Baby Your Food Budget

When I can get baby food for free with coupons, I buy it even though my babies are all grown up. I buy the applesauce and use in my baking or for a snack. I also use it and other fruits to flavor plain yogurt. The puréed vegetables are excellent to add to soups or to add to yogurt or sour cream for a savory dip. The jars are conveniently packaged in 1/2 cup portions. I got 2 cents back from the cashier and a 10-cent Ibotta rebate with this purchase.

Free & Unique Gift Wrap Paper

You can create unique gift packages and help the environment by recycling!  Before tossing old road maps into the trash (which are FREE to AAA members), use them to wrap gifts.  The maps are colorful and may also be a conversation piece (especially if the recipient has been to the area of the map).  Simply add a colorful ribbon for an exquisite presentation!

Other “free” wrapping paper could include old newspapers — especially the colorful comics sections for children’s birthday gifts.

Send Cheer for Only 37 Cents!

The rate to mail a postcard is 37 cents and for such a small fee, you can brighten someone’s day!

It’s easy to make your own postcards, too.  Use scrapbook paper that is a light color on one side (and white on the other).  Cut the paper to 4 x 6 inches (standard postcard size).   Consider the decorated side to be the “envelope” and use a sharpee pen to write the mailing address directly on paper (ensuring that it can be read).


Then write your note on the white side.  If you use the computer, you’d be surprised at how much “news” you can fit on one of your homemade postcards.

Some scrapbook paper is already printed and ready to be cut down to size.  What lovely postcards these make!

For an even extra bonus, the US Post Office allows a postcard to be 5 x 7 inches, and the cost of postage remains 37 cents!  This is a bargain when you want to write a note to a child, a shut in, or even to remember someone’s birthday!

Grill Mats for Toaster Ovens

I found that nonstick grill and mesh mats, when cut to fit, work great in my toaster oven.

For an easy cleaning crumb tray, the solid grill mat works great, is washable and reusable. Melted and burnt cheese comes off easily.

A sheet of the mesh mat on top of the rack is great for smaller bite size items like fries and pointy ended pizza slices that tend to fall through the rack. It allows crisping from the bottom, unlike a sheet pan.

If you trim the mesh to allow for a little overhang in the front, you can pull it out by the two outer edges (it cools super quick) and slide the items right on to your plate, no tongs needed.

Get More out of Those Fun Summer Bubbles

Bump up your non-toxic bubble solution by adding a few drops of your favorite extract before those bubbles fly!

If you add lemon or peppermint extract, you get the added benefit of bug and pest repellant in the air as well as where they pop. They leave a pleasant whiff in the air, as well as an improved taste if they happen to hit an open smile.

Get What is Due to You!

With paper coupons, electronic coupons, in-store sale prices, and special manager promotions, it’s easy for items to be incorrectly charged on your receipt. Who wants to drive all the back to the store when you find out that an item in your grocery bag is not “the deal” that you thought you were purchasing?

The solution is a time-saver and easy to do!  After paying for your groceries and before leaving the store, step aside out of the way of other customers. Do a quick scan of your receipt to ensure that items were charged the correct price. If there are any errors, show the cashier while you have both the item and the receipt available.

Taking this simple step prior to leaving big box stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, etc., has put money back into my pocket and lessened my frustration level! Marsha Lane

How to Make the Cutest Angry Birds Toys

Empty toilet paper tubes can be used to make myriad objects, including contemporary toys that children enjoy:  Angry Birds.
Supplies needed:
  • colored paper (cut to 4″ x 8 1/2″)
  • scissors
  • markers
  • ruler
  • hole punch
  • rubber bands
  • empty toilet paper tubes
  • an adhesive ( Tacky Glue or rubber cement work well)

Step 1

Wrap the tube in the colored paper and glue it in place.  I use rubber bands to hold it while it dries.

Step 2

Cut out beaks and plumage patterns.  Beaks can simply be mismatched triangles.

Step 3

Punch out holes from white paper to make eyes (or use googly eyes).

Step 4

Glue the face pieces into place and use markers to draw on eyebrows and add pupils to the eyes.  Use rubber bands to hold all the pieces in place while the adhesive dries.  (I find that rubber cement works best and easily comes off the rubber bands without tearing the paper.)

Step 5

Attach/glue the plumage to the inside of the tube so that it is centered over the face.

Step 6

Watch children’s faces light up with delight with their new toys! Marsha Lane