Back To School Supply Deals This Week at Staples and Office Max

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I told my kids I was going school supply shopping this morning and the horrified looks on their faces was priceless.  :)  But I got a good laugh out of it.

My first stop was Staples.  Now through 9/19/15, Staples is price matching their competitors up to 110%.  You will have to abide by the competitor ad, such as spending $5 in store to get the .01¢ deals.  You’ll also have to buy the exact same item.  Not all stores will have the exact same item and they will not price match store brand item (at least they did not at my location).

I made 2 stops and paid $16.62 for all the items in both pictures.

staples school

Staples Deals

3 Papermate mechanical Pencils (2-packs) $.40 each (Office Max/Office Depot price match & 10% off)
1 Sharpie Fine Markers (5-pack) $.90 each (Office Max/Office Depot price match & 10% off)
Staples sale items:
2 Crayola Colored Pencils .97¢ each
2 Staples 100 ct index cards .48¢ each
1 Crayola 10-ct fine tip markers .97¢
1 Crayola 10-ct broad tip markers .97¢
2 Crayola 24-ct crayons .50¢ each
= 8.50 after taxes
Plus I get 2% back with my Staples Reward Card

staples price match

Here is my receipt of the price matched items at 110%.  The mechanical pencils were $7 at Staples but the Office Max ad had them for $1 each. So the difference is $6 and they take 110% off that price.  So each package was .40¢ each!  My kids LOVE mechanical pencils.

Office Max school supplies

Office Max/Office Depot Deals

This week they have several .01¢ deals but you have to make a minimum $5 in store purchase and some items have a limit of 3.  You can always team up with another family to get these deals and split the items up.  Every year my kids have the 2 pocket 3 prong folders on their lists and sometimes in specific colors.  Each year they sell out in many places so I buy them early.  I also spend a few cents more for the plastic/poly folders.  They last WAY longer than the paper versions.

10 Poly 2 pocket 3 prong folders .60 each = 6.00
3 packages Office Depot 3-packs erasers .01¢ each (with $5 minimum store purchase)
3 school glue 4oz .25¢ each
3 pencil pouches .01¢ each (with $5 minimum store purchase)
3 pencil sharpeners .01¢ each (with $5 minimum store purchase)
3 Rulers .25¢ each
= $8.12 after taxes

I take advantage of these deals often this time of year.  I know I may not need 3 pencil pouches now, but I can store extra items in our school supply closet.  Keeping a school supply closet is a great way to save money.  Buy items on sale now and shop from your closet through the year.

Be sure to check out my post on 10 ways to save on back to school supplies.



Amazon Prime Free 30-Day Trial And July 15th Prime Day Deals

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Are you an Amazon Prime Member?  Now is the time to consider it!  On July 15th, Amazon is having Happy Prime Day. Prime Day is a one-day shopping event on July 15, 2015, with more deals than Black Friday. Prime members can shop exclusive deals from electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items and more.
Prime Day is a global shopping event, offering more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members. On Wednesday, July 15 new and existing members will be able to shop thousands of Lightning Deals, Deals of the Day, and will receive unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping. Members will find deals starting at midnight PDT, with new deals starting throughout the day, as often as every ten minutes. Not a Prime member? Try Prime today and get immediate access to deals on July 15.

If you are not an Amazon Prime member, it’s only $99 a year and well worth the money if you buy a lot from Amazon.  Shipping can add up quickly if you don’t have Prime.   The great news is that right now you can get a FREE 1-month Trial of Amazon Prime! With Amazon Prime you get free 2-day shipping with no minimum order size or pay only $3.99 for 1-day shipping.  Members get Instant streaming of movies and TV shows and 1 Free Kindle book per month to borrow.

We’ve had Amazon prime for a couple years now because the price more than pays for itself with the purchases we make.  If you are debating on it, the Free trial is a nice way to test it out and with the free month you’ll have access to the Happy Prime Day deals on July 15th.

Click here to get your FREE Trial and learn more. 

Florida Tax Free School Shopping 2015

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Tax Free

I love that Florida is participating in the Florida Tax Free school shopping again this year.  Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m., Friday, August 7, 2015, and end at midnight Sunday, August 16, 2015. During this period, no sales tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less, or on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less.

This year the sales tax exemption for personal computers and certain computer-related accessories will be on the first $750 of the sales price.

Here is a list of the items that will be tax exempt during this time.

Take advantage of using a store coupon and the tax free days, you might be able to score some nice deals.

If you are not in Florida, you can check out this list of States that are participating in Back To School Tax Free Days.

save money on back to school

Online Coupon Class 50% Off Coupon Code

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coupon class button

The Online coupon class can reenergize you! Are you trying to nibble away at that last bit of debt, or pay for a summer vacation?  No matter what your personal goals are, coupon and sale shopping can help you achieve those.  I’ve been asked over the years if I could have an online coupon class for those that aren’t in the area, or would prefer to learn in the comfort of your own home.  With this video series, you can do that!

You can also gift the class to a friend so you can talk about coupons and save together.  Having a coupon buddy is very important to your success and continuation of saving and clipping.

Through the end of April you can get the Online coupon class for 50% off!  Use coupon code


and it’s only $15!  Watch at home at your own pace as many times as you need.  The coupon code is good through the end of August so be sure to share with friends.   Click the image above for more details.  This coupon code ends at the end of April so get it now.  Then you’ll have unlimited time to view the series.  Also comes with some great worksheets!

Click here to learn more about the Online Coupon Class

10 Ways To Save Money On Food While On Vacation

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10 Ways to save money on food while on vacation

We are going on vacation with my entire family soon.  It will be my family, my sister’s family, my brother and my parents.  We will be staying in a beach condo with a full kitchen.  We’ve done this for several years now and we all take turns cooking and it is a wonderful time to spend with family.  Generally we all bring some stuff from our pantry and even a few refrigerated items in a cooler for the drive down.  That way we aren’t paying full price for items at the grocery store once we get there.  I thought I’d take this opportunity to share 10 ways to save money on food while on vacation

  1. If you can find a place within your budget that has a kitchen, it makes cooking and meal preparation easier and you don’t have to run out and spend money on eating out 3 times a day.
  2. Look into hotels that have a “free breakfast” option, but keep the price of the hotel in mind. A less expensive hotel may be better than paying a lump sum even if breakfast is free.  My kids are always hungry as soon as they wake up, so if we are staying at a place without breakfast we always pack breakfast items like muffins, or cinnamon rolls or fruit.  If we have a cooler, we pack it with milk for cereal, yogurt or cheese and crackers.
  3. If you are traveling with kids, try to scope out the local restaurants where kids eat free.   Be sure to check guidelines like specific times or days of the week.  Also be aware that many only allow 1 free kids meal per adult meal.
  4. Bring refillable bottles and jugs of water or juice to refill them with.   Refill the bottles when necessary to save on paying full price for drinks while out and about.  Also take snacks so you don’t have to stop often and spend money.  Our kids love pretzels, trail mixes with a few M&M’s mixed in and cheez-its.   Bringing your own snacks for the airport and Disney can be a lifesaver.  Check out my previous post on Saving Money At Disney. Yes you can bring drinks and snacks into the parks!  Bring lots of snacks. It’s always my experience that when everyone is active at the beach, pool or theme park, they eat more!
  5. Check out for local restaurants in the zip code you will be vacationing in.  We have done this in several places including our trip to Maryland. If you are unsure about doing this before you arrive at your destination, you can take advantage of the hotel computer lab to buy and print your restaurant certificate.  I find this valuable after talking to the hotel staff on restaurants they would recommend.  Keep in mind some hotels charge to print but it’s usually under $1.00.
  6. If you plan on eating out at local establishments, try going during lunch time when prices are typically less expensive.  Then you can eat light for dinner or in your hotel room.  You can buy deli sandwiches at the local grocery store and take it back to your room or eat pool side.  Many times we bring PB&J supplies and make them for dinner.  After a long day out or in a theme park, relaxing in your quiet room can be a life saver.
  7. If your hotel or condo will allow it, bring your own crock-pot and throw dinner in it before you head to the pool.  A simple chicken with BBQ sauce makes a quick and easy meal.
  8. Make a casserole before you leave and freeze it for your road trip.  When you get to your destination, dinner will be ready to pop in the oven.
  9. Plan meals ahead of time.  Between me, my mom and my sister we have 3 dinners already planned.  Each of us will bring what we need for those meals.  That also means one person is not cooking every night.  Love that.  Of course a group of family members in the kitchen together is always a good time.
  10. Have a little fun with breakfast if your room has a kitchen.  Give everyone a baggie and write their names on the outside, and then break 1-2 eggs inside. Have  each person add other omelet type ingredients of their choice in their own bag.  Seal it shut, and mix it up.  Throw them in a pot of boiling water and cook till done.  The kids love this, it’s easy clean up for the adults and everyone gets the omelet they want!  Here are some egg in a bag directions.

I know that there is a Publix location where we will be going, so I will be calling to find out what competitor coupons they accept.   I have also accumulated several Publix coupons to take with us.  Between all of us, we tend to split up our transactions anyway and I can divvy up the coupons to everyone.  That way no one family bears the bulk of the food costs.

Planning a Staycation this year?  Check out the huge list of over cities with Staycation ideas.



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How To Make A Disney Cruise Fish Extender

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How To Make A Disney Cruise Fish ExtenderWe’ve been on 3 Disney Cruises so far and this June trip we decided to take part in the Fish Extenders.  Each cabin on the Disney Cruise has a Fish next to the cabin doors.  These are hooks in the shape of fish, like starfish, seahorses etc.  Disney uses these to leave you paperwork, welcome letters etc.

Fish Extender

Fish Extenders are pocket banners, bags or anything you’d like to make, that allow other cruise passengers to leave you gifts.  Usually you join a group of 10 or so families that will be on your cruise ship and exchange gifts.  It’s kind of like a secret santa!  You can find a group for your cruise dates, in a forum or on other social media sites like Facebook.  Just do a search for your cruise dates.  The group I found was on Facebook and we had a wonderful group leader who created google docs and broke everyone up into groups of 10.  Some forums are no longer allowing outgoing links, such as google docs, so more and more people are creating Facebook groups for their cruise dates.  Using a google doc just makes it easier for everyone to add their names, kids names, cabin number etc.  Our group even added the family members favorite Disney characters and colors.  If you wanted to make personalized gifts, you have all the info.

I knew I’d want our Fish Extender to be personalized and I wanted to be sure it was something we could use on future cruises.  There are a ton of Fish Extenders on etsy, but you know I like to DIY stuff!  You can hang a bag from your fish hook, sew together a couple canvas bags or anything simple!

I went to JoAnn Fabric to start my project and was so excited to find this Disney cruise fabric. Of course it was on sale!  Make sure you buy enough to fit the number of pockets you want.  I bought enough to fold in half so the back of the fish extender was this fabric also.  I then purchased 3 fabric quarters in matching colors and double fold binding.  If you have extra pocket fabric, you can make your own binding by cutting fabric and folding it over and ironing it.   The top pocket will be yellow for hubby and I and the bottom 2 will be for the kids.


Here is where I asked for help.  I am not a sewer but I can get by.  I knew I wanted the pockets personalized but didn’t want to do iron-ons.  I asked my crafty Aunt and she recommended her friend, My Mimi Made It on Etsy and she also has a Facebook page.  And she’s local!  I contacted her to request help with the pockets.  I gave her an idea of what I wanted and mailed her the 3 fabric quarters along with the cruise fabric so she had the colors.  When she finished and mailed them back I was thrilled!  The embroidery is beautiful!

Fish Extender personalized

I then laid out the Disney cruise fabric to figure out how big I wanted it and where I wanted the pockets.  I wanted to make sure some of the cruise fabric showed in the front.

My Fish Extender ended up being 34″ long and 8 1/2″ wide.  You can make it as short or as long as you want.  But the width you want to be sure you stay near 9″ or under. You don’t want your fish extender hanging out into the hallway or impeding your doorway.

Here is what you’ll need for a basic Fish Extender:

  • Fabric – Backing fabric of your choice and fabric to make enough pockets for your family
  • Double fold binding – to trim and secure pockets to the backing fabric
  • Thread
  • Fusible bonding (optional depending on the weight of your fabric and preference)
  • Sewing machine – don’t worry, you really only need to know how to sew a straight line
  • Iron
  • Damp washcloth to use with fusible bonding
  • Dowel rod to hang

Below you’ll see some extra’s I decided to do, but a basic fish extender won’t take many supplies.

I used fusible wonder-web to give the pockets and main fabric a bit more strength.

I folded the pockets in half and put fusible bonding in between each so the pockets were thicker and stronger material and the inside pockets match the outside, for a finished clean look.  You don’t have to do this.  Or you can use any fabric.  The edges will be sewn into the binding so you don’t need to worry about clean edges.

fusible pocket

My pockets were pretty big :) .   Each pocket was 8 1/2″ long and 12″ wide.  Keep in mind you will need to sew a pleat in the pockets so you’ll be able to actually put items in the pockets.  So my finished pocket was the width of the fish extender 8 1/2″ wide.  You’ll have to determine how big you want your pockets.  We were given some pretty big gift items, like a picture frame, so I was glad I had big pockets.  I tried to put a few bigger items we gave out in some small fish extender pockets and it was a tight fit for some.

Once you have each pocket cut out, you can sew binding tape on the top to finish the top edges.  Do this BEFORE ironing a pleat or sewing it onto the backing fabric.   I chose to match the binding to each pocket bit you can choose one color to make it easier.  Or you can even make your own binding with extra fabric.  Just cut out long pieces and fold and iron.  I did this for the blue pocket because I couldn’t find a blue binding that matched it exactly, so I used leftover fabric.

Here is how to sew double fold binding onto the top of your pockets.  Turn your pockets over so the wrong side is showing. I hope you can see the details in these pictures even if the fabrics are the same color!  Open the double fold binding and pin the top edge to the top edge of the back of the fabric.

double fold binding

Then sew along the inside of the first fold.

sewing binding

Turn the pocket over to the right side of the fabric and fold the binding over the top.

double fold binding on pockets

Once you fold over and cover the rough edges of the top of the pocket, sew a straight line on the bottom edge of the binding.

how to sew on binding

Here are two of the pockets finished with the binding on top.

fish extender pockets

I then folded a pleat into both sides of the pockets and ironed them down.  My pleats were about an inch but a 1/2″ would probably be fine.

Lay out your backing fabric and decide how much of it you want to show.  I cut mine 34″ long and 17″ wide.  You’ll be finishing the edges with binding so you don’t need to worry about rough edges.  I folded this in half the long way so it’s now 8 1/2″ wide and I ironed fusible bonding in between.  Then take your bottom pocket and use the instructions above for the double binding tape and secure the bottom pocket to the bottom of the fish extender backing.

fish extender bottom pocket

Be sure to pin the pleat down so it will be sewn that way on the bottom of the pocket. Here is the finished pocket sewn with the binding and the pleat.

fish extender pocket pleat

For the other pockets, you will not be able to sew the binding the way you did before because you don’t have an edge to the backing fabric.  For these, I just folded the binding over the bottom of the pockets and sewed it directly to the backing fabric.

Now you can sew the binding onto the edges of your fish extender.  This will secure the pockets on the sides and give you a clean finished look.  I chose a yellow binding.

side binding on fish extender

The top of the fish extender will need a dowel rod or something similar to hang from your fish extender hook.

I took a piece of dowel rod from the garage that I had and matched up wood round dowel caps with flat pieces of wood. I found these at JoAnn Fabric.  This is obviously NOT a must do, but I LOVE the outcome!

Mickey ears

I used a very small saw to make 2 indentions in the round cap.

Mickey ears dowel

Then I cut off a small edge on the round flat pieces.  This was so I wouldn’t have to cut a very big area into the round knobs, to get the effect I wanted. Mickey

I super glued the found flat pieces to the round dowel knob and voila!  Mickey ears!  After pushing them onto the dowel rod, I spray painted it black.Mickey dowel rod

To finish off the top of your fish extender you can fold over your fabric and sew in the dowel.  I folded over the top and ironed some fusible bonding on the back to give it a clean edge.  I had some Mickey buttons from my scrapbook collection, so I made 2 straps with leftover fabric.  I sewed these on and stitched the buttons on. I used leftover binding for the hanger.

Fish extender-1

I am THRILLED with the outcome!  If you don’t want to have your pockets embroidered, you can buy iron on letters or images from the craft store.  The options are limitless.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Other posts that may interest you:

Affordable Disney Cruises

Disney Tips

Home Depot 25% Off Select Items Today Only

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25 OFF ★ Sneak Peek Promo Code Inside

Home Depot is rolling out Red White and Blue deals and they have an online coupon for 25% off select items! Free ship to store or home on over 400,000 items!  Use coupon code HDSNEAK25 (case sensitive) at check out to get your 25% off.  This is a one day only code! The code is case sensitive!

Some of the items included:

  • Garage organization
  • Fans
  • Lighting
  • Furniture

Go to Home Depot Online here, to find the items included in the sale. 

See what you can score a deal on!  Remember to use coupon code HDSNEAK25 at check out to get your 25% off.

Disney Store 20% Off Twice Upon A Year Sale

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Extra 20 Off Twice Upon a Year Sale | Disney Store

The Disney Store is having a two day online exclusive sale.  The Twice Upon a Year Sale is going on with items on sale and you can get an extra 20% off with coupon code extra20 at checkout.

They have items as low as $1.99 on sale and with the extra 20% off you might be able to stock up on some gift closet items.

If you’re a Dooney & Bourke or Vera Bradley fan, you can get 30% off right now as well.