FUN FREEBIE! Adorable Owl Shopping Planner

This is such a cute printable shopping list and its FREE. Print as many as you like.

moneysavingmom

Free Owl Shopping List

Coupons You Need!


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What To Stock Up On In February

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Different months bring different sales cycles. Here are some things to look for in February that are generally going to be on sale or bring good prices.

National Canned Food Month: Canned Fruit, Pie Fillings, Vegetables, Meats: Tuna, Chicken, Salmon
National Hot Breakfast Month:  Malt O Meal, Oatmeal, Eggo Waffles, Syrup, Boxed Cereals
Valentines:  Chocolate, Hershey’s, KY Lubricant, etc
Chinese New Year: Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Noodles, Canned Water Chestnuts
Seasonal Produce:  Artichoke, Asparagus, Raspberries, Potatoes, Strawberries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Spinach

Find printable coupons to match sales HERE!


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Save money with the Raise App! #discountedgiftcards #Raiseapp #couponcommunity

Raise.com: Free $5 Credit (New Customers) = Discounted Gift Cards for Target, Kohl’s, Starbucks & More

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Woohoo! New Raise.com customers can sign up for an account HERE and instantly get a FREE $5 credit applied to your account. Use this free $5 credit to snag some sweets deals on already discounted gift cards to Kohl’s, Walmart, Target and more!

Here’s what you need to do to get YOUR Free $5 Credit:

Go here to create a new account. Enter your mobile number so they can text you a code for verification purposes. Once you verify the code, your $5 will be instantly credited to your account.

Use your code to purchase a gift card right away as your first purchase takes a while to go thru as the verify your credit card.

*The Raise app has saved me TWICE when I forgot my purse at home while couponing. I was able to buy Walmart gift cards once I got my total at the register from the Raise app and it was in my Raise Wallet within seconds. I used it to pay for my purchase at Walmart.

NOTE: The links in this post are my referral links. Keep in mind that you can also create your own referral link to share with friends, family, and on your own Facebook / Twitter pages. When they go through your link, they’ll get $5 to spend and you’ll get $5 to spend when they make their first purchase within 30 days of signing up… so it’s a win win!

Brickseek Directions #brickseek #couponcommunity #walmart clearance

Everything you ever wanted to know about Brickseek but were afraid to ask!

***READ THRU THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS AS MOST ARE ANSWERED HERE. THE LAST SECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT.
Brickseek is used to check inventory and CLEARANCE pricing at your local store. It CANNOT be used to price match. If you find a product at a low price on Brickseek for your store, it will ring up that price on it’s own. BRICKSEEK IS NOT AN APP, it is a website.
I will post all the Brickseek deals that I come across here. (if you have not joined that group yet, then hit JOIN GROUP)
Directions for the deals in comments:
1. Click the link of the deal you want to see
2. Enter your zip code and hit SUBMIT. If you are viewing on a cell phone you will need to turn your phone sideways to be able to view the whole page.
3. The prices shown at your store are the prices that will ring up at the register AS LONG AS the upc is the same on both the product and the brickseek picture. New models will look exactly the same to you but the upc may be different.
4. READ the FAQ section at the bottom of this post before asking any questions as most are answered here. This comments section is VERY long and it’s hard to see the deals if everyone is asking questions that are already answered here.
To find the Brickseek number on your own:
IPHONE. (may be the same on android)
1. Open the Walmart App and search for a product. Click on the item and then on the arrow on the top right corner.
2. Choose MESSAGE and you will see the whole URL. The last set of numbers is the Brickseek number.
To find number on WEBSITE.
Go to Walmart.com and search for a product. Click on the product and look at the URL at the top of the screen. The last set of numbers is the Brickseek number.
FAQ:
** DO NOT ask for a zip code as this is not to be used for price matching.
*Inventory numbers are often wrong so even if it says 0 at your store and the price is low, always check your store anyway.
**The price will ALWAYS scan the same in the store as it shows in brickseek as long as the UPC is the same. New models have different upc numbers so always check at the store.
**If your store shows a different price then I posted, then that’s the price at your store. Every store marks down clearance at different times. Just keep checking these links to see when your store does a markdown. Please do not comment with the price at your store.
**The Walmart app scanner will not show the clearance price so use an in store scanner or take to the register.

***Please DO NOT comment with a dot or picture to follow or tag someone in the post. You can sign up for notifications by clicking the arrow in the top right corner of the post OR comment and then delete your comment. Both will keep the comments clean while sending you notifications of new comments.***

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HOLY SMOKES! Coupon Mom Attacked For Holding Up The Line!

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Via Megan Wilson

Grab These RARE Pepsi Coupons! And NEW High Value Axe Coupons

Anyone who has couponed any length time knows the looks and complaints that can come from those who think you shouldn’t be “holding up the line”. But attacked??? Well it happened to one mom!!

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Friday just before midnight Megan Wilson says she was trying to get rid of some coupons before they expired, when she got far more than she bargained for.

“He grabbed my bun pulled me back and smashed me into my cart. When I came to I was on the ground and my leg was under the cart,” said  Wilson.

“He started shouting ‘Come on, there’s other people out here. Nobody has time for this,'” added Wilson.

She said he got upset that she was holding up the line. She told WREG she went back and forth with the man before things got physical.

She posted a video on Facebook detailing the alleged attack.

She claimed her shopping cart was knocked over during the violent check out melt down. Wilson said the man took off out the door leaving his items behind.

WREG reached out to Kroger. In a statement they said they are saddened by the incident.

Kroger said it will work with police to resolve the situation between the two customers. Wilson believes all of it could have been avoided.

“15-20 minutes of harassment before the attack. It could have been prevented,” said Wilson.

At first he voiced his frustration saying things like “You’re wasting everybody’s time…Nobody has time for this!” Wilson said she tried to be polite, suggesting that he use the self-checkout lane if it was bothering him to wait.

But she said he refused and his annoyance grew to anger and he began to verbally harass her, calling her a “junkie” and a “crackhead.” A verbal altercation between her and the man ensued.

After Wilson finished her three transactions, the man came and stood right next to her. According to Wilson, she “accidentally bumped her arm on the credit card machine as she turned to go and spilled her drink on him.”

Original story here Thanks KKL

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RECALL ALERT!!! 1,976,089 pounds Of Chicken RECALLED – Read & Share!

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This a LOT of chicken to be recalled. Please read and share this one!

National Steak and Poultry, an Owasso, Okla., establishment, is recalling approximately 1,976,089 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products due to adulteration because of possible undercooking, resulting in the potential survival of bacterial pathogens in the products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The scope of this recall expansion now includes a variety of ready-to-eat chicken products that were produced on various dates from August 20, 2016 through November 30, 2016.  A list of the additional products subject to recall is listed here.

The cases containing the products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service locations nationwide and were sold directly to retail consumers at the establishments’ monthly dock sale.

The basis for recalling additional product was discovered on Nov. 28, 2016, when a food service customer complained to the establishment that product appeared to be undercooked.

Below are the details of the originally recalled product:

  • On November 23, 2016 – National Steak and Poultry recalled approximately 17,439 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products produced Oct. 4, 2016.  The products were packaged on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:
  • 5 lb. bags packed 2 bags per case; product labeled “Distributed by National Steak and Poultry, Owasso, OK Fully Cooked, Diced, Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast Meat with Rib Meat” with Lot code 100416, and Case Code: 70020.
  • 5 lb. bags packed 2 bags per case; product labeled “Hormel Natural Choice 100% Natural No Preservatives Fully Cooked Roasted Chicken Breast Strips with Rib Meat Natural Smoke Flavor Added” with Lot code 100416, and Case code 702113.
  • The cases containing the products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service locations nationwide and should not be in consumers’ possession. No other Hormel product is impacted. The original problem was discovered on Nov. 14, 2016, when a food service customer complained to the establishment that product appeared to be undercooked.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse health effects or illnesses due to consumption of any of the recalled products. Anyone concerned about a health effect should contact a healthcare provider.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers or media with questions about the recall can contact Lyle Orwig at (262) 352-2426.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

Print Now Before They Are Gone!


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Do You Shop Online? Have You Ever Wondered How Many Coupons You Can Stack? Find Out The Details By Store Here

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Do you do shopping online? Well now you can know what stores will allow your stack coupons and/or coupon codes. Some restrictions do apply on some.

What is coupon stacking? Coupon stacking means using multiple coupons in a single transaction.

Always start you online shopping with Ebates and earn cash back on your online purchases.

See the below list:

  • KOHL’S
    • 4 Coupons/Coder Per Order
    • You can combine a sitewide coupon (like $10 off a $50 purchase or 15% off an entire order), category-specific coupons (like 30% off Home or 20% off Appliances), and a free shipping coupon
    • Make sure you’re on your desktop and NOT on your mobile device (including Kohl’s mobile app) when shopping Kohl’s. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to only two stackable coupons.
  • GAP, BANANA REPUBLIC, OLD NAVY & ATHLETA
    • 5 Coupons/Codes Per Order
    • Not every coupon code will work with one another, but if you try combining a percent-off coupon with a dollar-off coupon—instead of two percent-off coupons—you’re more likely to walk away with the stacked savings.
    • Tip: If there aren’t any current stackable coupon codes on any one store’s site, you can use coupon codes from a sister store. Combine a Gap ‘EXTRA’ promo code with an Old Navy ‘SHIPALL’ code
  • AMAZON
    • Unlimited Coupons.Codes Per Order as long as they’re eligible
  • TARGET
    • Unlimited Coupons/Codes Per Order
    • Target.com does not allow in-store coupons (any coupon that doesn’t have a promotion code—for example: TGTXXXXX) to be used online. This also goes for the Target mobile app.
  • MICHAELS
    • Unlimited Coupons/Codes Per Order
    • Unlimited coupons online, but only for single items. So while you can’t combine a 15% off sitewide promotion with a single-item coupon code, you can find promo codes for each of the items (or groups of items) you’re buying and use them together.
    • The coupons section of their website also have promotion codes underneath for online use, saving you time and money.
  • NEWEGG.COM
    • Unlimited Coupons/Codes Per Order
    • Newegg will allow unlimited coupon codes per single item
  • SEARS
    • Unlimited Coupons/Codes Per Order as long as the coupons don’t conflict with one another
    • You’re better off combining two or more department-specific coupons (like $25 off select appliance purchases of $300 with a $10 off women’s apparel coupon), or combining one or two department-specific offers with a sitewide dollar-off or a percent-off purchase coupon.

DOES NOT ALLOW COUPON STACKING ONLINE

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • American Eagle
  • Ann Taylor
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Belk
  • Brookstone
  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Carter’s
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Chico’s
  • Claire’s
  • CVS
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Dillard’s
  • DSW
  • Express
  • Foot Locker
  • Forever 21
  • GameStop
  • H&M
  • Hudson’s Bay
  • J. C. Penney
  • Kate Spade & Co.
  • Macy’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • New York & Co.
  • Nordstrom
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Sally
  • Sephora
  • Sports Authority
  • Talbots
  • The Finish Line
  • Toys“R”Us
  • Ulta
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Walmart
  • World Market

 

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Thanks KCL for the info

To Freeze or Not To Freeze…Here are some tips!

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If you are like me, you wonder what you are able to freeze and what you are not able to freeze.  We all see those low sale prices that you want to stock up on certain things but aren’t sure if you can store them.  Here are a few guidelines and tips to help you along.

The top thing to remember is to keep your freezer at 0 degrees or below to keep frozen food safely.  Prepared foods need to be frozen or refrigerated within 2 hours of being cooked or within 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.  The best way to store food is in small, shallow and clear containers so it is easily seen to be checked on.  Always make sure you date everything and use the oldest first, this ensures that everything is used in a safe time period.

Fruits are always cheaper in bulk and they are super easy to freeze.  Before freezing be sure to wash and dry them before placing them in an air tight bag or container.  As long as they are properly stored, they will keep up to a year.

Vegetables are also easy to freeze and will last up to a year.  Make sure to blanch and dry them before freezing, this keeps them crisper.  Herbs are another great thing to freeze and have on hand.  They work great when frozen in ice cube trays to make it easy to pop them into any dish you may be making.

Dairy products can sometimes be complicated.  Milk can be frozen as long as a little is poured out of the container to allow for expansion.  Eggs work great in the freezer raw or cooked.  The best trick is to break them into an ice cube tray and freeze them, you can even separate the whites and yolks this way.  If you choose to freeze them in their shell, make sure you let them thaw for a day in the fridge and use them or thaw under cold water and use.  Any kind of cheese can also be frozen just make sure it is sliced, cubed or shred it so it will not crumble when being used.  Cream cheese and yogurt are also easily frozen.  Butter can be frozen if kept in it’s original packaging and placed in a plastic bag.

You can freeze any kind of raw meat.  It is best to store it by taking it out of the store packages and place it in freezer safe containers or bags.  The only thing to remember is if you thaw it in the refrigerator and don’t use it all you can refreeze it, if it is thawed any other way it is unsafe to refreeze.

You can store batter, pizza dough and pie dough with no problem.  If you are freezing tortilla shells, pancakes, waffles or any other baked good just make sure you place parchment paper between each to keep them from sticking when thawed.  Pies work best if you freeze them before baking them.

Contrary to popular belief, pasta and rice can be frozen.  If you are freezing pasta or rice just take a few minutes off the cooking time and put it directly in cold water to stop cooking before placing in containers.

Nuts, coconut, chocolate, marshmallows, condensed milk and evaporated milk can also be frozen.  Flour, sugar and all other dry goods can be placed in the freezer in humid locations to extend their shelf life.

Sauces, broths and soups are great to place in the freezer for an easy meal later.  Just make sure you let broth sit and take the layer of fat off the top before freezing.  Sauce works best if laid flat.

Of course if you want to make meals ahead of time, full meals work great in the freezer as an easy grab and go meal.

Now that you have a start to what to freeze and what not to freeze, get out there and chase those deals!

 

PRINT FREE GROCERY COUPONS HERE

Couponing Your Way To Disney?! WHO KNEW! Start Making Your DREAMS Come True Today! #LizzieSavesAlot #CouponingToDisney #Disneyworld #Disney #DreamVacation

Dreams really CAN come true…all it takes is a little bit of determination, some sharp couponing skills, and a LOT of preparation. If you and your family have been wishing upon a star for a trip to Disney World, stop wishing and start reading! I just made my dream come true, and YOU can too! I have been a couponer/deal seeker for most of my life, and decided that this year, I was going to take my family to Walt Disney World…and I was going to pay for the entire trip using coupons and rebates.

Once I began my journey, I realized that through ‘sniffing out’ savings, there was truly no limit to what I could do. Not only was I able to coupon an entire 6 day, 5 night trip for 3 to Disney, the trip included ALL expenses, including meals, resort, airfare, souvenirs and more!

There are many, MANY ways for budget saavy families to do this, below I will detail my journey, including a detailed breakdown on exactly how I achieved my dream. This is by no means a one-size-fits all guarantee, rather a guideline for families to use to drastically reduce the out of pocket cost of a trip to Disney. By booking in advance, timing out your trip appropriately, and being extremely prepared, you can cut out accruing many unexpected, unnecessary costs. In order to include ALL of the ways I found to save, this article will be lengthy. However, if you have already began your journey to Disney, simply skip ahead to the step you are on, there is ALWAYS a way to save a bit more!

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Commit To Something…Then Get Started!
It is NEVER too early to start planning for your journey! Disney is an enormously popular vacation location. And, some of the best events, resorts, and places to eat fill up quickly! Start by choosing a target date, and begin a savings plan to reach your goal (the amount you believe you will need) before that date. I began by googling ‘How much is a 5 day vacation for a family of 3 to Disney World’. I got many estimates, but most were between $5,000-$6,000. I used this as my ‘baseline’ and began getting money together. Once I got started, I found that the official “Disney” page was extremely beneficial. I really appreciated the resources that I found there. There are many, MANY helpful tools on there to give you a very accurate estimate on what your trip will cost.
You can use it as a starting point: GO Disney GO!

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You will need to answer some basic questions, such as:

*How many will be going?
*How long will you stay?Screenshot-4
*What time of year do you want to go?
*Do you want to stay on site, or off?
*What type of lodging are you looking for?
*Will you drive or fly?

I wanted to have as MUCH time in the parks as possible, as I wanted to get lots of BANG for my bucks. I immediately eliminated driving as it quickly became clear to me that using my own vehicle was going to eat up too much valuable park time including, but not limited too: locating a parking spot, driving to and from the parks each day, walking to and from the parking spot which could be up to a mile or more. ALSO, driving would have taken twice the amount of time as flying and eaten up two days at least:)

I also decided to stay on site for the same reason, accessibility to the parks. When it came to other options such as, When will we go? and How long will we stay? I tried to keep my mind open to options-the more flexible you can be, the better!

After I had a general idea of what I wanted, I made the plunge and called Disney direct ((407) 939-5277). There I spoke to a cast member (AKA Disney Employee) about what I wanted. While I spoke to her, I learned that there was CURRENTLY a promotion going on called Summer Fun, I also learned that there was ANOTHER promotion coming later in August where visitors could receive a free dining plan! I called back right when the Summer Fun plan was ending, and gave the cast member a general idea of what I wanted (a 5-7 day trip for 3, on a budget in early August). She responded with some options; I asked if that was the very best price I could get, and she suggested booking later in August, when I could get an additional day (a SIX day trip, instead of 5) and save an additional $1,000! I would also be eligible for a FREE dining plan as a new promotion would be starting then. The price that was proposed to me was around $4,000. This price included the resort (a place to sleep!), the Disney Dining Plan (food to eat!), Park Tickets, Magic Bands (bracelets that you use for EVERYTHING…room keys, park admission and more!) AND airfare! I was thrilled, but I thought…why stop there?

I took a step back, thought it through, then called back again. When I called back, I asked the cast member if changing the flights would make a difference. I was then able to save an additional $600 by flying out of a different town! I asked if there were any additional discounts that I was eligible for, and while there were not, the cast member informed me, that by coming in on a TUESDAY instead of a MONDAY could save me even more! She also asked if I was open to a different resort, which I definitely was! When you ask about discounts, don’t be afraid to cite specific examples, ask about Teacher, Military Discounts, Government Employee Discounts, and AAA (Just to name a few), you NEVER know what may be eligible. We were able to get my total down to around $2,7000. That is over 5%0 in savings from what I was originally quoted! The idea here is, do NOT be afraid to ask! If you feel that you are speaking with someone that is unable, or unwilling to work with you, call back at another time. There are thousands of Cast members available to speak with, keep trying until you find one that you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and continue asking them to check for different ways that you can save. In addition to that, remember to be flexible. If you are unable, or unwilling to be flexible, then you leave little for them to work with. Remember, sometimes you have to GIVE a little to GET a little!

 

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Make a Plan
Once I had a target in front of me, something tangible, that I could REALLY hold onto, I jumped in headfirst! I wrote down that magic number on a piece of paper, and put it in my planner…and THEN I got to work! I knew WHEN I was going, so next I made a list of what I might need while I was there. Any items that you can bring, are items that you will not have to pay for while you are there. Below is a list of items that I brought, and used while I was there:

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Disney Must Haves:

*Small, lightweight drawstring packs for ALL Members attending (Note…you can get these free at many promotional events, I found some at the State Fair!)
*Reusable Water Bottles (I chose a double wall steel one that I use for Kayaking.  It didn’t condensate in my bag and keeps cool for a long time)
*Sun Screen
*Rain Ponchos
*Bug Spray
*Miniature Personal Fans
*Sunglasses
*Small First Aid Kit (you know…the ones we ALL Get for free!)
*Pain Medication, or any other PRN that you take regularly
*Chapstick with Sunscreen
*Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags (They are lightweight, and if you choose to go on water rides, you can place your electronics inside of them and save money when you don’t have to rent a locker)
*Snacks
*Hat

I made a detailed list of what the individuals going with me may need while we were there, then I raided my stockpile. MOST items I already had, other items I was able to gather quickly, as I am an avid Menards shopper and get most of my ‘odds and ends’ such as personal fans, ponchos and sunscreen for FREE there. If you have a Menards, and want to learn how to coupon and get free stuff there, check out this article: How I shop for FREE all year long at Menards

It should not take long to get these items together, most items only require simple couponing. I really liked the small, travel sized sunscreen bottles. Easily packable, the sunscreen can be reapplied at the park throughout the day, without having to lug around a larger bottle. Generally speaking, if you think you will need it, pack it, but pack ONLY the amount you will need. Over packing will cause additional checked baggage fees, and defeat the purpose. If you are worried about forgetting something, simply Google ‘Packing for Disney’ and there are many lists available to help jog your memory of what you may need.

Getting items together was motivating, and fun! It happened very quickly, and I was able to cross each item off of my list, as I acquired them. Next I moved on to a step that was not quite as much fun. I began to dream up ways to lower my balance due…it was early June, and I had only until late July to come up with roughly $2,700. I knew the QUICKEST, simplest way would be to hone in on all of my couponing skills.

I began stashing money from friends and family that needed extra shampoo and detergent from my stockpile. I worked hard to find ‘Money Makers’ at the stores. I applied any overage to things that were necessary for my trip. Both Target and select Walmart locations allow basket overage, AND they sell Disney gift cards. With a small amount of planning, you can really start stocking up on Disney gift cards, which can be used to purchase ANYTHING and EVERYTHING on site…including the balance due for your vacation. Be cautious not to purchase the Disney Store gift cards, as these are different from Disney gift cards. Also, look for Gift Card deals, ESPECIALLY around the Holidays, many stores offer Gift card promos on Black Friday such as Spend $100, get a $20 card FREE!

Finally, I began ‘cashing in’ with my cash back apps. I use these apps all year round, and all together had around $2,000 on them. I simply rolled these into my Paypal account and used it to pay my balance! If you are not using cash back apps, then you are missing out on something GREAT! If you want to learn about these apps, and how to use them, check out more here: My FAVORITE Money Making, Cash Back Apps. YES it is real and TOTALLY 100% possible for ANYONE to do this!

Another great way to cut the cost is through one of my favorite sites, Raise.com. On this site you can purchase gift cards, generally the larger gift card amounts have a greater discount, plus you will earn $5 off instantly when you open a new account. If you keep your eyes open, you will also find that on weekends and holidays, they run promotions and take an additional 3%-5% off of already discounted gift cards! These may seem like small amounts, but this could add up to an additional $100-$200 or MORE in savings! I have not seen Disney gift cards discounted often on this site, however I frequently see Target and Walmart gift cards. You can use both of these to purchase your Disney gift cards!

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Finally, you can consider a Disney Visa. They are currently running a promotion where you can earn a $200 statement credit when you reach a $500 balance. If you choose to put your balance on this, it is like getting $200 knocked off the cost of your trip! Don’t hesitate to ask a cast member about this when you are booking your trip!

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DON’T Wait until the LAST MINUTE
Don’t be like me…I am a HUGE Procrastinator, and despite having ample time to plan, I waited until the very last minute on many things. You will be given three Fast Pass selections to use each day. Ideally, you should use them to book very popular attractions for the early portion of the day. The Fast Pass will allow you to bypass the line and go straight onto attraction (Occasionally, you will have a short wait). These can be used for shows or rides. Once you have used up your Fast Passes for the day, you can add one at a time (use one, add one) for the duration of the day. We waited WAY to long to book these, so the selections were very limited. And, although, they were still beneficial to us, it could have worked to our advantage to NOT Procrastinate on this…after all, time is money!

Ready to eat? If you have the dining plan, you will be asked to book your meals in advance, this is not something that you must do, but I strongly recommend it! Some special attraction meals will fill up 180 days (or MORE) in advance, so this is something that you DON’T want to miss the boat on (Think little girls…dinner with Cinderella and the other Disney Princesses). If you are careful in your choices, you can really benefit from the free dining plan. There are several options, and we received one Sit Down meal, one Quick Service and one Snack with our (FREE) dining plan. I will delve further into the dining plan later on, however it is important to know that dining selections should be made well in advance. Despite my serious lack of get-up-and-go on this, I was still able to get some GREAT selections. I tried to get dinner + event tickets whenever possible. These are extremely costly if you are paying out of pocket, however because it was included in our dining plan, it was an excellent route to go. By doing the dinner/event meals, we got tickets for VIP seating for some of the busiest, most popular events at Disney. This was perfect as we didn’t have to arrive hours early (as many Disney travelers do), or hunt for a great spot. We simply went to our reserved area 15-30 minutes prior to the event! It was like having an additional Fast Pass to many of the BIG events (parades and shows).

Have Faith in Disney
Let’s face it…Disney is good at what they do, really, REALLY good at it! It took me awhile, but eventually I had to step back and let them do what they do best, and that is helping you to plan your vacation! If you have ever traveled anywhere on a plane before, then you know what a costly hassle everything can be. Disney does EVERYTHING they possibly can to take the stress out of this process. If you are like me, and absolutely refuse to believe that they can handle it all (and you don’t have to) simply call a cast member at ANY time. They will verify that it has been taken care of for you! This peace of mind was another HUGE benefit to staying on site!

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Be sure to download the Disney app, it will help save you time and frustration if you familiarize yourself with it prior to arrival. I was very hesitant to use it initially, but by the end of my trip I was in LOVE! My only regret was not checking it out sooner! This should be on your Disney Checklist, along with choosing a magic band. These *should* be included in your package price, if they are not, ask a cast member if they can include them (purchasing them in the park can cost up to $30 each. You can choose your magic band in advance, and they will mail them to you. Having them in advance will give you access to your room and the parks as soon as you arrive.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with everything that they send so that you don’t miss the ‘important stuff’’. If you choose to stay on site, Disney will allow you to take part in their Magic Express (this is a HUGE time, money and stress saver! Do IT!). They will send you baggage tags for any bags that you are checking, you simply use the bag tags and check them as you normally would. Disney will collect them from the airport and bring them to the resort you are staying at. They will ‘magically’ show up in your room 3-5 hours after you arrive! This saves so much time and hassle! They will also send the magic coach to the airport (free of charge) so that you can start your vacation in style…and air conditioning! When you arrive to the airport, you simply follow the Disney signs, board the coach and they will load any carry on luggage.

If you have the app, you can check into your hotel 24 hours prior to arrival online. If you do this, your room will be ready when you arrive. You can take the free Magic Express to your resort, and go straight to your room, drop off items and head out to the parks. We packed what we needed in our carry on luggage so that we didn’t have to wait around for our checked bags, then went STRAIGHT to the parks!

 

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Another HUGE perk to staying on site is the bus service! If you are staying in a Disney resort, they have bus service from the resorts to all of the parks, all day long! This service is free, and starts prior to the parks opening, and continues until 2 hours after the parks close!

Consider Some “Luxury Extras”
Despite being on a budget, there were still things that Disney offered that I wanted to take advantage of, such as the Fuel Rod program, souvenirs, and other Disney goodies! In order to not deprive myself, but still stay on track, I looked for cost efficient ways to meet our needs.

The Fuel Rod is a program offered onsite at Disney to help keep your smartphone charged. If you plan on using their app, then you will probably spend a good portion of your ‘down time’ while waiting in line stalking it. You can find ANYTHING Disney related on the app, from wait times on ALL attractions, to bathroom, smoking and first aid locations throughout the park. It will also give you walking directions to any location! It was so incredibly helpful, but I also knew that I was not going to want to spend time attached to my charger as my battery drained from all of these fun features. Once again Disney delivered with an AWESOME service! You can purchase a Fuel Rod on site for around $30. The Fuel Rod comes with a cord and adapters to charge your phone with, you simply plug it in and charge as you walk! When the Fuel Rod runs out, you can charge it on a wall charger, OR exchange it for a fully charged one at any of the Disney parks. This is a nice luxury at a cost, but for me, the peace of mind that came with NEVER having to worry about a dead battery was WELL WORTH IT! I was able to purchase mine for less than $30 by getting it ahead of time directly from the site here: Fuel Rod. Below is a list of sites where you can exchange your Fuel Rod. **BONUS** Many airport locations and Rest Stops are beginning to introduce Fuel Rod Kiosks where you can exchange!

Magic Kingdom

  • Tomorrowland Light & Power Co.
  • Big Top SouvenirsScreenshot-2
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café
  • Curtain Call Collectibles

Epcot

  • Disney Traders

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Celebrity 5 & 10

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Island Mercantile

Disney Springs

  • Marketplace Disney Photo Imaging
  • DisneyQuest

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

  • ESPN Clubhouse Shop

 

Use your local resources! I really wanted Disney music and movies to help get into the spirit, and also some books to read up on, but these were INCREDIBLY costly. I went to my local library, and they had ALL Of these items available to rent….again FREE of charge! We watched Disney movies every weekend, listened to Disney stations on Pandora, and I got my book, and it didn’t cost me a PENNY out of pocket!

Taking a seven year old to Disney is just SCREAMING big spending, but with some pre planning, it doesn’t have to be that way! I was able to order ALL of the items I thought he would enjoy prior to leaving at a fraction of the price! I packed a bag of Disney related fun stuff for the plane, and another bag of fun surprise ‘souvenirs’. I was able to get a good idea of what was popular at the time by asking on Disney Facebook sites and asking friends I will list some examples below to give you an idea of the cost difference.

Disney Pins Trading Sets
This was a set of Disney pins that kids can trade at the park. They place the pins on a lanyard and can trade at the shops, or with cast members and other kids as they go along throughout the day. The start up sets average about $30 each and come with 4 pins, other ‘add on’ sets are also available for around $25 per set of 4. I purchased a lanyard and 25 pins for $25 on Ebay, this would have cost about $150 at the park. If you are going to do this, make SURE that the pins are 100% Official Disney, or the kids will be unable to trade. MOST sellers will make this clear on the offer.

 

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Disney Cooling Water Spray Bottle
You will see these EVERYWHERE when you enter the park. They will cost about $20 on site, and while they are cooling and fun, the price is a little steep! I was lucky enough to score one of these from a friend prior to going, just by asking around! She let me have hers from a previous trip. If you are not that lucky, you can purchase these on Ebay again, at a fraction of the price.

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T-shirts and other Disney apparel can be purchased in the same manner, ahead of time! You will need to find room to store these items to bring home, so it would better serve you to purchase them at a reduced price prior to arriving. Other popular items at Disney included bubble wands, glow sticks, light sabers and more! I found a GREAT site that sold LOTS of Disney items (Some new, some Used) at discounted prices. I purchased action figure sets, coloring pads and more for the plane ride!
You can check it out here: Disney Stuff at Swap

Get Creative With Your Ears
It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to go to Disney and NOT get Mickey Ears, save yourself the big bucks by either purchasing these in advance or making them yourself. You can purchase simple Black ears on Amazon or Ebay for as little as $1.00 per pair, and decorate them yourself at home, OR you can do what I did…purchase headbands from the dollar store and make your own from scratch! These cost anywhere from $20-$30 PER PAIR when you purchase on site, so either way…doing them at home is a WIN!

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I used my rebate money to purchase ALL of these items-and more, so it did not impact my monthly household budget at all!

Go Cash Free
When I arrived to Disney, I put my debit card with a pre planned amount on it on my room for any unexpected charges. They make it very convenient by attaching your magic band to your room account at your request, so you NEVER have to carry cash, simply swipe your magic band and go! We made it a personal goal to NOT spend anything while we were there, and we came VERY close to achieving that goal! One of the only expenses that I forgot to factor in was tipping at our meals. We really only needed to tip at our table service meals, however because everything was so expensive, a reasonable tip at most places was between $20-$25 (most sit down meals WOULD have cost between $150-$200 if we did not have the dining plan). Don’t let the Magic Band’s ease of use encourage you to spend frugally, because there is really no need to!

We avoided common spending traps by packing our bags each morning depending on our needs for the day, therefore eliminating the need to purchase any items. We would pack granola bars for snacking between meals, ponchos if the forecast was calling for rain etc. If you get out into the parks and realize that you forgot something that is a necessity (One day I forgot to take my allergy pill!), ask a cast member BEFORE you whip out the cash or magic band. They generally have a solution for EVERYTHING! A cast member saw me sneezing and sniffling and suggested that I go to the First Aid area for an allergy pill. They also offered pain medication and bandages (think BLISTERS…). If you purchase these items on site, they can be costly, inquire within BEFORE you purchase anything! Cast members are often more than willing to creatively solve your dilemma!

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Avoid paying for drinks as well. If you are staying in a Disney resort, you will be provided with a resort mug that you can refill at anytime during business hours, free of charge with soda, tea, Powerade, or a variety of other selections. Also, it seemed as though VERY few Disney travelers were aware that Disney provides free ice water at all Quick Service stands, and many snack stands as well! We used our insulated water bottles, and would refill as we passed by. This provided us with free cold drinks all day long (Bottled water was $3-$4 per bottle on site), and there was no need to haul a cooler, as we saw many other families doing.

Dine On! But, DON’T Purchase Extras
If you are given the option to upgrade your dining plan (for a cost), I would advise against it. I was stunned by how much food we received each day! Our dining plan provided one snack, one Quick Service, and one Table Service meal per day. I prepped my guys well in advance (The food may not be good…we are taking LOTS of granola bars…). I FULLY expected low quality, high priced ‘zoo food’ (you know the stuff…$12 hamburger hockey pucks, frozen fries, etc.). Once again, Disney raised the bar with filling, nutritional food, and a variety of choices. The snacks were filling, there were LOTS of choices, as were all of the options. If you are curious, you can pull up all options in every park and filter the dining selections to narrow it down to just Snack, Quick Service, or Table Service to get an idea of what is served. The Quick Service all came with a drink and a desert (for one ‘Quick Service Meal’ we received BBQ ribs, chicken, coleslaw, and a desert!). There is NO reason to purchase any additional food. Outside of the granola bar breakfasts, we really didn’t need to compensate. Below is an image of one of the meals we chose for Quick Service, it included desert, and a drink, which was not pictured. Table Service also included a FULL appetizer for EACH person eating! There were many, many options!

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Don’t get ‘Caught Up’ in the Gift Shop Excitement
Most, if not all items can be purchased after you leave the parks online at a much cheaper price. Don’t feel that you MUST purchase items on site. If you see something that you LOVE but are unsure of, search it on Google before putting down the plastic!

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While this article is not meant to be concrete instructions for all travelers, I hope that it can serve as a guideline to ANYONE that wishes to travel, but feels that it is not within reach quite yet. I was able to successfully pull this trip together and pay for it STRICTLY with my couponing income in less than 2 months. It IS possible with hard work and determination. Remember that not all things happen overnight, but you can do ANYTHING by taking baby steps! I can’t WAIT to hear about the incredible success stories that are SURE to come, as you begin embarking on your own Couponing To Disney Adventure! Good Luck, and remember to NEVER loose site of your dreams!

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If you LOVE this article and want to see more like it, come follow me on Twitter, SnapChat and IG @LizzieSavesAlot or check out our Facebook group in Central Illinois

Click Here for more FREE Coupons!

 

HELP! How Can I Tell If A Coupon Link Is SAFE To CLICK? #LizzieSavesAlot #CouponCommunity #SayNoToSpam

Do you ever see posts in Facebook groups and think to yourself, well THAT looks too good to be true!  If you are just breaking into the wonderful world of couponing, MANY of the deals that you see may appear to you to be unobtainable, or unrealistic, which is how some people describe SPAM links (If it LOOKS to good to be true…).

As couponers, we are bombarded daily with FREE $100 WALMART GIFT CARDS, LOOK AT ALL OF THE GROCERIES I Got For FREE, and more!  It is easy to sort out the naked and profane images as junk, but how do smart shoppers determine what links are safe to click, from those that could potentially jeopardize your Facebook account?

There are several steps that you can take to prevent yourself from clicking coupon related SPAM.  If you are looking for coupon deals, follow a Blog specifically, or a reputable site.  While these (reputable) sites will post links, you can rest assured that they are safe to click. DON’T just click anything that you see on Facebook.  If you are in a group, be especially cautious as some groups are not regulated and members are free to post anything.

Here is an EASY way, for even the most Tech-UN savvy clickers to stay safe:
Look in the lower left hand corner of the link, if you see a name that you are familiar with, such as the name of a familiar website, or blog, then you can consider it a safe link.  If what you see does NOT look familiar, you may be looking at SPAM.

SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*

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SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*SPAM*

The above image of Sharpies is an example of fast spreading SPAM on Facebook from several months ago.  If you look at the lower left hand corner, you can see that this is NOT a familiar site or page.

*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*

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*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE**SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*SAFE*

Above image is a blog post for a coupon deal that readers can follow.  You can tell that this is a SAFE link to click because it says whatsyourdeal.com in the lower left hand corner.

Another way to help shield yourself from Facebook SPAM is by maintaining membership in Facebook groups that do not allow Links to be shared.  This helps all members, including those that were not aware that they were spreading potentially dangerous SPAM, and did so, unintentionally.  If you are interested in finding some of these groups, here is a list of some that we promote: Couponing On Facebook 

Finally, when in doubt, sleuth it out!  There are MANY times that I think a deal may be to good to be true.  If that is the case, I simply Google it, prior to clicking the link.  If it is a well know SPAM link, warnings will pop up almost immediately, and I report it as such.  There is no reason that SPAM should dictate your life on Facebook.  Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from scoring some pretty incredible deals! Learn the facts and keep yourself educated-DON’T let SPAM get the last word!

If you LOVE this article and want to see more like it, come follow me on Twitter and SnapChat and IG @LizzieSavesAlot or check out our Facebook group in Central Illinois

Click Here for more FREE Coupons!