Dealy Os

This is a blog that I created to share how to save money and use coupons and is still in the process of expanding as I now also touch on a few things motherhood related, product reviews and giveaways, military spouse life, green living, crafts,...

Alyssa is a winner of Top 25 Money Saving Blogs by Moms - 2012

What's the single best decision about money you've made?

The single best decision that I have made about I should be a good steward of the money that I have. This means that I tithe on 10%, trying to save and invest what I make by saving money using coupons and keeping a budget and keeping a portion of my money in a savings account and trying not to touch it as much as possible so it earns interest and making sure that we don't spend any more money than we have (I don't like to be in debt so any loans we have are interest-free and we pay them off regularly and my credit card is paid in full every month.)

Does your child receive an allowance? If so, how much? (Please share how old your child is.)

My child is currently not quite two years old so he does not get an allowance. Eventually we will look into an allowance, but we will have him do chores to receive the money so he learns the importance of hard work and he will also learn at this point to tithe, save for college and to save up for different toys and games he might want. For the time that I was pregnant with my son we gave all of his grandparents (including great-grandparents) a penny jar for them to put all of their extra pennies in then my husband and I each saved our spare change for him during my pregnancy through the first year of my son's life. In addition, I set aside some of his Christmas and birthday money for him. Now he has $200 earning interest in a bank account and $300 in a savings bond earning more towards his college and we still continue to save! Once he starts getting an allowance this amount will just continue to rise.

What's an easy way moms can trim their family food budget?

Moms can easily trim their food budgets by purchasing produce from a local farmer's market. A lot of people don't know this, but if you purchase your food at a farmer's market you can often negotiate prices and your family will get fresh, healthy, filling food! Another tip is to not let your food go to waste. Freeze when you can if you purchase much produce at once for a good deal or make canned goods or frozen meals that your family can thaw or heat up for a quick lunch. If the food looks a little bit bruised, it's not bad so don't throw it! Just cut off the unappetizing part and use the rest! You also should try to shop the outside of the store. You may have heard this before and ignored it, but it really is true! The outside of the store is what is the healthiest--meats, produce, dairy...once you start shopping the middle of the store you get into processed foods that charge you for unhealthy additives and extra sugar. Sure, sometimes you can get decent deals in the middle of the store, but the processed food is also not as filling and is very addictive which means you will be purchasing more and more often. It is best not to even tempt yourself. Of course, you will want to treat yourself sometimes, but that is when you bring along a list and stay strictly to that list!

What's your best budget tip for shopping for back-to-school necessities like school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, labels and lunchboxes? Include a link to a photo if you have one!

Alyssa Darby

My best back-to-school shopping tip is to shop around. No need to buy everything all in one place (although, you can price-match at Walmart!) Look for the best deals after cash back, rebates, coupons and sales! Staples, Office Max and Office Depot are rather expensive to start, but they have a lot of free deals for back-to-school! Drug stores also have some great sales on back-to-school items! Either make a lunchbox on your own, or watch for free reuseable lunch boxes/bags from places like Staples, Recyclebank, Disney Movie Rewards and more! The key is to really keep your eyes out! You can get a deal on almost anything if you try! Sometimes finding deals takes a bit of patience, but that's why stores start their back-to-school deals a month or two early! Check out this link for an example of some FREE school supplies you can get from Walgreens!
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Do you have any great tips for removing stains? Whether it's mud on carpets or blood on clothes, we want to hear your best stain-banishing tricks!

Alyssa Darby

The best way I have ever been able to remove stains from pretty much ANYTHING is to simply use a lot of cool/warm water with simple hand soap and scrub with your hands (clothing) or a washcloth (carpet, etc.) There is almost no stain that I can't get out with simple hand soap and water. Be sure to scrub deep down to get everything out! I am sure there are some other awesome tips out there, but if you want to save money and catch the stain pretty early on, this is the way to go. Depending on the stain, it can take a bit, but hey, I prefer to go the cheap route and the lack of harsh chemicals is better anyway!
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What are your best tips for Black Friday shopping? (Please include a link if it's relevant.)

Alyssa Darby

Is it really a good deal? A lot of Black Friday deals are awesome, however, there are several items that you can find cheaper throughout the year with various store discounts and sales. Don't forget that Cyber Monday follows too! If a deal is not good enough, don't go out to grab it because you will waste a lot of time, body heat, fuel and will run the risk of being trampled. Did you know that a lot of stores now have their Black Friday deals available online as well? If you can't make it out or want to save fuel, this is an option as well! Of course, items will sell out quickly, but if you are quick on the draw, you will do fine. Not spending enough for free shipping? Some stores have other free shipping options such as Shoprunner, for stores like Toys 'R Us which allows you to get free 2-day shipping on all orders, or free shipping at Target when you enter your RED card number. If you still choose to head out, be sure to plan your trip. Be fast and efficient with a map of where you plan to go and what you plan to grab. Some stores will hand you a store sale map while you are in line outside which will save you a lot of time and hassle. Don't forget, more than likely you will have to get to the store VERY early to get in on time and it will probably be very, very cold, so be sure to bring some warm clothes, a warm beverage and some snacks to keep you busy while you are in like! Waiting in like, be kind to others and strike up small talk and your wait will go so much faster and you may make a new friend! My Black Friday experience last year was AMAZING. I got everything I needed, no hassle, I was in and out very quickly and met some great people! I never thought I would enjoy Black Friday shopping so much! I went by myself so I was not held back by anyone, but if you go with a friend, make sure you both know what you are getting and team up and split up to be in and out in a jiffy.
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