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Saturday, January 28, 2012

GUEST: Couponing with the family

Guest Post: This post was written by James Lander of Couponing.com. Couponing is a website dedicated to sharing top-retailer coupon information as well as articles on how to break into the couponing world.

It’s essential to have your whole family involved in couponing. Initially, other family members may not be as passionate as you are about couponing, but, using various ways, you can change that. You need to be consistent and committed to realize viable savings with couponing and, it’s a lot easier when your family is on board.

Trying to save while pleasing your family at the same time can be quite a feat. At first, they might gripe because they will be missing out on their favorite things but eventually, they will come around. Your shopping will change in many ways when you use coupons and certainly not everyone will like it.

Below, we’ll look at some ideas on how to get your family to like the idea of shopping with coupons.

Firstly, you’re going to have to sit down with your children – or grandchildren for that matter – and have a conversation about money, spending and saving. Let your kids know that you intend to save using coupons and that they are going to be part of it. Make it clear to them that as you collectively try to save as a family, there are sacrifices you’ll all have to make, for instance, you may have to forego some of the favorite yet non-essential things. Children, and indeed other family members, will be more willing to forego certain things if they are aware of the financial benefits of couponing.

The next thing you want to do is set a budget for your monthly grocery shopping. Once you’ve agreed on a budget as a family, this is the time to determine what items are absolutely necessary and what is not. Take the time to talk it out with your children – really listen to their arguments and use this as an opportunity to create a dialogue. 

Children are not particularly easy to convince about the merits of saving so the best way to get them to participate is by making it a fun activity. Much of the work is in clipping and sorting so do this as a family, especially with younger children, and make it enjoyable. You can let older children look up coupon deals in newspapers and online. Think of fun things that will get the kids to participate, for instance, a reward scheme is a great way to make them love couponing.

If you put a special incentive in place, such as a reward for the saving a certain amount of money, make it a point to keep your family abreast with the progress of the savings. One way to do this is by using a chart. Talk about the project more often and stay upbeat about it; when you do so, the enthusiasm is infectious and they will be more eager to take part.

Using coupons also means you’ll have to make do with a number of new brands you’re not used to because retailers and manufacturers often use coupons to promote new products. You can turn even this into a fun product review game. Have your children make a faux commercial for the product – even if they hated it, let them get creative! 

Despite all of the fun activities you can do with your family, it’s important to note that extreme couponing is not all rosy. There have been reports of compulsive behavior in individuals that clip coupons more frequently. Whereas coupon clipping cannot equate to more serious addictions – such as drugs and alcohol – the signs of compulsive behavior exhibited by a few individuals still raises considerable worry. Also, a good deal can only be good if you’re going to use the product or donate it; otherwise buying an item you don’t need simply because you couldn’t miss such a great deal is actually ‘no good deal’.

There’s no limit to the amount of savings you can make with couponing if you and your family are all in it. So, make couponing fun and enjoy the rewards of saving.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

How to make a great Lasagna

Looking for a great lasagna recipe, try some of these from the Taste of Home site. They always have great recipes that can easily be prepared and offer many recipes that are kid friendly. These Lasagna recipes include anything from traditional to seafood. I've also included a step-by-step video to make it even easier for you to prepare a perfect Lasagna for your family.

Enjoy and share! VA




Taste of Home offers this tip when preparing your Lasagna

To keep lasagna from becoming soupy, be certain to drain the noodles well and pat them dry. Use a thick tomato sauce. Add a beaten egg to the ricotta or cottage cheese filling to help bind it together. Saute and drain well any vegetables such as mushrooms or zucchini that may add extra liquid. Be sure to let baked lasagna stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Another option is to try no-boil lasagna noodles, which absorb extra moisture while cooking. They can be found in the pasta section of most grocery stores.