Category: money saving tips

The most Mom-ish thing I have ever said

It feels so good to be writing again. In the few weeks that I put The Mrs Z Files on hold while I finished my class, I kept a list of ideas I wanted to share with you. I actually feel refreshed to start this up again. Maybe taking a step back every once in a while is not a bad thing. It helps to recharge the batteries. I hope you all enjoy my commentaries that I share with you. it is very cathartic for me and I enjoy knowing that I might brighten someone’s day (at least I hope I brighten your day :) ).  Now, on to today’s feature.

I love being a mommy. It is the best thing in the world. It is the craziest, most exhausting thing you will ever do. But I love it. However, I also like to keep parts of me from before I was a mommy as well. I do not want to get too lost in being a mommy where I forget who I am. My husband and I do date nights at least once month. I try really hard to keep reading (which is extremely difficult when after your kids go to sleep all you want to do is sit on the couch and do nothing). I fit in exercise here and there (although these days I count running after two kids and lifting them about fifty times a day my workout).

I also try to not to sound too Mom-ish. However, it comes with the territory. Hence, the main idea of my post today. The three supermarkets within a five mile radius of my home were all Waldbaums. As many of you have heard, Waldbaums has gone out of business. Each Waldbaums has been bought out by other supermarket chains.

And now for the most Mom-ish thing I have ever said: I love that I now have three different supermarkets within five miles of my home! I love that I can check prices on items I am going to buy. I love that I have a choice of where to shop. And I love all of the perks that come with their loyalty cards!

Phew!! Ok, I finally go that out of my system. Did I sound like a mom right there or what? But it feels so good to say it! I love the new supermarket choices. It is even rubbing off on my oldest. He keeps saying,” Mommy, we go to new supermarket today? Me like it there!”. Well, it is never too early to instill bargain shopping.

What is the most Mom-ish thing you have ever said? Comment below!

Have a super day!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A super deal!

If there is one thing that you might have learned from me is that I love to save money. I mean, who doesn’t right? So here is the experience I had at the supermarket the other day. Like I always told my students: I have a photographic mind. Do not try to pull the wool over my eyes. If I see something, then I know it definitely happened.

I went to my local Waldbaums and needed to buy just a few things. I was making pizza for dinner that night, and I needed to buy frozen chicken. Now, let me address the frozen chicken first. I make pizza once a week. Every other meal I always use fresh meats, veggies, etc. When it comes to pizza night, I need it to be simple. So, I use frozen chicken. I know, not the healthiest of choices. However, once a week won’t hurt anyone. Remember, life is a work in progress!

Getting back to my experience. I was looking at all of the frozen chicken selections, and the Perdue Simple Start Chicken was on sale for $3.69. It was originally $5.99. I thought this was a great deal and decided to get two bags, which will last me  awhile. I then went to the self-checkout lane. I scanned my items and then scanned the chicken. It was ringing up $10.99 for one. I asked the girl who was covering the self-checkout aisles and she called a manager for a price check. The manager came over and asked what I needed. I explained my dilemma and he said “Honey, I highly doubt they were $3.69 when the original price was $5.99”. Two things: Never, ever call me honey (unless you are my husband) and don’t insult my intelligence. I told him to go look and that I would wait. Of course he rolled his eyes and gave a little laugh as he walked away.

When he was gone, I kept thinking about it over and over again. Whenever Waldbaums has a sale, they have little yellow signs underneath the original price to show the sale price. I know I had definitely seen it. The manager was taking forever, and my son was now starting to have a slow meltdown. In the middle of trying to calm him down, I see the manager walk over with a little yellow sign in his hand. He never looked up at me but with a voice that was full of defeat he asked how many I had. He gave me the two bags of chicken for $3.69 each! That’s right. I didn’t gloat in his face but gave him a huge “Thank you!” that might have sounded a little smug. But hey (in the words of my grandfather), when you’re right, you’re right. I definitely should have gotten more bags for that price. However, I got a bargain anyway. I didn’t want to push it :).

Here is a copy of my receipt to show the awesome deal!

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Has anyone else had an experience like this? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

It’s that time of year…time to shop for school supplies!

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Wow! We are already a week into August. I haven’t been in the classroom for sometime but I always get the feeling right around this time every summer. For those of you who are teachers, you know that feeling. Just as you are getting relaxed and are enjoying your free time, it’s time to stock up and get ready for another year.

As a side note, I can hear the snorts and sounds of annoyance from all of the non- teachers, or people who do not support teachers. I don’t want to hear any cracks about having the summer off. I don’t want to hear how we “only” work 10 months and have tons of vacation. It is all true. However, don’t take out your jealousy on what you think is an easy job. I do not make any rude comments about your job, which I am sure you are amazing at. You had every opportunity to become a teacher. You chose another profession, which I am sure suited you best. So, leave the comments someplace else and let us enjoy our free time. I mean, if you have all these negative comments to say, why don’t you try it for a day. It is the best job in the world, but, if you didn’t become a teacher, I am sure you probably couldn’t handle it. (Was that a little mean? Probably. Oh well. I guess it’s for all of the rude comments I have had thrown at me for so many years. You can take it or leave it. Your choice :).)

Moving right along, let’s get back to school starting soon. I have seen a lot of my teacher friends ( and moms of school age children) post questions about where to find the best sales on school supplies. My first response is to try the dollar store. Now, I wouldn’t recommend buying everything there. The No.2 pencils are not the best. The erasers always leave a pink streak when you use them. The copy paper is kind of thin and not the best for printing. However, I would buy things like folders, Crayola crayons and markers, pens, etc. You have to walk around to see and make your own judgment.

After I exhausted the dollar store, I would scan the fliers I receive each week for good sales. This week at Target, for example, Post-Its are 99 cents. That’s a pretty good deal. Folders are 50 cents and scissors are 99 cents at Target as well.  If I were you I would also check out Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.

My suggestion is to shop around. One tip that I try to stick to is not to shop too much at Staples. They have great products. However, they can be very pricey! I only go there if they have their penny sales or if there is a really good sale. I try to avoid that place until October anyway. The lines are usually crazy long from mid-August until mid-September.

Happy School Supply Shopping! If you come across any good deals, comment below. I am sure we can all use a good deal :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A bargain? No, a steal!!

Howdy readers! How is everyone doing today?!

I wanted to share with you a great deal I found yesterday. My never ending quest for bargains and deals is something I thrive on. I have needed to buy a new set of drinking glasses for awhile. My husband and I have been married for 5 years (time flies!). We had 3 sets of 8 glasses when we had our wedding shower. At the time I thought it was completely way too much and stored 2 sets away. Well, five years later, and there are only about 8 glasses left. So many glasses have chipped and broken.

Back to my never ending quest for bargains and deals. I was at Kohl’s yesterday with my little one and decided to take a sojourn down the clearance aisle. Everything was 90% off! And most of it was odds and ends. Then, I came across a set of drinking glasses.

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They were glass and pretty solid too. I looked at the price and it definitely swayed my decision.

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They were $1.19 a piece!!! I looked at the bottom and the original price was $11.99. To me, that’s a steal!!! I bought four, even though my inner voice said I should have bought 8. Just because something is cheap does not mean you have to go over board and break the bank.

Buying these glasses totally made my day. Who doesn’t love a good bargain?!

Comment below with your bargain story. We would all love to hear about it :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Who doesn’t enjoy all things free?!

Happy July 1st! Summer is definitely in full swing now!

I know during the summer many families enjoy taking vacations. I know we do! What better way to book a vacation then to find some free places to go while you are at your destination!! Yes, I said FREE! I was reading the July issue of Parents Magazine and came across a great article. It outlined free destinations in all 50 states.

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I love sharing all things free. Maybe one of these attractions is close to your home. That is always perfect since you won’t need lodging. Perhaps one is close to where you will be staying on vacation. It is a win-win all around. Here is to a fabulous summer and to even more fabulous FREE attractions!

If you know of a free attraction near you, comment below. I am sure everyone would love some free ideas! :).

A great website resource for moms (and teachers too!)

Today’s post will be a short one.

I wanted to share with you a site I use for many projects I do with my son or once did with my students. It is called DLTK Kids. You can find almost anything. I find projects to do with my little one, cards I can print out in a jiffy, and I even found gift tags to put on presents. It is so simple and the patterns are cute. Plus, it is all completely FREE!

Here is an example of gift tags you can use for Fourth of July (it only saved the picture. But you get the picture.):

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You can also get certificates to reward your little ones with any good deed or accomplishment :). I hope you liked my sharing post for today! :)

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A money saving tip

Happy Monday!

I mentioned in my post from Friday that I love olives, pickles, capers, etc. as a snack. I love the saltiness and pairing these with cheese just clinches the deal for me. Unfortunately, these items can be very pricey when bought off the shelves. I have priced a jar of capers at $9.99. And the jar is usually 3 ounces! Kalamata olives are pretty expensive as well. Pickles you can get at a decent price. However, most of the brands on the shelves use yellow dye to make the pickles look yellowish. FYI: cucumbers are not yellow. They use the dye to make it look better to the customer.

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I don’t know if I am just late to the game, but I found a cheaper way to enjoy these tasty treats. Last week I made a pizza that included kalamata olives, capers, feta cheese, and sundried tomatoes. Now, if I had bought each of these items in a jar it probably would have cost me close to $30 just to make one night’s dinner. We might as well go out and eat if I am going to spend that much. Then I stumbled across the barrels of olives and pickles at the supermarket. You measure out the amount that you want yourself. They sell these items for $7.99 a pound.

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The pickles were large, so I needed to use one of the larger containers. They cost $3.14! I then moved onto the olives and pitted (yes pitted is so much easier to buy!) kalamata olives cost just $3.12. And it was about a half a pound! I measured out about a half of a pound of capers and they were less than $3!

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I have never been so excited to find a money saving technique at the supermarket! I know I have read stories about how these barrels the foods are kept in are not extremely sanitary. However, I have seen these barrels being cleaned every time I frequent this store. Plus, I would be really disappointed if I found out otherwise :(.

I hope you enjoyed this money saving tip! Let me know how you save at the supermarket. Or anywhere as a matter of fact!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Just a little R&R with the Great Wolf

Wow! It has been a while since my last post!  I hope everyone has been enjoying this gorgeous weather! The reason for my hiatus was a wonderful family trip!

Today I want to let you know of one of the best family vacation places I have ever been to. We took our little guy to The Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania. There are 12 locations throughout the United States, so it is accessible to everyone. The Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor water park. I definitely recommend it for anyone with kids 15 and younger. Older teens and adults can go as well, however, it will probably hold the younger sets interest longer.

My first impression of The Great Wolf Lodge was how clean it is. Now, for fellow germ freaks, this is high on our list when choosing a place to vacation. I looked high and low and I could find very little dirt and just over all grossness. (One part that did bother me was walking barefoot in the pool area. That is my own problem, though, and not something I would attribute to the lodge. I need to get pool shoes next time!!)

If you have little ones between the ages of 1 and 10 then you should look no further because this is the place for you! There are so many activities to do with them during your stay. In the waterpark that I mentioned before there is a wave pool where waves are created every 5 minutes (if you stay near the “shore”, the waves are very minimal). They also have a lazy river, slides of different heights, and a kiddie spray pool that is no more than 2 feet deep. If you get tired of the waterpark, there are so many activities planned throughout the day. They have characters walk around the resort 3 times a day. In the lobby there are bingo games, balloon shape makers, and face painting 2 or 3 times a day. At night, the resort has a show with the main characters of the resort and a bed time story is read after the show. They have shows at 8 and 9 p.m.

The resort even has different level passes you can buy. These passes allow your little ones to enjoy all of the amenities of the resort at a lower cost to you! We got the Pup Pass, which is great for kids 5 and younger. My little one got to create his own stuffed Bear (think Build-A-Bear), we colored a T-shirt (and by we, I mean my husband and I). He also got a pair of goggles  and a few smaller treats. This was all for $39.99. I believe the bear alone was $39.99. So all in all, it was a great deal! They have more expensive passes and they are more ideal for the older set.

I have just one negative thing to say about this place. The price of food at the Loose Moose Cottage (basically their only restaurant to sit and eat) was pretty expensive. For the 3 of us to eat at the buffet style restaurant, it cost $60. That was definitely costly. I know food is pretty expensive at most resorts, so it is not like they are more expensive than other places. They are just too expensive for me :). The following night we found a Friendly’s a mile away and had breakfast and dinner there. They also have little places to get burgers, chicken fingers, and fries near the pools. We ordered that for lunch both days.

I hope you decide to spend a few days at a Great Wolf Lodge near you! I also recommend staying just 2 or 3 nights. It gives you a chance to see everything and not have a complete meltdown from your little ones! Comment or email me if you have any questions :).

Here are some pictures of the resort. Enjoy!

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A penny saved is a penny (in this case, 1,000s of pennies) earned

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“A penny saved is a penny earned.” I learned this phrase as a young child and it has stayed with me. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t like a good bargain?! If you happen to be among the money elite in this world and you are reading this, well, I applaud you. However, I think I am pretty sure most of us would like to save a dollar or two now and gain.

One of my favorite places to shop is the dollar store. The most important thing you can buy from the dollar store are birthday/holiday cards and gift wrapping supplies. I went to my local drugstore last week to buy Mother’s Day cards and I almost fell over when I saw the prices. One card was $8.99. $8.99!!!!!!! For a piece of paper!!!! And I needed to buy 8 cards. You can do the math. It would have cost me a fortune. Don’t even get me started on the prices of the gift bags and tissue paper. Here is a picture of the card’s price so you know I am not making it up.

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The drugstore was an easier choice at first since it is 5 blocks from my house. I put my son in his plastic car and we took a leisurely stroll to buy cards. Well, we left with nothing. The only thing we gained was a nice walk (and I taught my son a lesson: never buy cards at a drugstore!!!).  We came back home and headed over to the dollar store. As we walked down the aisle with the Mother’s Day cards,  it was as if a chorus of angels was singing Alleluia. These cards were 2 for $1. Ahh….definitely more along my lines of a bargain. Buying 8 cards didn’t seem so bad this time around. We also headed over to the gift bags. They were 2 for $1 as well. And they weren’t the plain colored ones. They had designs, as well as the tissue paper (which was $1 for an 8 pack). My son had a birthday this past weekend, so we also purchased a birthday gift bag and tissue paper. I left the store spending less than $30. That is over a 50% savings from the cards I would have purchased at the drugstore. Here is part of my purchase (not too shabby, huh?):

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Lesson to be learned: Buy all of your cards and gift wrapping supplies at the dollar store. Some other key items to buy are tape (my dollar store sells the 3m brand 2 for $1), tissues, paper plates, napkins, seasonal/holiday decorations, and dish towels (believe it or not, some of the best dish towels I have are from the dollar store!).

Some may call me cheap. I don’t mind. It gives me peace of mind knowing I got a good bargain though! Give it a try. I think you’ll like it :).

What are some of your money saving tips? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.