Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: evil fast food

Tuesday: Bacon Tomato Pasta, Twice Baked Sweet potatoes with Feta

Wednesday: Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans

Thursday: Chipotle Burrito Bowl (minus the chicken and with a nice side of guac)

Friday: Homemade Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust

Saturday: Huevos Rancheros on Homemade Corn Tortilla

Sunday: Mushroom, White bean, and Tomato Stew over Rice

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Grocery Trips

Part of this week's trip from the specialty store closer by- and proof that I really need to stay away from there! Mostly homegrown and organic produce $46. I discovered this week that the bread I usually buy for our family now has dairy in it (groan). This now means that I must either bake my own or buy it at $5 per loaf at the specialty store. My husband was out of town, and I only had a short time to run and shop as my mom watched my feverish, sick kids- ended up spending $60 more. Yipes! AT least it was mostly organic, right?

Last week's Kroger trip: $58, plus $6 for frozen organic sale waffles at health food store. Amazing how you can get so much more and spend so much less here!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Boston Baked Beans ( I cooked the beans beforehand in the slow cooker and froze two servings)

Tuesday: simple eggs and toast

Wednesday: Fruit Smoothies and 7-Grain Homemade Waffles with Maple Syrup

Thursday: Twice Baked Sweet Potato with Feta, Veggie Burger Patties, Fruit

Friday: Chic Fil-A

Saturday: Regency Toasted Cheese, Sliced Bell peppers, Kale Chips

Sunday: Lean Beef, Cabbage, and Stewed Tomato in Slow Cooker

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Great Summer Grocery Makeover- Week 4

I'm still running a little behind- Dad had another bleeding episode and this weekend was crazy.

The last week for my coworker Kim, we went over CVS policies, as they are a bit different than Walgreens. CVS Extra Care Bucks don't expire as quickly as Walgreens Register Rewards, and they are used like cash. Because of that, I can buy a single item, and use multiple ECBs plus a coupon for it without any trouble. We flipped through Target's website and looked at their coupons. Did you know that you can stack a Target coupon, say for Pampers, with a manufacturer's coupon from the Sunday insert? Because of this, Target often has quite of list of things you can get for free, in particular personal care items.

Kim and her mom decided to hit Target, and practice some deal-seeking there this week. For everything in their basket, they paid only $0.18 out of pocket. On the way out the door, she saw someone had left some change on the floor, $0.31. Technically, after finding this, they made money that trip. Cool, huh?

I asked Kim what advice she would give a newbie trying to learn how to coupon. She has one piece of advice:

"Start with only one store." In the beginning, she tried to work deals at multiple stores, and often felt overwhelmed, and like she messed up a few deals, making her out of pocket more than she expected. By deciding to just concentrate on Walgreens, she learned the ins and outs over a few weeks, and smoothed out the bumps before moving on to Target this week.

I myself only started with Kroger and then slowly worked my way up to being able to hit 8 stores in one Saturday when I was really stockpiling.

Overall, Kim was able to reduce her budget by at least 70% for groceries. After an initial investment at Walgreens, she is still rolling her Register Rewards to the tune of about $75 per week. That means nothing out of pocket! What a great student!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


According to random.org, contestant #3, or TINA, is the winner of The Complete Tightwad Gazette. Congrats!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Falafel, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday: Tortilla Wraps with Grilled Veggies and Black Bean, Cilantro, and Lime, Grilled Pineapple

Wednesday: Creamy Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto, Broccoli

Thursday: Boston Baked Beans, Cole Slaw with Blue Cheese and Apple

Friday: Breakfast for dinner, Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Waffles with Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Sausage

Saturday: Father's Day meal: Grilled Ribs, Smoky Grilled Potato Wedges, Pierogies, Peas, Grandma Ople Apple Pie (made dairy free)

Sunday: Jane Austen Toasted Cheese, Fresh Fruit

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trip

The hummingbird momma that built her nest on a tree branch right outside our front door. Why am I posting this as part of my weekly shopping trip? Because I spent $9 on a hummingbird feeder and nectar today to help keep her and her nestlings happy. I think there are 3 eggs in that tiny nest.

My Walgreens trip: had a $2 Register reward and needed nothing- except peanut butter. Skippy was on sale for $2, so I got this jar for free.

My Kroger trip: $46 on food, $2 for a newspaper, and $17 for a hummingbird feeder, nectar, and bird seed. I guess you can say we like the birds:). Raspberries were still $1 each today, so I got 5, washed them, and just popped them in the freezer.

I also spent $14 at the specialty store a couple days ago, so $60 for the week overall.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Great Summer Grocery Makeover: Week 3

This week was a grocery shopping week for my coworker Kim- and it was a great week! The goal was to make it below $59 for 2 weeks worth of groceries. Her total?


That is $14.50 per week for a family of two, and about a 70% reduction in the food budget. Her strategies that helped the most: using a few things she already had instead of buying extra things that would probably end up spoiled, couponing and getting as many freebies as she could, and planning her menu around what was on sale instead of what they had a hankering for that week.

This week we went over a few sites where we could find extra coupons: Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, Redplum.com, and the Coupon Network. I usually find them at Deal Seeking Mom. They always seem to have coupons for our water softener salt, and tend to run a high value coupon on a regular basis. I also showed her how to use digital coupons like Cellfire and loaded some eCoupons onto her Kroger Plus card.

She and her mom are still going strong rolling their Walgreens Register Rewards (to Jen who commented on the last post, I will post something soon explaining how they work.) They only paid a couple bucks out of pocket and got over $70 Register Rewards back.

Plan for next week? Rolling, rolling, rolling those rewards still....

Weekly Match-Ups Week of 6/5/11

Sorry the match-ups are late this week. My Dad has been in the hospital and I have been driving 1.5 hrs each way to see him the past few days...

Here is where I am finding my match-ups this week:

The Savings Lifestyle for Kroger deals: Raspberries $1 (buying a LOT to freeze as this is as low as it gets), Ragu $0.67, Quilted Northern Double Rolls $3.99, Gillette Body Wash $0.75, Bic Razors $0.99.

Cincinnati Cents for Meijer deals: International Delight Creamer, FREE Country Crock, Smuckers Jelly $0.67 (great price!), Kashi Cereal $0.66, Suddenly Salad $0.50, Bar S Franks or Blogna $0.50, Baby Cut Organic Carrots $1, Dole Bagged Salad $1, Hormel Pepperoni $0.30, Sunny Delight $0.50.

Koupon Karen for Walgreens deals: FREE Fish Oil, FREE Healthy Woman Soy Supplement, FREE Reach Floss or Toothbrushes, Morton Salt $0.50, Butterball Chicken Broth $0.50, Comet Cleanser $0.50, Nivea Body Wash $0.50, Duracell Batteries $0.74, Gillette Fusion Proglide System $0.99, Blue Diamond Almonds $1.45, Planters Nuts $2.

Cincinnati Cents for CVS deals: FREE Excedrin, FREE Honest Tea or Fuze, FREE Crest Pro Health Rinse, Colgate Toothpaste $0.04, Ban Deodorant $0.24, Blink Tears $3.99, Huggies Jumbo Pack $4.99, Pampers $14.99.

Deal Seeking Mom for Rite Aid deals: FREE Bayer Aspirin, FREE Arm and Hammer Toothpaste, Crest Toothpaste $0.50, Axe or Dove Men's products $0.72, eight Lysol wipes $0.75 each (or buy a pack of washclothes for $1 and make your own cleaner!)

Deal Seeking Mom for Target deals: Pampers or Huggies as low as $6.32, FREE Playtex Toddler Cups, Ghirardelli Squares $1.74.

Money Saving Mom for Walmart deals: FREE Gain Dish Liquid, FREE Kids n Pets, Weight Watchers Yogurt $0.30, Curad Bandages $0.46, Snuggle Fabric Sheets $1

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!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: BLTs

Tuesday: Quick Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Wednesday: hunt and peck for husband, fast food for me, visiting Dad in the hospital :(

Thursday: Falafel with Cucumber Dill Sauce, Twice Baked Sweet Potato With Feta, Bell Peppers

Friday: Penne With Asparagus and Tomato, Sauteed Kale

Saturday: Grilled Turkey Kielbasa, Grilled Pineapple, Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

Sunday: Eating hearty lunch at The Meadowlark- light dinner of Fruit Smoothie made from banana, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, almond milk, and hemp protein

Hundreds more menus here!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend Shopping Trip

I am throwing a baby shower today- with almost 50 expected guests- so the budget is much higher again this week. My brother, a chef, was able to get sandwich supplies, a veggie tray, and a cheese tray at cost, and my mother and I filled in the rest. My total this week from Kroger was $113.85. $20 of that were flowers for decor and favors, and $35 for food and fruit juices. I expect the other supplies from my brother will be $25-$35. Our family food was $58 for the week.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Great Summer Grocery Makeover: Week 2

Week 2

This was not a grocery shopping week for my coworker Kim (remember, she shops for groceries every 2 weeks), so this week's focus was hitting the deals at multiple Walgreens stores. Kim had $92 in Register Rewards to try and roll, and she did very well. By bringing her mom with her to complete two transactions at every store, and hitting multiple stores, they were able to fill her stockpile and earn $85 back in Register Rewards- in other words, keep $85 those $92 rewards bucks rolling instead of having to outlay more cash out of her own pocket.

We loaded her Google Reader with a few deal blogs and food blogs, and went over her stockpile list. They are almost fully stocked with a 12 month supply of most items of her stockpile list. Because they are a family of 2, a few weeks of concerted effort is enough to get them to an almost fully-stocked state. For my family, with two small children, this was a longer process.

I highly recommend using a Reader to avoid wasting time clicking on non-updated blogs. A Reader highlights every time a blog is updated, and will allow you to quickly scan through all the posts to find the ones you want (for me, the grocery store and drug store deals for the week.) Keeping a list of at least a few often used items in your stockpile will keep you from wasting time and money duplicating purchases. My list allows me to know that I have 5 weeks of peanut butter left and need to start keeping an eye out for coupons and deals- and that I have 20 toothpastes and can ignore those deals for quite some time.

What she found helpful, since she is learning to really work the deals, is typing out every deal in a Word document, including how many items and which coupons she is using. Focusing on one store at a time has also been good practice.

The plan for next week: Trying to get two weeks of groceries to be less than $59, and continuing to roll her Walgreens Register Rewards.

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 the post linked HERE 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.