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IHOP 7 for $7

Strategies for Stretching Our Food Budget

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 4, 2012 · 18 comments


I don't know about you all, but there's something about Tax Day looming on the horizon that inspires me to buckle down and clean up our finances. Admittedly we've gotten a little lax with our spending, but also as our children continue to grow, our grocery bill is creeping up along with them. So in an effort to trim our food budget, I'm going to be focusing on some of these tactics:

  • Snacks are a big challenge for us with the kids. They love the Clif Kid Bars, but the five of them can go through them in no time flat, and they're not exactly inexpensive. We're encouraging them to try eating more fresh fruit for snacks by having it cut up and readily available in the refrigerator, and Cuties are always a hit (however, finding a good batch of them this year has been a disappointing endeavor). This is still a work in progress, so I'm hiding the Clif Bars and rationing them out in the meantime.
  • When we do choose to eat out, we always make sure we're getting the most for our money by utilizing loyalty programs, coupons, and special promotions. A smart choice for our family is always IHOP. My husband and I can choose from their 7 for $7 meal offerings, and the kids can choose from their reasonably priced kids' menu. Plus I hate bringing home leftovers because they typically go uneaten, and I never have to worry about them not cleaning their plates here!
  • We'll be joining a CSA again this year. Yes, it can seem like a lot of money out of pocket up front, but our weekly CSA baskets were more than enough for our large family each week, and we're still enjoying some of the excess fruit in our smoothies. Plus having a set amount of money already deducted for produce makes budgeting a little easier.
  • The whole family is drinking more water. We do purchase bottled water for the kids to easily grab when they're playing outside, but for the most part at meals and during the day, we're all drinking tap water from the refrigerator dispenser. My husband and I like to squeeze a little lemon into ours, but we've discovered that they kids are perfectly content with a big glass of ice water. The only downside is our ice maker is having trouble keeping up with the seven of us, so I've been trying to turn on the ultra plus feature at night before we go to bed and emptying it into a bin first thing in the morning so we always have some extra on hand.

By this time I think we all have a good handle on how to save money with coupons, but lately it seems like the number of food coupons is dwindling. Did you notice how many health and beauty and cleaning product coupons were in the recent inserts?

What strategies are you using to save on food beyond coupons? Are you making more staples at home too? What about saving on eating out?

Disclosure: IHOP has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my opinions are entirely my own -- always have been, always will be.

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Rising and Falling Prices In 2012

by Tara Kuczykowski on March 19, 2012 · 7 comments

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Fluctuating prices are nothing new to consumers, but there are a few surprising trends making an appearance this year. If you're wondering how to get the most bang for your buck, check out these prices that are currently on the downturn, thanks in part to money-saving expert Andrea Woroch.

  • Restaurant Meals -- Consumers have curbed their dining out habits in recent years. In response, restaurants like IHOP are looking to bring families back with both variety and value, as seen in their new 7 for $7 meal offerings.
  • Corn, Wheat and Soybeans -- Food prices in general are expected to rise, but prices on these commodities have plunged of late, thanks to massive stockpiles.
  • Car Rentals -- Agencies are experiencing an excess of stock and more competition, which means lower car-rental rates throughout the year. Road trip anyone?
  • GPS Units -- Today's smart phones can do nearly everything these days except cook your breakfast. As a result, they're sending many competitors down the tubes, including stand-alone GPS units.

On the flip side, prices on the following items are on the increase, so paying close attention to sales or looking for alternatives would be a wise move.

  • Peanut Butter -- Peanut butter prices have risen as much as 40% since the beginning of 2012 in response to one of the worst peanut harvests in decades.
  • Orange Juice -- The FDA discovered "low levels" of a fungicide in the 2011 orange crop imported from Brazil, the world's largest producer of oranges.
  • Gas -- Did you enjoy that recent small reprieve from high gas prices? Well don't get used to it; the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts regular gas will average $3.45 this year. Maybe we should hold off on that road trip after all...
  • Mobile Data Plans -- Kiss that unlimited data plan goodbye. Carriers are building up LTE and 4G services, which means your rates will rise.
  • Desktop Computers -- You want a touchscreen? Then you're going to have to pay a lot more for that luxury. The shortage of hard-drive materials, thanks to flooding in Thailand, is also a factor. Expect a boost of about 30 percent.

Have you been feeling the impact of of these pricing fluctuations lately? Are there any other trends that you would add to this list?

Disclosure: IHOP has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my opinions are entirely my own -- always have been, always will be.

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Win-It Wednesday: IHOP $25 Gift Card (10 Winners!)

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 22, 2012 · 1,227 comments

Join me every week for Win-It Wednesday, with 24-hour giveaways just for you!


As you know, IHOP is one of our family's favorite places to eat. With their new 7 for $7 Menu and reasonably priced kids' meals, everyone can get their fill without straining our budget!

And of course next week (Tuesday 2/28) you'll want to head to IHOP to take part in National Pancake Day. They'll be serving guests a FREE short stack of buttermilk pancakes -- yum!

As a special treat, I've got an awesome IHOP giveaway lined up for you. Today TEN (10) lucky Deal Seeking Mom readers will win a $25 IHOP Gift Card!

Now if you're familiar with IHOP, you know that they're known for having an array of fruity syrups on each table to top your pancakes and waffles. To enter, tell me your favorite pancake topping!

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Every reader has four methods available to enter this contest. Choose one each of any combination of method one, two, three, or four for up to a total of 4 entries!!!

If you are reading this in your email or feed reader, please CLICK HERE to visit the original blog post to enter. Email entries will not be counted.

Methods of entry:

1. Leave a comment. Share your favorite pancake topping!

2. Join the IHOP Community and the Deal Seeking Mom community on Facebook for more conversation, additional deals and a peek at the freebies I receive in the mail each week. Come back and leave a separate comment letting me know you've done so!

3. Follow @IHOP and @DealSeekingMom on Twitter and tweet the following. Be sure to come back and leave a separate comment with the link to your tweet!

Enter to win 1 of 10 @IHOP $25 gift cards on @DealSeekingMom: http://dealseekingmom.com/?p=116860

4. Subscribe to my feed via RSS or email. You must confirm your email subscription for it to be a valid entry! Leave a separate comment letting me know you have done so. If you’re already a subscriber, simply leave a separate comment letting me know you’re already subscribed. Lovin’ my subscribers! You guys make this all possible.

Prize:
10 IHOP $25 Gift Cards

This giveaway ends at 2:00 PM on Thursday, February 23, 2012 and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years or older. I’ll use And the Winner Is to select the winning comment. Winner will be notified by email and listed on my Giveaway Winners page. Winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!

While you’re in a contest entering mood, don’t forget to check out the Giveaway Gathering for a variety of contests being hosted on Deal Seeking Mom readers’ blogs!

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IHOP’s New 7 Meals for $7 Menu

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 7, 2012 · 1 comment


Sunday night when many of you were probably watching the Super Bowl, we decided to round up the kids and head to IHOP for dinner. As you can well imagine, finding a restaurant that appeals to all seven members of our family can be quite challenging, and if there's one thing I can count on, it's seeing clean plates all around at the end of a meal at IHOP!

While the kids ordered Funny Face chocolate chip pancakes across-the-board, my husband and I ordered from IHOP's new 7 for $7 menu.

They aren't kidding when they say they have "something for everyone"! My husband was more than pleased with the Chicken & Waffles he ordered (four crispy chicken tenders and four golden waffle quarters), while I ordered the Simple & Fit Veggie Omelette.

I'll admit that I asked the waitress to add a sprinkling of cheese on top thinking that a plain veggie omelette might need a little extra kick, but I could have definitely skipped this. The omelet was flavorful and delicious thanks to a generous topping of tasty oven-roasted tomatoes. Served with a side of fresh fruit, it was a satisfying yet healthful meal for just $7!

All in all our meal was an enjoyable experience -- good food, nice family atmosphere, good service, and all at a price that fits nicely in our budget. Check the IHOP restaurant locator to find a location near you and join the million+ IHOP fans on Facebook!

Disclosure: IHOP has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my opinions are entirely my own -- always have been, always will be.

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Savings Trends for 2012: How Will You Save?

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 23, 2012 · 6 comments


With the increased attention on savings in 2011, thanks to high-profile television shows like Extreme Couponing, it will be interesting to see what kind of changes brands will make in 2012 to bring back a more balanced take on value. I'm teaming up with one of our family's favorite restaurants, IHOP, over the next few months to take a closer look at value trends over time, as well as some of my predictions for 2012.

5 Savings Predictions:

  • Tis the Year to Quench the Appetite With Value: Keep an eye out for exciting value-focused meal deals, like IHOP’s 7 for $7 Menu, which gives busy families 7 great ways to treat themselves to a full-service restaurant experience without breaking the bank. IHOP’s 7 for $7 Menu features meal combos that satisfy every breakfast, lunch or dinner craving, 7 days a week at an affordable price.

    What’s especially nice is you know what your bill is going to be -- even for something like Bacon-Wrapped Sirloin & Eggs -- before you ever go in the restaurant. It sets the stage for a year that is expected to reveal high-quality products that fit a range of budgets and consumer needs. Check out the range of 7 for $7 menu items on the IHOP Facebook fan page.

  • Loyalty Rewards on the Upswing: In the wake of Extreme Couponing, retailers are becoming increasingly aware that consumers are willing to store hop in search of the best deals. I expect that stores will attempt to curb this by offering more attractive loyalty programs to encourage shoppers to do all of their shopping in a single establishment.
  • Share the Wealth: We've seen dramatic growth in discounts offered for sharing deals via various social media outlets. However, some companies have already fizzled out, while others are still going strong. Consumers will be more selective about which companies they're willing to promote, but we'll all continue to enjoy the savings in 2012!
  • Personalized Savings Opportunities: As retailers gather more and more data about their consumers from online purchases, loyalty programs, Internet cookies, and other sources, expect to see more targeted savings opportunities delivered right to your inbox. Companies like Crate & Barrel have already tested this out, sending emails to let consumers know when they've left items in their online shopping carts and even offering additional discounts in some cases.
  • Trade In, Trade Up: Consumers crave the next new and exciting model, but with new versions being released more frequently, they may be hesitant to upgrade their existing products. Retailers are responding by instituting attractive trade-in programs, buying back the old technology to incentivize consumers to purchase the new. However, technology is not the only sector experiencing this trend. Trade in programs are popping up for textbooks (Amazon Student), event tickets (StubHub), gift cards (Plastic Jungle) and more.

In any case, I'm committed to sharing only the best of the best deals here on Deal Seeking Mom, so stay tuned for more savings!

What are your thoughts on my predictions? Do you foresee any other trends that I didn't mention?

Disclosure: IHOP has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my opinions are entirely my own -- always have been, always will be.

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