couponing-19

Earlier this week, I shared with you how I shaved $250 off our monthly grocery budget by couponing, budgeting, and strategic shopping. I loved that I was “earning” money by just being intentional with what we already had earned.

While it was exciting to save all that money, the best part was what we got to do with our savings. We used this “found” money to save for a new-to-us car, beef up our emergency fund, and give more money away to causes we were passionate about.

kids

One issue we have become passionate about over the last couple of years is foster care. In fact, last summer we became certified foster parents and have welcomed two school-aged children into our home.

Now my challenge is figuring out how to feed nine people on a budget while managing all the children with school and activities, and two growing businesses.

Yes, we increased our grocery budget. The $300 a month we were at just doesn’t cut it for a family of nine, but the savings strategies that I learned years ago remain the same:

  • Set a realistic grocery budget — Our monthly budget for nine is now $800 for all food, personal care, and household items and we spend it exclusively in cash.
  • Use coupons strategically — Our family life is a bit more hectic than it was when I started couponing, but the ways I save money on food and household items have remained the same: use coupons when they match with a store sale and build a reasonable stockpile when the price is right.
  • Meal plan — This saves me the most money as one poorly planned meal (meaning I have no plan for dinner) sets us back $60 or more. Sometimes I make dinner from scratch and sometimes it’s a freezer meal from Costco, but eating at home is always cheaper than take-out or going out to eat.

Do you find yourself struggling to find the time to learn strategies and skills save significantly at the grocery store?

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Let me help you! The Ultimate Couponing Course will teach you exactly how to use coupons and other savings strategies to slash your grocery budget by up to 50%. And these strategies work regardless of your household size, available time, or dietary preferences and restrictions!

Registration is only open for a week and the course begins next Wednesday!

Find out more about The Ultimate Couponing Course here!

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Portland Family Fun Guide -- Everything you need to know to enjoy the Springwater Corridor in Portland, Oregon. It's a fun and frugal way to check out SE Portland from the Sellwood neighborhood to OMSI!

Ready to discover (or re-discover) Portland? From the coast to the Gorge, from Clark County to Salem, The Ultimate Guide to Portland Family Fun will allow you to experience the awesomeness this area has to offer, all from Frugal Living NW readers! Go here for links to all posts!

Springwater Corridor: Sellwood to OMSI (SE Portland)

My kids don’t seem to grasp the notion that they are only allowed to get cabin fever in the summer, when there’s no end of opportunities to work out the wiggles on playgrounds, in parks and at the pool. Fortunately, they love to ride bikes, but our neighborhood street isn’t the sort of place I really want them to go for a spin, so I’m glad we’ve discovered a protected bike path that makes an easy half-day adventure for our little family on any decent day, even in mid-winter.

The Springwater Corridor is part of a massive loop of bike paths circumnavigating the eastern half of the Portland Metro area. Daunting as that loop is, one great section for families runs between Sellwood and OMSI right along the eastern bank of the Willamette River.

We begin our route at Sellwood Riverfront Park, which offers parking right by an access point to the bike path. Perhaps even more importantly, the park has bathrooms—unlike the path, so be sure to make a visit before you gear up and go!

Access to the path is at the top of the parking lot along SE Oaks Park Way. The path is paved and mostly level, which makes it great for all ages and a variety of transportation modes. In our family, that usually means Dad on his recumbent bike, two kids on regular bikes and baby tucked into the jogging stroller that I’m pushing.

And with that, we are off! The bikers speed away and I find myself surrounded by a shocking (read: delightful!) lack of “Mom? Mom? Mom!?” as I glance to the right at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (to which the path provides access, in case you want to explore) and to the left at the tree-lined river bank.

As we continue north and pass Oaks Bottom, the path moves closer to the river and gives great views of the birds and boats enjoying the slough behind Ross Island. Just a bit south of Ross Island Bridge, there is some intriguing public art along the pathway. A couple of waterfront tables make for a beautiful snack break with the kids.

The Ross Island Bridge is almost three miles from Sellwood Park—a pretty easy bike ride for little kids and an aggressive walk for Mom. Since we split up the kid duties, Dad takes the big kids another half mile or so to OMSI, where the path goes right up behind the museum’s giant propellers. This requires a very short (about a block) ride along a quiet street to connect with the bike path again.

Hint: While I haven’t had to try it yet, I’m pretty sure if OMSI is open, you can get to restrooms inside the lobby without having to pay admission.

If your family is feeling really energetic, you can carry on to the north and even join up with the Eastbank Esplanade floating pathway. Just be sure to turn around when you’re only half tired because it can be a long haul back to Sellwood with cranky kids!

Because the path is enjoyed by a wide variety of walkers, joggers, skaters and bikers, it’s important to take a few minutes to discuss “rules of the road” with kids so serious bikers can pass them safely. I found even the most devoted bikers to be polite and careful, but it’s still important to return the favor and not pull U-turns or stop right in the middle of the path.

Once we return to Sellwood, the kids enjoy leaving their bikes at the van and racing down to the waterfront. The dock often shelters an interesting yacht or two and summertime leaves the water level low enough to provide a narrow, sandy beach, so you might want to bring life jackets along just in case.

No matter if you want to walk, jog, skate or bike, this stretch of Springwater Corridor provides a safe place to work out the wiggles year-round for the great low price of free (no coupon required!).

Laurel Rogers is a work-from-home writer, magazine editor and mom to grade-school twins and a toddler-sized surprise. She writes from Clackamas, Oregon.

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Ready to discover (or re-discover) Portland? From the coast to the Gorge, from Clark County to Salem, The Ultimate Guide to Portland Family Fun will allow you to experience the awesomeness this area has to offer!

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

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lego-moive-bad-cop-car-chase

Amazon has the LEGO Movie Bad Cop Car Chase Set for $23.10 right now. This is Amazon’s lowest ever price. Would make a good gift for a fan of The LEGO Movie.

  • Bad Cop Super Secret Police car features a driver’s seat and an opening roof
  • Super Secret Police motorbike features huge wheels, an open cockpit, megaphone, gun and searchlight elements
  • Accessories include Bad Cop’s chair and megaphone

Shipping is FREE with Amazon Prime or a qualifying order of $35 on eligible items. Prices are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Find the most current LEGO deals here –> Best LEGO Deals (it’s updated daily with new prices and deals!).

More ways to save at Amazon:

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Albertsons Deals for July 29 – August 4

by Angela Davis on July 29, 2015

Here are the best deals at Albertsons this week. The Albertsons ad runs Wednesday-Tuesday in the Pacific Northwest. Find the full list of this week’s Albertsons deals, including a printable list feature, here.

Mix & Match promotion: Buy 6 participating items, Save $3 instantly. Price listed reflects the promotion discount. Check the ad for additional participating items.

Dr Pepper (2 L) on sale $1.49
Buy 2
Use $1/2 coupon
$1.13 after coupon when you buy 6 participating items

Kraft Salad Dressing (16 oz) on sale $1.49
Buy 2
Use $1/2 coupon from 6/14 SS insert
$.49 each after coupon when you buy 6 participating items

Essential Everyday Canned Vegetables (14.5 – 15.25 oz) on sale $.99
Buy 3
Use $1/3 coupon
$.16 each after coupons when you buy 6 participating items

Nestle Coffee-Mate Creamer (32 oz) on sale $2.99
Use $.50/1 coupon
$1.99 after coupons when you buy 6 participating items

Pepperidge Farm Cookies (5.5 – 8.6 oz) on sale $2.49
Buy 1, Get $1 MobiSave Rebate
Pay $1.99, Get $1 MobiSave Rebate
$.99 after rebate when you buy 6 participating items

Pepsi Products (2 L) $1.49
Buy 2, Get $.75 MobiSave Rebate
Pay $1.98, Get $.75 MobiSave rebate
$.62 each after rebate when you buy 6 participating items

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (5 – 8 ct) on sale $1.99
Buy 2, Get $1 MobiSave Rebate
Buy 3
Use $1/3 coupon from 7/26 RP insert
Pay $3.48, Get $1 MobiSave Rebate
$.82 each after rebate and coupon when you buy 6 participating items

Quaker Oats (18 oz) on sale $1.99
Buy 1, Get $.75 MobiSave Rebate
Pay $1.49
$.74 after rebate when you buy 6 participating items

Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna (5 oz) on sale $.59 with weekly ad coupon (limit 4)
Buy 2, Get $.75 MobiSave Rebate
Pay $1.18, Get $.75 MobiSave Rebate
$.22 each after coupon and rebate

Planters Flavored Peanuts (6 oz) on sale $.99
Buy 2
Use $1/2 coupon from 6/28 SS insert
$.49 each after coupon

Tree Top Apple Juice (64 oz) on sale $.99 with weekly ad coupon (limit 4)

 

New to couponing?  Check out the Ultimate Guide to Couponing here.

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

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Frozen-multi-Bin-Toy-Organizer

Amazon has the Delta Children Disney Frozen Multi Bin Toy Organizer for $27.98 right now. This cute toy organizer is at Amazon’s lowest ever price, and might be a great way to encourage your little Frozen fan to keep their toys picked up.

  • Recommended for ages 3-6
  • Made of engineered wood, solid wood and fabric
  • Assembled dimensions: 30.5″ H x 25″ W x 16.5″ D
  • Easy assembly
  • Meets or exceeds all safety standards set by the CPSC

Shipping is FREE with Amazon Prime or a qualifying order of $35 on eligible items. Prices are subject to change at any time and without notice.

More ways to save at Amazon:

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Fred Meyer: Free Suave Body Wash!

by Brittany from Frugal Living NW on July 29, 2015

suave-body-wash-printable-coupon

Get Suave Body Wash free at Fred Meyer. Hurry! This one ends today (7/29)

Suave Body Wash on sale $1.99
Buy 2
Buy 2, Get $2 Catalina (ends today, 7/29)
Use BOGO coupon from 7/26 RP insert or $.50/1 coupon
Pay $1.99, Get $2 Catalina
FREE after coupon & Catalina

Find more Fred Meyer deals here. Get the exhaustive list of Fred Meyer coupon match-ups with a printable list feature here.

Thanks, Raking in the Savings!

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alex-toys-craft-friends-4-ever-scrapbook

Amazon has the ALEX Toys Craft Friends 4 Ever Scrapbook Kit for $13.50 right now. This would be a fun birthday party project (or gift!). Grab it while it’s at Amazon’s best price.

  • 48-page scrapbook with supplies
  • Preserve your favorite moments with this 10-inch by 10-inch hardcover book
  • Comes with stickers, gems, paper, glue, ribbons and more
  • Recommended for children age 6 and up

Shipping is FREE with Amazon Prime or a qualifying order of $35 on eligible items. Prices are subject to change at any time and without notice.

More ways to save at Amazon:

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