Thursday, November 8, 2012

Leader Enterprise - Nov. 7, 2012 - Couponing & Homemade Cleaners


photo credit: The Country Cook 


Using coupons is a great way to stretch your family’s budget.There are available coupons for things other than groceries too, like restaurants, toys,and even vacations. Experiment using coupons to help you save up to 90% to try new products you wouldn’t normally buy but will practically put to use.

Buying one or more Sunday papers that include coupon books, is a great way to get stocked up on savings. Check out websites, like www.thecouponclippers.com that offer coupons for cents on the dollar or www.coupondivas.com that offer tutorials to help you get started in the couponing game. Maybe you have a friend who will give you their coupons?  It never hurts to ask especially if those savings are being tossed in the trash.

Make it a goal to only buy grocery items on sale and with a coupon. Plan meals around those purchases.

Whether you are new to couponing or a seasoned saver, one of the first steps you need to consider is how to store and organize your coupons. I would suggest you always carry your coupons with you. Even though you think you’re just running into the store for one item, you might see something on sale or on the clearance rack that you have a coupon for, so you do want to keep it handy.

It might work for you to tuck your clipped coupons into a simple envelope. Or mark several envelopes with categories. Or store them according to expiration dates. Do what works best for you.

Maybe you’d prefer, as I do, an expanding file that is wallet size and easy to carry in your purse. Make sure it has tabs on top of the dividers. Mark each with the product category so you can find what you're looking for at a glance. I normally add my most recent coupons to the back of each divider, so that the oldest ones(most likely to expire first) are in the front.


Did you realize that whether you like or dislike a product, if you write to the company, they likely will send you coupons?  I've done it myself and was thrilled for what I have received. Free items even! It's worth some time and being able to email a company makes things quicker than ever before.

And did you know that expired coupons can be mailed to military families? They're able to use them in their base stores up to six months after expiration. One site to check out for details is www.coupsfortroops.com.

Thought I'd share a few Do-It-Yourself recipes to help stretch that budget.

NATURAL STAINLESS STEEL CLEANER

Wipe off any major caked on grime using a rag. Pour about a tablespoon or so of olive oil on a folded paper towel. You don’t want too much oil or you’ll leave streaks of oil on the fridge, but you want enough that it does the job. You may have to experiment a bit.


Wipe the fridge or appliance “with the grain” of the steel. Look for what direction the metal seems to naturally go. This stroking method worked better than using a circular motion, which left some streaks. You may have to reload your paper towel once or twice with more oil to cover the whole surface. Wipe off any excess oil using a dry paper towel.

HOMEMADE LIQUID FABRIC SOFTENER
6 c. hot water
3 c. white distilled vinegar
2 c. hair conditioner (any brand)
1 empty gallon container

In large (microwave safe) bowl, mix vinegar and hair conditioner together it will look a tad clumpy). Place bowl in microwave and heat for a minute or two. This will ensure the ingredients will blend together. Remove from microwave and stir. Add hot water and mix to blend. Pour mixture into a one gallon container and store in laundry room. 

Use same amount as you would store-purchased softener. (though I always use about half as much as the label says).

Note: Be sure to shake bottle well before adding to dispenser, downy ball or directly in rinse cycle. (I had an extra large bottle of Downy already, and just added this mixture to it. It works great and I still get the fragrance from the Downy.) 


I have a friend who raves about this DIY recipe for HOMEMADE SPRAY STARCH. She refuses to ever buy it again.
Simply add 2 TB. cornstarch to 2 cups water in a spray bottle.Shake and spray. VOILA!

This dessert would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving menu.
It comes from my blogging friend, Brandie, aka The Country Cook. She is well known for her amazing desserts. She gave me permission to use her photo.

PUMPKIN PIE DUMP CAKE
1 (15 ozs) can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1 (12 ozs) can evaporated milk
3 lg. eggs
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (18 ozs) box Spice (or yellow) cake mix
1 c. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9" X 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon and blend until smooth. Mixture will be thin. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle dry cake mix over top of pumpkin mixture. Bake for 55-60 minutes. It might be a bit jiggly in middle when done. It will continue to set up as it cools. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Dollop each serving with whipped cream. Refrigerate any leftovers.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.
Have you used one to say thank you?" - William Arthur Ward