Book Adventure FREE Reading Program

Book Adventure is a free program offered by Sylvan Learning Center. Kids can choose a book to read from the a booklist of over seven thousand titles, once the kids have read the books they visit the Book Adventure website to complete a quiz on the book and earn points.

Kids can then visit the Prize section of the website where they can redeem the points they have earned for prizes such as an Igor Activity Booklet, a free six month subscription to Highlights magazine, Rocky Mountain Candy Bars and more!

Go here to learn more --->      Go here for more FREE Reading Programs --->

Chicago Outdoor Movie Event June 29th

The Fulton River District (601 W. Kinzie St.)  and Blommer Chocolate Co. Present Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Movie in the Park, Featuring the Search for the Golden Tickets!This is the first of five Movies in the Park on Tuesday, June 29, featuring the 1971's classic with Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Presented by Blommer Chocolate Co., Chicago's very own family run chocolate company, who will be passing out chocolate bars at the event, giving guests the opportunity of finding one of ten lucky golden tickets. Guests will even get to mix and mingle with Willy Wonka himself, and his Oompa loompas!

8pm, Tuesday, June 29
Movie starts - Dusk, approximately 8:45 p.m.

Prizes include:

Carnivale – $100 Gift Certicate
Province – $100 Gift Certifcate
Prairie Fire – $100 Gift Certificate
Chicago French Market – $100 Gift Certifcate
Blommer Gift Basket
Blommer 10 lb Chocolate Bar
Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory DVD

Upcoming Fulton River District movies in the park include Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen (July 13), The Blind Side (Aug. 10), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Aug. 17) and Monsters Vs. Aliens (Aug. 31).

$50 Liquor Rebate

There is a new rebate form up to get back up to $50 (wyb 8 bottles of participating products).

Go here ---> and wait for the slideshow in the middle to switch to “Celebrate July 4 and save up to $50!” or click “save on your summer drinks” on the right to make the link to the rebate form appear.

This runs 6/16-7/17 and is limit one per household in select states (including IL).  don’t forget that both Jewel and Dominick’s give 10% off if you buy 6 bottles in one transaction

Thanks Rachel!

Taste of Chicago - Not just for tasting!

The Dominick's Cooking Corner will be featureing demonstrations by some of Chicago's best chefs and wine experts. Headlining will be Mario Batali (June 25, 1 p.m.) and Giada de Laurentiis (July 1, 3 p.m.)

Go here to see the rest of the line-up --->

Target - .77 Cent Shopping Trip!

This costed .77 cents out of pocket, which I put on a Gift Card for transferring a technically FREE!

Heres how it went down:
  • 2 Ziploc Zip & Steams $2.59 ea. Used (2) $1.00/1 from 6/6 SS &  (2) $1.00/1 Target Q
  • 4 Vanish Drop Ins - $2.14 ea. Used (2) BOGO MQ and (2) BOGO Target Q
  • Schick Hydro 3 $7.24 Used $4.00/1 MQ 6/13 SS and $4.00/1 Target Q 6/20 SS - Got overage
  • Axe Trial Size Deoderant $1.02 Used$1.00/1 here --->
  • Degree Trial Size Deoderant $1.02 Used $1.00/1 here --->

How using a Crockpot can help your budget!

Do you have a crockpot? When is the last time you used it? I think most people have one but not everyone is good about using it and recognizing the amount of time and money they can save you! Here are some great reasons to dust off the old crockpot or pick one up on sale if you don't already own one! Most of this is common knowledge but it might serve as a reminder of why you bought that crockpot in the first place and why the heck is it gathering dust?

  1. Time Saver
    First and foremost a Crockpot is a huge time saver. For a minimal amount of prep work in the morning your dinner will be cooking away and be ready for you & your family when you get home from work. To save even more time you can pre-cut the veggies the night before and have your ingredients lined up and ready to go. This will make your morning a little less hectic!

    Most crockpots now have removable liners. For easy clean-up just pop them right into the dishwasher. They even sell liners now which can be tossed out after use, if you have the type of crock without the removable liner this might be the way to go!
  2. Saves Energy
    It does not take a genius to figure out that a crockpot uses less energy then your oven and does not heat up your kitchen on a hot summer day, thus saving your money. A slow cooker uses about 100 watts of electricity, using it once a week for eight hours at a time will only cost you twenty cents a month in electricity!
  3. Money Saver
    By buying cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them "long and slow" you are able to whip up a tasty, tender meal for alot less. Often these cheaper cuts of meat can be tough and chewy. However, during the long cooking periods at lower temperatures the connective tissue breaks down making tougher meat tender and succulunt. Same thing with a smoker but that's a topic for another day!

    It also lessens the chance you'll swing by drive thru on the way home because of a time crunch, again saving you money (and calories). Things come up, schedules change at a moments notice, we've all been there, stopping by drive-thru and skipping the dinner you were going to prepare due to unforeseen events....that does not happen if you have dinner already being prepared for you!
  4. Great Tasting
    Crockpots and the recipes concocted for them have come along way since the hey day of the crockpot back in the 70's. By following recipes carefully, in other words layering the food as directed you will be rewarded with a very tasty meal.
  5. Great Feature
    If you are often not going to be home when your crockpot meal is being cooked, perhaps because you have a full time job. Consider investing in a crockput that automatically turns to warm after a certain number of hours or after it reaches a certain temperature. That way if you end up having to work late or no one will be home for some reason to turn off that crockpot you will not have an overcooked meal on your hands!
  6. Cook Once Eat Twice
    Think abou investing in a larger crockpot and double the recipe. This will make for a couple of days of leftovers or freeze half for another night!

Walgreens - "Cleaning Up" with Neutrogena

Transaction 1:
1 - Schick Shaver $7.99
1-  Post Grapenuts Cereal $2.00
Used $5.00/1 Schick Razor 6/13 SS
Used $2.00/1 Post Cereal MQ
Total: $2.99 plus tax - Received $4 RR for Schick Razor

Transaction 2:
3- Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansers $4.49
1 - Butterfinger .39 (filler) Note to self quit buying high calorie fillers!Used (3) $1.50/1 Any Neutrogena Product MQ
Used $4 RR from Schick Razor Above
Total: $6.33 got back $10 RR for Neutrogena - profit of: $3.67

Transaction 3:
3 - Neutrogena Deep Cleansers $4.49
Used (3) $1.50/1 Any Neutrogena Product MQ
Total: $9.91 got back $10 RR for Neutrogena - profit of: .09 cents

Saving Money on Haircuts

Here are some tips for saving money on Hair Cuts. We all need to "trim" our budget these days and this is as good a place to start then any!
  • Don't go to a Salon
    I have a simple no-frills cut, for years I would go to a salon and spend $35-$45 every 6-weeks, I'm afraid to add up how much that costed me. I was reluctant to go someplace like Supercuts or Fantastic Sams believing I'd get an inferior cut. I finally swallowed my vanity and went to Fantastic Sams and was pleasantly surprised with a more then adequate cut. The women who worked there were older and obviously very experienced, unlike what I thought they would be young and fresh out of beauty school!
  • Look for Newly Opened or Opening Salons
    They will often offer discounts and promos to build up their clientelle!
  • Ask for a Junior Stylist
    If you just can't give up the Salon for a cheaper franchise store, ask if your Salon has a junior stylist. This is someone with less experience and will often offer their services at a discount.
  • Get your cut at a Training Facility or Beauty School
    You'll get a salon cut without the salon price. Keep in mind that they will do their work under the supervision of their instructors from a supervised stylist in training. They usually offer cuts, perms, manicures, waxing and more for a fraction of the cost. Think about asking who is nearest graduation, thus ensuring you'll get somebody with the most experience.

    Go here to find one near you --->
  • Look for Coupons
    Keep your eyes open for salon coupons in your junk mail, newspaper and coupon booklets. Also check to see if some of the Salon's near you have an email mailing list and get yourself put on. That way you'll be notified of sales and promos. Don't forget to Google a salon with the word coupon to see what will come up!
  • Stretch the Time in Between Visits
    They would love you to think you need your hair cut every six weeks but that's a myth. The next time they say "let's put you in the book for your next visit now"....kindly decline. If you have simple cut/style you can easily stretch that to 8-10 weeks that will shave 3-4 visits off per year!
  • Get Your Bangs Done, Free
    Don't pay to get your bangs done. Most stylists will trim your bangs between cuts for free. You simply drop in and the trim takes less than five minutes. At best they will charge you a minimal fee of $5, this can help you stretch time between haircuts!
  • Wash and condition at home.
    Many salons, including the franchises like Great Clips and Fantastic Sams will charge you extra for that shampoo. They very sneakily will not tell you this, so when you look at the marquee or pricing pamphlet you are seeing the price w/out the Shampoo and Conditioner. Do what I do jump in the shower before heading and arrive with freshly washed and still wet hair. Or let them spray it down to wet it. You'll save a minimum of $3.
  • Blowdry & Style
    Same as the wash and conditioner this costs extra, so I always skip this part. Plus I really don't have the patience to sit through it, once my hair is cut I'm antsy to get out and finish running my errands.
  • Go to a Barber
    If you have a simple cut/style consider going to a barber, they're not just for Men. I realize this can take some guts but you'll pay alot less in most cases.

Dominicks Buy 8 Save $4 Sale

Total came to $3.66, used an expired $3.00 Catalina to bring it down to .66 cents!

Here's how it went down:
  • (2) Capri Sunrise $1.49 ea. Mix & Match Sale Used (2) $1.00/1 MQ's 4/25 SS
  • (6) Hormel Chili's $.89 ea. Mix & Match Sale Used (2) $1.50/3 MQ's from Bud Light Coupon Book (was out around Super Bowl)
These items were part of the Buy 8 Save $4 Mix & Match Sale!

Marcus Kid Rule Summer Film Series

Marcus Theaters is offering a kids summer film series. Their Kids Rule programs runs on Wednesdays & Thursdays at 10 am starting June 23rd! Admission is a $2.75 and you'll receive a FREE bag of popcorn!

Here's a list of what's playing this summer:

  • June 23-24 - How to Tame a Dragon
  • June 30-July 1st - The Lightening Thief
  • July 7-8th - The Tooth Fairy
  • July 14-15th - Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • July 21-22nd - Furry Vengeance
Go here ---> for more information & locations!

Thanks Bargain is the New Black!

Frugal Friday - Planning a Gift Closet

By creating a gift closet you are able to plan ahead for gift giving rather then running out at the last minute, thus you save time, hassle and most especially money! It also comes in handy for those last minute events that seem to pop-up and saves you the embarrassement of not having something to give.

Location: This is key, while not all of us has an extra closet to devote to "gifts" any place out of the way will do. A cabinet, a bin or shelf in the basement, a drawer, under the get the idea. Having one or two central locations for your gifts means you'll spend less time hunting for them when the time arrives to use them. If you can't find them you can't use them and you'll be running out to the store, which really defeats the purpose!

Organization: You'd be surprised how quickly that closet get's packed and many items are buried and before too long you're not all together sure what's in there? One solution is to keep a master list. Create a list with the item name, where you put it, your cost and who you had in mind when you bought if. Now don't lose the list! Do yourself a favor....don't wait for 5 minute before you need to be there to try and unbury the item...I know from experience the avalanche it causes is not worth it! And on occasion...oops it's not there...or oops it's the wrong size etc...

Know who your shopping for: Take some time to consider what occasions you will need gifts for and what might be appropriate. If you have a 6 year old for example you will probably need some gifts geared towards that age group as he or she will be invited to Birthday Parties. Other ideas include: teacher gifts, gifts for your girlfriends, housewarming gifts, christmas gifts.

It also pays to pay attention to people you gift to through out the year, chances are they are unwittingly giving you clues on what they like/want. When this happens keep your eyes peeled for that item at a rock bottom price.

Regifting: We've all received gifts we've been less then thrilled with and can't return or exchange. When that is the case put it in the Gift Closet and regift it. Just wait match the gift with someone who will appreciate it, if you have someone in mind right away add it to your master list. Put a note on it so you know who gave it to you so you don't give it back to someone in the same circle or god forbid back to the person who originally gave it to you.

Stocking the Closet: This is the fun part, shopping. It's not a good idea to run out and "shop" for your gift closet, you'll waste time, gas and money. Rather keep your eyes out for deals through out the year and snag items at rock bottom prices for your stash.

Holiday Stocking: The day/week after a Holiday is the best time to stock up on seasonal gifts. I have it on good athority that Santa and the Easter Bunny shop for stocking stuffers and Easter Basket goodies at that time! Although it's not always possible to know what your child will want the following Christmas this is a good time to stock up on holiday socks, pj's, t-shirts, egg dye kits, ginger bread house kits, etc...

Keep in mind many stores will stock up on non-holdiay items at this time as well, such as toys....often they over-stock. Just wait around eventually they'll go on clearance.

The price scanner is your friend! - not all seasonal/holiday items get put in the same area of the store when they are clearanced. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks remotely seasonal and scan it, often the store associates miss relocating these items.

Garage/Yard Sales - This is a great place to find gifts. Look for toys, games, craft kits, puzzles, bath & body products etc...still sealed in their original packaging. If you are giving it as a gift you want to ensure every piece is there so it makes sense to buy something still sealed. Surprisingly you find this kind of stuff fairly often!

Gift Wrap, Bags & Cards - As long as you're out there keep your eyes peeled for deals on wrapping paper, gift bags and cards. You can find holiday/seasonal wrap and bags the week after a holiday. You should also keep your eyes peeled for Card deals, coupons and promotions around holidays. This Mother's Day I bought several cards for a steal to use for future holidays by using a sale, promotion and a coupon to get them for next to nothing! Don't forget about Weddings, is there anything as aggravating as running into a store in a rush on your way to the reception in your high heels because you forgot to buy a card?

Gift Cards - Keep an eye out for good deals on gift cards. Yes believe it or not they often offer incentives for buying gift cards, usually around holidays. Snatch them up when you can get  a deal and save them for gift giving! Teenagers love Gift Cards, and no trust me you don't know what they want!

Reward Points: I turn my Discover reward points in for gift cards and save them for gift giving!

My favorite Gift Closet find this year: The Habro Deck of Card Games. They had Pictureka, Monopoly, Sorry and Scrabble Slam. There were $5.00 printables for these and many came with $5.00 off coupons inside. They were $5.24 at Walmart so I got them for .24 cents. I got oodles and oodles of them....!

What about you do you have a Gift Closet Frugal Tip? If so comment and let me know!