Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Savings!

This pic includes the items from HyVee and my last Wags run- I also went to Walmart and got some great deals, but I lost my receipt! I can remember I got:

A1 Steak Sauce- $2.08, $2 coupon= 8 cents

Reece's Peanut Butter Cups x2- Rollback for 50 cents each, 2 55 cent coupons= FREE plus overage

Snickers Ice Cream Bars= $2.50 (ish, I can't remember exactly), $1 coupon= $1.50ish

Roberts 2% Milk= $2.58, 55 cent coupon= $2.08

No Aldi's trip this week, I saved myself some time and picked up what I needed at the other stores for a decent price.


Cheez Its x2 @ $2.50 Each

Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies x2 @ $2.50 each

Used: $1/2 any Keebler cookies coupon, $2 RR (from Kelloggs deal)

Total OOP: $7

Recieved $5 RR- I will roll this into a deal next week

Hy Vee:

Pillsbury Grands 98 cents, used 35 cents manufacturer coupon= 63 cents

Berry Kix $1.58

Lucky Charms $1.58

Used $1/2 coupon, total for both $2.16 after coupons

Hunts Tomato Sauce x3 @ 38 cents each

Multigrain Chips $2.58- I thought these were less but I was wrong- grrr!

Wheat Bread $1.88

3 pack paper towels 99 cents

5 lbs potatoes, 88 cents

grapes, 88 cents per pound, total $2.09

green beans, 99 cents per lbs, total $1.88

There are a couple of web coupons available toward the cereal, but I had a ton going on this week and it just slipped my mind.

Total: 14.30

Total spent for food in picture: $21.30, plus I got the $5 RR back.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Money Saving Tip of the Week!

I'm going to start something new and post a tip every Friday to help you save money. Usually it is something very easy and that I have been doing at home, or just started doing.

When I was doing laundry last week, I looked at the dryer sheets and wondered how they would work if I cut them in half, and just used half a sheet per wash. Guess what? They work great- the laundry smells great still, and I don't have static. So- something super easy to double the amount of dryer sheets you get per box- just take scissors and cut!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Target Trip Today

Thanks to my friend Katie for giving me a heads up on these deals!

I bought:
Tide, $6.99
used $1 Target coupon and $1 man. coupon= $4.99
Reeses PB Cup, 64 cents each (2)
used 2 55 cent man. coupons= 18 cents for both
Skittles Crazy Cores, 64 cents each (2)
used $1 off Target coupon=28 cents
Hillshire Farm Sliced Turkey Meat, $2.99
used $1 Target coupon and 55 cent man. coupon= $1.44
Artisan mini loaf, sourdough, 99 cents
used $1 Target coupon= FREE
Pineapple (need for a baby shower this weekend)=$3.99
used $1 Target coupon= $2.99
Bananas, 2.48 lbs @ 56 cents/lb= $1.39
used 50 cent Target coupon= 89 cents

Total after tax: $11.12

Saved: $8.69

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Walgreens Deals

I've been slacking- I've honestly just been so busy, it has been hard to take a few minutes and post. I want to make my weekly shopping trips into a weekly post every Saturday, so stay tuned for that next week.

I did go to Walgreens today though and picked up some good deals, in 2 transactions. Yes, I am getting braver! And the cashiers so far have been super nice about it.

Transaction 1:
Scotch Mailing Envelope, 79 cents with in ad coupon, used 50 cent manufacturer coupon=29 cents
Advil 4.49, used $1 manufacturer coupon= $3.49
Thermacare Heat Wrap=$5.99
Tylenol Extra Strength $4.49, used $2 manufacturer coupon=$2.49
Tylenol PM= FREE. Tylenol is BOGO this week, but you can still use 2 coupons! I used another $2 coupon, bringing the total for 2 packs on Tylenol to 49 cents!

Total: 10.98
Used RR's: $5 and $4, paid $1.98 cash
Received $4 RR for buying the Advil/Thermacare combo

Transaction 2:
Froot Loops, $2.50
Corn Pops, $2.50

Total: $5
Used RR of $4 from transaction #1
Received $2 RR from buying 2 Kelloggs cereals
Note: If you have the Rice Krispies coupons from Vocalpoint, this could be a $0 OOP transaction. We are just very well stocked on Rice Krispies at the moment!

I am planning to go back once more this week and get the Keebler/Sunshine 4/$10 deal. I will use the $2 RR and 1/$1 manufacturer coupon, bringing my OOP to $7. I will then get back $5 in RR, which I think I am going to save until next week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My first attempt at canning.

I am going to have a TON of tomatoes. Not literally, but really, I picked 12 pounds of tomatoes and I am going to have at least 12 pounds more. I decided to try my hand at canning and make some pasta sauce. Thanks to my mother in law Jayne, who gave me all of her canning supplies! All I had to buy was lids (she gave me some but they were old and I couldn't tell if they were OK for not), and a utensil kit which contained a lid lifted, jar grabber, wide mouth funnel and headspace measuring tool.

The coolest thing about canning was peeling the tomatoes, believe it or not! All you do is put them in boiling water for 1 minute, than in ice water. You can literally just peel the skins off, it was amazing to me. Maybe not to anyone else, but it was to me!
Here are some pictures:

Some of the tomatoes.

Putting the peeled, seeded tomatoes into the pot.

Before simmering and mashing.

We don't like chunky sauce and I wasn't patient enough for them to break down. I mashed the tomatoes up.

And the end result:

I got 3 quart sized jars and 1 pint sized jar. Not a ton, but you do get a sense of accomplishment from seeing the end result.

Everything cooled just fine and everything was sealed well. We had some on pizza last night and it was really good!

Next week hopefully I will have more ready- I am going to try salsa.

Grocery Shopping Time!

I went to several stores this week and wound up over budget by $3, even taking into account the $2 I had left from last week. No big deal, I'll just take it off next week. I will say this: GO SHOPPING BY YOURSELF! James, the girls and I stopped at HyVee Thursday on our way home and I wound up going over. When no one is along, there is no one putting stuff in the cart or "remembering" things you need. I don't have pics this week, sorry. Here are some highlights:

Baby Pool $7.99 (clearance for 50% off!)
12 ct Scott Toilet Paper $6.99
Tuf Paper Towels 59 cents
Johnson and Johnson Cotton Swabs $1.99
Colgate Total Enamel Strength $2.99, minus $1 coupon= $1.99, plus I got $3 in RR from this
Lysol Toilet Cleaner (2) $1.50 each, minus 2 50 cent coupons=$1 each
Mentos Gum 99 cents, minus 55 cent coupon= 44 cents

Total: $24.71, I saved $18.83! Plus the $3 in RR for next week. I wanted to roll it into the Jergens Lotion deal, but since I was over for the week, I just saved it.

Not a huge week here for me, but I did pick up 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $4.99, 2 jars of Skippy Peanut Butter for 61 cents each (they were on sale for 99 cents and I had a coupon for 75 cents off of two), 2 boxes of Pop Tarts for $1.18 each (this would have been even sweeter if they had the Blueberry Muffin kind, because I had a coupon, but they didn't), and a box of Froot Loops for $2.

I rounded out the week at Aldi where I spent $29 and Walmart where I grabbed 4 candy bars for 14 cents each after coupons. Yes, I was there anyway, I didn't go all the way to Walmart for the candy! Next week is going to be a stock up week- we need dog food and laundry soap- so we'll be eating from our pantry a little more than usual. But that is the beauty of stockpiling- it's there when you need it!

I am editing this to add that my paper did NOT have the Kellogg insert that came out a couple weeks ago, so I am not doing the rebate that is out right now. I am jealous of everyone that got it!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Using up my veggies!

It has been a great week from my garden! I picked 4 cucumbers, 1 tomato (and more are almost ready), 2 yellow squash and 5 zucchini. Since I realized there was no way we could eat all of this before it went bad, I knew I had to do something with it.

The first thing I did was make zucchini muffins with white and regular chocolate chips. These are great for snacks, a quick breakfast, with tea in the afternoon...the possibilities are endless. And of course since I make them with natural applesauce instead of oil, they aren't horrible for you, either.

I also shredded 3 cups of zucchini and froze it for future bread or muffins, and I cut up the rest of the yellow squash and zucchini, blanched it, and froze it to eat this winter. Hopefully it freezes OK, otherwise I will probably put it in pasta sauces and casseroles.

The next task was to do something with the cucumbers, but I only had 4, which really isn't enough to can. All the canning recipes I found took over 12 cucumbers. I did find a few recipes for Refrigerator Pickles though, and I used a couple recipes to come up with my own. It has to pickle for a week, so I'll let you know how they turn out. I made them spicy for James by adding garlic and red pepper flakes. It looks good, so my fingers are crossed! I did spears and slices for sandwiches:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Pantry Stockpile

I have seen others stockpiles and know that mine is NOTHING compared to other people's that I have seen, but I thought I would share:

This is our freezer in the basement and pantry. We have other food in cupboards in the kitchen, and of course in the freezer and fridge as well. The items I have stockpiled have a long shelf life, and I try not to buy more than what I think we will use before they expire. Everything is rotated out- so the items that will expire last are stored towards the back.
We are almost out of room in the pantry, I am hoping after we move James can build some shelves in the basement for everything, including my health/beauty items.
We also bought a quarter of beef this year, so we have plenty of meat! I like having it for a couple of reasons: it was bought and butchered locally, which has less of an impact than trucking it in from halfway across the country (especially because beef is GOOD here!), and we always have it on hand. If chicken isn't on sale for a couple weeks, we have this to fall back on and don't have to pay for overpriced meat. I understand some people don't eat red meat, but we ARE in the Midwest here! Chicken, beef and pork is pretty much all we eat- we don't eat fish because honestly, we don't like it.
Other items I have quite the stockpile of are: cereals, pasta sauce (Walgreens had a RR deal on Ragu last week), Macaroni and Cheese, peanut butter, natural applesauce and salad dressings. I know I have mentioned this before, but the majority of the dressing will not be used for salad. There were a ton of sales and coupons for Kraft dressings this summer, so I bought a bunch of different kinds to use as marinades. For example, I make stir fry with the Toasted Sesame, marinate pork chops with the Sweet Onion, and make chicken with the Ranch dressing. Of course you can eat it with salad too, but salad night after night just to use dressing can get boring.
The chicken sounds kind of odd, but it is really yummy! I just coat the chicken with ranch, and then bread. I have used bread crumbs, crushed Ritz crackers and even crushed potato chips I didn't want to waste.
I also have quite the health/beauty stockpile, but I need to actually organize it so you can see everything before I post a pic.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grocery Shopping Day!

We have a new budget of $75 a week, or $300 a month for groceries. That includes food, paper products, health and beauty and dog food. Of course since I breastfeed and cloth diaper, we don't have any expense for formula or paper diapers and wipes.

Our first stop this week was Aldi, which I had never been too and was pleasantly surprised. We spent $31 and got a variety of "staple" items plus a few extras. We got a pound of strawberries for 99 cents, and they were better than I have seen in a regular grocery store in awhile! I already had milk, but it was super cheap there at $1.69/gallon.

Today I went to Hy Vee and Walgreens to round out the shopping. Here is what I got for a total of $21.08:

Cheez Its, 9 oz $2
Cheez Its, 4.5 oz, $1
Gummi Fruit Lunch Bag, $1.49 (I needed a $1 filler for my RR and Addison loves these!)
2 Pack Nutri Grain, $4.99
Pop Tarts, $2

There was a $1 coupon on the Nutrigrain Bars and I had a $10 RR from earlier in the week, so I paid a grand total of 48 cents for all of this!

I got quite a bit because they had awesome sales this week, including:
Farmland Hot Dogs, 78 cents
Farmland Bacon, $1.99
Farmland Sausage (2) $1 each

I had 2/$1 Farmland coupons and 2/75 cent Farmland coupons, so I paid a whopping $1.27 for all of the Farmland meat- I was so excited!

They also had iceberg lettuce for 68 cents, 100% Whole Wheat bread for $1.50 and butter for $1.38, among other deals.

So, out of the $75 budget I have spent $68, because I had two earlier trips to Walgreens this week. $7 left that will "rollover" into next week. I find that if I break down the monthly budget into weeks it is easier for me to manage and I am more likely to stay within the budget.

One of the best tips I have read (I got it from is that always make a list with your NEEDS first. Then you can fill in the rest of the budget with sale items to stockpile. Luckily, we don't need a whole lot at this point because I have a good food stockpile. Mostly our needs weekly are fresh fruits (and some veggies, although we have been eating from the garden this summer), milk, and staple items I can get at Aldi for cheap, like eggs, flour and sugar.

I originally started with a budget for $125 a week and as I have learned to coupon, bargain shop and grow my stockpile, I have lowered that total. Had I started with $75 a week, I know I would have failed and gotten discouraged. Next month, with James eating a majority of meals at the police academy, I am lowering it to $150 a month, or $37.50 a week. Hopefully by the time he finishes, we can keep our food budget at $250 a month.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

More Veggies From My Garden!

James has informed me that he is sick of zucchini as a side dish. So I have been making bread (with and without chocolate chips) and thanks to my friend Katie, I will be trying out some new recipes soon. (Zucchini enchiladas? Who knew!) The above bread worked great because I have some applesauce I got on sale and I can substitute the oil in the recipe for applesauce. So you are getting the zucchini and applesauce (all natural, of course)- it is pretty good for you!

I have quite a bit of veggies just ripening out there- although I'm not sure if I am going to have anymore green beans this year. Some kind of bug got to them and chewed holes in the leaves and beans themselves. I looked up some organic gardening solutions and sprayed them with a combo of dish soap and water- they don't look any worse so I am hoping that it is working.

Here are some pictures- if you notice the tomato plants are bent, they seem to have bent over from the weight of the tomatoes. Perhaps next year I will try Roma tomatoes and not have this problem. Right now they are just every which way and tied up as much as I have been able to.

Yellow Squash- I think I am going to have quite a bit in a week or so!
Tomatoes- see how the stems are bent? The tomato cages actually got bent too- and yes, they were in the ground enough!

Two baby green peppers!