Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Match-Ups Week of 5/29/11

Here are the places I am going for my match-ups this week:

Deal Seeking Mom for Meijer deals: Aunt Millie's Bread $0.15, Wish Bone Dressing $0.67, Smart Balance Milk $0.79, Coffee-Mate Creamer $0.57, Philadelphia Cooking Cream $0.50, Head and Shoulders $0.98.

Frugal Coupon Living for CVS deals: Aveeno products $1.33 each, FREE Mennen Speed Stick, Crest $0.48, Bic Soleil $.099, FREE Cortaid, FREE Preparation H Wipes, FREE Mars Chocolate Singles, FREE Nature Made Vitamins

Stretching A Buck for Kroger deals: Raspberries $1, Kashi Cereal $1.99, Wish Bone Dressing $0.67, International Delight Creamer $0.40, Suave Deodorant $0.17.

Koupon Karen for Walgreens deals: FREE Applied Nutrition Calcium, FREE Icy Hot Cream, FREE Goody's Headache Relief Powder, FREE Illy Coffee Cafe, FREE Royal Gelatin, FREE Listerine, FREE Listerine Pocket Packs, Act II Popcorn $0.25, FREE Nabisco Crackerfuls.

Koupon Karen for Rite Aid deals: FREE Renpure Organics Shampoo, FREE Aquafresh Kids Pump, Speed Stick $0.24.

If I haven't listed your local stores, I highly recommend you try out The Frugal Map to find local bloggers that do match-ups for you!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Not So Meatless Monday: Grilled Hot Dogs, Grilled Pineapple, Baked Beans, Watermelon

Tuesday: Spanish Rice and Beans, Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Feta, Black Bean Salad, Corn on the Cob

Thursday: my own creation- Penne Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sun Dried Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Kale

Friday: Grilled Panzanella Salad over Quinoa, Fresh Cucumbers, Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts

Saturday: Lentil Burritos for Lunch, Cole Slaw With Blue Cheese and Apple, BLT Lettuce Wraps, Julia Child's Cherry Clafouti for dinner

Sunday: Baby Shower

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend Shopping Trip

Kroger Trip: Food $57.18 and Memorial Day Sparklers $2

My best finds: 3 packs of Chi-chis Tortillas for $0.59 each, FREE Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries from a Facebook coupon, and B1G1 salt-free pretzels (these are a month supply for us at least)

My CVS trip was a whopper. Due to allergies, my husband and son do best with Aveeno products. I bought 3 bodywashes and one lotion, paid $25 out of pocket, and got $10 in ECBs back. I am Vitamin D deficient and have been told to supplement, but those supplements are typically $17 a bottle. Two brands were B1G1 at CVS this week, and I had several coupons. For buying the Nature's Made plus the Planters B1G1 nuts, I also got a $10 gas card back after spending over $30. The three Vitamin D/1 Fish Oil would usually be at least $60 alone. Total for everything was $77.36 out of pocket, plus $10 ECBs for Aveeno, $10 gas card, and a FREE Essence of Beauty Body Mist back at checkout.

Walgreens trip: 8 Act II popcorns for $2. I had planned on making a buck on the Ritz Crackerfulls deal, but my store was out of stock and they substituted Ritz Crackers instead. I paid $2 for the crackers and got a $2 RR back, and plan to use them for a baby shower I'm throwing next week.

We are now pretty much out of the paper towels I got 12 months ago on a great deal. With sale and coupon 12 rolls were $5 this week. Hopefully we can stretch these 6-8 months.

My Meijer trip: $21.37 including FREE Cottonelle Flushable Wipes from a Facebook coupon, 3 Eckrich Turkey Smoked Sausage for $0.67 each, 2 FREE Dean's french Onion Dips and 3 Heluva Good Dips for $0.50 each, and 3 FREE Ch-chi's Salsas for the baby shower.

Since food was about $96 due to stockpiling nuts this week, the plan is to cut back a little next week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Great Summer Grocery Makeover

I admit it, I am addicted. I love cruising the deals every week, trying to get something for free. Thanks to our using several frugal strategies,, we are a year away from paying off both my new car and student loan, and 2 years away from paying cash for a new truck for my husband. We are 5 years away from a 25% down payment (not including our current home equity) on this dream house, an experiment with geothermal and solar heat, built-in bookshelves, and a nice parcel of land.

I've given a few lessons to friends, and I've started to wonder: can I take the strategies I've learned the past 10 years and help someone else learn how to reduce their grocery budget by 50%?

I've hornswaggled three willing victims: my coworker Kim, a newlywed who doesn't have kids yet but is planning on them; my mom's coworker Brieanne, a single twentysomething who wants to focus on healthy foods; and my Boss, married with children, and with a very busy career that has her traveling and working late quite often.

My plan is to meet with my Challengers weekly for one month each. At the end of the monthly challenge, they get a copy of one of my favorite frugal books, and my readers get to win a copy too!

Week One

This weekend, I met with my coworker Kim. I showed Kim my favorite couponing sites (buttons on my sidebar) and gave a run-down of how they work. She typically shops every two weeks, and spends $140. Kim has been a very quick study! She is lucky that her mother lives in a building where other residents aren't big couponers, and she has a huge stack of multiple Sunday inserts available for gleaning. I can thank Kim's mom for the Huggies wipes coupons that got me a great deal last week. After hanging out at the Krazy Koupon Lady's site, and using up things they already had, Kim was able to cut her grocery bill to $59 for two weeks! She and her mother have been hitting multiple Walgreens stores and now have $92 in Register Rewards to use up! The Force is strong within this one!

I feel confident that we can shrink that budget even more, and plan to use these strategies:

* Kim and her husband eat meat for dinner daily. Substituting a bean or legume dish for even one or two meals a week can cut down on grocery costs. The biggest challenge is that Kim is a die-hard bean-hater. I am plotting a bean intervention come this Saturday! Any suggestion for recipes?

* What to do with all those Register Rewards? We will discuss the fine art of using RRs to earn more RRs this week.

* Building a stockpile. Kim is bringing a list of what they have, what they want, and what they need. I am sharing what I think is the lowest price she should hold out for. Why pay $0.25 when you can get it for free?

My coworker Kim, for being such a good sport, is earning a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette. My US and Canadian readers can as well, by following me on GFC and leaving a comment on this post that you have done so, before June 9th, 2011. Earn an extra chance by leaving a comment with some great frugal advice for my challenger.

Weekly Match-Ups Week of 5/22/11

Here are the blogs I am visiting this week for my coupon match-ups!

The Savings Lifestyle for Kroger deals: Sweet Corn $0.25, Cucumbers $0.50, 5 lb potatoes $1.99, Santa Cruz Lemonade $0.25, Kraft Salad Dressing $0.94, FREE Kool-Aid, 64 oz Turkey Hill tea $0.75 (or make your own for $0.20 a pitcher!), FREE Pampers Kandoo Wipes, Purina 1 lb. Cat Food $0.49.

The Savings Lifestyle for Remke/Biggs deals: FREE Aunt Millie's buns, Sweet Corn $0.25, Dole Pineapple $0.79, French's Mustard $0.49, FREE Dannon Greek Yogurt, Propel Fitness Water $0.10, Oscar Meyer Weiners $0.79.

Cincinnati Cents for Meijer deals: Ball Park Franks $0.48, Eckrich Smoked Sausage $0.67 each, Bi-Color Corn $0.16, Country Crock $1, FREE Chi-Chis Salsa, Hormel Chili $0.25, Knorr Sides $0.25, FREE McCormick Seasoning, Shout Stain remover $0.89. Deal Seeking Mom reports FREE Dean's Dip (stocking up for the baby shower I'm throwing!), FREE Baby Ray's Marinade, and Heinz Ketchup $0.69.

Deal Seeking Mom for Walmart deals: FREE Ivory Soap, FREE Wilkinson Razors, FREE Carefree Pantiliners, FREE Noxzema Razors, FREE Reach Floss.

Deal Seeking Mom for Walgreens deals: FREE Carefree Pantiliners, FREE Scunci Hair Elastics, FREE Complete Multi-purpose Solution, FREE Gillette Proglide Razor, FREE Suave Lotion, two Glade Fabric Odor Eliminators for $0.38 each, Pure Silk Shaving Cream $0.49, one Advil and one Thermacare for $0.49 each, Huggies Little Swimmers $2.99.

Stretching A Buck for CVS deals: FREE Trident or Stride Gum, FREE Revlon Nail Polish, Irish Spring or Softsoap Body Wash $0.50.

For The Mommas for Rite Aid deals: FREE carefree Pantiliners, Dixie Ultra Plates $0.99, Lamisil product $0.99.

Other deals:

Money Saving Mom reports Kraft Salad Dressing for $0.44 at Target.

If I haven't listed your local stores, I highly recommend you try out The Frugal Map to find local bloggers that do match-ups for you!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Spanish Rice and Beans (minus the meat)

Meatless Monday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Feta, Avocado Bean Salad

Tuesday: Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Black Bean Burgers

Wednesday: Lite Fettuccine Alfredo, Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit and Nuts, Fruit Smoothies

Friday: Homemade Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust and leftover veggies

Grillin' It Saturday: Bun-less Burgers, Sage Grilled Potato Packets, Watermelon, Sauteed Kale

Lunches: Leftover Spanish Rice, PB & J

Saturday Recipes to Try With My Son: Hibiscus Tea Grapefruit Smoothies, Dried Fig Bread

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Weekly Shopping Trip

Total at Kroger: $70.64, including formula. The formula was only $4 after $10 formula check from Good Start. Can you see my little helper, disguised as the Mixer? No big freebies this week. My best deal was more Almond Milk for $1.

I hit Walmart for these flushable wipes that ended up being $0.64 each after coupon. Total out of pocket was $4.48.

This case of diapers and wipes is the last of the stockpile for my niece. Total was $6.50 after coupons and extra care bucks. I got $5 in ECBs back too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Lots of repeats this week, as we use up what we have...

Meatless Monday: Light Fettuccine Alfredo, Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday: Black Bean Burritos, Sweet Potatoes With Feta

Wednesday: Mujadara, Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: Black Bean Chili, Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Friday: Whole Wheat Pizza with leftover veggies

Grillin' It Saturday: Mustard, Lemon, and Coriander Grilled Chicken, Grilled Pineapple, Grilled Corn

Sunday: hunt and peck

Lunches: leftover pasta salad from birthday party, Curried Chicken Salad made with Sam's Rotisserie Chicken, PB & J, leftover mujadara

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekly Match-Ups Week of May 15th

Here's the list of blogs I am visiting this week for the most comprehensive listing of match-ups:

The Savings Lifestyle for Kroger Deals: Whole pineapple $1.99, French's Mustard and Lawry's Marinade $0.49 each, Wisk $1.99, Huggies $5.49 each, FREE Colgate toothbrush and toothpaste, Lean Cuisine $1.35 each, Green Giant Veggies $0.79 each.

Deal Seeking Mom for Walgreens Deals: FREE Activ-On Pain Relief, FREE Colgate Pro Toothpaste, FREE Dove Men Care Deodorant, FREE Nova Max Blood Glucose Monitor, FREE Gillette Fusion Proglide, FREE Scotch Magic Tape, FREE Gain Dish Liquid, FREE Oscar Meyer Lunchables, Glade Air Freshener $1.99 (was $6.99), Finish Tabs 20 pk $1.24, three Gillette Body Washes for $0.33 each, Pantene $1 each, Huggies Jumbo packs $4 each. The Krazy Koupon Lady also reports Enfamil Formula for $14.99.

The Krazy Koupon Lady for Rite Aid deals: Purex Laundry Detergent $0.97, make $0.51 buying Crest Toothpaste, Biotene Mouthwash of Toothpaste $1.02 (this is really expensive stuff!), Sensodyne Toothpaste $0.51, make $0.83 buying Aquafresh, Polident $0.51, Benefiber $3.99, Colgate Toothbrush $0.24, two Huggies diapers $6 each, L'Oreal Excellence Hair Color $0.10 each wyb 2, two L'Oreal Hair Colors and three L'oreal eye shadows, $0.21 each wyb all five, two Finish 20-ct dish tabs for $1.65 each.

The Krazy Koupon Lady for CVS deals: Scott's Paper Towels 6-pks $4 each wyb 2, Cottonelle Wet Wipes $0.99, Wisk 2x or HE $2.99, two Neutrogena Sun Care products $0.99 each, three Eucerin Moisturizing Creams $2.12 each, four L'Oreal Preference Hair Colors $2.25 each, FREE Finesse Shampoo.

Deal Seeking Mom is showing a deal for Pampers Kandoo Flushable Wipes for $0.65 at Target.

I haven't seen any great match-up posts for Target, Walmart, and Meijer yet, but will update when I find them!

Weekly Shopping Trip and Birthday Party Costs

Yesterday we celebrated my son's 3rd birthday. He loves Dora The Explorer, so my friend Bridget used her Domestic Goddess skills to whip up this dairy-free Dora cake. (Yes, she is available for your party!)

My grocery budget was a little large this week, with having to feed 17 people the usual party food, plus feed ourselves and be able to pack decent lunches during the week. We had a nice fruit tray of blackberries, watermelon (bought whole and sliced), and strawberries ($1.25 a quart and in-season).

We had fresh veggies and dip (dip was B1G1 this week).

Pasta salad made from 2 boxes of free pasta, a few veggies, and a jar of salad dressing I bought. Total cost was maybe $2.

The heftiest part of my budget was the meat. We finally bought a grill that we had been saving for, and despite the rain, we set up a "man-cave" in the garage around the grill, and cooked out there. Now I know why we don't eat much meat! I was really short on time, so I bought pre-made patties. The meat was $23.63 just by itself!

The bread was $9.

Lots of produce. Corn was $0.25 an ear, and we decided to grill it. We bought 8 ears and cut each ear in half after cooking to make 16 servings.

I had to buy a vat of Crisco to season our propane grill. We send a 32 oz almond milk to day care each week for our son's lunches. The Almond Breeze was on sale 2/$4, and there was a blinky for $0.55 off that doubled to a buck, so I got 5 of them for $1 each. The Propel Fitness waters were free. The Minute Maid OJ I ended up getting for a $1 after the Mega Sale and a coupon I had for $1.

Another steal: Boulder Canyon Chips for $0.49 each. We went through all four yesterday!

I picked up some diapers for my niece with a $5 catalina, making them $4.49. I tried to stack them with a $1.50 manufacturers coupon, but they wouldn't take it, so be forewarned!

All in all: my total was $104.18 for food. $36.85 of that was party food, which comes out of my entertainment budget, plus $25 for the cake fee and non-dairy margarine. Our family food was under $70 for the week. Considering there were 17 of us there, I fed them for $3.64 per person.We didn't have to buy any plates, napkins, or cups, as we are still working on the ones I bought for my mother's 60th birthday 2 years ago! We could have brought down the total by making our own cake, but I didn't mind splurging on my friend's special skills.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trip

Happy Mother's Day! This is my gift from my beautiful new daughter!

My total from Kroger this week: $52.90 for food, $14.48 for a case of 92 Pampers and some Pampers wipes (for my niece!). I separate my budget for food and kid-related expenses. Add $16.49 for a case of Huggies Pull-ups on amazon.com and I am down to $69.03 out of my $100 budget for kid stuff for the month. We also spent $12.49 at Whole Foods for soy yogurt, dairy-free chocolate chips for a "chocolate-chip day" at day care next week (and may I say, dairy-free chocolate chips are expensive), and some organic blueberry dairy-free toaster waffles (they are cheapest at Whole Foods).

Food total = $65.39. Not bad! I used a $5 Pampers catalina I got on a previous deal and a $5 Kroger gift card from another deal.

Quite a few freebies too- 6 boxes of free pasta, a package of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (I cook it on the stove instead of the package), and a free Glade Spring Scent (I will use as part of a gift for a baby shower I am throwing).

The usual fruits and veggies. We watched America's Test Kitchen last night and they had a very simple recipe for oven-roasted fresh broccoli. I decided to make it on the spur of the moment. You can never have too many vegetables, right? I also bought some parsnips to roast with some carrots, and some brussels sprouts.

The flowers were from my in-laws, as we celebrated our 5th anniversary this past week. I love tulips and irises! Yes, I bought diet pop. Cheaper than the vending machine at work. Yes, I am totally guilty of drinking caffeine to help counteract the sedation of my medication and sleepless nights with a baby.

I bought a big disgusting vat of butter-flavored Crisco. There is a lot of cookie baking in the next two months, and the faux butter flavor helps boost the taste in the dairy-free cookies.

A case of Pampers was $12.99 and the wipes were $1.49. I used the $5 Pampers catalina and two coupons. The nice surprise- I got another $5 Pampers catalina back to use on a future Pampers purchase!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Black Bean Burritos, Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Light Fettucine, Roasted Broccoli

Sweet Potatoes With Feta,
Avocado Bean Salad

Whole Wheat Crust Homemade Pizza with leftover veggies

Creamy Pasta and Spinach, Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

3 year old birthday party
Dairy-free Dora The Explorer Cake
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe
Corn on the Cob
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Val's Guacamole and chips
Skinny Artichoke Dip
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Fresh fruit: watermelon, strawberries, blueberries
Potato Chips

Day care treats:
Oatmeal Raisin Birthday Cookies

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Match-Ups Week of 5/1/11

Each week I pick the sites I feel have the most comprehensive lists of deals for a store. A few places I'm going for my match-ups this week:

Stretching A Buck for Kroger deals: FREE Creamette, San Giorgio, and Ronzoni pasta, FREE Boulder Canyon Chips, FREE Mom's Best cereal, Campbell's Soup as low as $0.09, Silk ALmond Milk $0.49, Quaker Rice Snack $0.24, Kraft Singles $0.29. The New Frugal Mom adds that Sunny-D, Propel Fitness Water, Nivea Body Wash, Reach Toothbrushes, and Ivory Bar Soap can be gotten for FREE too.

Stretching A Buck for Meijer deals: Yoplait Yogurt $0.37, Oscar Meyer carving Board Lunchmeat $0.69, Ore Ida Hashbrowns or Fries for $1.33 each, Prego Pasta Sauce $1, Aunt Millie's Bread or Bins $0.01, Uncle Ben's Ready Rice $0.16.

Stretching A Buck for Target deals: FREE John Frieda Hair Color, Huggies or Pampers big packs 2 for $15.99 each, FREE Rayovac batteries, FREE Aquafresh Training Toothpaste, Nivea For Men Body Wash $0.04, Up and Up Panti Liners $0.39.

Deal Seeking Mom for Walgreens deals: FREE Fixodent Cleanser, FREE Noxema raxors, FREE Gum Eez-Thru Flosser, FREE Tylenol Precise, 2 FREE Right Guard Body Wash, FREE Relaxer Kit, FREE Head and Shoulder Shampoo and Conditioner, FREE Gilette Fusion Proglide System, Aussie hair Care $0.99, U by Kotex $1.50 each, 2 Cottonelle 12-pks for $2 each.

Deal Seeking Mom for CVS deals: FREE Colgate Toothpaste, 3 Nivea Body Lotions $1.32 each, Tide $3.99, Metamucil $3.99, All Detergent $2.99, Right Guard Deodorant or Body Wash $0.25 each, 4 Maalox Liquids for $1.74 each, Miralax $5.99, Oscal +D 2 for $2.29 each, Soft Scrub $0.49.

Deal Seeking Mom for Rite Aid deals: FREE Crest or Oral-B toothbrushes, FREE Revlon Emery Boards, FREE Profoot Foot Care, FREE Dove For Men Deodorant, FREE Excedrin PM, FREE Butterfinger Snackers (SO addictive), Revlon Foundation $0.99 (usually $10!), Gillette Fusion Proglide $0.99, Pampers Jumbo pack $5.49.

Deal Seeking Mom is also reporting Staples has HP Photo Paper $1 after easy rebate and Hammermill 500 sheets ream for $3. We have two huge boxes of paper I got a year ago for free using Staples Easy Rewards and we have barely touched one. My kids will be in college before we get through that free paper.

Also, Aveeno Baby Sun Care $0.99 each at Target after coupons and gift cards.

According to Cincinnati Cents, Restaurant.com is selling gift certificates for 80% off and Blooms Today is offering 50% off flower arrangements.

Money Saving Mom reports Driscolls Berries has a coupon for its fresh fruit, that Swiffer will be giving away 100,000 Swiffer Duster Kits via Facebook soon (we are sticking with a plain cloth diaper, as I am too cheap to buy refills of this), and you can get a FREE Breath Rite product at Rite Aid.

If I haven't listed your local stores, I highly recommend you try out The Frugal Map to find local bloggers that do match-ups for you!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Shopping Trip

Kroger shopping trip: About $70 even. I got a TON of strawberries.

I set aside $25 a month for drugstore deals, and only spent $8 of it on eye drops this month (and got $8 back in Extra Care Bucks). I decided to hit the health food store and spend that surplus on a few extras, including a big 'ol jar of raw honey, a bag of hemp protein, and pre-made organic waffles for my son. They are a huge treat for him. I have a hard time getting enough protein every day, despite eating nut butters, greek yogurt, or beans and lentils at every meal. Hopefully it won't have too strong a taste when mixed with other things.