Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving money on gas; I just paid $2.25/gallon


Several fuel centers have loyalty programs, and Kroger's Shell program has some problems, but is working well for me. One problem I've heard about is that your Kroger card doesn't scan at the pump at Shell stations making it inconvenient for people who prefer to pay at the pump.

Here's how it's working for me:

For every 100 points you earn, you receive 10 cents off per gallon of gas you purchase at one fill-up--up to 35 gallons.

You earn points by purchasing groceries at Kroger, 100 points for 100 dollars spent, and by purchasing gift cards at Kroger, 100 points for every 50 dollars spent. You must by them in $50 increments to earn double points. In other words, if you purchase a $25 card, you'll get 25 points, not fifty.

Additionally, you can earn 100 fuel points for every two non-government funded prescriptions you fill. (But, since I usually see a line at their pharmacy, I haven't ventured into this area.)

I live close to a fuel center and do my grocery shopping primarily at Kroger, so I usually earn between 200-300 points/month that way.

But, now that you can earn double points on gift cards, I simply buy gift cards to other places I shop when I'm at Kroger. For instance, Target and Home Depot are common places I frequent, and Kroger carries sooooo many more gift cards: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, McDonalds, PF Changs, JoAnn's Fabric, you name it! If you often eat at restaurants, you'll definitely want to stop in at Kroger to check out the cards available. Be sure you are looking at their whole selection, however. They have small displays of gift cards in several places but usually there's an isle that has their full selection.

So, twice this month I saved $0.40/gallon and filled up with 19 gallons or more. A savings of more than $7.60 each fill up.

This program is definitely not for everyone, particularly if you tend to lose gift cards or if you aren't able to get a full tank at a Kroger or Shell station b/c you don't like to let your tank get low, etc. Also, the smaller your gas tank, the less savings you'll be able to get.

When gas prices skyrocketed one year, my husband and I pulled our cars in close together and filled up both our tanks on one receipt--since the deal is only for one fill up. So, if you have a big tank or can manage fueling up two of your cars at once, you'll get even more savings.

For a full description of the program, visit Kroger's page.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buy Printer Ink at Target this week


Last night as I browsed through the sale circulars, one deal caught my eye. It's rare to find real savings on printer ink.
Target is offering a $10 gift card when you buy a combo package of black/white & color ink. For example, my ink: HP 21/22 is listed as $31.49. I could buy that, then use the gift card on my next purchase/transaction.
$21.49 is a great price for this item!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lifetime Potty Seat

This is an important post because though we're only talking toilets, I am thrilled share the following info.

When it was time to begin potty training, I had no idea what kind of seat to purchase, and I ended up with the nesting seat for the adult potty and the several of the smaller seats that stay on the floor. It can all get quite messy!

The other day, I searched the Web and happened upon this post. Until then I had no idea such products existed (and no-one I've talked with since knew about it either). The adult/child combo toilet seat (aka family seat) shown at that blog is from Target and the childseat stays in place with clips. I have found a better product, however, in stores at Home Depot. (Lowes does not carry them). The seat is manufactured by Bemis and is available in both standard round and oblong. The child part stays in place via magnetic force instead of clips, which I think is a definite improvement. The round is $30 and the oblong is around $36. To know it's there, you'd have to read all the labels or lift all the lids and happen to find it. So, if you don't see it at first, don't despair, it's probably right in front of you!


Note: This seat replaces your existing toilet seat. You'll never need another seat because the child section simply flips up into the lid when not in use. When a child needs it, all he or she has to do is pull that part down.

It cleans easily! No more mess and no more having to store potty seats! Just think, in about 20-30 years, your grandchildren can come over and use this seat.

More expensive, i.e. quiet close, etc, family seats are available on the Internet from other companys.

Photo: The seat to the left is a different product, but helps you get the idea of how the family seat works.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Burt's Bees lip gloss for $4.88 at Target



When I'm shopping I always look (time permitting) for the clearance/mark down/manager's special sections. At Target, their clearance sections are often on end isles at outer walls. In one of those sections at the East Knox location I found Burt's Bees Super Shiny lip gloss marked down to $4.88 --sure wish I had some coupons for them!
More than 100 were available, but the only color is "Sweet Pink," which is pictured third to the right. These will make great stocking stuffers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's time for a date night

Twelve years ago today I began dating my husband, but we haven't made any plans for today.

In fact, we are once again way past due for a date night. Problem is, they can quickly become sooo expensive. In the winter, it's especially difficult to find places to go that are free, so I think I'm going to start a running list of ideas. For example, recently I read on a knoxmoms.com blog that she found a new used book store with some killer prices near Papermill & Kingston Pike. Maybe we could check that out in January 2011! Seriously, I'm going to start a list of ideas, just as I have for activities with my toddler.

For ideas, read Coupon Katie's post about affording date nights. She says they swap childcare with friends so that both they and the other couple can have free childcare for date nights.

How do you afford date nights?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lunch and Learn


UT Gardens is hosting a free event open to the public called "Lunch & Learn" on Tuesday, April 20 at noon in the New Kitchen Garden of the UT Gardens.

This month's speaker will discuss benefits of composting and simple ways to get started.

No reservation is needed. Just bring your lunch (drinks will be provided). For more information, visit the UT Garden's Website.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday only BOGO deal at Home Depot


I'll be up early tomorrow and heading out to snag Earth day deals.

One good deal: Home Depot is offering Buy One, Get One Free Bonnie 3"-5" peat pot veggies & herbs on Sunday, April 18 ONLY in honor of Earth Day (Week). Limit 10 per customer while supplies last.

For the week (April 18-24), Home Depot also has BOGO Free on all vegetable, herb and flower seed packs.

"I Recycle" license plate


I had a blast today at EarthFest 2010 and learned about a new license plate that will soon be available to Tennessee motorists if enough are pre-ordered by June 2010.

You can go to www.irecyclecampaign.org and order a plate no matter when your current tags expire because when the tag is ready, your cost will be prorated based on your renewal date.

The funds from the new tag will primarily benefit Project 2000, which plans to



    1. continue to educate and advocate for greater recycling participation in our state through workshops, forums, school projects and summits;

    2. create careers, employment, and jobs in the field of environmental sustainability;

    3. research, develop, manufacture, and market products made in our state from recycled materials(fiber).

If you wish to support this effort pre-order your plate by June 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Subscribe by E-mail

Knoxville zoo - chimpanzee teethImage by The_Gut via Flickr

You can now subscribe to this blog via e-mail. Just enter your email address in the box at the top right, or if you're reading this on facebook, visit http://www.knoxmamabelle.blogspot.com/ to sign up.

If you don't want to look for the subscription box OR you don't want to visit the Website from from facebook, click below:

Subscribe to Knoxville Mamabelle by Email

Life is full of options! :)
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Llama Llama, Red Pajama" at the library


My daughter LOVED this program last year, so we attended as many as we could fit into our schedule and budget (gas money!)

Our library is again hosting The Penguin Players, who will put on a show of this fantastic book. Thankfully, Gabrielle had the list already made!

Here's the schedule:

April 12 at 10:30 a.m., Fountain City Branch Library
April 12 at 4:00 p.m., North Knoxville Branch Library
April 13 at 4:00 p.m., Howard Pinkston Branch Library
April 14 at 10:00 a.m., Murphy Branch Library
April 14 at 4:00 p.m., Carter Branch Library
April 15 at 11:00 a.m., Karns Branch Library
April 15 at 4:00 p.m., Sequoyah Branch Library
April 16 at 4:00 p.m., Halls Branch Library
April 20 at 11:00 a.m., Norwood Branch Library
April 20 at 4:00 p.m., Farragut Branch Library
April 21 at 11:00 a.m., Lawson McGhee Library
April 21 at 3:30 p.m., South Knoxville Branch Library
April 22 at 10:00 a.m., Burlington Branch Library
April 22 at 4:00 p.m., Bearden Branch Library
April 23 at 10:30 a.m., Powell Branch Library
April 23 at 4:00 p.m., Cedar Bluff Branch Library

Friday, April 9, 2010

Free reusable bag

Easy-Eco-Blog-Reusable-BagsImage by EasyEcoBlog via Flickr

Are you using reusable bags? Thanks to CVS offering a dollar every fourth visit for using their reusable bag--that's what finally got me started. I nabbed both the bag and the bag tag for free when they offered extra care bucks for buying them a few months back.

I like the bags because it's obviously less wasteful to use them, but also, the plastic bags pile up so fast! I end up with way more than I could ever use for trash can liners. I take my extra to McKay's Used Books.

Walgreens also frequently has coupons for: 3 bags/99 cents. So, I purchased a few Walgreens bags and plan to start using them when I shop at the grocery store.

Coupon Mommie is reporting that Target will be again giving away a reusable bag at the beginning of the Earth Day week this year.

When you use a reusable bag, Target will take 5 cents off your order.

So plan to shop early on Sunday, April 18 to score a Target bag.

If you're interesting in making some free bags from your old T-shirts, visit Couponing in Critical Time's post.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Free spaghetti at Kroger


Here's why you should carry your coupons with you!

I scored some random savings this week at Kroger all because I carry my coupon binder when I go grocery shopping. While cruising down the pasta isle, I noticed Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta for 10 for $10. I thought I had a coupon and sure enough, $1 off one, so it was free! Not something I knew about in advance, but a free surprise is fine with me!

I'm pretty sure the coupon came from All You magazine, but I have no idea which issue it was in, but if you have any Ronzoni coupons, go stock up on pasta this week at Kroger.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Photo deals at CVS & Walgreens

This looks like a good week for developing photos at both CVS and Walgreens.


CVS Photo is offering 9 cent prints (quantity unlimited). If you've never used their online service, you can sign up and get 50 free prints. Not a bad time to join! Online, use the promo code 9CENTS.


Meanwhile, Walgreens Photo is offering 50 4x6 prints for $5 using the code BUNNY5 this week. Also, they are offering a special deal each day this week--check each day for savings (see below). Today's deal is $7.99 ink refills OR 9 cent mail order (online only) prints with FREE shipping! Now, I like that deal! Coupon code is MAIL9.
I ordered 122 prints today and paid $12 without having to leave home; I'll definitely have some photos handy so I can take advantage of a deal for tomorrow!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cheap bread at Big Lots

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread  - slicedImage by haleysuzanne via Flickr

If you have a Big Lots near you, consider stopping in from time to time to review their food items. You never know when they're going to have Kashi or some other item you'll want. While you're there, you can pick up a loaf of bread. This week, I picked up Sara Lee 100% whole wheat for $1.20. On occasion they also have Sunmaid raisin bread for only $1.00 (instead of nearly $3 at the grocery store!)
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