Tag Archives: Coupons

How to Save at Six Flags

16 Jul

Fun Fact: "Six Flags" is named after the six countries that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America, and the United States.

As you know by my last post, I took Cameron to Six Flags for a late birthday present! We had lots of fun! Six flags isn’t a cheap place to go, but there’s lots of ways to make it as affordable as you can. These tips are for Six Flags, but I’m sure many of them can be used at other places too.

Tickets

Never, ever, ever just show up as Six Flags and pay full price for  tickets!! Look online before going so you can find any coupons or promotions. We purchased our tickets online, instead of at the gate. That saved us not only time, but also money. Plus Cameron googled Six Flags coupons and was able to find a coupon for the day we were going to be there, saving us a litttle more. We ended up paying $27 each, instead of the $57 price we would have paid if we just showed up and payed there with no planning ahead. So that saved us a total of $60 (saved $30 each ticket)! That was WAY worth the few minutes of searching the internet and planning ahead!

If you plan on going to Six Flags more than once that year you may want to look into a season pass.

Food and Drinks

First of all if you’re planning a Six Flags trip you’re gonna need to stay hydrated. Especially if it’s in the middle of summer. You can purchase a Six Flags bottle for $13 and get unlimited refills the rest of the day. If you’re not a germaphobe you can share the cup with your friends or family that you’re there with.

Another option for the drinks is to take a Six Flags cup you already own (we borrowed one from family) and you can get if filled up for 99 cents. We figured we wouldn’t need to get it filled more than 13 times that day, so it was a better deal for us than buying a new cup. We ended up only getting it filled a couple of times and would just fill it with water at the water fountains instead.

As far as food….well it’s expensive. We planned on going out to our car and eating some food we had packed and then going back into the park for more rides (make sure to get stamped out or you’ll have to purchase another ticket to get back in). But we didn’t end up doing that, we ended up getting a brisket burger, fries and poweraid and just split it. And that cost us about $15! We can usually feed our whole little family of 3 eating out for that much! So if you want to save on food, keep a cooler with lunch in it out in your car.

Miscellaneous

The best way to save on souvenirs is to just not buy them. I’ve never been a big fan of little trinkets that just sit around and collect dust, so those giant stuffed bananas or cheesy snow globes don’t really tempt me. But I have heard of people buying Disney things before a Disney World trip, since you can get that kind of stuff other places. Then when the kids see all the cool Mickey Mouse stuff that’s way over priced at Disney World, their parents can give them the things they bought previously for a much better cost.

 If you can, only take what you don’t mind carrying, or else you’ll end up renting a locker. Of course if you’re going with a bunch of little kids or babies that may be harder to do. We only took what would fit in Cameron’s pockets (thank goodness he wears cargo shorts with those big pockets).The only thing we carried was the water bottle. Speaking of carrying things in your pockets, Cameron put cash and his cell phone in a Ziploc to make sure they wouldn’t get wet if we went on one of the splash down rides. Also plan ahead so you don’t end up renting a stroller or buying sunglasses because you forgot them.

So there’s some Six Flags savings tips, I’m working on a post about saving on trips in general, so be watching for that!

Groceries/Menu for Next 2 Weeks

5 Jul

HEB groceries $97.67

Here’s my groceries for the first 2 weeks of July. I went to HEB, Sam’s Club and Albertsons.

How I saved at HEB:

  • Saved $11.41 by buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.36 by buying on sale items
  • Saved $3.75 by using coupons (in store Tabasco coupon,  in store, buy one get one half off make-up brushes, in store, buy Tostitos chips get HEB chips free, and a printed out Newman’s Own coupon)

My total at HEB was $97.67.

My Albertson’s trip I spent $38.20 and saved $31.38!!!! It was all done by buying on sale items. The 2 roasts were buy one get one free (perfect since Cameron requested a roast as his b-day meal). The chicken breasts, whole chicken, grapes, apples and corn were all on sale too.

It seems like HEB’s everyday prices are generally cheaper, but Albertsons has some great sales, especially in meat. So I’m trying to mostly shop at HEB and stop in at Albertsons for any great sales.

Sam's Club and Albertsons Groceries. Saved $31.38 at Albertsons!

And I spent $43.44 at Sam’s club.

My total in food groceries is: $143.50, leaving me with $106.50 for the rest of the month, which I think is do able, especially since I have 1 roast and 1 whole chicken in the freezer that I’m not even planning on using yet, so I can use them later in the month.

My total in non-food items is: $35.81, leaving me $4.19. I bought toilet paper, toothpaste, aluminum foil, laundry detergent and make-up brushes, I don’t think I’ll have to buy much more in this category this month.

Here’s what’s on the menu plan for the next 2 weeks:

Breakfasts: Granola, oatmeal, peanut butter power pucks, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches, burritos

Suppers:

  • Roast with carrots, potatoes, gravy and rolls (my mother-in-law brought the rolls). And whole wheat honey carrot cake for dessert. This was Cameron’s birthday meal.
  • Stew or pot pie made from leftover roast and rolls
  • Black bean quesadillas, fresh salsa and chips, grapes
  • Salad with hard boiled or deviled eggs, some sort of fruit
  • Chicken and brown rice made with homemade chicken broth and steamed broccoli
  • Stuffed peppers made with leftover brown rice and black beans, apples and cream cheese dip from Tammy’s Recipes
  • Chicken strips, corn on the cob, millet
  • Ramen noodle stir fry (if there’s any leftover millet, I’ll throw that in too)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (with slices of tomato in them if there’s any left), veggies and dip, mangoes
  • Chicken burger sandwiches, homemade oven fries, salad
  • Chicken quesadillas (with any leftover chicken), fresh salsa and chips, apples and dip
  • Leftovers

I’m realizing that planning my meals for 2 weeks, I don’t have to come up with 14 different main meals, between leftovers and eating out I don’t usually end up making every meal I plan.

Groceries/Menu – June Challenge Update #2

14 Jun

HEB groceries

Here’s my second update on my June Challenge!

HEB

Here’s how I saved:

  • $2.96 by buying store brand
  • $13.20 by buying sale items (squash, grapes, mangoes, potatoes, canned tomatoes, shampoo and conditioner, and the energy teas were on the clearance shelf.)
  • $2.37 by using coupons (a Tabasco coupon I printed offline and an in-store coupon where I got a free loaf of HEB bread if I bought a loaf of Nature’s Own)

Total food groceries: $58.38

Total savings: $18.53

Albertsons

Albertsons was having a a good sale on boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.69/lb.).

Total: $8.85

Total savings: $1.64

Sam’s

I got spinach, Parmesan cheese and reduced for quick sale hamburger meat.

And I bought cheese, spinach, eggs, carrots and tortilla chips as Sam’s earlier this month, but never got around to recording it on here.

Total from both trips: $50.34

Total saved: $2.39


So my total for groceries so far this month is: $189.86, which leaves me with $60.14, which doesn’t sound like a lot but the food I bought should last me for 2 weeks, so I think I’ll stay under this month! =)

And by using my grocery shopping strategies I saved $22.56 this week!

I haven’t tallied up my non-food groceries yet or eating out yet. Maybe I’ll post them at the end of the month.

Here’s our 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches (sandwich meat, chicken or pbj), bean burritos, leftovers

Suppers:

  • Salmon patties (these were on my last menu, but we never ended up having them)
  • Veggie soup and sandwiches (I have some broccoli stems in the freezer and some wilting celery I’ll use in this, among other vggies too)
  • Baked potatoes with chili (chili already made in freezer)
  • Black bean quesadillas
  • Chicken and brown rice
  • Taco meat burritos
  • Taco salad (with the leftover taco meat)
  • Meatloaf and potatoes (I’m going to try using corn tortilla chip crumbs in place of the regualr crumbs in the meatloaf…we always have so many chip crumbs in the bottom of the bag!)

    Taco Meat

  • Chicken spiedies (this is a regional food from the area I was born. I’m going to make them as our Father’s Day meal).
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Bean burritos
  • Ramen noodle stirfry
  • Leftovers

Side Dishes: salad, veggies and dip, potatoes (fries, mashed potatoes), carrot raisin salad, chips and salsa, grapes, big soft ginger cookies , and one night we’re going to someone else’s house and I’m bringing dessert, I think I’ll make chocolate wacky cake with peanut butter icing.

I Heart Free Stuff!

9 Jun

As you know I’ve already shared twice some freebies I’ve gotten, but I have some more recent ones, so here they are!

All this was FREE!!

Here’s what I got:

  • Small pack of Huggies wipes
  • Sample of Folgers coffee
  • 2 different brands of shampoo and conditioner samples. These are the perfect size for an overnight trip!
  • Free Suave Dry Shampoo (I got a free coupon and got to pick out which Sauve product I wanted)
  • 2 Eucerin lotion samples
  • Free magazine
  • Small sample of Garnier moisterizer
  • I also got a free Zone bar…but that didn’t make it all the way home! =) This freebie is still available, click here to get one!

And as a side note for any of you that might be coupon lovers, a lot of samples come with coupons.

A Grocery Challenge!

30 May

So, this past month has been hard (if you wanna know why click here)and I haven’t kept track of our purchases. And it was very interesting, because when I decided I had other things to worry about other than adding up all our expenses, I started to see myself not caring. I’d think, “it doesn’t matter if I spend a lot on groceries, after all I’m not going to add it all up this month.” What a reminder that it really does help to keep track of where our money goes!

So this month I’m starting all over again, but I’m going to try to a challenge. The lowest I’ve had our grocery bill has been about $250 a month. So I’m going to try to see how low I can get it this month. I really want it to be under $250, and hopefully a lot under! I’m going to keep track of all the food I buy and I’ll keep you posted. This is only for food items and does not count toiletry items or eating out, however I’ll keep track of those things too and maybe show you the results.

Here’s my strategies for keeping our grocery bill low:

  • Buy mostly generic brand.
  • Shop at Sam’s Club (using my price book to make sure what I’m buying there is actually cheaper than other stores).
  • Buy sale items (checking out sales online before hand).
  • Stocking up on good deals that won’t go bad before we can eat them.
  • Going to multiple stores when there’s really good deals.
  • Cooking with cheap ingredients (beans, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, in season produce etc…).
  • Wasting as little food as possible. I’m even thinking of maybe keeping track of all wasted food. A lot of other blogs do that.
  • Going grocery shopping every other week instead of every week (if I plan well enough hopefully I won’t even need to run to the store for milk or produce in between my regular trips).
  • Cook with food I already have (pantry and freezer).
  • Use any coupons I find on internet, get in the mail or see in the store (but only if it’s something I actually use).
  • Cooking from scratch, rather than buying already made meals.
  • Plan, using what I already have, sale items and coupons to help me.

So in conclusion I want to keep our food groceries well under $250. It’s my personal challenge for the month of June. Anyone else want to join me in a grocery budget challenge? How much do you plan on spending for you or your family? How do you plan on keeping under the budget?

More Free Stuff

19 May

  I’ve already shown you some free stuff, I’ve gotten before, but here’s another picture. Some of them are things I’ve gotten recently and some are old, but I misplaced and just recently found them.

Here’s what I got:

  • 1 GoodNites underwear (just to be clear this is for Gracia…not me!).
  • 1 coupon for a free Suave product.
  • 1 small travel size deodorant (which by the way I have already used and I keep it in my travel toiletry bag).
  • 1 small sample of perfume.
  • 1 Shout color catcher dryer sheet.
  • 1 Small sample of Tide detergent. I’m keeping this in case I ever have to do a load or two of laundry on a trip.
  • 1 sample of teeth whitening strips.
  • 1 coupon for a free bag of rice.
  • 6 samples of different instant coffee flavors.

It’s so much fun getting these samples in the mail! I don’t do every sample I see. Some you have to sign up for a newsletter, do a long survey, or be a member of something. And I only do samples I think I’ll actually use. Like I don’t sign up for anti-wrinkle samples (at least not yet…maybe in 20 years).

Extreme Couponing! – What Are Your Thoughts?

7 Apr

So I watched some of those “Extreme Couponing” shows. Part of me was listing all the reasons I don’t coupon like these people, and the other part of me was second guessing myself and wondering if I should be couponing more. I mentioned a little about couponing in my Smart Shopping post, but here’s more details on my humble little opinion on coupons:

  • It’s usually for something I don’t already buy. I notice a lot of coupons for dog food, soda, premade pizzas, etc…things that I just don’t buy. For example if I had enough coupons to get a candy bar for 5 cents, that’d be a great deal, right? But what I’d be better off just doing, would be just not buying the candy bars at all!
  • It’s not always healthy. This kinda goes along with the first reason. But they don’t have coupons for fresh produce or meat. It’s usually frozen or canned items.
  • It’s not generic brand. The other day I printed off a Cream of Wheat coupon, but when I got to the store I realized that the generic brand was still cheaper than using the coupon with the name brand.
  • It takes a lot of time. On the show the people admitted that they spent hours preparing for a single grocery trip. Some even considered it a job.
  • I don’t have a lot of space to stockpile. If you’ve read Tour My Little Home, then I don’t need to say anything here. =)
  • Those were EXTREME couponers. We have to remember that even though those people would spend under $10 on purchases that originally were hundreds of dollars, these people are the extreme of the extreme. They got the most extreme people for the show, and they showed they’re most extreme trip. They don’t necessarily save that much everytime.

Here’s a quote from Amy Dacyczyn in her “The Tightwad Gazette”:

“Readers frequently send me sales slips to demonstrate how much they save using coupons. With bold sweeps of colored markers they circle the figure that shows how much the coupons used added up to. They’re circling the wrong figure. The most important figure on your sales slip is how much you spend on groceries…not how much you save using coupons.” And this is coming from a lady who fed a family of 8 with $180 a month!

I don’t want people to think I’m against the show or people couponing, not at all. The show has just got me wondering and I want your opinion now! So all that said, I have to admit the show did inspire me to check out coupons a little more often, and maybe see if I could combine them with sales, but I don’t have plans of becoming as extreme as them. But now I want YOUR opinion! Do you use coupons? If so, how extreme are you? How much do you save? Where do you get your coupons? What tips would you give us “non-extremists”?

Oh! I almost forgot! If you’re interested here’s another bloggers opinion.