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pick up the values

My October Weeknight Meal Plan + $50 Cottonelle Giveaway!

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 29, 2014 · 92 comments

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

While I've shared in the past that sticking with a meal plan isn't one of my virtues, I'm going to give it an honest go for October. We've got a busy month coming up with three weekend soccer tournaments and a business trip for me mid-month, so hopefully having a plan in place will help alleviate some of the stress!

Two things before we get to my plan... Weekends are almost always up in the air for us until the last minute, so I'm only going to plan out our weeknights. Also, we rotate through a number of different side dishes, so I'll just list a specific side when it makes sense and share some of our other faves apart from the main dishes after the plan.

One Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken

:: Week One (9/29-10/3)

Snacks
chocolate chip coffee muffins
freezer smoothies

Dinners
grilled honey lime chicken, coconut milk rice
dinner out
one pot cilantro lime chicken w/ corn & blackbeans, leftover coconut milk rice
grilled lemon basil pork chops, lemony basil orzo pasta salad
homemade pizza night

Cilantro Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs

:: Week Two (10/6-10/10)

Snacks
crunchy homemade granola bars
apple muffins

Dinners
cilantro chipotle barbecue grilled chicken thighs
Italian wedding soup, bread machine sourdough bread
leftovers (business trip)
pizza carryout (business trip)
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Banana Bread Recipe

:: Week Three (10/13-10/17)

Snacks
no bake peanut butter bars
banana bread

Dinners
beef barbacoa burrito bowls, coconut milk rice, Mexican sweet corn cake (if I'm feeling ambitious)
leftovers
creamy tomato basil soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
4-ingredient mini chicken pot pies
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Mango Bread Recipe

:: Week Four (10/20-10/24)

Snacks
mango bread
pumpkin bread

Dinners
homemade chicken and dumplings
zuppa toscana soup, homemade breadsticks
leftovers
walking tacos
homemade pizza night

Easy Chili Recipe

:: Week Five (10/27-10/31)

Snacks
apples with homemade caramel sauce
chocolate-covered pumpkin pretzels

Dinners
slow cooker chili
leftovers
slow cooker cola pulled pork sliders
leftovers (Trick-or-Treat night)
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Roasted Sesame Asparagus

As I mentioned, we're pretty laid back when it comes to side dishes. Usually I can throw together at least one of the sides below with whatever comes in our weekly produce box and/or what's in my pantry -- and my family is fine with that!

Now it's your turn to share... What's on your menu this week or month? Share in the comments or leave a link to your menu plan post and you could win a Cottonelle prize package valued at $50!

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Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win $50 in Cottonelle products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...

Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on Cottonelle products!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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My 5 Favorite FREE Money-Saving Apps + $50 Pull-Ups Giveaway

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 24, 2014 · 36 comments

I'll just be completely honest, there have been many shopping trips recently where I haven't used a single paper coupon... Are you a bit shocked? I'm guessing maybe some of you are, but I'm also betting that there are a good number of you out there saying, "Yeah, I'm going through one of those stages, too."

It makes me laugh to remember how I used to think that when my kids were just a little older, we'd have it made. No, we didn't plan to have 5 kids in the span of less than 6 years (and I wouldn't change it for the world), but the thing about those babies and toddlers and preschoolers growing up is... they grow up.

As they get older they don't need the same kind of constant physical attention for feeding and bathing and napping, etc... BUT they do need shuttled here and there for school and activities, as well as help with homework that I don't even understand myself sometimes. And they still need fed amidst all of that! And reminded to shower, and on and on.

So, yeah, that's the stage we're at now. And finding the time to clip and sort coupons just may be the task that tips me over the edge from slightly frazzled soccer mom to that crazy-insane mom that we need to steer clear of at all costs. And I don't wanna be that mom!

5 FREE Money-Saving Apps

But the good news is that there are still plenty of ways to save money on groceries and more that don't involve cutting a single coupon! And since my phone is my lifeline these days, it seemed only natural to look for ways to use it to save our family some cash.

Though I have a number of money-saving apps downloaded to my phone, the five below are the tried and true gems that I find myself using over and over again.

Ibotta offers cash back rebates on groceries, health & beauty, apparel, restaurants and more. I use it mainly for groceries, and it's super simple to redeem the rebates by submitting a photo of your receipt. A handful of stores offer redemption via your store loyalty card, but I haven't tried this option because it's not available in my area.

There are also opportunities to earn bonuses on your rebates based on referring friends and redeeming multiple rebates within a given month. You can cash out via Paypal when your account reaches $5, or you can choose to redeem your savings for a variety of gift cards.

What I love most about Ibotta is that, in addition to the typical product coupons we see, there are often savings on items that rarely have coupons. Currently you can save $1.00 off a gallon of milk, $0.25 off any brand of orange juice, and $0.25 off a dozen eggs -- all items that are typically on my shopping list!

Register for Ibotta


Checkout 51 is very similar to Ibotta in that you snap a photo of your receipt and submit it to receive rebates. While there aren't as many bonus opportunities for saving, they also seem very dedicated to offering rebates on fresh produce and other staples. When your account reaches $20 in savings, you can cash out by requesting a check.

My favorite offers this week include $0.25 off bananas, $0.50 off a dozen eggs (combine with the Ibotta rebate!), and $0.25 off any salad mix.

Register for Checkout 51


SavingStar rebates can actually be redeemed online, but since I mostly use the app on my phone, I included them in this list. SavingStar offers can be redeemed by submitting your receipt or there are a few stores that offer automatic redemption when you attach your store loyalty card to your account. Cash out via Paypal when your account reaches $5, or you can redeem the balance for an Amazon gift card.

They seem to have fewer offers that I'm interested in personally, but I do love their fresh produce Healthy Offer of the Week. This week's offer is 20% off loose apples! Savingstar also has a FREE deal each week that runs for three days, starting on Friday.

Register for SavingStar


The Amazon Mobile app makes my top five because I use it frequently for checking the prices in stores when I'm shopping. Now that's not to say that I check every single item I purchase, but I have a certain price point in mind that I always price check over and above. We have an Amazon Prime subscription, so if an item is available at a lower price with Prime shipping, it almost always worth the extra day or two to purchase online.

Download Amazon Mobile


The new Savings Catcher app from Walmart is the newest addition to my list, but it's quickly became one of my favorites. Simply scan your receipts to submit them after making a purchase at Walmart, and they will automatically compare the prices with competitor stores in your area. If an item you bought turns out to be price lower at another store, Walmart will refund the difference to a Walmart Rewards eGift Card.

Even better, I just noticed that if you open up a Bluebird Account, you'll receive 2X the savings back! I already have almost $15 in savings in my account, so I'm definitely going to look into the Bluebird option.

More about Savings Catcher



Sometimes I'll check out these apps before I shop, and other times I'll just scan them once I'm home to see if I can take advantage of the savings. Since I'm trying to get in the habit of only buying what my family needs, the second option eliminates the temptation to just pick up an item because it's a good deal. Simplicity is the key for me right now!

Now it's your turn to share... What is your favorite money-saving app? Share in the comments and you could win a Pull-Ups prize package valued at $50!

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Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win his or her choice of $50 in Pull-Ups products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...



Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on Pull-Ups products!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Cilantro Lime Chicken



Weeknight dinners are my nemesis... Just when I think I've got it all under control, I sometimes find myself getting derailed, and you know what that means -- I'm calling up our local pizzeria for delivery. So what's a mom to do? Get right back in the saddle with an easy recipe like the One Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken With Corn & Black Beans pictured above, of course!

If you often find yourself in the same situation, here are five more tips that will help simplify your weeknight meals:

Meal Planning

Meal planning involves mapping out a plan for your meals on a weekly or monthly basis. It can be as detailed or loose as you'd like, but it allows you to plan meals around sales to save money at the same time. I'll be completely honest, though -- meal planning is not my strength. It definitely works if you're disciplined enough to stick with it, though! I've shared some thoughts on meal planning on Unsophisticook, so you can get more info there.

Have A Go To Plan

I find that a "go to plan" is a better method for my family. We have some basic main dishes and sides that all pair well together, and we keep the ingredients for them stocked at all times. Our plan looks something like this: a main protein (burgers, veggie burgers, grilled chicken, grilled pork chops, etc.), a grilled or roasted veggie side (grilled veggies, roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, grilled avocado, etc.), and a grain or pasta side like coconut milk rice, quinoa, or a fluffy couscous.

Use Your Slow Cooker

There are a number of tools in my kitchen that I consider essential to getting dinner on the table quickly on busy weeknights -- my immersion blender, kitchen scissors, and Le Creuset French oven to name a few. But my slow cooker tops them all! here are six of my favorite tried and true slow cooker recipes to get you started.

Freezer Meals

I love the concept of preparing meals ahead of time that can be easily frozen and reheated or cooked upon thawing. Not all recipes are conducive to this treatment, but with a few substitutions, most can be adapted to become a freezer meal. The easiest way I've found to stock the freezer is to simply double all of my freezer compatible meals when I make them -- one for that evening and one to be frozen for later use. Or if a freezer cooking day to stock your freezer for a month sounds appealing, check out Once A Month Meals, where my friend Tricia has put together an amazing resource for freezer cooking fanatics!

Healthy Snacks

When all else fails, it pays to have some healthy snacks on hand to tide the family over through homework and sports practices, allowing you more time to figure out the all important dinner menu. Find five of our favorite recipes here, including an amazing recipe for healthy homemade granola bars!

What is your favorite tip for getting dinner on the table in a hurry? Share in the comments and you could win a U by Kotex prize package valued at $50!

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Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win his or her choice of $50 in U by Kotex products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...



Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on U by Kotex products!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Saving Our Pennies + $50 Kleenex Brand Giveaway!

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 8, 2014 · 83 comments

I'm always surprised at the amount of loose change my kids find laying around. They're masters at spotting dropped change in parking lots, coins left in return change slots on pop machines, nickels wedged into park benches, etc...

I suppose they come by it honestly. I remember being 16 years old, searching the couch cushions for loose change to put a few gallons of gas in my car -- you know, back when gas was like $0.89 a gallon.

These days spare change doesn't go nearly as far when filling up your gas tank, but that doesn't mean that we should just cast it aside. Those pennies and dimes still add up to dollars over time!

A couple of years ago we decided, as a family, to save all of our loose change. I set out a mason jar in the kitchen, which was quickly filled to overflowing. So I purchased a vintage glass water jug off of One Kings Lane, and now it sits in our entryway where it's easy for each family member to drop in their contributions.

Oh, we're a loooonnnngg way from filling it up, but we definitely have a goal in mind.... These days my kids like to show it off to their friends and tell them it's our "Hawaii fund." I honestly don't even know if our jug can hold enough change to pay for our family of 7 to take a trip to Hawaii, but by the time we (hopefully) fill it up, all of our kids should be old enough to fully enjoy and cherish the memories of such a trip.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying watching my kids delight in checking the rising level of our saved pennies (and nickels, dimes and quarters), knowing that they're learning how to make a conscious decision to save.

What is your family saving for? Share in the comments and you could win a Kleenex Brand prize package valued at $50!

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Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will his or her choice of $50 in Kleenex Brand products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...



Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on Kleenex Brand items!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I'm super excited to be working with Kimberly-Clark once again as a spokesperson over the next several months. I'll be sharing real life solutions that will help you stretch your budget and make it easier to fill your shopping cart with the products you need at a price that won't empty your wallet. Plus I've got some fantastic giveaways lined up that you won't want to miss!

By the way, did you know that September is National Coupon Month? This means that we'll be seeing lots of great money-saving coupons released this month, including these nice high-value printable coupons from Kimberly-Clark. Share the savings with your friends to increase the value of these coupons even more!

A few noteworthy savings examples:

  • Score $2 off a package of Pull-Ups Training Pants vs. only $1 off per package.
  • Save $2 on GoodNites Underwear vs. only $1 off.
  • Get $0.50 off a 3-pk. Kleenex bundle pack vs. just $0.25 off.
  • Save $1 off Huggies Wipes vs. $0.50 off the same.

We don't see savings like this on these items often, so I'd recommend that you "Pick Up The Values" now. Note that you do need to choose to share the offers on your first visit, because your selection is saved to your browser and cannot be changed later on.

You'll also want to keep an eye out for the special Pick Up The Values coupon insert that will be in Sunday papers on 9/14. It's filled with more valuable coupons to save your hard-earned cash. Values will differ based on your market, but here's an overview of what you could see:

Kleenex

  1. $0.50/3 Kleenex Facial Tissue (50 ct.+) OR any 1 bundle pack
    $0.50/1 Kleenex Hand Towels
  2. $1/4 Kleenex Facial Tissue (50 ct.+) OR any 1 bundle pack
    $1/2 Kleenex Hand Towels

Cottonelle Toilet Paper

  1. $0.75/1 Cottonelle Upright Dispenser
    $0.50/2 Cottonelle Toilet Paper (4-pks.) or one (9-pk.+)
  2. $1/1 Cottonelle Upright Dispenser
    $1/2 Cottonelle Toilet Paper (4-pks.) or one (9-pk.+)

Viva Paper Towels

  1. $0.40/1 Viva Vantage Paper Towels or Viva Paper Towels
  2. $0.50/1 Viva Vantage Paper Towels or Viva Paper Towels
  3. $0.60/1 Viva Vantage Paper Towels or Viva Paper Towels
  4. $1/1 Viva Vantage Paper Towels or Viva Paper Towels (6-pk.+)

Scott Towels

  1. $1.25/2 Scott Towels (6-pk.+)
  2. $0.75/6 Scott Towels Rolls

Kotex

  1. $0.50/2 U by Kotex Products
  2. $1/2 U by Kotex Products
  3. $1/2 Kotex Natural Balance Products, U by Kotex Lightdays Liners, and/or U by Kotex Security Pads and Tampons

GoodNites

  1. $2/1 GoodNites Tru-Fit Starter Pack

Huggies

  1. $1.50/1 Huggies Diapers
  2. $1.50/1 Huggies Little Snugglers, Little Movers or Overnites Diapers
  3. $0.50/1 Huggies Baby Wipes (32-ct.+)
  4. $1/2 Huggies Baby Wipes (32-ct.+)

Be sure to check back for those awesome giveaways I mentioned earlier! In the meantime, you might like to read through a few of my favorite tips from last year:

This post was brought to you by Kimberly-Clark's Pick Up The Values, a program dedicated to providing families with helpful tips and convenient value to stretch their budgets. Don't forget to download your valuable coupons on the Pick Up The Values website!

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