Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eating Out On A Budget

Eating out on a budget can be challenging with or without kids.  

So I will try to keep this ongoing list of restaurants that offer specials and restaurants that offer printable coupons that can keep more money in our pocket

Often times you will find coupons in your local newspaper and in with your free local flyers like the Pennysaver or with the free local grocery advertisements.  Through our local free papers/advertisements this week, we received the following coupons: Burger King, Hometown Buffet, Denny's, Papa John's Pizza and Round Table Pizza. 

Also, if you sign up online at your favorite restaurants, when coupons come out they will either email or mail them to you.

Here are the current deals: 

Baskin Robbins has $2 mini parfaits

Chili's Lunch Break $6.00 lunch combos (1/2 sandwich, soup or salad and fries), details here: offers printable coupons to restaurants in your local area, details here:|2203897&orcustom=1401168664&AID=10816765&PID=2203897&SID=1401168664&afsrc=1

Medieval Times choose your own deal now has 4 admissions for $136, details here:

Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Company printable coupons:

Quizno's QClub emails printable coupons:

Red Robin Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3-6pm and 8pm-close available in bar area only. always has discounted gift certificates for less then you would expect when using discount coupon codes that you can have emailed directly to you.  Often times they will offer free gifts with your purchase (i.e. $10 gift certificates, etc...).  Also when you purchase your gift certificates online and you go through an online rebate site like (25%) or a cash back site like (25%), you can put even more money back in your pocket.  At the beginning of the month, they are 50%-60% off, then about the third week they are 70% and end of month they are 80% off when you use the discount codes.  Therefore, you would put 25% off the $2 or $3 that you would be paying per certificate back in your pocket.  It does not look like much but after awhile they start adding up.  Also during special holiday's the online rebate and cash back sites will often times offer 30% back, so keep a look out for those.

You can also sign up for restaurant rewards programs that allow you to earn points toward food rewards when you have earned enough points.  Most times they will email you and sometimes they will mail you a coupon for free food on the anniversary when you signed up, a coupon for free food on your birthday and more coupons in between.

Some of the popular programs include the following.

Baskin Robbins Birthday Club - Email coupon for your birthday, bogo scoops & $3 off cakes:

Cold Stone Creamery My Cold Stone Club - Email coupon for free Like It for your birthday:

Dairy Queen Blizzard Fan Club - They email coupons for bogo scoops, free scoop on your birthday:

Dippin Dots Forty Below Zero Club:
Ledo Pizza Lover's Program - Earn food rewards when you earn enough points:

Rita's Italian Ice Birthday Club - Emailed coupons for freebie on your birthday, bogo ices, etc.:

TGI Friday's Give Me More Stripes Program, sign up now and get a free appetizer: 

Layaway Programs

In the economy that we are in today, more and more people are using layaway to afford more of what they need and spreading it out over months.  Many people think about layaway during the holiday's and during back to school, but layaway programs are available year round.  Layaway is once again becoming very popular.  Here are some of the layaway programs available to consumers.

Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) Layaway Program, valid for service members and their families:

Burlington Coat Factory Layaway Program:

KMart Layaway Program:

Navy Exchange (NEX), valid for service members and their families:

Sears Layaway Program:

TJ Maxx Layaway Program:

JcPenney Portrait Studios 2 Free Single Image Enhanced or Traditional Portrait Sheets with Free Sitting Fee

JcPenney Portrait Studio is offering 2 Single Image Enhanced or Traditional Portrait Sheets with Free Sitting Fee with $3.99 each traditional portrait sheets as part of their Baby Sale Promotion valid until April 4, 2011.

Hot Topic HT+1 Free Music Downloads

Hot Topic HT+1 offers free music downloads here:

Join HT+1 here:

Redbox Free Movie Code - February 1-14, 2011 - Expired

Redbox is running a Valentine's Day promotion where you Rent 2, get a one night free code via email between February 1-14, 2011.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards

Money Saving Mom found See Here 24 4x8 single sided cards deal here.  I just used this deal and the cards will be received within 7 days of order.  I have ordered from them before so I know the great quality of all of their products including their photo cards.

I ordered these for my youngest son to give to his classmates.  You cannot beat these prices.

Chinese New Year this year is February 3, 2011 - Year of the Rabbit

The 29th Annual Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair is scheduled for Saturday February 12th and Sunday, February 13th 10:00am - 5:00pm rain of shine at 428 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101.

This is a free family friendly event.

Parking:Park it on Market - Market Street & 6th Avenue - 289 6th Avenue, San Diego - (619) 233-3994 - 324 Horton Plz, San Diego - (619) 233-1491 - 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego - (619) 237-0399

More details here:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Free Things to do in San Diego

What's going on around town?

Prior to moving to the area, I grilled our friends who were previously stationed here to find out things they enjoyed while living here in San Diego.  Some told us that we are absolutely going to love it and that there is so much to do.  Upon our arrival, others told us the same things.

Being new to the area, I have been researching free or inexpensive activities for our family to explore together.  In my research, I found that there are many companies who support active duty service members and their families in such ways as free admission to some attractions.

Parade of Flight and North Island Open House - February 12, 2011
Gates open at 8am and Parade of Flights at 1pm; free admission, free parking and free blanket seating

Free bowling for active duty 11am - 1pm
Monday's at Sea 'N Air Lanes NASNI
Wednesday's at Admiral Robinson Recreation Center NBSD

Seaport Village - Walk around and enjoy free entertainment.  The offer free Sunday Concerts 1-4pm in the East Plaza Gazebo.  2 hours of free parking with purchase.

Automotive Maintenance Monthly Training Programs - Free program 2nd Saturday of every month, NBSD Auto Skills Shop, Bldg. 3234, 9am - 12pm.  Refreshments are provided and no car needed to take class.  Reserve your space by calling (619)556-7009.  January 8 - Brakes, February 12 - Oil Change and Under Car Inspection.

Gaslamp Quarter - Walk around and enjoy all  the shopping and dining.

2011 Bob Hope Classic, January 9-23, 2011 - Free admission for active duty military personnel and their families plus access to the New Eisenhower Medical Center Military Hospitality Lounge with valid ID.

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park  - Free admission for Active Duty with valid military ID card.

USS Midway - Free admission for Active Duty and Reservists with military ID card.  Free for children 5 and younger.

Here's to the Heroes Salute - Free single day admission to a service member with valid ID and form filled out for up to three family members:

MWR Movies - Always free.
Lowry Theater NASNI, Bldg. 650, (619)545-8479
Naval Base San Diego Theater, Bldg. 71, (619) 556-5568
QZone Theater NAB, Bldg. 337, (619) 437-5487

Discover San Diego Beaches.

Discover Vietnam Memorial Monument.

Point Loma Tide Pools - No collecting of any kind, rules enforced by the park rangers.

Museums at Balboa Park - Free Tuesday Admission to museums for San Diego City & County Residents with ID and Active Duty military and members of their family.

Park Ranger Tour at the Balboa Park Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality - Free tours at 1pm on Free Tuesday Admission days.

Discover San Diego Trails.

Squaw Valley - Free admission for Active Duty  with valid military to Ski & Ride Free.

The Century Club of San Diego Farmers Insurance Open - Free admission for Active Duty and their immediate family at the gate with active military ID.

Discover San Diego's Farmers Markets.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:
Free admission to active duty military on February 6 (Ronald Reagan's Birthday)

San Diego Archaeological Center - free and open to the public.

The New Children's Museum  - Free admission on the second Sunday of each month.

Free fly fishing lessons at the San Diego Fly Fishers Club on Sunday mornings 9am - noon at Lake Murray located in La Mesa.  If you don't have your own gear, arrive early for free gear rental.

Discover Mission Bay Park.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Resident's Free Tuesday's.

US Olympic Training Center - Free tour each Saturday at 11am on a walk-in basis.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share your thoughts on family friendly explorable activities in or around the San Diego area.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Free Samples - Try Before You Buy

Throughout every year, manufacturer's produce new products.  When new products come out, new advertisements show up on television, online and on the radio.  Free samples are a way our family has been able to try new products without having to purchase them.  Some samples we love and some samples end up being not what works for our family.

Some free samples that we were able to try in 2010 include:
Aveeno Nourish, Pantene Color Shampoo and Conditioner, Head and Shoulders 2 in 1 for Men, Head and Shoulders Classic Clean, Kashi Go Lean cereal, Infusium 23, Ultra Downy with scent pearls, Wisk Laundry Detergent, Garnier Fructis Anti Dandruff Shampoo, Kleenex, Puff Plus Lotion, Fleishmann's Pizza Dough Mix, Post It Super Sticky Notes, Home Depot Martha Stewart Paint Sample, Pizza on the Grill book, Eucerin Daily Skin Balance Lotion, Nivea Happy Sensation Daily Lotion, Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel Fresh Clean Scent and Suave Kids Shampoo.

Most times to get free samples for new products or for products we have not tried yet, I browse the Manufacturer's website online.

Other times we get free samples and coupons for ourselves and to share with friends by joining groups such as Vocalpoint, to get their members opinions on their products.  I love being a part of Vocalpoint because they not only send their members free samples of products to try, they also give you a heads up on special movie nights, they have blogs and surveys that allow you to express your opinions on and they have useful information or recipes in case you want to browse their site.

Eversave or Quality Health sends free samples to their members as well.

Occasionally, we will run across high value coupons that will cover the cost of the item itself either when it is on sale or in conjunction with a sale and the coupon.  This is another great way to try new products that Manufacturer's produce each year.

CVS Pharmacy Extra Care Members sometimes will receive an email with a link to a coupon for a free item that they can print online and redeem in store.   We tried their CVS brand pocket hand sanitizer, CVS brand paper towels and CVS brand facial tissues.

CVS Extra CareRite Aid Up Rewards and Walgreen Rewards can also be redeemed for items that you use or items that you want like to try. 

If you write to the Manufacturer's of the products that you want to try, they may send you a coupon to try their new product.

Occasionally, the Manufacturer will put tags on their in store items for you to try their product for free after rebate.

Sometimes you can find rebates for products in the newspapers or online.  We have been able to try Sorrento String Cheeses.

Happy New Year - May 2011 Be Another Year of Savings

Welcome 2011 and let it be another year of great savings!

Being a stay at home military wife and mom, we look for every way to make our dollars stretch because we love living comfortably and putting money back in our pockets.

At the beginning of each year, everyone makes resolutions and this year is no different.
This year, I am making resolutions about everyday living.

This year, I would like to:
1. Cook more restaurant style meals at home.
2. Bake more - breads, desserts,cookies, etc... at home.
3. Get our house organized - items up on walls, everything in it's place and get all the boxes emptied.
4. Let go of the clutter - reorganize life and our household and be free of whatever we do not need or use.
5. Use or re-purpose items we have.
6. Use items from our stock on hand instead of purchasing more.
7. Shred all junk mail as soon as it comes in.
8. Get rid of boxes and paper to free up half our garage.
9. Organize the shed and garage.
10. Maximize our savings on everything we use by continuing using coupons, online coupon codes, online rebate sites, online cash back sites, reward sites, points sites and any other sites that turn everyday browsing into points that can be redeemed for useful items like gift cards, photo prints and toaster ovens.
11. Recycle even more to reduce our waste output.
12. Make more of our own greeting cards or take advantage of photo/greeting card deals throughout the year.
13. Try to be creative and stay on top of making home lunch with healthy options.
14. Get together with friends or socialize on a budget.

New Shoes For Our Swagger Wagon

Purchasing tires for your vehicle is always a huge expense, so we did our homework, priced around and decided our best choice would be Sears.  For all of our past vehicles, we have always purchased our tires at Sears because of the road hazard package.  The road hazard package offers protection for the life of the tire so if something goes wrong, we take it back to Sears and they fix it for free.  The cost per tire for the road hazard is an extra $13-$14 and if you think about it, it is for the life of your tire.  The cost upfront is well worth the protection for our tires especially because it is always a huge expense.

After two and a half years, our swagger wagon needed new shoes.  Our front tires were wearing and our passenger rear tire had a nail in it.  Yesterday, we decided to check out the sears flyer online and noticed that they were having a sale on their tires and on top of that Michelin was having a Michelin $70 Mail In Rebate when you buy all four .  When we went down to check it out, they had the tires we needed in stock and on top of that, they were not busy whatsoever so we went ahead and had it done.  When we went in to pay, we found out that yesterday was the last day to purchase the tires for the rebate.  Before we left, my husband made sure he got the rebate form and the receipt, so all I had to do when I got home was fill out the rebate form, make copies of everything and mail our $70 rebate offer in.

Mamapedia Deals

When you purchase from Mamapedia, everyone benefits - you and your selected school.  You get a whopping great deal at a discounted price and the school you select earns 5% of your purchase when you type in their unique referral code when checking out, details here.  It's like a double whammy, kill two birds with one stone scenario where everyone wins.