Saturday, July 4, 2015

Shopping Trips- 1st Week of July

My husband hit Kroger on Tuesday, and picked up soy milk, orange juice, Clif Builder Bars, and yogurt. Total: $20

Aldi: $33.58. I had actually planned on buying a lot of these items at Kroger, but decided to try and see if the Aldi prices were better. They were! Oats, potatoes, orange juice, peanut butter, bacon, milk, lettuce, and bananas all were better priced than Kroger.



Kroger: $14.94. I got a register coupon for a free pint of Halo Ice Cream last week, so I picked up a pint of chocolate today. I had an ecoupon for the yogurt and a $3 catalina from last week as well. 


Farmer's Market: 1 basket of tomatoes for $4.

Total this week: $99.52

Friday, July 3, 2015

Frugal Win/Fail

Win:

1) I sold my son's 4T shorts on Ebay for $10 and his size 6 jeans for $22. (And yes, at age 7, he just outgrew those shorts. We make 'em skinny here!)

2) My mother stopped by today and brought us a pizza to eat.

3) I bought L.L. Bean backpacks for the big kids with a coupon code and Ebates. These are guaranteed for life, and I am hoping to eke out as many years as I can in these (at least 5?). I bought plain solid colors.

4) I baked bread and cinnamon rolls twice, and made homemade cookies.

5) Picked up two work shifts this week.

6) Used our YMCA membership once.

7) This week's fun activity was inviting my son's friend over for the day to play- no money needed.

8) We watched movies from the library 4 times.

9) I got my quarterly CVS ECB bonus of $3.

10) I packed lunch for my husband twice.

11) I worked a shift Thursday, and drove on my lunch break to the post office and pharmacy. As I got in the car, it occurred to me that it was the first time I had driven since Saturday when I went to the store. (I work from home). That is a lot of savings in gas. On the other hand, I am feeling rather stir crazy.

12) Got a free pint of ice cream at Kroger by using a register coupon received last week.

13) Downloaded a free Kindle First book, The Einstein Prophecy.

Fail:

1) Even though I sold my Angelcare Monitor on Ebay, the buyer has not paid. I will probably have to relist. Ugh! From here on out, I am choosing the Buy It Now option. This is the second time this has happened to an auction. The other clothes I sold this week I listed as Buy It Now only.

2) I own one pair of jeans and 5 pairs of yoga pants. One yoga pair finally tore beyond repair in the washer and had to be thrown out. I am losing weight, so I am going to make do with what I have until I am down another size.

3) Threw out some veggies dying in the back of the crisper drawer.

4) Missed out on packing lunch for my husband once.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Food Blog Lovin'- Freezer Cinnamon Rolls from Money Saving Mom


One of last week's frugal failures was the buying of last minute breakfast pastries for way more moolah than I could make myself. I've been thinking of trying to make something that I could make ahead and freeze.

Perfect timing, I saw this post for Freezer Cinnamon Rolls on Money Saving Mom this week, and it looked easy. All it took was throwing a few ingredients into our bread maker and using the dough cycle, rolling it out quickly, spreading some butter/cinnamon mixture, cutting it, and baking it. We received our bread machine as a wedding gift 9 years ago and I really just use it to make pizza dough, focaccia dough, and other yeast rolls. It took me 2 minutes to throw the ingredients in there, and about 5-10 minutes hands-on time to prep the rolls.

It truly was that easy. I haven't frozen any yet, but I have made these twice now. I haven't made the icing, as we thought the filling was super sweet and didn't need any extra sweetness. The second time around, I also reduced the brown sugar in the filling to 1/2 a cup. This made about 14 rolls each time.  I'm estimating the cost per batch, based on 14 rolls, is around $0.50.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Menu Plan- Last Week of June



I'm trying a lot of greek yogurt smoothies this week for breakfast. I'm getting a little tired of my Chocolate Oat Protein Smoothie and need to mix it up.


Sunday: Country Style BBQ Pork Ribs Marinated in Root Beer (going to make my own hack of this), Cole Slaw

Monday: Leftover Ribs/Slaw, Corn

Tuesday: Lentil Shepherds Pie

Wednesday: Mujadarrah

Thursday: Kids request: Hot dogs with veg and fruit, Boca burgers for me

Friday: Homemade Cheese Pizza

Saturday: Lentil Pierogi, Beet Chips, Corn on the Cob

Also making:

Freezer Cinnamon Rolls
American Sandwich Bread
Mocha Breakfast Shake
Apple Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Strawberry Breakfast Protein Smoothie

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grocery Trips Week of 6/27


I had a few things the family insisted upon this week:

1) Making a meat dish. We eat mostly vegetarian, but occasionally the natives get restless.

2) Stock up on coffee, Cheerios, soy milk, tea, and and juices. We had run out of almost all and had to do without on Friday.

3) Buy lots and lots of oranges (per my son, who eats 3 a day).

Our fridge was pretty bone bare, and we did eat all of the party leftovers from a week ago. Last night, we ate 15 breadsticks dipped in spaghetti sauce plus the last cake. I planned on spending around $130 this week. I initially planned on hitting 4 stores, but my arthritis is unhappy, and in the end I opted for a quick run to the Farmer's Market and Kroger.

Farmer's Market:

Tomatoes for $4

Kroger: $129.38

Thanks to some couponing, I got 6 boxes of Cheerios for $1 each, and 3 packs of Boca Burgers for about $2.50 each, plus a $3 catalina back for them.





This brings me to $133.38 for the week and $426.41 over the entire month, making my average for this month $106.60 per week to feed a family of five.

This is slightly above where I want to be, at $100/week, but I see a few places that I can tweak. A new Whole Foods just opened up, and they tend to have the soy milk we like at a cheaper price per quart. Now that I know my husband goes through 3 packs of coffee per month, I will be keeping my eyes pealed for coffee deals.


Frugal Win/Fail- 4th Week of June

Win:

1) Sold our Angelcare monitor and a Vera Bradley tote on Ebay for $52.50.

2) Got a 7 month supply of one of my medications for $25.72 out of pocket. After switching to a generic antacid (and an H2 blocker instead of a PPI), using a coupon and $13.75 in ECBs at CVS, and taking advantage of a B1 G1 at 50% off deal, I paid for a 7 month supply what I typically paid for a one month supply. Total savings will be $150.

Since we will have had 12 medical office visits by the end of June, to the tune of $300 for all the copays, I am very happy with this.

3) Spent about $71 in groceries for ourselves this week. There was a LOT of food left over from the party. We gifted a friend about four 12-packs of Coke products for her son's graduation, as we don't drink it at all.

Helpful hint: we revived the vat of cold spaghetti with a little olive oil, as suggested by my Sicilian uncle. He also told me we could fry it in a pan with a little olive oil as well.

4) Craved a Mocha Frappucino and made my own after a Pinterest search.

5) Used my YMCA membership three times. Added bonus: using the membership 2-3 times a week is getting me extra money through my work's wellness program, almost half the monthly cost of our Y membership!

6) My mom bought us a gallon of milk from Aldi and a box of crackers.

7) We are joining a friend at a local park today (free), and the kids will play in the splash pad (free) and we will grill out at their camper. I am making pasta salad and oatmeal raisin cookies from things I already have, and will spend about $3 on hot dogs we will bring to share.

8) At first glance, it sounds expensive, but I spent $209 on Zulily for Christmas. I have had my eye on a software program for kids that teaches them Java to create their own custom mods in Minecraft. My son REALLY wants to be able to do this. The software is $250 and it was $100 less on Zulily. I also found some art-related coloring books at 50% off for my older daughter. I had a $25 Paypal balance in there from selling on Ebay, so it was $184 out of pocket instead of $359.

9) Went to the local library for the first time in almost 5 years. I had to pay $1 to get a new card, but we came home with the new Terry Brooks novel for me, a Magic Treehouse for my son, and 4 DVDs. Even better, I found out we can now borrow a digital version of this whole series my son loves on our Kindle through an app! Things have changed since I last worked at a library in 2000.

10) I earned $2 in ExtraCare Bucks from CVS for filling out a survey sent to my email.


Fail:

1) My daughter is in art camp, and it is a 20 minute drive away. I will have gone through a full tank of gas by the end of the week. Ouch.

2) The down side of staying at home and still trying to do some professional things: having to pay for a sitter, $60 out of pocket. I belong to a professional nursing organization. To be certified, you have to pass a 15 contact hour home study course before sitting for your certification exam. I am one of a group of 15 nurses who are part of a committee to rewrite the course. I am considering getting my PhD, and this would be a very valuable experience to have.

My team finished a chapter and had to present it this week, and I needed to have a sitter watch the kids and keep them happy and in another part of the house during my conference call. It went well, and it was worth the money, but $60 is a lot to me now. My next chapter is due in two weeks, and I will be working that day and doing my meeting on my lunch break. At least I will be earning some money that day!

3) Paid for 4 more Kindle Magic Treehouse books before I decided to get my behind to the library and get a new card.

4) Threw out a bad orange and a bad apple. Bought a pound of lunch meat at Target, and even though it was within the sell by date, we thought it smelled really off and threw it out.

Win/Fail?:

1) I got a great deal at Target on razors. If you have been following the blog, you may remember that in 2009 when I started couponing I was able to spend only $9 to buy a huge stockpile of razors/refills for my husband. The coupon deals were a bit better back then. This is the first time since 2009 that I have had to buy razors. The fail part is that I forget one coupon on my dining room table- the one that would get me a $10 gift card back for buying $35 in shaving products at Target. D'oh! So ticked at myself for that one.   There was no way I was schlepping 3 kids back to that store to do it all again though.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Food Blog Lovin'- Healthy Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino from The Lemon Bowl



I've had a hankering for an iced coffee drink this week, what with temperatures being in the 80s and 90s finally. I do have a $5 Starbucks gift card, but I am saving it for my husband, who actually likes to drink coffee every day, and might like a fancy drive-through beverage.

I surfed around on Pinterest and found this recipe from the Lemon Bowl for an iced chocolate/coffee drink made with stevia to sweeten it. I have no whipped cream or chocolate shavings, so I made mine without. I also used (gasp!) decaf instant coffee, as I did not want to waste a pot of coffee that I knew I would not drink.

My stevia was plain and I was not about to go buy some chocolate stevia, so I added a wee bit more cocoa. I blended it in my Ninja single serving cup and drank it on the way to my daughter's art camp.

My verdict: I liked it!