Friday, December 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Playdough

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 cups powdered sugar
Tip: spray your measuring cup before putting in peanut butter and again before honey and it will slip right out
Mix all ingredients together and let your toddler play!

It gets a bit more runny as they play, but it hasn't gotten super sticky. We also really like the flavor. It's sweeter than recipes that use dry milk, but it doesn't crumble.

Friday, December 23, 2011

55 FHE Ideas with a Toddler

We have been pretty bad at doing Family Home Evening the past few months because we haven't been able to figure out the balance between us doing something and including Aidan.

In Relief Society the other week, we were asked to set some goals to improve our spirituality and other areas of life and I had this brilliant idea to come up with FHE ideas and lessons that we could include Aidan in.

I just put a basic header with the topic of each lesson. We'll talk about what we can related to the subject and then do the activity. Some of these ideas are better for a younger toddler and others are for an older toddler. Those with an asterisk are for holidays and special occasions. I've hyper linked some of the ideas to their sources. All of the songs are from the Children's Songbook unless they say otherwise.

Song: A Child’s Prayer #12
Activity: Use the prayer puppet. Talk about how you’re supposed to pray and help your toddler say the closing prayer

Song: I Will Be Valiant #162
Activity: Tell the story of David & Goliath. Make paper rocks and throw them at Daddy.

Song: Book of Mormon Stories #118
Activity: Have your toddler pretend to cut off arms.

Song: Children All Over the World #16
Activity: Build a tall tower out of jenga blocks or marshmallows and toothpicks.

Songs & Activity: Go through the Articles of Faith songs #122-132

Song: Family History #94
Activity: Go through pictures of grandparents, cousins and other family members and practice saying their

Song: My Heavenly Father Loves Me #228
Activity: Watch Create (Mormon Message). Make things with PB Dough and snacks

Song: Faith #96
Activity: Talk about how faith is like a seed and needs nourishment to grow. Plant a garden or indoor plant.

Song: A Young Man Prepared #166
Activity: Sort objects by color, shape etc.

Song: I Want to Live the gospel #148
Activity: Have your toddler pick a picture and then talk about the picture and point out things and people they might recognize.

Song: Families Can be Together Forever #188
Activity: Have a Lego fort built. Knock it over and rebuild it.

Song: The Church of Jesus Christ #77
Activity: Print out The Story of Jesus Christ and have it ready to color and talk about.

Song: The Iron Rod Hymn #274
Activity: Have a piece of string taped up around the house. Hold on to it and follow the string from room to room.

Song: Reverence #27
Activity: Cut out the reverent child and talk about what it means to be reverent and why

Song: I Need my Heavenly Father #18
Activity: Trace your toddler’s body on butcher paper. Talk about how Heavenly Father has a body like us.

Song: Keep the Commandments #146
Activity: Talk about how keeping the commandments keep us safe. Use toy animals and Legos to surround them and talk about how animals can’t get out into trouble because the fence keeps them safe.

Song: Follow the Prophet #110
Activity: Use the page from the quiet book to tell the story and name the animals.

Song: Quickly I’ll Obey #197
Activity: Play Mother May I, Simon Says. Talk about how obedience to our parents keeps us happy and safe.

Song: Nephi’s Courage #120
Activity: Set up a tent in the living room “Father dwelt in a tent” and read the story

Song: I Love to See the Temple #95
Activity: Make Temples out of play dough.
Activity #2: Go walk around the temple grounds

Song: When grandpa Comes #201
Activity: Draw pictures for great-grandparents and grandparents

Song: For Health & Strength #21
Activity: Put together Humanitarian Aid Kits. Help your toddler put objects in a bag.

Song: Healthy Wealthy & Wise #280
Activity: Create and do an obstacle course together or practice physical activities (e.g. jumping, running)

Song: The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden #237
Activity: Eat and name healthy snacks

Song: Follow the Prophet #110
Activity: Popsicle stick puzzle with President Monson’s face

Song: I’m Trying to be Like Jesus
Activity: Put your hand into a bag to guess and grab objects

Song: Tell Me the stories of Jesus #57
Activity: Create a tempest in a bottle

Song: The Books in the Old Testament #114
Activity: Eat Goldfish/Whales

Song: The Still Small Voice #106
Activity: Play the Listen Game

Song: The Wise Man & the Foolish Man #281
Activity: Teach the song and movements

Song: Choose the Right Hymn# 239
Activity: Play a game where you give them directions. You can have one parent be the good parent and the other give bad directions or just both direct them.

Song: Book of Mormon Stories #118
Activity: Teach the song and movements

Song: Pick various songs
Activity: play piano, maracas, teach how to conduct etc.

Song: Rain is falling all around #241
Activity: Make rain in the tub or over sink

Song: I Feel My Savior’s Love #74
Activity: Put peanut butter on celery and go fishing for goldfish on plate

Song: Two Little Eyes #268
Activity: Create an I spy bag with object related to gospel or things your toddler recognizes

Song: Nephi’s Courage #120
Activity: Create floating boats and put them in the tub or go race them down a local stream

Song: Follow the Prophet #110
Activity: Bake and eat bread

Song: Love One Another #136
Activity: Heart Attack the neighbor’s House

Song: The Books of the Book of Mormon #119
Activity: Create and wave around a homemade version of title of liberty.

Song: The Things I Do #170
Activity: Create a Toddler Chore Chart

Song: Keep the Commandments #110
Activity: Chase your toddler around like a lion. Maybe, have one parent protect them from the lions.

Song: I Will be Valiant #162
Activity: Dress your toddler in armor using kitchen utensils, paper etc.

Song: The Golden Plates #86
Activity: Color Foil on cardboard like plates.
Activity #2: Put together puzzle of Joseph Smith

Song: Choose the Right Way #160
Activity: Dominos

Song: I Hope they call me on a Mission #169
Activity: Dress up as a missionary. Color and make your own tag

Song: Easter Hosanna #68
Activity: Dye Easter Eggs
Activity #2: Make Resurrection Cookies

Song: On a Golden Springtime #89
Activity: Resurrection Easter Egg hunt

Song: Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus #36
Activity: Act out the nativity

Song: Thanks to our Father #20
Activity: Trace hands and make turkeys

Song: Have a Very Merry Christmas #51
Activity: Create a poster board with symbols of Christmas and have a cut out of each symbol. Have your toddler match the symbols as you talk about what they each mean.

Song: A Happy Family #198
Activity: Look at pictures from the past year and organize them

Thursday, December 22, 2011

eBooks to Enrich Your Relationship

"Do you love your spouse but miss that excitement you had back when you were first dating? Are you feeling more like roommates instead of husband and wife? Wishing you could reconnect with your best friend?"

The Dating Divas are doing a special on their new books, The A to Z Guide: 26 Ways in 26 Days to a Happier, Healthier Marriage and The Ultimate Date Night Book.

Through December 31st, you can order BOTH for $27!! This is such a steal!

I have The A to Z Guide already and it's amazing. It has great tips and stories of marriage and helping to get the spark back or even just increase the spark and love within your marriage.

The Ultimate Date Night Guide has their top date night ideas as voted by their audience. I have a new years resolution to go out more frequently with my husband. This book is great because it does all the thinking for you. I'll just need to pick a day and time.

This would be a great gift for yourself, your spouse or friends that you're not sure what to buy for.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Apostolic Warning: Things as They Really Are

"Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace  interactions and experiences upon our souls...—such as experimenting with actions contrary to God’s commandments or enticing us to think or  do things we would not otherwise think or do “because it is only a game. Sadly, some young men and women in the Church today ignore “things as they really are” and neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions, and detours that have no lasting value.

I offer two questions for consideration in your personal pondering and prayerful studying:

1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?

2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?

I testify that God lives and is our Heavenly Father...To be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and not a virtual experience."

-Elder Bednar, May 2009

Violent Video Games May Alter Brain Functioning

Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?

There are a ton of articles on just about anything arguing all sides

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

141 Grocery Items for $124 Including Produce & Organic

I love reading The Thrifty Couple.

They just did a post about saving a ton of money on a grocery trip.

We bought a total of 141 items for $123.91 in the end, which included a lot of produce, cheese, eggs, milk and even a bunch of organic items! The tab was $311.52 before the discounts!

I LOVE SAVING MONEY ON GROCERIES! Posts like this inspire me.

I personally use Deals to Meals for price matching and to find the best deals and it's saved us a bunch on our grocery budget.

What's your method?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deepest Fear

‎"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Marianne Williamson

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Money Spent on Food

One of the hardest things we've dealt with as we both work and are in school is who's going to cook and clean and when. We have to eat. It's crazy thinking back on the past 5 years of marriage and noticing our income has declined every year. We used to eat out so often and spend much money and sometimes our grocery bill alone every month would be around $500 on top of the hundreds we'd spend eating out!

Eating out is a temptation we still struggle with. It can be so easy to just go drive through somewhere. Or if you want to eat "healthy" go get some soup and salad. The drive thru probably costs about $5-10 each time and our healthier runs are probably around $20 each. If we go out to dinner then it's probably at least around $25 for a meal for both of us. Oh, plus tips! That can add up SO fast! Say we did the drive thru once a week, that's $40 a month. A healthier to-go restaurant twice a month would be another $40. Plus, us eating out would be another $25. That'd be $105 a month or $1260 a year! I can think of so many other things I'd rather do with that much money if I had it.

I was just reading this article about the Seven Debtly Sins of Eating Out. We don't have credit cards so we've never gone into debt like they did on eating, but it just proves that it can add up fast. And now, since we're making less and have a baby and have more insurances and expenditures each month it would have the potential to really leave us scrimping and saving every month.

We're still working on cutting back. Basically, that means I need to make a meal plan, do some price matching and have the meal plan and recipes posted on the fridge for the week so if Aaron wants to cook he can have the recipe in sight and it's easier for me, too.

Don't get me wrong. We still eat out occasionally. And there still are nights when we both get home totally exhausted and I debate if there's something quick or that I froze that I can make really quick and sometimes we still go out to eat. It's something we enjoy and it's just nice to not have to make every single meal all the time. And I love eating out for date nights. But I'm trying to improve. For example, I'm trying to come up with dates that don't always involve eating somewhere.

How do you save money on food? Cut back on eating out?

Some Deals

If you don’t live near a Toys R Us, you can also price-match this deal at Walmart.

The Utah Kids Club is giving away FREE memberships for the month of November!
If you haven’t heard of the Utah Kids Club, it is a great organization that will get you Buy 1 Get 1 Free entries to your favorite places to play, eat and have a good time.  They will even tell you about completely free things you and your kids can go do like Chocolate Factory Tours, Free Zoo Days and more!
In order to grab this freebie, you will want to head over to Utah Kids Club.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Join Now”. You will then want to select the “$0.00 FREE Thankful Turkey 1 Month Membership” & complete the checkout process.
**You only need one membership per family. 

Coming up on November 11th, the final Harry Potter movie will be released! On December 29th, Warner Brother’s will stop selling all of the Harry Potter movies. 
That means if you want these movies in your collection, you may want to grab them now! Here are some of the best deals for them on Amazon:
**Side Note: The Harry Potter movies would be a great idea for our Secret Santa Project this year. Head over to learn more about the Secret Santa Project and how to donate. 
(Thanks Couponing to Disney)

Amazon has a great deal on Cascade ActionPacs for the dishwasher right now AND there is a new ecoupon to clip to make it an even better deal!   If you are in need of more dishwasher tabs, then you might want to look into this deal!
This deal is great too because you can shop from home and it will be shipped to you in 2-days for FREE!
  • Head to Amazon HERE to see the Cascade 60 ct. tub tabs on sale for $12.97 (down from $24.03).
  •  Choose the subscribe and save option on the right and this will save you an additional 15% – $1.95 = $11.02
  • Clip the .25/1 ecoupon that looks like this (found on the same page, just scroll down a bit and look for this image) =  final is $10.77 and shipped FREE
Amazon has another great deal on Tide, plus there is a $2 off ecoupon that you can use to make for an awesome deal right now at only $5.13 each 50 oz. bottle and shipped FREE!
This deal is great too because you can shop from home and it will be shipped to you in 2-days for FREE!

All of these are from Freebies2Deals

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fireproof Movie for $9.95

Fireproof the movie is currently 50% off for $9.95. I highly recommend this movie to everybody. This is a great movie about working through hard times in marriage. Yes, it's a bit cheesy, but it's still great! Some therapists I know show clips to clients. It's great for seeing how to ask for forgiveness and learn to forgive. It has Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains. Good show!
You can also purchase The Love Dare to go along with it. I haven't heard a single couple that has gotten through the entire Love Dare and still had a bad marriage. Some have been on the brink of divorce and been able to turn it around just using this book. (So I've heard)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

40 Ovulation Tests + 10 Pregnancy Tests for $9.38

Right now you can grab a Combo pack 40 (LH) Ovulation tests and 10 (HCG) Pregnancy tests from Amazon for $9.38! There are over 200 reviews and it's over 4 stars.

That is only $0.19 per test, which is a crazy deal! This price is even cheaper than the dollar store.

We found out we were pregnant using a cheap pregnancy test like this. They work!

Shipping is FREE through Amazon Mom’s, Amazon Prime or with orders over $25.00

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Matter to Him

The Lord doesn’t care at all if we spend our days working in marble halls or stable stalls. He knows where we are, no matter how humble our circumstances. He will use—in His own way and for His holy purposes—those who incline their hearts to Him...the Lord uses a scale very different from the world’s to weigh the worth of a soul.

My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!

...please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him.21Have hope and faith in that promise.

He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.

~Elder Uchtdorf, October 2011 General Conference

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Easy Money: Swagbucks

I'm sure most of you have heard about Swagbucks. I'd been hearing about it for a while, but finally tried it this past week. Just by searching the internet, doing a daily poll, and going through No Obligation Offers enough to earn a $5 Amazon gift card (450SB) and then some every month. They have a bunch of different prizes. You can look over them in the swag store and see if anything appeals to you.

I don't search for much on the internet. Some baby growth and development stuff, research, sports scores etc. and I still managed to earn plenty. They have a search toolbar you can download so it's directly on your browser. I have the drop down search menu so I can easily still switch over to Google for most of my real research.Some ways to earn swagbucks:

  • Sign up=30SB
  • Daily Poll=2SB/Day
  • No Obligation Offers (You literally hit skip, skip, skip and don't sign up or give any info)=2SB/Day
  • Toolbar=2SB/day when you open your browser
  • Profile= 70+SB
  • Using Coupons printed through their site
  • Surveys (Different ones every day)= I've seen anywhere from 10-50SB/Survey
  • Searching (doesn't matter what you search for)= Awarded randomly. 5-100SB. Fridays typically award larger amounts.
  • Swagcodes: You can check on facebook, twitter or the swidget (I have one down on the right)
  • Referrals= Whatever your referrals earn in their Open Searches you also get.
  • Buy Daily Deals (eversave, homerun etc) through swagbucks and get the deal PLUS swagbucks.
  • More Tips Here
This is my referral link, but you can just go to their website if you'd like:

My friend has a very thorough description of Swagbucks on her blog.

Comforting Letter from a Professor

Yesterday, I was having a rough day. Tuesdays I'm basically gone 9-7. I have two one-hour breaks between classes. Both times I came home yesterday Aaron had just put Aidan down for a nap. I went to class teary eyed because I felt like I was missing out on so much happening in Aidan's life. Some days it's harder than others. I very briefly explained to my professor my puffy eyes and face. There's another student in my program who has a six-month old son and he's been struggling leaving him home, too. Later that evening, my professor sent us the following email:

"I'd like to share that story with you now. I share it simply in the spirit of sympathy and support. I think, too, that probably many of the faculty could share a similar story, and understand, and have real sympathy for the challenges you both face.

I remember when I was in the middle of my doctoral program at Texas Tech University. I was still in the process of seeing clients several evenings a week. Additionally, we had practicum one evening a week, and it lasted from 5 PM to 10 PM.

One night, exhausted at the end of a long day that had begun early in the morning and extended well past 10 PM, I remember driving home and arriving home feeling very mournful. All the lights were off. I got out of the car and walked to the front door, but instead of opening the door and walking in, I knocked. My wife, Shelly, came to the front door and opened it to find me there. She immediately drew a perplexed expression, wondering why I hadn't just come in.

With tears forming in my eyes, I said, “I don't know if I can do this. I leave in the mornings, sometimes before the children are even up, and always before I've had enough time with them. I'm gone all day and come home at night, often after they're already in bed, or at best with just a few minutes before they do go to bed. This isn't what I ever wanted—you know all I ever wanted was to be a father. I feel like I'm missing everything I've lived for. And isn't it ironic to be pursuing the profession of a marriage and family therapist and feel that I'm hardly a father to my own children.”

At that point, Shelly said, “Mark, the children are alright. We'll be fine. The sacrifice is only for a time, and our family will be blessed by it down the road.” Shelly was right. Things got a lot better during the third year of the program, and better and better since then.

I just wanted you to know that I feel sympathy for the challenges you are both facing as you attempt to be both father/mother and full-time doctoral student. 

For some reason, I think it's also important to know that many men face and feel the same feelings as mothers, on a daily basis, and sometimes truly resent the necessity of paid work away from home that takes them away from their children and families through so many important events in their lives. I hope we can all work and advocate for the sanity of family-work balance that allows both fathers and mothers the time they so desire at home."

Often in school, we don't get or take the time to get to know the faculty and feel like they don't really take the time to get to know us or care about anything we're doing outside of their class. I'm so grateful for moments like this that remind me that there's a reason I'm at BYU studying Marriage & Family Therapy and that even though some days it is crazy, it will be worth it and our family will get through it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 Year Marriage License

Mexico City is considering a marriage license that expires after 2-years in hopes that unhappily married couples will simply allow them to expire in lieu of a complicated divorce process.
Instead of the traditional 'till death to us part,' couples would be able to opt for temporary commitments, test out married life, and then renew their licenses indefinitely if they are still devoted to their chosen spouse.

The proposed law would not help those with morning-after regrets. Couples who want to dissolve the marriage before two years would have to go through regular divorce proceedings.

"Two years is the minimum amount of time it takes to know and appreciate what life is like as a couple," Lizbeth Rosas, who is spearheading the proposed legislation on behalf of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, said to BBC Mundo in Spanish.

Read my good friend's post about it, too.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Things Not to Say to Your Wife Song

Working Moms & Their Children

I read over this story on Today Moms.

"A new study that tracked nearly 19,000 British children found that little girls with stay-at-home mothers were twice as likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems by age 5 as girls with working moms."

McMunn and her colleagues determined that the healthiest kids, in terms of emotional and behavioral development, were those with two parents in the household, both of whom worked. And that was regardless of maternal education level and household income.

Mom’s job wasn’t always good news. Boys from households where the mom was the sole breadwinner were more likely to display emotional and behavioral problems such as aggressiveness, hyperactivity or withdrawn behavior.

But in cases where the dad was employed, boys with stay-at-home moms were twice as likely to develop behavior and emotional as those with working moms. That difference was greatly diminished, however, once the researchers accounted for maternal depression.

Sounds like work makes moms happier, which leads to more well adjusted kids. 
*I would add that work makes moms happier if they want to be working. I have definitely found this true for me. I also find that I need a balance of work and life at home- like about 10 hours of class/work a week. Seriously, I come home excited and rejuvenated. It's great for me.

“There may be something that is very important for girls about seeing their mother participating in society outside the home.”

I think this study is kind of cool. Probably because it's supportive of what I do and I like the idea of women being well-rounded and being able to perform well inside and outside of the home.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

$9.99 Each Way Airfare

Right now, through Spirit Air you can travel round trip PDX-LAS for about $40 after taxes and fees. There are few other airports involved. The dates are kind of random, but maybe for a Halloween visit or something.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 Memory Foam Pillows for $22 Total Shipped

We love Memory Foam pillows!

You get a $10 credit if you're new which brings the price down to $22 Total for two memory foam pillows.

3 Men's Suits for $179.99 Total (B1G2)

My dad told me about this deal. Thanks dad!

20 Reasons You Are Not Getting the Same Results as You See on TLC Extreme Couponing

I've only seen this show once. And I was amazed... but skeptical. Who has that kind of time?

Side note: I just turned the TV on and Extreme Couponing happens to be on with Jaime who is one that committed coupon fraud.... Why is TLC still airing an episode when they KNOW this girl committed fraud? Odd.

1. They are emailing companies directly for free coupons – Many of the Extreme Couponers said it themselves “I emailed this company and they sent me FREE or very high value coupons!“  This is truly a great way to try free products, but a company is not going to continue sending you these free coupons.  If you knew you were going to be on the show, you’d probably starting sending those requests ASAP so that you collect as many free product coupons to make your results for that ONE shopping trip much better.
2. Coupon fraud and using coupons on wrong items - There was some blatant misuse of coupons with the intention of not using them on the intended products just to make the numbers look better and to be able to show the lowest prices  – but it was wrong, not real and certainly not ethical.  Savings does not and should not come from fraudulent activity.  You can see one specific Extreme Couponer who committed fraud from this Youtube video.  
3. Number of coupon inserts – We don’t all have a resource where we can literally get an unlimited amount of coupon inserts (and we have no clue how some of those Extreme Couponers are getting them). In our area, we buy the weekend newspapers to get the inserts.  Our local newspapers do not even contain the Red Plum Insert – we only get one copy in the mail each week.  Most of us run into these limitations, and if you are like us you can’t even get the inserts from friends or family either as they are all couponers too ;)
In our area, there aren’t any extra inserts easily available.  We have talked with employees at our local newspapers about this (as we would love to find a resource for a large number of inserts to pass around too!) and each one has explicitly told us that they are under contract with Smart Source and Procter and Gamble (the two companies offering inserts in our local newspapers) to only distribute inserts to paid subscribers of the newspapers.  In fact, we and many of our friends have delivered newspapers for extra money, and we were required to turn those extra Sunday papers and inserts back over to the paper.  Our numbers had to line up so they wouldn’t break their contract with Smart Source or Procter and Gamble in guaranteeing that only real subscribers were receiving the inserts.  Now we are not sure if this same rule applies across the country but it would only make sense.  So how they are getting that many inserts would sure be nice to know – but of course they are not disclosing!
4. Printing methods – We also noticed the large numbers of the same printable coupons.  In order to do this without photo copying (which is coupon fraud), they would need to have access to many, many computers as you are generally only able to print a maximum of two of each coupon from each computer.  The average person only has a small number ofcomputers in their household, so some of these really hot high-value printable couponswould most likely only be a handful per household instead of dozens.
Again, if we were getting ready for a show like TLC Extreme Couponing, we would find access to any and all computers that we could to print as many of those hot printablecoupons, but this isn’t possible for everyday lifestyle couponing.
5. Reusable bags – This isn’t playing a huge factor to their savings, but it is a contributor nonetheless! We noticed that several of the extreme couponers had dozens of reuseable bags with each of those bags taking another few cents off the total.  Its not a bad idea to use them to save money over a long period of time, but the initial investment in literally dozens and dozens of those bags at $1.00 or more each is not considered although the few dollars deducted off the end is.
6. Stacking with ecoupons – There are ecoupon resources such as Shortcuts andCellFire that have similar or even the same coupons as the paper coupons.  These are manufacturer coupons and they technically cannot be stacked. However, in some of the earlier episodes of the show the stores’ computer systems did not have a way to detect both the ecoupon and the paper coupon and was giving double discounts (we have never recommended that policy).
Probably mostly due to the popularity of Extreme Couponing, the stores computer systems have been reprogrammed to not allow both coupons to be deducted.  If an ecoupon was used, a manufacturer paper coupon cannot also be used and the register will beep alerting the cashier of a duplicate.
7. Using previously obtained catalinas – This struck us especially in a few episodes.  We noticed that many of the Extreme Couponers were using catalinas to help bring their totals lower.  What is a catalina?  It is not referring to the island or the salad dressing!  A Catalina is coupon that prints at the register.  It looks somewhat like a receipt, but skinnier and longer with thicker paper.  It is the same thing that prints at Walgreens when they have their register rewards.  Now while this is a perfectly legitimate way to save, the way that you get these is by making a previous qualified purchase and the large numbers of used catalinas cannot be a regular method of saving.
For example, there could be a catalina for $5 when you buy 3 cereals.  You earn this catalina for buying those three cereals and then you can use it on your next transaction where you will see that additional $5 savings.  During many of the checkouts, we saw a large number of catalinas passed to the cashier (and the register on one episode showing several $20 coupons being deducted?!).   The only way we know to do this is by accumulating these catalinas from several previous transactions (and who knows whether or not they received deals on those initial products to earn the catalina) in the form of several dollars (potentially hundreds) in savings just from the catalinas redeemed.
8. Double coupons – Many stores do not double coupons (e.g. making a .50 coupon worth $1.00).  We do not have the privilege in our area of doubling coupons on a regular basis and many other people do not receive double coupons in their area.  This would have a HUGE affect on the results people would get (as well as the amount of free and overage items possible!).
9. Stores breaking their own policies – This somewhat goes along with point #8 (lifting the limit on the amount of double coupons for the show but sticking with the rules for everyone else), but for the publicity for the TLC Extreme Couponing show, many stores were breaking their own policies just for the sake of publicity.  There is no possibility of the regular “non-reality-TV-show-star” being able to get away with breaking the same rules.  Some of these rules include limiting the number of items you can buy, limiting the number of coupons you can double, limiting the number of coupons you can use in total, just to name a few (there can be many as each store has different policies).
10. Holding out all the good coupons for the trip – This is just an assumption on our part, but probably a pretty accurate one.  If we were preparing to go on TLC Extreme Couponing, we would hold onto all of the free product coupons, the high value coupons, etc. for this one trip.  If you have seen the show you have heard time and again every Extreme Couponer state “This is the biggest shopping trip I have ever done.”  It only makes sense that you would not have that amounts of coupons to use each week or even on a regular basis.
11. Store stock – This is really a big one.  We are not sure if you have tried to get the latest deals in your area, but our local stores are not able to keep stock. Each week there is usually a handful of deals we cannot get because the store’s shelves are just clean wiped out – especially on the items that are free, money makers or just plain cheap!  For this show, many of them admitted to arranging with the store before hand to have the stock available for the filming of the show.  We can’t all arrange with the stores to keep the stock just for each of us to come in and buy by the hoards!
12.  Purchasing coupons – There is a way that we know of where many of the Extreme Couponers are getting enough coupons to make these excessive trips. They are purchasing inserts or individual coupons from coupon-clipping services.  In some cases, there are reports that many of them spent hundreds on these coupons.  This significant expense is not calculated  in their totals.  All you see is the result of using the coupons – not the expense to obtain them.
13. Not always huge sales – There is not a rock bottom sale every week.  There are great deals very frequently and most often weekly, but to hit those huge rock bottom sales where many items come out close-to-nothing has only happened for us a few times a year.  You can see our shopping trip results that we post to see you can clearly catch great deals by running around town, but those “once in a few months sales event” are really just that!
14. Store limits – Many stores themselves have limits on how many of the same items you can buy or how many coupons you can use. Again, just like stated in point #9, many stores set their policies aside for the taping of the show.
15. Coupon limits – Some manufacturers, such as Procter and Gamble, have now placed a limit on how many of their coupons you can redeem per shopping trip.  Procter and Gamble coupons state in the fine print “limit of 4 like coupons.”
16. Not just buying for the sake of the sale – How many times during the season did you see and hear an Extreme Couponer buying large quantities of an item they don’t use or didn’t care for.  Why would they buy it?  Granted, we have and encourage buying products you might not use yourself when they are cheap to donate to those in need – which is fantastic – and some Extreme Couponers did this.  But many were buying things that they would never use and KEEP IT in their storage just for the sake of bragging about the great deals they received! But it is not a deal unless you have a use for it or will give it to someone in need.
17. No or minimal perishables – Many of the Extreme Couponers had very little or no perishable items (meats, dairy, produce, breads, etc.).  These items are a challenge to get a good deal on, but you can’t avoid buying them on a regular basis.  This will always affect your bottom line and make your savings much less when you actually include them in your transaction. As we all know, they cannot live off of what they bought!
18. Store coupon policies – Everyone is going to have a different experience just based on their local store’s policies.  Unfortunately there is not one universal approach, or set of rules or policies at each store.  You can take two identical shopping trips and end up with different results in different areas, just based on your local area.  There isn’t a way around this.  Some people live in a very coupon friendly area, where others not so much!
19. Not being able to do multiple transactions – In many of the circumstances, the Extreme Couponers were having to do multiple transactions on the same shopping trip to achieve their results (and to roll catalina coupons one after another).  Many stores will not allow multiple transactions, so in those cases, those couponers would not receive the same results!
20. Most stores do not allow overage – In addition, to the previous 19 points, one final thing that we wanted to point out, many stores do not allow an overage on a coupon.  Many of the Extreme Couponers were able to achieve their results by buying 50 or 100 of an item that was going to give them a $0.50 overage each. This gives them an extra $25 – $50 to work with by just buying that one item – most had several of these types of overages to apply to their balance.  The reality is, if your store does not allow overages then this whole concept goes out the window! You would just receive that item for free (they would either adjust the coupon value or the price of the item to make the item free instead of giving you the overage) but not having the extra amount to work with.  This would have a great affect on your results!