Topic Tuesday “How to Pack Light For Vacation” Tips & Tricks!

It’s Topic Tuesday and I’m really enjoying this! If you’re not sure what that is, check out the details here….

Today’s topic is from Joanie and it will be “How to pack SOMEWHAT light for Vacation”?!

I’m just forewarning you….this is NOT my best topic and I WILL be taking advice from all of you! I am a definite over-packer and always have WAY too much! I pack too much clothes, too many jackets, a blow dryer even though hotels have them. Diapers that will last a whole month because I don’t ever want to have to buy expensive diapers on vacation. And then, I still end up forgetting something. 😐

I also need your advice on this topic but I will tell you a couple things I’ve learned…

1 – Make a list! Or at least print one online of all the items you need. I like to sit down and figure out how many socks, shorts, shirts, pajamas the kiddos really need. This tremendously cuts down on items. I like the list here.

2- Let this kids have their own backpack with toys, cups, snack containers, etc. This helps because it seems like those take a lot of room and the kids can carry these themselves so you have less to worry about. They won’t want to carry around their clothing but their toys are a whole ‘nother story!

3- I got this idea from Small Notebook. Pack each one of your child’s complete outfits in a ziplock bag and label it by the day they will wear it. Pack one extra as a spare. This is a great idea because it not only keeps you from over-packing, but the suitcase will also stay very organized! – LOVE it and will try it next time.

4- Well, that’s about it….I told you, I am NOT good at this. In fact, when I went on vacation awhile back I had to find a Walmart to buy an extra suitcase to take home some more clothes I bought. 🙄 I should have packed less knowing I was going to need room for my “shopping items”….hey, that could be another tip!

5- Just thought of one more thing…think about it this way, the more bags you have the more likely you are going to have to pay a baggage fee at airlines. Not a good thing for us people who like to save some moola!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your packing/luggage for a family of 4 look like this?! HA! Add a few more bags, purses, tote, another bag and you’d see how mine would look!

Now it’s YOUR turn….what are your tips on packing for a vacation?!

Topic Tuesday: How To Save Money When Planning a Birthday Party?!

Woohoo! Another Topic Tuesday! Today’s topic is going to be about How to Save Money when Planning a Birthday Party!

Check out the email I received from reader Tracy:


I’m throwing my daughter a birthday party for her 6th birthday.  We have always had large family parties for her in the past, and as a result have always told her that she can have a friends party once she gets into kindergarten.. Now its time to throw her a birthday party with her classmates, and of course I envisioned this big grand party, but its coming at the worst time for us financially.  We’ve decided to do it at home and sort of have a carnival/fair type theme since we are planning on buying her a blow up waterslide for her birthday and figured we’ll set that up for her and her friends.  Do you have any ideas or tips on how I can save money and still throw her a fabulous party?


Here comes my advice….*about decorating a party*….but I can’t wait to read your advice for Tracy on how to make her big kid party fabulous!

I personally get items from the Dollar Store! I love their decorations and have been able to find some great items there.

What I like to do for my little guy is to get one of their themed parties. For example, we did a Pirate Party and everything was Pirate theme and not too expensive at $1.00 for 20 party bags or 6 party hats!

For my older boy I like to get the non-themed party items. For example, just the Happy Birthday banners that are colorful, the blue paper cups, etc. Then, I will usually splurge on a Transformers Pinata, and table sheet. This way you can still have a “theme” and not have to pay $5.00 for a package of Transformers cups! Just buy the blue cups that will easily match.

This has been my favorite way to do the kiddos birthday parties. I still make the kids goody bags filled with items from the $1 store. Either way, they kids are going to be happy at the party…..they don’t care what the theme is as long as you have a couple items from that theme and LOTS of decor (which easily happens when shopping at The Dollar Store)!

Also, save the decorations (especially the Happy Birthday Banners) from the previous years. This saves me a ton every year because every year I have more and more and can use them for my little one!

One more TIP…..STREAMERS and BALLOONS (also found at the $1 store)!!! They are great and cheap for making it look like there are a ton of decorations everywhere!

So, now it’s YOUR turn….what are your tips on making a Kindergarten Birthday Party (or any other) just awesome on a budget?!

Topic Tuesday: Can You Get Healthy Items with Coupons or JUST JUNK?!

Today’s Topic Tuesday…..our topic: How do you get healthy food with coupons versus junk food? Is it true that couponers only get junk food with coupons?!

I can’t wait to see others tips and responses to this topic. I know this has been asked by many and a lot of new coupon users may believe that you are bound to junk food if using coupons…..While you can get a lot of free junk food and candy with coupons, there are many ways to save on healthy products as well.

I know of some people who mostly use coupons for personal care items only. As most of you know, you can get a ton of freebies and low price personal items with coupons. You can then consider taking the money you saved on shavers, toothpaste, deodorant, etc and use it for healthier products. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of ways to save on healthy food but you may not get exactly the same product you’re use to.

My biggest tip out there (and I’ve mentioned this before) is to STOCK up on healthy items when there is a coupon or a good deal for them. I have seen coupons for items like fresh strawberries, Driscoll’s berries, fruit, meat, nuts, organic crackers, teas, 100% whole juice and more. I will admit, they do not come out as often as we’d like so that is why I recommend stocking up on them when there is a coupon and then freezing them or storing them.

A unique tip I learned from one of my readers (sorry, not sure of your name) is to freeze your eggs! Yup, I said freeze your eggs….interesting huh? She recommends cracking them all, beating them and pouring them into an ice tray. One cube is equal to about 1 egg!

One more tip…..DARK chocolate is good for you!! 😉

Right now Driscoll’s is giving a coupon for $0.50 off berries! Just GO HERE and sign up for their e-mail newsletter.
*The coupon link will be in your welcome e-mail.

What are your tips on getting healthy items with coupons?!

Etiquette For Selling Your Stockpile at Garage Sales

This is an older post but I wanted to bring it up again for those of you that haven’t seen it….

Today’s topic is going to be about Etiquette for selling your stockpile at a Garage sale…is it right, is it wrong?

I have actually received a lot of emails asking me about this topic. If it’s okay to do or right to do…..

This is a hard topic because I have mixed feelings about it. Parts of my disagree with it and parts of me agree with it.

A big part of me that disagrees is if people are clearing shelves every week just to turn around and sell the items.

Now, part of me agrees with it if you do it in moderation. Sell off your extra items from your stockpile, don’t clear shelves and be respectful of others that want to get a great deal as well. I know some people cannot find jobs right now so they have started couponing as their “job”.

Have you ever been to Costco (before using coupons of course…j/k I still do like Costco for certain things)…..anyway, have you ever been to Costco and watched someone in line in front of you check out with 3 huge rolling cart thingies filled with goods?! Well, more than likely they are purchasing these items to resell (too bad they weren’t using coupons huh?!)….It’s the same concept, if you think about it.

Just please, if you are selling your stockpile items at garage sales please be respectful of others trying to get a good deal too. If you see someone selling their stockpile at a garage sale, just remember….they may be doing this as a way to help support their family and may not have another option at the moment. Please don’t be too quick to judge.

Also, more than likely the people purchasing items FROM garage sales are still going to be getting items for cheaper than what the stores sell them for (unless using coupons of course).

What do YOU think about selling stockpiled items at garage sales, and what etiquette tips do YOU have?!

Topic Tuesday: “When is the best time to coupon?” AND My Schedule

It’s not Tuesday today BUT I did want to re-post this since I know there are a lot of new couponers and RHC readers…So enjoy!

So….here it is….today’s topic is: “What time is the best time to go coupon shopping and what is your schedule”?

I will tell you the way my schedule goes and then please share what you do, any methods or tips you may have!

  • Saturday night I get all of my shopping lists ready for the next day, clip coupons, get organized for the hectic, money saving craziness the next day!
  • Sunday morning, wake up, head to the dollar store to get my papers (Dollar Tree). If there are any coupons I need from the inserts that day, I will sit in my car with my scissors and clip away!

  • Head on over to Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Albertsons (whichever stores have deals I’m getting). Sometimes it’s one store and sometimes it’s all 3!
  • This can take anywhere from 1.5 – 4 hours depending on how extensive the trips are and how many deals I’m getting.
  • Come home, organize and put away items purchased, and then onto coupon organization.

My tips:

*My Walgreens re-stocks items on Thursdays. If you get there on a Monday or even Sunday and they are out of the item you are looking for, my store will let you “order” the items. They put the order in Wednesday and get what they can on Thursday. So basically, check with your store on what day they “re-stock items”.

**2nd best tip, make sure you keep up with you coupon organization!!! This is key! Trust me, you don’t want to have a pile of newspapers sitting there….waiting for attention! I would know this…from experience. 🙁 No fun.

***Pull out expired coupons from your binder while watching TV throughout the week. This is an easy process so why not do it while doing something easy (watching TV).

****My favorite one of all: Check Raining Hot Coupons multiple times throughout the day to get all the HOT, crazy, insane deals and freebies! 😉

Now, it’s YOUR turn, what are your tips, methods, schedule?!

Topic Tuesday: What is a Good Coupon?! OR a Good Deal?

I thought it would be good to re-post this since it is Tuesday and all!

It’s Topic Tuesday and today’s topic is from Ann – Not all coupons are good coupons?? I need help deciding what is a good deal and what is not!

So, What is a good coupon AND what is a good DEAL?!

Here I go:

This is a tough one because everyone could have a different view on what a good deal is for them!

LONG STORY SHORT….My answer to this question: A good deal/coupon for YOU may not be a good deal/coupon for someone else….and vice versa!

Here it is explained:

First of all, set price limits for yourself…..for example, I will not try not pay more than $1.00 for a box of cereal, I will not pay more than $0.50 for a razor or deodorant, I will not EVER pay for toothpaste or toothbrushes again ETC. Base this on what you have previously paid for these products. Keep in mind, history repeats itself and the same goes for sales/deals.

This helps because if you have some of these prices set in your mind and a deal pops up at the store, you then have somewhat of a reference as to what you’ve paid in that past and it will help you determine if that truly is a *HOT DEAL* or perhaps just hyped up.

2nd piece of advice as to what coupons to clip….there are so many!! All coupons can be good coupons for certain people depending on what YOUR family uses! Some may think that a $0.50/1 Chex cereal coupon is GREAT because that’s their kiddos favorite cereal….where as someone else may say, we don’t like Chex so that is not a good coupon. OR a $5/1 Dog food coupon may be good for you but not someone else because they don’t have a dog…see where I’m going with this?

I’ve said this many times before and I will say it again….only get the items you and your family uses! This is great for this topic because it will help you eliminate the “coupon clutter”! This will help you be able to determine what coupons are “Good ones for your family“.

Number 3: Buy 1 Get 1 FREE coupons are almost always GOOD, HOT coupons! They are my favorite and I always suggest printing them out, stocking  up on them and clipping them!

Last but not least: Coupons that are only $0.50/1 CAN STILL BE HOT coupons! This is so important because people may think these aren’t so great BUT, if you can pair this up when that product is on sale, you may be able to get it for FREE or for a great price. If you see a coupon for $0.50 or $0.25 and it’s something you use or may want to use, clip it, print it, keep it!

Now it’s YOUR turn….what coupons are good ones and what makes a deal a good one?!

How to Save Money on Tires (My Tips + Your Help Needed!)

I received this email this morning from reader Stephanie who needs some help in getting some good tires for a GREAT deal! Here’s her email, anyone have any ideas to help a fellow RHC reader out?!

“I love your site and utilize it daily.  One question I have is if you know or if anyone knows a way to coupon tires?  I know it is wierd but I am sending my daughter off to college and we are in the construction industry so we don’t have much money to help her and I DO NOT want to pay full price for a good set of tires for her.  If you or anyone could direct me in my quest, I would very much appreciate your time.”

Here are some tips of mine…

Usually tire stores hold sales/events AND rebates during holidays! For example just recently I had to purchase tires and did it during the Labor Day weekend. By doing this I was able to snatch up a $100.00 rebate!

Another thing I did was had them match a competitors price. Here’s how I did just that:

1 – Went to the tire shop, had them give me some opinions of good tires for my specific vehicle.

2 – Went home researched those 2 specific tires (which forums out there also agreed were good) and then found them for the very least expensive I could. You can also call around to other stores in the area (some may be less or more).

3 – Now here’s the thing….you don’t generally want to purchase them online yourself because then you have to pay to have them installed and they don’t warranty out flats, nails in tire, etc.

4 – Take that price (a print out will usually work) to the store and have them price match it! This will save you a lot usually.

Now it’s YOUR turn, what are some tips you have to help Stephanie out?!

My Weekly Coupon Shopping Trip Schedule!

Today’s topic: My weekly coupon shopping trip schedule!

I’ve shown all of you my daily schedule and what my life is like from sun up to sun down but I wanted to explain my “Coupon Schedule” so you can get some nifty ideas and compare your plans. =) I have to say, I do go out almost every Sunday to get good deals but there are DEFINITELY some Sunday’s I do not go out because I just didn’t feel like it (and this is most likely because there weren’t any deals that struck me wild).

  • Saturday evening– Check out my coupon matched lists and figure out what deals I cannot resist. Sometimes this means going to just one store or sometimes even 2-3. I shop at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Albertsons and sometimes Smiths and Walmart. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to every single store in one Sunday’s trip….that can be a lot of work but the deals I come home with can be amazing!

During the Saturday evening, I also get all my coupons ready and my list (along with my list of what separate transactions may need to be done). This is mainly so I can assure I am getting all my Register Rewards and spending less out of pocket.

  • Sunday – I am ready to get my coupon on! I will stop by The Dollar Store (Dollar Tree) and pick up my newspapers. Sometimes I just don’t want to get up that early (you need to be there when they open or they disappear fast) so I just get them from Walgreens with Register rewards.

I will sometimes sit in my car and clip any coupons I may need for my trip. This is never too tedious because you will find that the sales for those items will mostly be in following weeks.

  • I then head to my stores, do my shopping and come home.
  • When I get home I unload and organize the items I got and relax.
  • I like to organize my inserts later that night when we are watching TV or the kids are in bed. It doesn’t take me long at all since I started organizing the full inserts.

Now it’s your turn….what is YOUR coupon shopping trip schedule?!

Topic Tuesday: Walmart DOUBLING Coupons?!

It’s Topic Tuesday and we are going to discuss Walmarts Double Coupon testing event! Thanks for the idea Jeremy!

This is big news…and if the testing turns out good, the news could get even BIGGER! What am I talking about you ask? Something that may affect YOU….if you shop at Walmart!

It’s really hard to get any 100% for sure answers about this but Walmart is doing a “Double Coupon” pilot testing event! Please keep in mind that this is ONLY for specific Walmarts (and mind you, there are not many included right now).

I read that there are 7 Walmarts in Utah that are participating and do the event on TUESDAYS. I got my info HERE.

I also heard this…

1. They are doubling all MFG (ONLY) coupons up to $.99. That means $.75 is worth $1.50.
2. They are price matching and using double coupons in WV
3. You must present each coupon with the item you are buying as they are doubling manually and must adjust the individual item, they cannot adjust the total.
4. Limits are as stated on the coupon (no limit stated means no limit)

So far I have heard these area are also Doubling! Please call your store ahead of time and find out if they are participating and what day:

  • Madison
  • Ohio
  • Charleston
  • West Virginia
  • Utah County – Utah ( 7 Walmarts are doubling)
  • Huntington
  • West Virginia Wayne
  • West Virginia Findlay 

Please let us know if your store is participating!

Thanks for that info, I Heart the Mart

Topic Tuesday: Budget Friendly Vacations!

It’s Topic Tuesday and if you’re not sure what that is, check out the details here….

Our topic today is going to be on “Budget Vacationing”! I am excited to get others peoples advice and tips on the best ways to save money while planning a vacation as well as how to save money WHILE on vacation!

Here are my tips:

I haven’t been on a ton of vacations but I did plan my Hawaii trip and Disneyland trip and the number one piece of advice I have is to put the package together yourself instead of at a travel agency! I tried with both of these trips to use a place that plans trips for you and both times I came out a lot less expensive in the end…..actually MUCH cheaper!

UPDATE: Another AWESOME idea is to get gift certificates from for the area you are traveling to. Also, there is an 80% off promotional code valid through 4/14! Go here for more details.

For the Hawaii trip, I used

*I search for Flight, hotel, and rental car packages all in one. Between the different companies (Expedia, Bookit, Orbitz, etc) Cheaptickets was by far the best in price.

*ALSO, I bet you may not have known this, but you can go through ShopAtHome to get up to 4.2% cash back! That can be a lot for a trip!

*When you are in Hawaii (or wherever you may be going) make sure and get a small fridge in the room. Then, stop by the grocery store there and pick up cold cuts, bread, drinks, snacks, etc! MUCH cheaper than eating out every time you get hungry. Hey, you can even bring your coupons and use them!! 😉 That would be a true “coupon pro”.

For the Disneyland trip….I planned this all myself.

*I actually got my tickets on Ebay. You can also check and search “Disneyland tickets” under your city or under Anaheim (where Disneyland is). You pick up the tickets from a place nearby.

*As for the Hotel, we stayed at Park Vue Inn (pictured below). I really liked this hotel because although it is not super fancy, it was clean, they have a nice continental breakfast, it is a great price for hotels in that area and guess what….it is literally DIRECTLY ACROSS the street from the entrance to Disneyland! There is also a Denny’s next door (obviously all within walking distance).

*Last little piece of advice is to get the “light swords” (that the kids just LOVE to have at night) right in front the hotel (or in front of the entrance to Disneyland). They are SO much cheaper and you can get 3 times the lights for the price.

So….I hope that helps some and trust me, as a girl who LOVES to save money, I researched the heck out of these trips to get the best deals and those were my experiences.

Now, it’s your turn…what are YOUR tips for saving money planning a vacation?!

New: Raining Hot Coupons Topic Tuesday!

We have Monday Fun-day, Recipe Wednesday and now starting tomorrow (4/12) will be Topic Tuesday! So, every Tuesday I will post a topic about random things…such as, How others organize, daily routines, saving money on certain items, vacation planning, how to make home cleaners, lunch ideas for kids, coupon questions answered, ETC!

Here’s how it will work:

  • I will post the topic of choice for that Tuesday with my opinion about it and advice/tips.
  • Then, it will be your turn! Your turn to express your opinions, see others opinions, chat about it, learn new ideas and tell others your ideas and tips on that topic!

**I would love to get ideas from YOU about what topics you’d like to see on here and what tips you may have to offer. So, for those of you that want to “Start a topic”, please send me an email to Raininghotcoupons@hotmail(dot)com with your idea and thoughts about it!

Tomorrow, Tuesday (4/12) will be the first topic of discussion. 😉

Topic Tuesday! Freezing Food Etiquette

Our topic Tuesday today is going to be on “Freezing Food Etiquette”! Something that can save you a lot of money, allow you to stockpile certain foods such as CHEESE, and make it so you’re not constantly throwing things out because you forgot about them in your fridge!

There is a list below of specific foods and how long they will last in the freezer:

Times are based on a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Storing and eating frozen foods past these deadlines isn’t dangerous, but flavors and textures will begin to deteriorate.

  • Chicken or turkey pieces, uncooked: nine months
  • Fruit pies, unbaked: eight months
  • Fruit: 6 to 12 months
  • Steaks, uncooked: 6 to 12 months
  • Butter: 6 to 9 months
  • Lean fish: six months
  • Roasts, uncooked: 4 to 12 months
  • Chicken or turkey, cooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Chops, uncooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Shellfish, uncooked: 3 to 6 months
  • Hamburger: 3 to 4 months
  • Bread and cake: three months
  • Cookies, baked or dough: three months
  • Meat casseroles, cooked: three months
  • Fatty fish: 2 to 3 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
  • Ice cream and sorbet: two months
  • Ham, cooked: 1 to 2 months
  • Bacon: one month

Now, the question is….how long DO YOU find food lasts in the freezer? What are YOUR tips and how do you do it? ALSO, please tell us how you defrost or use these items when they are frozen. Sometimes I find that I freeze a bunch of stuff and then when it comes to using it, I’m not sure what to do next!

Also, one reader asked me, How do you freeze cheese and can you? What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks, Real Simple for the list above