Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall is here.......

Is anyone else excited about fall and the upcoming holidays?  This is my absolute favorite time of year.  It's still nice enough to be outside and cool enough that you don't mind being outdoors.  Granted, here in NC it's still in the low 90's and 80's right now but compared to 100 or higher temps that we have been seeing this is definitely the start of cooler weather. 

I foresee lots of baking and crock pot meals in the next few weeks.  Of course I will be guarding my canned pumpkin with my life since there is STILL a shortage.  If you use it and happen to see any while out grab it because by the time the holidays roll around and you need it to make delicious pumpkin pies it will be gone and no more will be available.  I've already started researching how to make it myself because I have a feeling that since this is 2 years in a row of a pumpkin shortage it will be gone quickly.

So on my list to do the next couple of weeks are pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, homemade bread, crock pot chicken and potato's, crock pot roast, Halloween cookies and possibly homemade pumpkin puree.

Any suggestions on good fall meals/recipes?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adding to the Stockpile

So, over the past few months we have been scouring the ads for local drugstores looking for deals on soaps, shampoos, razors and anything else that we would use regularly.  I admit that most of our purchases are at Walgreen's.  I will be trying to venture out and at least use CVS as well since there is one about 5 minutes away.

Stock up Purchase @ Walgreen's 9/19

1st Transaction
Crest Toothpaste $1.69
Coupon $.75
RR earned= $1.00
Total= $.94
Earned $.06 or FREE after RR

2nd Transaction
Crest Toothpaste $1.69
Coupon $.50
RR earned=$1.00
Total= $1.19
Total paid after RR $.19

3rd Transaction
(2) Kotex Tampons $2.97 each
(2) $1 off coupons
RR earned $2.00
(2) packages Beef Burgers $.93 each
2 $1 off RR used
Total= $.3.80

* With RR the tampons ended up being about $1.50 each!!!

4th Transaction
Crest Floss $3.39
Coupon $.75
(2) Right Guard Deodorants $3.39 (for both BOGO)
Coupon $1.50 off 2
(6) packages Beef Burers $.93 each
RR used $2.00
Total = $ 8..11

Total of all 4 transactions before tax= $14.04

Added bonus.  The toothpaste had samples of crest with scope, and floss along with $10.75 in coupons for Crest items and I have two sets of coupons because we purchased two containers of toothpaste!  By the way, there is no good way to photograph 8 packages of burgers so you only get to see 2.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Soup and Chex Mix Galore!

Between the sale on soup at Harris Teeter and Walgreen's this past week, as well as Chex Mix we are VERY well stocked. 

Walgreen's 9/18/10
(4) Progresso Soup (2.37+ 2.71 + 2.37+ 2.39) = 9.84 -5.60 (Store coupon)= 4.24
2 coupons for $.50 off = $3.24
() Packages Chex Mix @ $.84 each (Sale and employee discount)= $5.04
6 coupons for $.50 off = $2.04

$.19 Sales Tax
Total= $5.47!!

Based on the total paid for each type of item that worked out to $.81 per can of Progresso soup and $.34 per bag of Chex Mix.  We stocked up on both using what coupons we had and now have a nice little stock of soup for the upcoming cold months and some yummy but inexpensive snacks.

I sent the hubby off with more coupons today after seeing the new sales ad and should have another Walgreen's post coming tomorrow.  We have started a small stockpile of toiletry items that we have gotten for free or pennies.  Can you tell I love saving money!

Friday, September 17, 2010


I know I promised menu's a few posts back but was distracted by Super Double Coupons.  So here is what our menu this week and next week look like.

Monday (9/13)- White chicken pizza with field peas
Tuesday(9/14)- Chicken burritos
Wednesday (9/15)- Rotisserie pork loin, mac and cheese, corn, green beans
Thursday (9/16)- Grilled tilapia, herb and butter mashed potato's and salad
Friday (9/17)- Rotisserie Chicken, roasted red potato's and carrots
Saturday (9/18)- Leftovers
Sunday (9/19)- Chicken Alfredo using leftover chicken, leftover Alfredo from the white pizza and broccoli
Monday (9/20)- Spicy Shrimp with rice, broccoli and carrots
Tuesday (9/21)- Salad night using leftover meats
Wednesday (9/22)- Not sure cause it's my birthday and I don't want to cook if I don't have to
Thursday (9/23)- Sandwich's with chips and fruit
Friday (9/24)- Chicken nuggets, fries and fruit

OK so that is as far as I've gotten.  We do eat a LOT of chicken but we like chicken.  The way that I menu plan is based on what we have and what's on sale.  Everything planned out so far we have on hand.  The menu is not set in stone either.  Some nights switch around depending on how late the hubby gets home and which meal is faster.I write my menu's out on a calendar, which I got for free, and if we eat the meal it gets checked off and if not then I move it down to a day that I haven't planned for yet. 

I also try to plan using leftovers that I know we will have on hand.  For instance, we are having rotisserie chicken tonight.  We will get tonight's meal and have quite a few leftovers.  Some of the leftovers will be paired with the extra sauce I made earlier in the week for chicken Alfredo and the rest will be sliced for sandwich's and to top salads.  Whenever we use a whole chicken we intend for it to be sliced into lunch meat.  It saves us the cost of purchasing lunch meat and tastes much better.  We also do this with beef roasts.  Another thing we noticed was that we always had wings and legs left.  We prefer to eat white meat, there's nothing wrong with dark meat it's just our preference.  So, it hit me last time we put a chicken in the rotisserie.  Why don't we just go ahead and eat the legs and wings initially with a little white meat.  They won't go to waste and taste so much better fresh.  It also leaves much more of the white meat breast that we love as leftovers that will get eaten.  This way keeps us from wasting food.  To me, food wasted is money wasted.  The less food we throw out is more money in our pockets to be used for other things.  So if that means that we eat a lot of chicken and only buy beef and seafood on sale that's fine by me.   

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Harris Teeter 9/15/10 Super Doubles

I have to say that I am very happy with my shopping trip yesterday.  I watched websites diligently after hearing about the super doubles so that I could get a sneak peek at the ad.  Once I found a sneak peek I made sure to match up the sales with the highest value coupon that I had.  The result, I spent $73.71 and saved $96.79 on coupons tendered and $53.84 on VIC savings.

So here's the list....I keep remembering after I've put everything away that I should take a picture.

Muffin cups $1.19
(2) Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $2/$4
$.50 off 2 =$1.50/ box
(6) Betty Crocker Potato's 10/$10
3 coupons for $.50 off 2= $.50/box
(2) Nature Valley Granola Thins
2 coupons for $.75 off 1= $1/box
Betty Crocker Frosting $1.50
Betty Crocker Cake Mix $1.00
$.75 off 1 frosting and 1 cake mix= $1.00 for both or $.50 each
Dixie Crystals Brown Sugar $2.35
$.75 off 1 = $.85 paid
Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese $2.50
1 coupon for free meal= FREE
(4) Progresso Soups $1.39 each
$1 off 4= $.89 each
Kruncher Chips $2.50
$.75 off 1= $1
Pace Salsa $2.50
Whitehouse Apple Juice 128oz $3.88
Vanilla Wafers $2.14
Whole Grain Fig Newtons $1.99
(2) Gallons Milk $3.19 each
Buy 1 Nabisco Cookie and 1 gallon milk get 1 Nabisco cookie free =$.14 for both cookies (they were BOGO) or when you include the milk each item is $1.11
(3) Campbell's Soup at Hand $1.50 each
$1 off 3 = $.83 each
(2) Harris Teeter Diet Orange Soda $.80 each
Harris Teeter Bread and Butter Pickles $1.50
Harris Teeter Syrup $1.49
Harris Teeter Sugar $2.67
Starbucks Coffee $8.99
$1.50 off 1= $5.99
(4) Whole Chickens @ $.59 per lb= $10.95 total for 4
Yellow Bananas $.65
Roma Tomato's $.54
WF Orange Chicken $5.99
$1.50 off = $2.99
Harris Teeter Crinkle Fries $1.97
Harris Teeter Margarine Spread $1.99
Kraft Monterey Block $2.99
(2) Kraft Cheddar Blocks $2.99 each
Kraft 5 Cheese Shredded $3.29
Kraft Mozzarella Shredded $3.29
Store Deal $3 off 3 participating Kraft products
Coupon $5 off any 5 Kraft products =$1.51 each
Activia Light $1.99
$1 off 1= FREE
Activia Vanilla Bean $1.99
$1 off 1 = FREE
(2) Danimals Yogurt Drinks $1.99 each
(2) $1 off 1=  both for FREE
Harris Teeter Large Eggs $.99
Keebler Fudgeshop Cheesecake Cookies $1.74
$1 off 1 = FREE

So I was able to get several things for free and a lot of sale items for $1 or less.  Yay!  The total paid was $73.71.  More than my $40 a week goal, however I will only be shopping for essentials next wee.  Plus I will not be using additional money i will be using the money left over from previous weeks.  Right now it's about $15 which will be plenty to make a trip to Aldi for essentials.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Walgreens 9/12/10

OK so I have been preparing for Super Double coupons. My mom and I went through our coupons yesterday and we each have approximately 20 picked out. However, since the ad isn't out yet that is subject to change depending on what the sales are. The hubby picked up a couple of deals from Walgreens.

2 packages Chex mix @ $.84 each (employee discount (ED)) - $1 coupon on two = $.34 each
Schick Intuition razor cartridge (2) @ $9.34 each (ED and BOGO)-9.34 and $4 coupon= $2.67 each
Wrigley Gum (clearance and ED) = $.64

**The Intuition coupon can be found on facebook. **

Total= $7.46
Total Savings= $17.69

Second Transaction

4 packages Chex Mix @ $.84 each (ED) - two $1 off two packages coupons= $.34 each
Something watermelon flavored (like I said the hubby purchased this) $.42 (ED)

Total= $1.86
Total Savings= $8.40

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Super Double Coupons make me Super Duper Happy!

So as I was trolling some of my normal blogs and websites yesterday I saw on Southern Savers that Harris Teeter will be having Super Double coupons this coming week. I literally did a happy dance. Super Double and Triple coupons are when I get to stockpile treats and yummy snacks without completely busting our budget. This is one of the weeks that I may actually go over $40. Like I mentioned before, there will inevitably be weeks that I just cannot keep it at or under $40. I hope that there are some amazing sales to go along with the coupon event so that I can end up with some freebies.

I know that a lot of people do not like to bother with coupons but I love it. I get excited every Wednesday when I got get my paper out of the yard because I know that the grocery ads and on Sundays I anxiously await our paper delivery so that I can scope out the coupons. I learned when in college, and while working at a grocery store, that if you put forth a little bit of effort you can go home with so much food for very little out of pocket cost. I am so proud of myself when I can leave a store that accepts coupons and look down at my receipt and see that I saved as much if not more than I spent. As my 3 year old would say, "It's making me happy!"

Ok so this turned out to be totally random but I wanted to share my excitement over super double coupons!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Aldi 9/8/10

So the previous week I had an additional $10. Yay! However this week both little man and the husband went with me. For some reason this always adds to the grocery bill.

1 Gallon Milk $2.69
Light Sour Cream $.99
Pinot Grigio $4.99
Vanilla Ice Cream $2.59
Kielbasa $2.29
Shredded Mozzarella $2.99
Mini Pizza Crusts $1.99
Turkey Lunchmeat $2.49
64 oz Apple Juice $1.19
38 oz Tub Pretzel Spinzels $3.99
Chili with beans $.99
Romaine Hearts $1.99
2 4 count Applesauce cups $.89 each
Sharp Cheddar Cheese $1.79
Chocolate Chips $1.69
2 boxes Baking Soda $.49 each
3lb bag Fuji Apples $3.49
Tortilla Chips $.99
Honey Buns $.99

Total = $42.10

Remaining amount = $7.90

I'm sure it looks like there is no way that we eat real meals but trust me we do. I'm a believer in menu planning and using what I have on hand. There are some weeks that I plan meals based on what we have and only purchase the items necessary to fill in the gaps. Menu's to come.

9/2/10 Shopping Trip

As I mentioned in the previous post I've been doing his for the past few weeks. I thought it would be easiest to begin with the month of September. The following is my shopping trip from 9/2/10 at Aldi.

5lbs Red Potato’s $2.69
Celery Bunch $1.19
Frozen Broccoli Florets $1.19
Banana's $.76
Carrots $1.29
Hot Dog Buns $.79
Hamburger Buns $.79
Canned Corn $.49
Canned Green Beans $.49
Orange Juice (frozen) $1.19
Coffee Creamer $1.49
2 2 liter Sodas @ $.59 each
2 Gallons Milk @ $2.49 each
2 32 oz Ketchup @ $.99 each
Spaghetti Sauce $1.19
Cheese Slices $.89
Beef Hot Dogs $1.99
Alfredo Noodle Packet $.66
Tortillas $.99
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels $1.39
Total= $29.24

Excess amount = $10.76

How the Challenge Began

First, a little intro.  I love to read blogs about saving money and cooking.  I've debated for a while about starting my own blog but was scared.  Yep, scared.  At first I didn't know what I would write about.  I like reading blogs about saving money and cooking but don't feel like I'm an expert in any specific area or that I have anything original to share.  Then a few weeks ago as my husband and I were looking over our budget we decided to challenge ourselves.  We have always been good at grocery shopping, couponing and getting great deals on our groceries.  We took a hard look at our current budget and decided to try for $40 a week. 

As a family of 3 (myself, my husband and our 3 year old) we felt $40 was doable (is that a real word?).  I took inventory of our pantry and freezers and determined that we had a reasonable amount of meat, frozen veggies, rice, and pasta on hand to help us transition into our new budget.  Don't get me wrong, I know that it is not realistic to think that we could only spend $40 a week for a year.  I was on a quest to see how long I could stick to this budget and how much we could reduce our annual food budget to.  So I am now a few weeks into this project and it finally hit me: THIS is what I should blog about.    So here I am. 

To sum it up, I spend $40 a week on groceries.  Did I mention that I only use cash?  Cash only is my rule.  Why?  If I use a debit or credit card I would be tempted to go over our budgeted weekly amount.  If I have cash then I can't go over.  My rule has been that if I say under $40, the remaining amount stays in our fund to be used toward another week.  Sometimes, I even skip a week!  That comes in handy when there is a big sale or we need to stock up.  Like I mentioned before $40 a week isn't going to be feasible every week because when our stockpile gets low and there's an awesome sale (as in BOGO, super double or triple coupons) then I stock up.  Overall I have found that ven those stockpiling trips tend to even things out.