A Day in Our Shoes

http://adayinourshoes.com

Resources, support, advocacy and fun for families that are raising children with special needs.

What's your favorite family tradition?

What's the most challenging thing about being both a blogger and a mom?

What's the most rewarding thing about being a mom?

Is it better to buy certain items at WalMart rather than Target, or vice versa? If so, which products?

Lisa L

No, I just go with the lowest prices. Actually, I shop at Walmart and Target VERY infrequently. My grocery stores do true doubles up to $0.99 face value. And if you maximize deals such as Catalina offers at grocery stores, plus store rewards programs like Extra Care Bucks (CVS) and Register Rewards (Walgreens) you can usually get many items for free or close to it. Target and Walmart take coupons, but other than the occasional gift card rebate offer from Target, they don't often have other deals to stack on top of coupons.
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What are the best products to buy in January and February?

Lisa L

Here are some tips on what you will find great bargains or prices on, from now through January. Prices on many of these items are the lowest you’ll find them all year, so if you have the extra money and extra space, you may want to consider stockpiling these things. 1. Christmas items: This one is pretty obvious, but Christmas items at most places are already 50% off or more and will only get cheaper as the weeks progress. Sure, it means lots of cheap Christmas decorations, gift wrap and all that stuff, but don’t forget gift sets–if they can be broken down into something you will use, and it’s very cheap, get it! Don’t forget about all the teacher, coworker and other gifts you usually buy in December–because now is the time to get those items if you can. 2. Christmas foods: Turkeys, hams, baking goods, candy….all that stuff that has been lining the grocery store shelves, it’s got to go! Check expiration dates, check your storage abilities and buy what you will use. Get a frozen Easter ham now! Next week they will be much cheaper than they are the week before Easter. Most stores allow you to use coupons on clearance items. 3. New Year’s Resolutions: What are the most common New Year’s Resolutions? Weight loss, getting healthy, working out, dieting, quitting smoking, getting organized. Yep, yep, yep and yep. All of those items–nutrition and weight loss products, fitness apparel, fitness equipment, stuff to get your home organized, over-the-counter weight loss and smoking cessation products–they’re all on sale now. 4. Think Back to School: Seriously. Many stores like Staples and Office Max, go along with the “getting organized” theme, as well as they know that most students young and old are returning to school/college after an extended break. And they want *you* to stock up at their store before you go. If you need these items, check the ads first–lots of it is on sale. 5. Procter & Gamble: Almost every year, Procter & Gamble does a series of huge promos at all the stores, plus a big coupon insert, often with a rebate attached. 6. Box Tops for Education: Besides Back-to-School time, this is the other time of year that Box Tops for Education and General Mills does a huge push for it’s products. Look for sales, coupons and rewards programs (with bonus BTFEs) in your local stores. 7. Cleaning items: Along with the “getting organized” theme, many manufacturers do promos on cleaning products and items. 8. Comfort foods: anything related to soups, stews and other types of wintery foods–look for deals and coupons. 9. Makeup/cosmetics clearance: January and July are huge clearance months for lots of items, especially cosmetics. I’ve already seen many items at 75% off at CVS. Combine with coupons for almost free stuff–this is one of my favorite deals to pursue! 10. Junk food: It’s Super Bowl or Football playoff season, so all the chips, dips, soda and other junk foods like that are usually very discounted.
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What's the most common financial mistake families make?

Lisa L

Not having a budget! You don't get in your car and plan for a drive without knowing how much fuel you have and how far you have to go........so why would you guide your household through a month or a year, without knowing your income and expenses. You need to know how much fuel your household has, and how far that fuel has to get you. Plan a budget, record what you are spending and make corrections (either to the budget or to your spending habits!) as necessary. And to trim spending, have EVERYONE in your household save EVERY receipt for one month. You'll be very surprised to find little expenditures here and there that can add up to big money. Don't delay, do a household budget today.
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What's an affordable and fun family activity?

Lisa L

Lots of the big chain stores like Home Depot, Lowe's and others have free family activities on weekends. Some other good places to check are your local library or state/municipal park.
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Do you have a recipe for a useful homemade cleaning product (detergent, soap, or other product)?

Lisa L

Yes, here is a great recipe to home made laundry detergent!
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What's a great source to buy formal clothing for children?

Lisa L

I love consignment shops for special occasion wear. Most of it is in great condition because it's only been worn once or twice.
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What is your best tip for planning an affordable summer vacation with kids?

Lisa L

Save the big-bucks luxury hotel rooms for when you & hubby are going away, just the 2 of you. For kids, camping is fine! They don't mind. In the end, it's all about the experiences and time together.
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Can you recommend a great toy that costs less than $10? Please share a link to a photo.

Lisa L

Bubbles! Kids of all ages love bubbles, even the bigger kids. With the new automatic bubble blowers that are out there, they love to be showered in bubbles. Bubbles also encourage moms and kids to get outside and get moving! http://adayinourshoes.com/2012/06/19/tech-toy-tuesdaythe-best-bubbles-can-buy/
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What's an affordable family summer vacation destination? (please include a link)

Lisa L

Just about any place is affordable if you're willing to travel in the off season, or shoulder season.
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