Announcement: Please Read

It’s been almost 10 years since I began the Gateway to Saving journey.  This has been an amazing decade, full of opportunities that most people will never even have a chance to experience.

Over the past year or so, things have gotten a little redundant.  I am spending too much time behind the scenes and not enough time doing what I love to do… helping you!  I never expected my little hobby to turn into such a large scale venture, so I didn’t put a lot of thought into the original process.  I’ve never been happy with the site name, and the design definitely needed some sprucing up and simplifying.   I don’t like change, but there comes a time when it has to be done.

Gateway to Saving is now transitioning to The Sensible Family.  The change will allow me to accept more opportunities, provide more content, and condense a lot of work on the back end.  The ultimate goal is to provide information in all areas of life that a real family experiences, while skipping over the things typically covered by countless other deal bloggers.

The Extreme Christmas Savings site, Facebook pages, and all related subsidiaries will remain unchanged.

I hope you’ll stick with me as I iron out the kinks.  Renaming a company isn’t a quick process.  If you have any questions at all, please let me know!

Toys R’ Us Black Friday Ad- in a Spreadsheet


In case you haven’t heard, the Toys R Us Black Friday ad was leaked this week.  It’s a monster of an ad- 28 PAGES LONG!!! 

We don’t typically put the scans of the ads up because they are so easily found elsewhere, but this year, we’ve added a new feature for some ads.  A SORTABLE SPREADSHEET!  That’s right- we’ve typed out EVERY SINGLE ITEM and uploaded it for you to use.  You can select, sort, delete, print, and whatever else your little heart desires.

Want to see it?  Click here: Toys R Us Spreadsheet

Happy Halloween!!

halloween night

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to post today, but I wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween! I’m putting together my daughter’s school party, trick or treating, and working on some cleaning.

My Christmas List | What I’ve Bought: Part 1

I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you what gifts I’ve purchased so far this holiday season, along with my current savings.  Many of these deals are no longer available, but several were posted here!

I normally don’t list items I’ve bought with credits, as I am a blogger and sometimes receive more credits than the average reader.  However,  this year I’m on a mission to see how far I can stretch the estimated credits an average referrer can use.

I’m really trying to cut back on the number of gifts we give this year, as we are in the process of buying a home and eliminating a LOT of clutter.

Item Retail Cost
EA Sports NFL Training Camp-Wii $39.99 $12.71 Paid in full with Swagbucks Gift Cards
Barbie Twillerbaby Play Set $9.99 $1.48 Mattel Sale
Barbie Twillerbaby Play Set (bought two) $9.99 $1.48 Mattel Sale
Polly Pocket $9.99 $2.48 Mattel Sale
Polly Pocket $7.99 $4.99 Mattel Sale
Steak and Shake Gift Card $10 $5 Saveology
Steak and Shake Gift Card $10 $5.99 OnSale
Farm Frenzy –DS $24.99 $6.48 Paid in full with Swagbucks Gift Cards
National Geographic Books $20 $10.00 Sale: $10- used $10 in free credits from Plum District
Dollhouse $49.99 $25.00 Sale: $25- used $25 in free credits from Eversave
Melissa and Doug Toys
paid $13.90shipping costs only, these were gift cards from SaveMore, bought with credits
Guitar Center Gift Card
Groupon Half Price gift card, paid for with Groupon


Adjusted Price after Credits: $35.32

If you’d like to learn how I shop like this, or how I bought $3,000 worth of items last year for under $400, register for the next Christmas Savings workshop on October 27th here:  Upcoming Workshops We’ll analyze your own Christmas list, cutting the cost of each item in HALF or MORE!

Can’t take a workshop?  Get the 40 page Ultimate Christmas Savings Ebook + the 18 page printable Christmas planner today for just $10 (a $63 value)! 

Where I’ve Been Lately…


If you’ve followed the blog for very long, you probably remember how crazy the first half of August is for us- we’re always busy, but August takes the cake, literally.  This summer, it got quite a bit crazier than normal!

I think it all started with my 30th birthday on July 22nd.  Just 3 weeks ago?  Whew!  I thought I was already rounding 33 by now.  Because my birthday fell on a Friday, it turned into a weekend long celebration.

The next week, I was approached by Zaycon Foods and asked if I would like the opportunity to go to BlogHer 2011 in San Diego (the largest blogging conference in the country- more on it later), so I jumped on the chance.  I had less than a week to prepare, which included clothes shopping, scheduling, and reservations.  I was also able to stay a couple of extra days with one of my best friends who lives there.  The conference had me going from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. almost every night, with very little time to shower, much less blog!

While I was in San Diego with my friend Sarah, her mom was back in Missouri to visit us!  I returned home very late on Monday the 8th with just one day to visit with her, recuperate, and head to the Missouri State Fair for my 2-day annual presentations.  This year the kids got to go with me, and Brad was even able to drive up on Thursday night.  My mom got the kids carnival wristbands for their birthdays, so our days were LONG and action packed.

We got in late Friday night, due to some minor vehicular setbacks, and left bright and early Saturday morning for Ethan’s birthday party at 1984 and the Springfield Cardinals game.  The Cards were losing 7-1 in the bottom of the 8th, so I was just sure that we’d be home at a decent hour.  Boy, was I wrong!  The bottom of the 8th took 45 minutes, resulting in a tied game.  The game then went into extra innings- until the 12th inning to be exact!

Sunday was spent with school supply shopping and football pick-up, Monday was spent with music lessons and clothes shopping (because the town with football pick-up has no clothing stores open on Sunday), Tuesday held birthday shopping for Ethan, and today is back to school and E’s birthday!  I’ve not even been able to muster up the energy to turn the computer on!

Things should be slowing down just a tad- we’ve still got several (10 of 17) birthdays and parties this month, along with football and soccer starting- but it seems slow in comparison.  Baseball and softball are over, which took up 4 nights a week.

I’m so glad to have a break to get caught up, but I’m really going to miss my kids and summer! 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Workshop

I’m now on Christmas Vacation!  I’d like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

I’ve already gotten my wish- it snowed last night!  Nothing gets you into the spirit more than a white dusting on the ground.  

**Ultimate Couponing I Workshop- TONIGHT**

Because this is possibly the last Ultimate Couponing I Public Workshop before the holidays, I want a full house tonight.  I’m offering the last couple of seats as a Buy One, Get One Half Off Sale.  If you purchase through this post, you can get 2 seats for only $22.50. (Not valid with previous registrations)

The workshop will be held from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at the Panera Bread on North Kansas Expressway in Springfield, Missouri.  You MUST be registered to attend.  If you plan to eat, come a few minutes early, as they are really busy at that time.

To Register:


I feel sick… really sick. Last night, I left my laptop on the kitchen table while I stepped out for a few minutes. I returned home seconds after my daughter spilled a cup of hot chocolate on it. Of course, we had no internet due to the rain, so I couldn’t look up quick fix methods on the other computer. I tried my hardest to save it, but I don’t think it’s going to pull through.

In true procrastinator style, I had not backed up any documents for months. This is going to be a very difficult and time consuming process, not to mention expensive. I cannot see well enough anymore to use a smaller screen, especially for daily work, so I’m looking for another 17″ or larger one, with the best price being around $1,000 right now. YUCK! I may settle for a better desktop and wait for a deal on a smaller laptop to take to classes.

If anyone is a computer expert and knows of a way to fix this, I am open to any and all suggestions!!!

Lanie and Vicki, if you’re reading this, this week probably signifies the beginning of another of my bouts with crazy, weird, breaking things. It’s already been a bad, expensive week!


What a ‘beautiful’ day!

I hope this is a completely unnecessary preemptive apology.  I’ve had about 13 minutes of uninterrupted internet access this morning due to the rain.  We are expecting up to 6 inches of rain between today and tomorrow, but the last few hours have shown that it’s moving in faster and raining harder than anticipated.  If it keeps up, I may not have internet access for long!

Due to a family matter, there were no posts yesterday, and for that I deeply apologize.  My uncle had knee surgery and I went to stay with he and my aunt.  I would like to give a shout out to CMH hospital in Bolivar, MO.  I have NEVER been in a facility with so many caring individuals.  Nearly every person that walked by was quick to offer a hello, ask if they could help, or initiate a conversation.  The facilities were impeccably clean and did not reek of antispetic.  The staff was well educated and in such good spirits.  You could tell that every individual there genuinely loved their job. 

I did run a couple of errands while there and noticed that the politeness was city-wide.  It seems that this is a city that still operates on small-town charm.  It was such a nice change from the rudeness that seems to spread through most of our communities now.  I can tell you that it’s infectious.  I came home in the best mood I’ve been in quite some time, even after sitting in a hospital for 6 hours.  It is a wonderful town and I hope to become more acquainted with it!

Luckily it doesn’t look like we missed much in the way of deals yesterday.  I’ll try to catch up today- weather permitting!

Yummy Fall Recipe!!! Pumpkin Apple Butter

This is an easy and delicious recipe that can be made with ingredients right out of your pantry.

1 medium apple, shredded
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup apple juice

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes.

This is delicious served with biscuits or toast (or to eat with a spoon!). It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.