Monday, September 28, 2009

Meal Planning

Sometimes it is just me and the girls for dinner and given that Addison will not eat ANYTHING, it doesn't really motivate me to cook. But I have made a meal plan for the rest of the week and am going to hold myself to it. Everything is taken from my pantry/freezer as well, so what I did was look through, see what I had and then base my meals around that. Much cheaper than making a menu and having to shop for every single ingredient!

Tuesday- Pasta toss (ground beef, cheese, pasta sauce and pasta baked), corn, garlic bread
Wednesday- Cheeseburger pockets: brown ground beef, mix with cheese, a little mustard/ketchup. Take crescent dough and seal up into a pocket, bake until crescents are brown. And apples!
Thursday- Breakfast casserole, cinnamon apples, pancakes
Friday- Pasta carbonara, peas, bananas
Saturday- roast and veggies in the crockpot

I am going to make up a recipe for the breakfast casserole (I'm thinking more of a frittata finished in the oven), so if it works, I'll post it!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Walgreens Lists

Here are my scenarios for Walgreens this week. It is by no means all the deals to be had, just what I am personally going to shop, based on my family's needs, and my time. I will probably end up doing 2 trips with 2 transactions each, I do not have the time to do 4 Walgreens trips with 2 little ones in tow.

Filler= a small item you buy to get the number of coupons=the number of items bought, including Register Rewards. Walgreens requires this.

Trip #1:
Halls Drops $1
-There is a 75 cent coupon that was supposed to be in some papers this weekend, but we didn't get it in Omaha
Herbal Essences $2.99
-Use $1 MQ
Dentek Floss $2

Use $1 RR and $2.50 RR from last week.
Pay in cash .74 cents +filler item + tax
Recieve: $5 RR ($1 Halls, $2 Herbal Essences, $2 Dentek)

Trip #2:
Vaseline Sheer Infusion $6.99
-use 1.25 MQ (this expires TODAY!)
Use $5 RR
pay .74 cents + 3 fillers (they have stickers 3/$1 this week, I think I'll be getting those)+ tax
Recieve: $6.99 RR (should round up to $7)

Trip #3:
Dawn 99 cents with in ad coupon
-use 25 cent MQ
Fusion Razor $8.99
-use $4 MQ
Chapstick $2.99
use $7 RR
total: $1.72 + 1 filler + tax
Recieve: $9 RR ($3 Chapstick, $6 Fusion)

Trip #4:
Oral B Toothbrush $3
-use 75 cent MQ
Hershey Kisses 2/$5
-use 2 $1 MQ
Herbal Essences $2.99
-use $1 MQ
use $9 RR (I will get 2 fillers to equal $9 prior to tax)
total: should be close to $0 OOP!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Savings

I went to 2 stores this week: Aldi and HyVee. I had previously said I was going to try to keep my grocery budget to $35 or so a week, but I was finding we just weren't getting a variety. We can afford to increase the budget to $50 a week, if not more, so I am doing $50 a week now.


Skittles 59 cents
Chocolate 55 cents
Ice Cream Bars 1.99
Turkey 2.49
Pizza 3.69
Block Cheddar 1.49
2 tubes of biscuits 38 cents each
Gallon Milk 1.69
Bananas 1.27
Graham crackers 1.29
Fruit Snacks 1.69
Mandarin Oranges 45 cents
Olive Oil 3.49
Peas 49 cents
Corn 49 cents
Pretzels (in tube) 1.99
Whole Wheat Bread 1.69
Total: $26.10
I really recommend Aldi if you haven't been there. If you don't want to coupon or don't have a big coupon stash yet, the prices there cannot be beat, unless there is a REALLY good sale.
Hy Vee:

To tie in with my post yesterday, the grapes were a mistake. However, they WILL get eaten so- live and learn.
Grapes: 2.54 lbs @ 2.38/lb= $6.05 (faint!!)
Mint tea (Aldi didn't have any): 2.78
Flour: 99 cents (used a coupon and saved 89 cents!)
Chocolate Chips: sale for 1.77, plus 50 cent coupon= 1.27 (better price than Aldi for generic!)
Propel: 77 cents on sale, and there was a 55 cent hanging coupon= 22 cents!!
Coke Zero (2 ltr)= 1.56 each
Coke Zero (20 oz)= FREE with coupon (I do Coke Rewards)
Strawberries= normally $4.50, my coupon got them for 1.88
Raisins= 2.69
Total: $19.00
sadly, without the grapes it would have been just $12.95

Friday, September 25, 2009

Money Saving Tip of the Week

My tip this week is something that happened to me at the store today. So, WEIGH YOUR PRODUCE before you buy!

Grapes were $2.38 a pound. Steep, but Addison loves them and they looked horrible at Aldi. A healthy snack, so I figured what the heck. I picked a small bunch, thinking it was MAYBE a pound and a half at the most.

We are checking out and she rings up the grapes. $6 and change!!! I just about fell over! My total, pre grapes, would have been just $12 and change.

Now, I had the cash for them, that wasn't the issue, but only saving grace is that I didn't buy $6 worth of junky food, it was spent on something healthy for us.

Next time I am weighing if anything is over $1.50 a pound though!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some Stuff I Just Can't Go Green On

I am really trying to be more green. Not because it is the latest fad, but because it is truly better for the environment and most of the time, it saves money. Microfiber cloths vs paper towels, cloth diapers, shutting out lights and using sunlight when possible, gardening....all easy stuff for me to do.

However, there are some things I am just unwilling to give up. Here is my list of "ungreen" offenses...that will probably never change:
-I use regular toilet paper. I get I could use "family cloth"- basically cloth wipes- and wash it with the diapers, but it just freaks me out. Sorry!
-When it is hot (we lucked out this summer!), I run the a/c. Comfort simply wins out sometime, even though it burns electricity and ups my power bill.
-I don't buy all organic. I would love to, but it is honestly cost prohibitive. Plus, Organic Lucky Charms is just wrong.
-I try to use natural cleaners, but for some items, I want a good old fashioned bleach cleaner. Such as the toilet, or cleaning up after chicken on the counter. Using the bleach cleaner just FEELS cleaner and more sanitary to me, and I don't think anything will change my mind.

Is there anything you would be unwilling to give up? Comment and let me know!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Walgreens Deals

Here is my trip to Walgreens this week. Of course, it isn't ALL the deals, but just ones I am planning to take advantage of. Remember that for each coupon you use- ad, manufacturer, or Register Reward- you must have an item. If you are using 2 coupons on one item, just pick up a cheap filler.

Trip #1:
Angel Soft 12 Rolls, In Ad Coupon for $5.49
-use 50 cent manufacturer coupon= $4.99
Soleil Razors, 4 Ct $4.99
-use $3 manufacturer coupon from this week's paper=$1.99
-Receive $1 RR
Reeces Peanut Butter Cups (2) at 80 cents each
-I am out of 55 cent and BOGO Reeces coupons, but if you have them, this would be a great time to use them
Coke Zero FREE with Reece's purchase

Total: $8.58 plus tax, use $5 RR from last week, total OOP $3.58, get $1 RR

Trip #2: (I will probably just do a second transaction vs going back twice)
Cheez It, $1.99, BOGO
-Use $1/2 Manufacturer Coupon
add in a small filler (to get total over $1)

Use $1 RR from first transaction.

My HyVee has coupons right now near a display of Cheez Its, Crackers, etc, in conjunction with football kickoff. The $1/2 Cheez It coupon is also in there.

UPDATE: Went to Walgreens and the Reeces packages were marked 2/1.00. I wasn't sure how they would ring up because the shelf was still marked 80 cents, but they rang up for 50 cent each! So, for a buck I got a Coke Zero and two Reeces. I would look for these at your Walgreens for sure!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Saturday Savings!

It's been a hectic week, returning from vacation. Our pantry is very well stocked and we were most in need of fresh fruits and veggies.

For those of you with a Hyvee: check the website for your store- mine has an online printable coupon for a pound of free bananas!! The limit is 1 per person/day, so I am going back tomorrow to get another pound. Of course, you wind up paying a little change since getting exactly a pound is hard to do. Yes, I realize it's only 56 cents/lb for bananas, but still, if you are at HyVee anyway or close to one, it is worth the trip! I am also stocking up on tomato soup- they are on sale for 58 cents and I have a 40 cent coupon off 4, so 48 cents a can!

Here is everything I got, for a total of $13.29:

6 Fit n Trim Yogurts- on sale for 40 cents each, plus I had a coupon for 60 cents off 6 so thats 30 cents each!

4 Tomato Soups, as mentioned above, 48 cents each after coupons

Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal= FREE!!! If you haven't checked out and signed up, do so! You get awesome coupons for free items, plus high value coupons as well. I have gotten coupons for free Kashi waffles, Kashi cereal and Rice Krispies, among others. Too much cereal? Use it for art projects!

HyVee Bacon= $1.99

Daisy Light Sour Cream= 99 cents

2- 2 liters Diet Pepsi= $1 each

Bananas= FREE (the cashier gave me the overage of .18 lbs even after I told him I knew I had to pay the difference)

Grapes= 99 cents/lb= $1.78

Lemon= 44 cents

Apples= 99 cents/lb= $2.40

I also had a great week at Walgreens, although I didn't pick up much. Right now they have a deal if you buy 2 Reeces/Hershey items, you get a free 20 oz Coke! So I bought 2 Reeces, used my last 55 cent coupon, and 1 Sally Hansen Nail Polish. I bought 2 polishes last week for Addison and a $3 coupon printed out. So the total for 1 Nail Polish (normally over $4), 2 Reeces (80 cents each normally) and 1 Coke Zero (normally $1.49) came to just $1.43! I was impressed.

It looks like Walgreens is going to have some good deals next week, so I'll be posting my shopping lists and scenarios I will be doing.

Money Saving Tip of the Week

This week's tip is something I have been actively doing since I saw our power bill without the employee discount- WOW!

Unplug EVERYTHING when it isn't in use. Even if it is turned off, it still sucks power. Example: I had the girls' monitors off, but when I touched the plug, it was still warm, so obviously there was still electricity flowing. I've been unplugging those every morning now.

Other things to unplug:
- Toaster
- Cell charger
- Power strips to TV and computer at night
- Fans
- Lamps that aren't used often

I have heard it can make quite the difference on your electric bill, so we'll see next month. The weather seems to be similar, so that should be easy for comparison. I'll just have to remember we had our trip this month, so I won't be able to say the WHOLE deduction is for the unplugging. But I am hopeful, and have seen others with $20 reductions!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Traveling with Young Kids

I just got back from a great trip to Ohio to visit my in laws. They were very nice to buy us plane tickets, and Ryan rode on my lap. I figured even two hours of hell beat a 12 hour drive.

We survived- although sometimes I had my doubts! I did it alone- just me, a 2.5 year old and a 10 month old. My tips to help plane rides with little kids-especially if you are doing it alone:

-Wear your infant if at all possible. You won't have to collapse the stroller at security and juggle the baby while trying to do so.
-Check the carseat if your child can sit up on their own and won't slide down in the seat. If you travel a lot, you can get a CARES harness, which folds up into pretty much nothing. Trust me, after dragging Addison's carseat through DTW, it is easier. And you will be able to put their tray table down and they won't kick the seat in front of them as easily.
-Bring sustenance. Little finger foods that won't cause a mess. Dried fruits, fruit snacks, goldfish or crackers, that sort of thing. Also bring a sippy cup for the flight attendant to fill up with water so you won't have to worry about spills.
-If you have a lap child, try to wear a big, colorful necklace that is OK for them to play with. It will keep them occupied for a little while at least.
-Hit up the $1 store of $1 bins at Target and pick out a few new little toys for them. The novelty of new toy will entertain them on the plane.
-Take them to the bathroom right before getting on and right after getting off the plane, and try to limit liquids so you won't have to take them on the plane. Thankfully, this worked for me and I didn't have to try to juggle Ryan while helping Addison go the bathroom in the closet that passes for a bathroom. I also thought it might scare her.

Good luck!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Savings- or Lack Thereof

Maybe it was because my stockpile looks pretty good, or maybe I was just worn out on deals this week, but I didn't see anything in the ads that really called to me. Which is odd, Hyvee usually has some good deals. Maybe they did and it just wasn't what I was looking for, I'm not sure. They had granola and Cinnabon bars I could have gotten cheap, but we have so much snacky food I really didn't want to spend even a little money.

I did stop at Walgreens and get some Olay Night Creme, a Colgate Toothbrush, 2 Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and a Coke Zero. I paid $6.98 for this after my $5 RR and got $3 RR back, which was decent considering I didn't have any Q's for the Olay. The $3 RR was from the Colgate Toothbrush, which was $2.99 and I had a 40 cent coupon, so that wound up being not just free, but a 41 cent money maker. The Reeces were also a good deal- I had a BOGO coupon and when you bought 2, Walgreens gave you a free Coke Zero. So for the price of 1 Reeces, I got 3 items!

I spent the rest of my budget at HyVee- I had rainchecks- and Aldi. Aldi was good this week, I found no sugar added fruit snacks from their "Fit and Active" Line for $1.99 for 12. That is cheap, most store boxes only have 6 or 8 packets and are often more.

No shopping next week- I will be in Ohio- but I am taking my binder and hopefully getting some good deals to bring back as their Kroger and Giant Eagle double!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Money Saving Tip of the Week!

My tip this week is to SHOP THE SALES. Even if you don't have room or want to do a full stockpile like I have, go through the ads each week and plan your menu based on the sales. If something is a really good deal, buy an extra. Of course, when I see a good deal I buy as much as my budget allows, but even if you just buy 1 extra at the sale price, you will save quite a bit of money!

I usually go to 3 stores a week- HyVee, Walgreens and Aldi. Sometimes Bag N Save or Bakers (Kroger) for an especially good deal. If this is too time consuming for you, just find a store that price matches, and take all of your ads to one place! I have price matched at Walmart and recently heard that SuperTarget is matching as well.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More veggies from the garden!

Wow, I am so proud of my garden this year! I got a second batch of tomatoes, so I made more salsa- 6 pints. It is actually pretty good and I'm planning on using it for more than dipping chips. I found a recipe for salsa chicken- basically you brown the chicken for a couple minutes on each side, add salsa and bring to boiling, and then simmer until the chicken is done. You serve it over rice. I think it would also be great shredded up into burritos.

I also got quite a few cucumbers, and a friend gave me some too. So I made pickles! It is actually very easy, and only takes 5-10 minutes to process in the canner. There is something very satisfying about planting seeds, watching them grow, picking the veggies and then making something out of them. As a side note, we have more than enough pickles until next year, if anyone in Omaha would like a jar, email me or leave a comment here and I will get one to you.

Pickles-getting everything ready to go-before I put the brine mix in: