly, possibly even the same day, so check expiration dates.


Extra Care Buck, or as couponers call them, ECB's are at the heart of any real saving at CVS.  These are special offers that CVS offers weekly.  They are CVS's reward for shopping inside their store.  ECB's are basically coupons for $ off if you purchase a specific item.

For Example:  CVS is offering a $2.00 ECB when you purchase Pantene shampoo.  Pantene shampoo costs 2/$6.97.  You purchase and pay $6.97 but when you get your receipt, an ECB for $2.00 will be attached to the receipt.  This $2.00 ECB is like a coupon to purchase any other item in the store (certain items such as prescriptions are excluded).

ECB's can be used during your next visit to the store or can be used the same visit on another purchase.  If the store is not very busy, you can do multiple purchases during the same visit and pay very little out of pocket.  

Using our Pantene shampoo example, let's say that Pantene shampoo has a limit of 2 for the extra care deal.  You buy one and pay $6.97 for the first 2 but for the second 2 you use the $2.00 ECB from the first purchase and you only have to pay $4.97.  So you get four bottles for $11.94.

The best thing about CVS is that you can combine CVS coupons and manufacture coupons.  ECB's are considered as cash and can be used in any combination. 

Now, let's go back to our Pantene scenario.

Using this ad, if you have a manufacturer coupon for $2.00 off two bottles.  We would use the $2.00 of two coupon and we would pay $4.97 but we would get a $2.00 ECB making our total out of pocket cost be $2.97 for two bottles of Pantene shampoo.  Can you beat that?  

Of course you can!  Remember that coupon we got when we scanned our card when we first got in the store?  What did that coupon say?

Let's pull it out and see.

WoW!  We get $2.00 off two shampoo.  Well, lucky us, we just bought two bottles of Pantene shampoo.
Now we can stack this CVS coupon with our Manufacture coupon and here is our final deal.

Two bottle of Pantene on sale 2/$6.97
Use $2.00 off two shampoo CVS coupon from the magic coupon machine
Use manufacture coupon for $2.00 off any 2 Pantene products

Pay $2.97 plus tax

Get $2.00 ECB

Total out of pocket $0.97 plus tax for two bottles of Pantene shampoo.

Now, we are happy couponers.

Until next time, keep looking for those deals.  Be sure to add thriftylivin on Facebook.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I have recently dove into the wonderful world of coupons.  I must say that I have always thought myself to be a fairly savvy shopper but I am loving this.  I am getting name brand stuff for free or nearly free.  While I am certainly not in the land of Extreme Couponing as I have limited space for buying things that can't be used in a decent amount of time.  I have found that I love the thrill of the hunt and getting items such as razors, toothpaste, mouthwash, and soap totally for free.  I plan to begin adding tips for the new coupon shoppers in the next few days.

I am also starting to sell on eBay again to earn some extra money and clear out some clutter.  My youngest daughter has way too much stuff so it is getting out of here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cleaning on a budget

I had a nice request from a reader who wanted more information on cleaning supplies that can be made at a lower cost than store bought items. There are many different recipes that I use around the house but here are a few you might find useful.

Windows- I use a recycled spray bottle and fill with equal parts white vinegar and water. I normally use either newspaper of a cotton cloth to clean. No need to waste paper towels for this job.

General Cleaning- You can mix 2 tbsp ammonia, a shot of dish liquid, and water. I put mine in a larger spray bottle.

Tile- I mix baking soda and bleach to make a paste and scrub with a toothbrush.

Toilets-The best toilet cleaner I have found is also the most inexpensive. It is called The Works. I can get it on sale at my local Wal-Mart for around a dollar. I know it store bought but it's the best I've found, especially for hard water and iron stains.

A stinky room- After you have removed the problem causing the stink, take a cotton ball and go into your kitchen cabinet and find what ever extract you have and put it on the cotton ball. Then go put the cotton ball in a spot where it can't be seen. Instant room refresher!

If you love Febreeze, which I do, save yourself some money and buy a large bottle of off brand fabric softener. Take the Febreeze bottle, add equal parts fabric softener and water. No one will be the wiser.

Shower- I clean the glass door with vinegar and throw the liner in the washer with 3/4 cup of bleach. The bleach gets rid of the mildew. Before you do this though always have a new one ready because sometimes they don't make it through the wash. I can normally wash mine around 5 times before it rips.

Blinds- I hang in the shower and give a good wash. Let drip dry and hang back in the window.

Floors- I use vinegar, dish soap, and water.

That's all I can think of at the moment but I'll add more to the list later when my brain is in better working order.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Working Together

I have posted before about my belief in gardening. My family lives very close so we basically do community gardening. We have one large garden that everyone works. Yesterday afternoon, we worked on corn. We have rows and rows of corn so my Dad and my brother went and picked it. Then we all shucked and silked it. Then my Mom and I cooked and froze lots on the cob and we cut of and made creamed corn out of the rest. We only picked three rows and we had about thirty bags (with 6-8 ears in each bag) of corn on the cob and about twenty quart bags of creamed corn. There are still about 6 rows that need picked.

I know that sounds like a ton of corn but we have several freezers and with three households it will go faster than you would expect. So far our tomatoes aren't doing that great but we have canned about twenty quarts of tomato juice. Great for soups and sauces!

I wonder how much $ we saved? But it's more than money. we all worked together. It's like family therapy! And believe my family could use a little of that.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Little Changes Reap Large Rewards

One huge part of saving money in a household is simply by enlisting the help of the whole family. If everyone is involved it can become a great bonding experience for the family unit. My family loves to go bargain hunting. My six year old can spot a yard sale sign from a half mile away. A great Saturday outing is going thrift store shopping. Even my teen daughter loves a bargain. She is thrilled by going to the Goodwill and finding a whole cart full of clothing for what her friends pay for one outfit at the mall. We do enjoy the mall but only for the people watching. LOL

We also try to recycle. I think that is a natural part of saving money. Why buy trash can liners for those small bathroom cans when you get tons of them every time you go grocery shopping? We also normally use cloths for cleaning instead of buying disposable anything. We use natural cleaning products such as vinegar for most cleaning jobs. Why poison the environment and waste money on toxic chemicals when vinegar, baking soda, and a little elbow grease will handle most cleaning jobs equally as well?

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