vitaminwater® and vitaminwater zero® Bonus Packs Now Available at Sam’s Club

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vitaminwater in Sams Club | www.pennypinchinmom.com

We all know the importance of drinking water and how good it is for our body.  However, not all of us can handle plain water (it actually makes me feel water logged and sickly).  However, if my water has some flavor to it, I can drink it by the gallons.

A few years back, my husband and I both learned about vitaminwater® and vitaminwater zero®.  We each tried it once and were hooked — and it is now one of our favorite bottled waters to purchase!  In fact, with this recent heat wave and these extreme temps we’ve had here in Missouri, staying hydrated has been even more important than usual.

When it is warm, we don’t spend much time outside (like most people).  However, we still do try to make it to the pool.  What is funny is that people think that if you are in the pool and staying cool, there is no need to drink to stay hydrated — and that is not true!  My kids know that we can’t head out without water to drink and I have them stop and take some small drinks several times while we are taking a dip in the cool water.  I don’t want anything to happen to them to make them get dehydrated.  That would make for one rotten summer’s day!!!

As I mentioned, my husband and I both tried vitaminwater® and vitaminwater zero®.  My personal favorite is acai blueberry pomegranate — sooooo yummy!!! My husband really loves two flavors – lemonade and also orange-orange.  I’ll admit that even those that he loves are tasty, but I always go back to my first love!!

If you want to find a great deal on vitaminwater® and vitaminwater zero®, visit your local Sam’s Club.  Right now, they have 15+3 bonus bottles available in the stores!  Some areas are even offering free samples in the store!    Prices do vary a bit based upon each region, so you will have to stop in to find out what you will pay.

As a mom, knowing my kids are drinking something which is naturally sweetened, keeps them hydrated and they LOVE — well it makes me soooo happy!!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Coca-Cola. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sonic’s Shake Up The Competition Challenge: McDonalds vs. Sonic. Which Did We Choose?

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Sonic Shake Up The Competition Challenge | www.pennypinchinmom.com

Sonic recently contacted me about a challenge they were running called — Sonic’s Shake Up The Competition Challenge.  They wanted to put one of their delicious shakes up against the competition and prove that they were tastier.  I asked my five and nine year old daughters if they would help me taste some shakes and they immediately said YES!

We first stopped by Sonic and picked up a small vanilla shake and small chocolate shake.  Then, we drove to McDonald’s and ordered a small McCafe vanilla and chocolate shake – so we could have a good comparison.

When we got home, the first thing we did were some comparisons:

 

FLAVOR VARIETY

 

When we went to McDonald’s they only had 3 varieties of shakes — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.  Compare this to Sonic where there are more than 25 and it Sonic wins hands down when it comes to variety and options for consumers.  My girls are anxious to go back and try one of the unique flavors found only at Sonic.

 

PRESENTATION

 

We carefully looked at both shakes.  Both came in the same type of cup with a large plastic covering on the top, to prevent drips.  Each one even had whipped cream and a cherry topping it off, so they were well matched in that department

However, the Sonic cup was styrofoam, which prevented melting.  The McDonald’s shake came in a plastic cup and by the time we got home, some of their product had already melted.

That being said, it was nice to be able to look through the plastic cup to determine which flavor was which.  I had to taste the ones from Sonic to find out which was chocolate vs. vanilla as we could not tell since they both had whipped cream over the top of them.  Maybe someone can invent a see through cup that insulates as well as styrofoam does?  ;-)

 

TASTE

 

This was, of course, the most fun part of all!   I grabbed a blindfold for my girls and me.  I had each of them try it and then I did so myself.   I didn’t tell them what we were doing, just that we needed to do something fun to try two shakes.  They did not know that Sonic was the one sponsoring this challenge, so they wouldn’t think to select them.  When I did my own challenge,  I even made sure as to not touch the cup so I would not be influenced at all.  Click below to find out which one each of us selected!

 

EMMA

CHARLOTTE

 

Both of the girls tried the vanilla shake.  They said that both were pretty smooth, but the McDonalds one tasted more like milk than a shake, as it had already melted so much.  I asked them if one was sweeter and they said that the McDonalds one was sweeter, but a little too sweet for them.

 

MOM


I tried the chocolate versions of both shakes.  The McDonald’s McCafe shake was a little too sweet for me.  It was almost “too chocolatey” and had more of a chocolate milk consistency rather than the thick creamy taste and texture I like in a shake.

When trying the Sonic shake, it was very light and creamy compared to the McDonald’s shake which was thinner and soupy (for lack of a better word).

 

TEXTURE

 

The McDonald’s shakes had melted quite a bit so they were rather thin and soupy, whereas the Sonic shakes stayed frozen longer, which resulted in a creamy, thicker texture.  I did take a spoon to check for lumps and they both did a great job as they were LUMP FREE!!!  (Just what I love in a good shake).

 

MELT FACTOR

 

I’ve mentioned this a few times above, but the McDonald’s McCafe shake melted much more quickly than the Sonic version.  I prefer my shakes thicker whereas others love them thinner (and easier to consume using a straw).  That is totally a consumer’s preference, but the fact that the Sonic one did not melt as quickly earned it two thumbs up in my book.

 

I will admit that I figured at least one of us would select the McDonald’s McCafe shake as the better option.  Seeing that all three of us chose the same one really says a lot – that we either all love the same types of products or that Sonic’s shakes really were better.  I guess that means you’ll have to conduct your own challenge to find out for yourself!

sonic shake taste

 

This was a sponsored post on behalf of Sonic.  Gift cards were provided to cover the costs of the products purchased.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced by any parties.

Back to School Savings Tips | How To Use Penny Pinchin’ Mom to Save Time and Money!

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back to school tips on penny pinchin mom | www.pennypinchinmom.com

Even if you are not yet in Back to School shopping mode, there is a good chance you will be very soon.  This can be not only a stressful time of the year for families, but also is usually very expensive!  That is why we are here to help!  There are tips and resources right at your finger tips to help you save not only money – but time in getting ready for back to school!

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 8.58.01 PM.jpg

All information can quickly be accessed through the main menu.  If you click on Back to School, you will see a menu drops down.  Under here you will find the following (I will give more details for each category in more detail below):

  • Price Comparisons Database
  • 2014 Tax Free Shopping Schedule – by State
  • Back to School Deals
  • Clothing & Uniform Deals
  • Helpful Tips and Ideas
  • Freebies and Resources

 

WEEKLY PRICE COMPARISON DATABASE

 

This database is updated each Sunday morning with the current store deals (including coupons).  We list all of the prices for the supplies you need.  You can search by store, product or even price!  The stores include:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • KMart
  • Toys R Us
  • Staples
  • Office Max / Office Depot (same store now)
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Rite Aid

 

2014 TAX FREE SHOPPING SCHEDULE

 

Many states offer a tax free shopping weekend for your back to school items.  Make sure you carefully review your state’s specifications as there are limits as to the items included, as well as spending limits.

 

BACK TO SCHOOL STORE DEALS

 

These are the individual or additional deals which are found at various stores (which may or may not be listed on the database).  This is a great way to find those deals which come up after the weekly ad has come out whether it be through an online retailer or due to a newly released coupon!

 

CLOTHING & UNIFORM DEALS

 

Wether your children wear uniforms or their own style of clothes to school, you need to save.  We’ve got an entire category dedicated to these deals just for you!  If we share any ways to save on clothes, uniforms or shoes, we will place it here so you can quickly find it.

 

HELPFUL TIPS & IDEAS

 

We’ve got some great articles to help you save money on your shopping.  We also share other tips to help you with organizing, schedules and more!  Refer to this to get some great advice to some of your back to school questions!

 

FREEBIES & RESOURCES

 

This section is just what it says.  If there are any freebies you can use for back to school, we will share them here.  In addition, we share resources such as homeschooling sites, forms and more!

 

If you have any questions at all, we are here to help!  Just leave us a comment on the site or Facebook.   You can also email me by clicking on the Contact link at the very top of this website!

Our goal is to truly help you with everything you need for back to school – whether your child is entering kindergarten or college.

 

Weekly Menu Plan For July 20, 2014

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Weekly Menu Plan | www.pennypinchinmom.com #menu #plans

 

If you have never done a menu plan, you may think that you don’t need one.  That is actually not true.  By planning, you can save yourself time and money.  Of course, if you’ve never set one up before you might not be sure where to start!  Take a look at this post on How to Create a Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List.

Before you get started creating your own plan, make sure you take a look at all of our FREE Menu Plan and Shopping List forms.  You can either print them off, or even fill one out before printing it for the week – the choice is yours!

Here is my menu plan for the week!

 

BREAKFAST

 

Cereal
Waffles
Fruit
Toast

 

LUNCH

 

Pigs in a blanket, carrots, raisins
Sandwiches
Leftovers

SNACKS

 

Nilla Wafers and milk
Apples and peanut butter
Crackers and cheese
 

DINNER

 

Sunday:  Ribs, slaw, corn on the cob, beans, rolls
Monday:  Manictotti, salad, french bread
Tuesday:  Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls
Wednesday:  Leftover night
Thursday:  Grilled burgers, fresh veggies and chips
Friday:  Sausage with sauted veggies on rice
Saturday:  Dinner out

Watermelon, Pineapple & Mint Infused Water

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Watermelon Pineapple Mint Infused Water | www.pennypinchinmom.com

It may be cool right now, but the summer heat will be returning here soon!  What better way to cool off than with a refreshing summer drink — like this Watermelon, Pineapple and Mint Infused Water.  It is summer, cool and fruity — all at the same time!

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 8 oz. canning jar
3-4 small chunks of fresh watermelon
3-4 small chunks of fresh pineapple
1/8 fresh of fresh mint leaves

1.  Add the pineapple chunks, watermelon chunks and fresh mint leaves to your 8 oz. canning jar. Rip the leaves in half for more flavor. Next, use a spoon or a fork to gently mash the fruit down a little bit. This will let the juice out of the fruit to infuse your water.

2.  Fill the jar with water, place the cover on, give it a good shake and refrigerate overnight for the best flavor.

*Makes 1 serving. One 8 oz. jar = 1 serving

**If you’d prefer to use a larger canning jar, simply double or triple the recipe ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

 

Paying For College: Beyond the Basics — Books, Laptops and More!

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Paying for College -- Dont forget other itesm | www.pennypinchinmom.com

 

When your child is accepted into college, your first thoughts are probably tuition. Once that shock wears off, you’ll need to consider the necessary supplies for your student’s success. Save yourself a headache and use a college dorm room checklist to get started. Once you’ve covered the basics, students (and their parents) need to budget for additional, but necessary, expenses.

 

It’s The Little Things

 

There are the essentials such as an alarm clock, a desk lamp and maybe even a mini fridge. You can also help prepare your student with a care package or going away present filled with these often overlooked but ultimately highly appreciated items:

Another smart consideration for your student is signing up for Amazon Student. With two-day shipping, subscribe-and-save options, streaming of music and movies and the first six months free of charge, it’s worth looking into.

Also, suggest that your child call their future roommate ahead of time to coordinate some of the bigger items. When I headed to college, I purchased a microwave and futon and my roommate got a printer and mini-fridge that we could both use.

 

Book Smart

 

Depending on the course load and how many credit hours a student takes, college textbooks can cost well over $1,000 dollars a year. Due to copyrights, specialized materials and even sheer volume, the cost of textbooks has only increased in recent years. Also, some classes use books that contain removable pages, which double as worksheets. For the courses that don’t require customized books, there are many money saving options.

Around 70 percent of students believe that older editions of their required texts are usable. If there are multiple editions of the book, it doesn’t hurt to send an email to the professor or to their TA inquiring if an older edition will suffice. If this isn’t an option, skip the lines at the bookstore and use the web to broaden your search.

Websites like Big Words and BookRenter are trusted online options for buying (and selling) college textbooks. Big Words does the searching for you while BookRenter provides the service its name implies. Encourage your student to sell their books back at the end of the semester. Many parents mistakenly believe that their student ought to hold on to their textbooks, which quickly depreciate. And, of course, there’s also the growing trend of e-textbooks.

 

Reliable Technology

 

With technology so highly integrated into today’s college experience, a student with reliable equipment at their disposal has an edge in the classroom. Granted, there are computer labs and printings stations on every campus, but let’s face it, laptops and tablets have replaced the college-ruled notebook. Professors record podcasts of lectures, provide PDFs of study guides and some even require discussion through online forums.

Spend the money on a dependable laptop or tablet, but take advantage of back-to-school sales. Big Box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are also worth looking into as well. If you don’t find what you want there, contact your school’s IT department. They can typically provide university sanctioned promotion codes to stores or websites for equipment and for necessary programs, such as Microsoft Office Suite. For peace of mind, don’t overlook purchasing an external hard drive and a USB stick, just in case.

 

Navigating the necessities to prepare for college is one thing. Preparing your budget for the next 4 (or more!) years is something else entirely. Next week, it’s all about budgeting for parents. For more advice on navigating financials or saving for higher ed, click here for friendly advice from the CommunityAmerica Credit Union Savin’ Mavens. This post was written by Maven Kat Hnatyshyn, a branch manager at CommunityAmerica.

 

10 Tips To Help You Save Money On Back to School Clothes

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10 Tips to Save Money on Back to School Clothes | www.pennypinchinmom.com  #clothes #backtoschool

10 Ways to Save on Back to School Clothes

It is time for back to school once again.  It is expected that the average family will end up spending around $635 this season (according to the National Retail Federation).  That includes the much needed supplies, electronics and clothing.

You can actually spend less than this amount by taking steps to ensure you save as much as possible.  You can easily save on your supplies by finding the best deals (see our Back to School Database).   You can also save on your kids’ clothes by following a few money saving tips!  Below you will find ten:

1.  Shop Your Closets.  Before you head out to shop, take a look in your kids’ closets and dressers.  Have them try things on so you can see what fits and what does not.  Then, make a list of the things you will need.

2.  Shop Thrift Stores.  Second hand stores often have items which have little wear.  If you look at how quickly your kids grow and the cost of clothes, this is an easy way to pick up new threads which they will wear for only a few months.

3.  Stay at Home.  Oftentimes, you can find online codes to save on your purchase.  If you happen to also get free shipping, that makes for an even better deal.  This will allow you to shop from the comfort of home without fighting crowds.  You can also save time by not driving around as well as fuel costs.

4.  Put your Phone to Work.  There are many great apps you can download to help you find coupons and discounts.   One of my favorites is CouponSherpa.  They have retail coupons which you can pull up right at checkout. The cashier will scan your phone and you can save – without having to clip a thing before you leave!

5.  Shop The Sales Tax Holiday.  Many states offer a sale’s tax holiday to help reduce the burden to families.  We pay nearly 9% for sales tax where I live, so that can add up to significant savings when we shop over that weekend.  Find out if your state is participating by reviewing our 2014 Sales Tax Holiday List.

6.  Clothing Swap.  Find friends who have kids who might be a size larger or smaller than your kids and do a swap!  You can give them the clothes your kids can no longer wear nd and get new items as well.

7.  Recycle Clothes.  Just because you have a short sleeved shirt doesn’t mean you can’t wear it in the winter.  Just add a long sleeved tee underneath and you’ve got something new for fall and winter!

8.  Shop clearance.  It is still warm outside (and will be for a few more months).  You can find clearance deals on shorts and tees, which is what your kids will start out wearing initially anyhow.  This is a great way to pick up a few items to start off the school year.  That also allows you time to see discounts and deals on the other items they might need later in the season.

9.  Always shop off-season.  This is one you might not be able to do right at this moment, however, when you shop ahead for the next season you can save.  For example, winter items are always put on clearance in January (which never makes any sense to me).  If you can find jeans, coats or other items, pick them up one or two sizes larger for your kids and hold onto them for the following winter.

10.  Keep your budget in check.  Sure, your kids might want the $150 sneakers, but if your budget is set at a $50, stick to it.  They might think it is the end of the world if they don’t have the best, but you need to make sure you don’t overspend.  If your child want something at a higher price than what you are willing to pay, you can always allow them to cover the difference.  They might just learn that they really don’t want that item as badly as they thought, when they have to cough up the cash for it.

What tips do you have to save on back to school clothes?

 

How To Shuck Corn Quickly and Easily!

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How to Shuck Corn on the Cob | www.pennypinchinmom.com

If you are like me, you’ve probably taken the time to shuck your corn before you  cook it.  This usually results in a mess of silk strings and what not ending up all over the counter, floor, etc.  You may also notice that cutting off the ends is pretty difficult to do.  I’ve got the EASIEST tip to make this much simpler!

When you get home with your corn, just take the exposed silks off (they should rip off).  Boil a pot of water.  Place the corn inside of the pan — with the shucks still on!  Cook for around 10 – 15 minutes.  Drain and run the corn under cold water.  Then, take a large knife and cut off one end.  The shuck and silks will slide of easily with much less clean up!  Not only that, it helps to lock in the flavors while cooking, which can result in even tastier corn!  Here’s a short video showing you how this works:



So there you’ve got it!  A SIMPLE and quick way to shuck your corn.  Who knew?!?!

Weekly Menu Plan For July 13th

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Weekly Menu Plan | www.pennypinchinmom.com #menu #plans

 

If you have never done a menu plan, you may think that you don’t need one.  That is actually not true.  By planning, you can save yourself time and money.  Of course, if you’ve never set one up before you might not be sure where to start!  Take a look at this post on How to Create a Weekly Menu Plan and Shopping List.

Before you get started creating your own plan, make sure you take a look at all of our FREE Menu Plan and Shopping List forms.  You can either print them off, or even fill one out before printing it for the week – the choice is yours!

Here is my menu plan for the week!

 

BREAKFAST

 

Waffles
Cereal
English Muffins

 

LUNCH

 

Cold cut sandwiches, chips, fresh veggies
Leftovers
Lunch out one day

 

 

SNACKS

 

Cheese/Crackers
Apples with peanut butter
Homemade Cheez-Its

 

 

DINNER

 

Sunday: Steak, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, rolls
Monday:  Tacos
Tuesday:   Spaghetti
Wednesday:  Grilled burgers, hot dogs and chips with fresh veggies
Thursday:   Shishkabobs
Friday: Grilled chicken, brocooli, rice
Saturday:  Dinner Out

Safety Tip: Use a Stuffed Animal So You Never Forget About Your Child

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Teddy bear sitting on baby seat ready to get a safe trip

 

It is a sad story we hear on the news far too often. A parent or grandparent has up and forgotten about their child, leaving them alone in a hot car.  The rest of the story is usually tragic.

I, for one, do not judge.  That is not up to me. It is between them, their family, and God.  I never know the situation, what was going on, etc.   My heart does, however, break for them as I can not imagine what they are all going through.

There is actually something that we, as parents and caregivers can do to help avoid this from happening to our kids.  It is as simple as a teddy bear.

Take a bear and put it into the carseat when the child is not buckled in.  Then, when you put your child into the seat, set the bear on the front seat next to you — by your purse or briefcase.  You can even place it in your center console.  Then, when you take the child  out, put the stuffed bear back into the car seat.  This way if you go to leave your vehicle and see the animal is NOT in the seat, you will double check and could avoid tragedy from striking you.

Please, do what you can to make sure that this doesn’t happen to those you care about.  I truly can’t imagine the pain of going through something so terribly tragic.

I