Monday, March 31, 2008

2.67 at CVS!

I wanted to use up the $5/$15 coupons that I have that expires today. I had to run 4 transactions total. I ran 2 on my way to work at one store, and 2 on the way home at a different store.

Here were my transactions:

Venus Razor (Raincheck from 2 weeks ago)-9.99
(3) CVS paper Towels-1.69 ea=5.07

less 5/15 CVS Coupon
less 6.00ECB from razor
less 4.00 man coupon
TOTAL OOP=.39 cents
no ecb's earned ;(

(5) pencils .12 ea=60 cents
(1) cvs vitimin C-2.99
(1) Lypsyl-2.99
(5) CVS paper towels-1.69 ea.=8.45

less 5/15 CVS coupon
ECB's used 4.00 (this coupon expires today, so I had to use it) & 5.98
TOTAL OOP=.08 cents

Earned 2.99 +2.99= 5.98 for next time

(2) softsoap 4.99 each=9.98
(1) paper towels-1.69
(4) J&J soap .99 ea=3.96

less 3.96 man coupon (for soap)
ECB used 6.00

Earned 9.98 for soft soap

(3) pencils 13 cents ea=.39
(2) softsoap=9.98
(1) lypsyl -2.99
(1) CVS paper towel-1.69

less 5/15 CVS Coupon
used ECB-8.99

Earned 2.99 + 9.98=12.97

So, technically, I lost 2.04 in ECB's, but I got a ton of stuff that we need...(these paper towels are awesome. They are nice and thick, and they are the choose a size kind.)

the good news about the 2.67 that I spent OOP actually came out of my gift card. I still have 11.95 left on that card, and another card with 5.00 that I still haven't used. So really, today's trip was FREE for me!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

FREE Cartidge refill!

Remember this post? Well, the day has arrived! I opened my Walgreens flyer today, and on page 5 is a coupon for a FREE ink refill!

Be sure to pick up your newspaper today to get your too.
Unfortunately, Canon and epson cartridges are excluded from the deal. :(

Offer is valid on April 2 ONLY!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

$30.84 Ralphs, CVS, & Trader Joe's

1 Sunday edition LA TIMES-$1.50
2 Pencils-.51 cents
3 Lypsil-$8.97
2 rolls Paper towel-$3.38
1 Kitchen Utensil-.49 cents

TOTAL- 16.07 with Tax

CVS $5/$15 coup
used ECB-6.00
used ECB (adj from 4.00) $3.85

Earned $8.97 for next time!

Trader Joe's

Sliced Cremini Mushrooms-$2.19
Marinara Sauce-$1.69
Marinara Sauce w/ olive oil-$1.49
(I will use this on my pizza. The sauce turns out to be less expensive than my homemade, so I am going to see if the taste can compare.)

TOTAL: $5.37


(8) 8oz blocks of Monterey Jack Cheese -$6.93

(side note: after checking out, I double checked my receipt and
noticed that one of the blocks rung up at $2.50 instead of the marked .99
cents. I took it to the manager to adjust the price, and she refunded the
$2.50 and gave me the cheese FREE!!! I insisted on paying, and she said
that the price guarantee is the store policy! WooHoo!)

(5) 2-Liter bottles of Soda $4.81 with the CRV & tax
1 package if Eggroll wrappers-$1.99
1 bag coleslaw-$1.69
1.23 lb brown onion-.62 cents
.55 lb roma tomato- .83 cents

My splurge- 1 box of Stevia ( I am really trying to eat better. I have been told that this is way better for you than splenda)-$6.99

TOTAL: $25.47

Ok, so here is the deal with some of this weeks groceries. Last night we went to Denny's. I really just needed a break from cooking. (although I am ashamed to admit that we still have plenty of leftovers in the fridge from Easter) I had a coupon for BOGO burger with the purchase of 2 drinks. We ordered a mushroom Swiss burger (Delicious, buy the way!) a classic cheese burger, and a french toast kids meal. Azriel really wanted the rocket cup (1.99) so I let her get it. After all, we rarely go out. (If I went on Tuesday, the kids meal would have been free!)

So, before the Coupon the total was $26.22
Less the coupon...................................$17.93

TOTAL COST:......................................$21.93

My DH is very frugal, and was a little opposed to going out. And once the bill came, I admittedly was disappointed in my self. So I decided to recreated the Denny's meal at home so see what the cost would be. I will cook it tonight, right down to the drinks. I will, of course have to deduct the price of the rocket cup. So the total to compare will be...$19.94. After, I think I am going to post the Denny's receipt, and my own calculations on the refrigerator for a reminder for my Lazy days!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I love The "Cent"sible Sawyer. She is always so helpful in making the most of CVS. Here a quote from her blog for the CVS deals for this week.

Scenario #1
Buy Maybelline Superstay Lipcolor Or Gloss at $8.99
Buy 2 Listerine Smart Rinse for Kids $2.99 each
Buy 1 Lumene Body Aktiva small tube $1.99
Total: $16.96
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use $2/1 Maybelline Coupon from 2/10 Red Plum insert
Use 2 $1/1 Listerine coupon
Final: $7.96
Use $5 ECB's from last week or pay $7.96 OOP
OOP: $2.96
Earn $16.96 in ECB's

Scenario #2
Buy 2 Glade air freshener sprays $0.99 each
Buy 2 Bic Soleil Razors $5.99 each
Buy 1 Lumen Body Aktiva small tube $1.99
Total: $15.95
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use 2 $2/1 Razor coupons
Use $1/2 Glade coupon here
Final: $5.95
Use $2.99 and $1.99 ECB's from Scenario #1
OOP: $0.97 + tax
Earn $8.99 in ECB's

Scenario #3
Buy 2 Nivea products at $2.99 each
Buy 1 Bic Soleil $5.99
Buy 1 Pro Health Night Rinse $3.49
Total: $15.46
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use $2/1 Razor coupon
Use 2 $2/1 Nivea coupons here
Final: $4.46
Use $3 ECB from Scenario #3
OOP: $1.46 + tax
Earn $8.46 in ECB's

Scenario #4
Buy 4 Clean and Clear products at $4.29 each
Total: $17.16
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use 4 Clean and Clear Coupons
Final: $1.16
Use $1 ECB from Scenario #2
OOP: $0.16 + tax
Earn $5 in ECB's

Scenario #5
Buy 1 Bic Soleil razor $5.99
Buy 3 bags of
Hershey's Kisses, Eggs, or Miniatures $4.50
Buy 1 Lypsyl Lypmoisturizer $2.99
Buy 1 Lumene Body Aktiva small tube $1.99
Total: $15.47
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use $1.50/3 hershey's coupon
Use $2/1 Razor coupon
Final: $6.97
Use $5 ECB's from Scenario #4
OOP: $1.67 + tax
Earn $7.98 ECB's

Scenario #6
Buy 4 Dove Cream Oil Wash $3.99 each
Total: $15.96
Use $5/$15 CVS coupon
Use $3/$15 CVS beauty coupon
Use 4 $2/1 Dove Coupons
Final: -$0.04 + tax
OOP: .04 + tax
Earn $5 ECB's

After all transactions you will have $35.44 ECB's TO TAKE HOME for next
week (this does not count the ones you made and used for these
transactions)!!!!!You will have spent $7.22 OOP if you had $5 ECB from last
week.If you are a newbie and this was your first time you will have spent $12.22
OOP (still not bad to have $35.44 in your pocket for next week!)PLUS - Now you
have lots of new stuff to take home!!! :)

Come back next week to see new CVS scenarios (I do these every week) :)

I personally would have done deal scenario # 4 first. This would have given me the least amount out of pocket (OOP), and the most return in extra bucks (ECB'S)

Still don't have the $5/$15 coupon? Go here to find out how to get it! You may print out as many as you like, so print out a few!

Baskin Robbins!

Baskin Robbins is hosting a 31 cent scoop night on April 30th from 5-10pm. This is a perfect chance to get the family together, or maybe a date night for you and your spouse!

Join us for 31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin-Robbins®and help us honor
America’s firefighters. Participating stores will reduce prices of
small icecream scoops to 31 cents. At some locations, you may also
have an opportunity to make a donation to your local fire charities.

You can also go to the Baskin Robbins website for more info.


I finally got to Walmart, (I avoid that store like the plague) and got in on the FREE Dino Bite chicken nugget action. This is probably the easiest deal I have done yet. I found out from another blog that there are $1.00 off coupons at the Fast Fixin Website. WalMart sell these for 2/$2.00.

The sweetest part of this deal is that Fast Fixin put 5 coupons onto each page!!! WOOHOO!

Sentisible Cents says:

Go to the Fast Fixin' website here to print your very own coupons. Just sign up for their Fanatics club,
and they will send 5 coupons to your printer. Go back and refresh the page to
print 5 more! Then, look around on their site, and
there is a
to print another coupon. Again, backspace and refresh the page and
you'll get yet another. That makes a total of 12 coupons

When printing internet coupons, you are only allowed to print it twice. After that the website will block it. So, no fear, refreshing the page is totally fine!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dinner is ready! ....$2.02

Tonight's menu is chicken parmesan. It is quite possibly one of the easiest dinners to put together. The cost breakdown will list 2 prices...first, the price I paid by stockpiling when things went on sale. The 2nd it the price that would be paid by purchasing ingredients at a discount store like Walmart or Aldi's

2 chicken breast, butterflied-1.16 /1.16
1/3 bottle of Italian Dressing- Free/.42

Allow this to marinade all day in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

In an old parmesan cheese shaker combine
1/2 cup parm-.56/.56
2/3 cup bread crumbs-.10/.10
1 teas paprika- .01/.01
1 teas sugar -.01/.01
1 teas kosher salt-.01/.01
1 teas black pepper-.01/.01

I keep this mixture, in the shaker, in the fridge. I can make 4 dinners from it.
Mixture cost=.70 or .18 cents per dinner

1 cup marinara sauce-.Free/.37

Layer breaded chicken on marinara sauce in a prepared ( with cooking spray) baking dish.
Bake at 350, uncovered for 1 hour.
Add some...
Pasta( 1 lb) -FREE/.58 cents
Sauce (about 1/2 jar) -FREE/.62 cents

1/4 loaf of store bought garlic bread- .25/.25

1/3 bag of salad -.43/.43

TOTAL COST- $2.02/$4.17

AND guess what!!! This dinner can be frozen. Prepare it as above in a plastic wrap lined baking dish. Pop the dish in the freezer. About an hour or 2 later, pull out the chicken from the dish, and wrap it with a 2nd layer of plastice wrap. Lastly, one layer of tin foil.

When you are ready for it, take the frozen dish from the freezer, take the wrap off (while still frozen) and place it in the baking dish, left in the fridge all day. Then cook as above.

If you forgot to defrost it, that's ok, it will just take about 15-20 mins longer to cook. Bake until the internal temp is 165.

Grocery Shopping 3/20/08

No Picture today, but I wanted to post this, so that it was officially out there.

Today I bought...
10 lb bag potatoes-3.99
16 oz Sour Cream- 2.49
Sausage links- 1.19

3 dzn eggs- 4.47
2 bags salad- 2.58
Edamame Pods- 1.49
Green onion bunch- 1.19

TOTAL $17.40.
$ March grocery tally- $114.20

Monday, March 17, 2008


My Sweet Little Daughter turned 8 yesterday! We had a little party at home (us, Grandma, & Alyssa). I served her favorite, Lasagna. For my sister, who can't eat tomatoes, I made chicken piccata and lemon garlic pasta. For dessert I made a 4 layer chocolate & vanilla cake sprinkled with Jimmies. I only spent a little over 8 dollars to buy stuff that I didn't have on hand (including the decorations), and she had a wonderful time, and food can out great!

What are some of your birthday party saving strategies?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Special Birthday Dinner!- $8.86

Well, I am not sure if this should come out of gift money, or grocery money, as it is a gift to my little one for her birthday. Tonight we are having Lasagna, Chicken Piccata, Lemon Pasta, garlic bread and salad!
Cottage Cheese- $2.50
Shallot- .09 cents
Lemon- .89
Sausage- $2.13
Seasonings- $1.25
oops! I forgot the Parmesan Cheese!... Back to the store!

UPDATED: I have decided to take this from the misc budget
Parm Cheese-$2.27
While I was at Walmart for the parm, I got a few other thing that we needed...

Fitted sheet-$5.00
Ironing Board- Clearanced- $2.44
Guitar Case- $5.00 ( Azriel started guitar lessons today at her school! Thanks Uncle Mikey for the guitar!)
Butterfly Treehouse(gift) $14.88
TOTAL w/tax $31.84

I also bought a birthday cake for Azriel to take to school today. The school rules say that it has to be store bought. I decided on a cupcake cake...for easier handling. When I ordered it, I was quoted 15.00...but when I went to pick it up, it was 27.99! I just brushed it off....what was suppose to do? It was already made and all. So this kinda broke the bank! eek!

So sad to say that this is over my budget by 43.91, but of course the Lord provided. We recieved an unexpected 50.00 Visa gift card from our telephone company, so this covered the overage and then some. Thanks be to GOD!

$2.02 at Ralphs!

Food- $.60 cents
$ spent in March on Groceries-$96.63
Misc/toiletries- $1.42
$ spent in March on Misc/Toiletries- $ 15.22

CVS- $1.11

A new CVS Deal has started today, and there are pretty good deals on easter stuff. Here's my loot from this morning...

The TOTAL: $1.11...put onto my gift card.

Used $16.93 in ECB's

Earned $28.91 in ECB

TOTAL ECB's EARNED: $11.98 thank you CVS!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

$18.69 at Ralphs, Pavillions, Albertsons, & CVS

I made 4 stops tonight to go shopping. The first stop..Ralphs $3.78

I sort of messed this up. I had a 75 cent coupon off 2 boxes of natures valley granola bars, and for some reason, my head kept calculating 3.00 after it doubled, instead of 1.50! So, after my 2 transactions, I spent $3.00 more than I was planning. All in all, I still got some great stuff! And truth be told, had I calculated it properly, I probably would have still got it!
(4)Juicy Juice- .50 cents each
(2) tuna sensations- 31 cent overage!
(2) tuna sensation-FREE
canned tomatoes- FREE
Healthy ones Hot Dogs- 50 cents
(4) boxes Natures Valley Bars-1.75 each
Cherrios- 1.95
(2) Caribou Coffee- 1.50 each

Less $12.00 instant Coupon Promo
(2 transactions, $6.00 each)

$ spent in March for Groceries-82.72

Next stop...Pavillions
This was a small trip.

(2) oust sanitzer- 50 cents each plus 26 cents tax
(2) lady speed stick - FREE plus .32 tax

TOTAL OOP: $1.58
$ spent in Misc/toiletries-$13.48

2 Bags chex mix-50 cents each

Total Spent in March Grocery Budget: 83.72

Next was Albertsons: thae plan was to buy a small block of cheese! Here is where the plan went OUT THE WINDOW!
I never buy pizza rolls, but the little one has been asking a lot lately if I would. Tomorrow is her birthday, so I decided to treat her. They were on sale, and I had a coupon, so they were 60 cents per box

There is a Kraft promo right now, which made these cheeses 1.75 each. I could have swarn that I had a coupon for these, but I couldn't find it anywhere!

TOTAL OOP: $12.30
Total spent in March on groceries: $96.02

Last stop was CVS. Would you believe that I got all of this for......3 cents!!!!!!!!!!

As I said above, the little one's birthday is tomorrow, so I bought some balloons, confetti, a candle, steamers, and some jimmies for the cake.

The hubby has also been asking me to get a new extention cord FOREVER!!!!! He also is notorious for leaving little notes everywhere . I think that he finally got sick of misplacing them, so he asked me to to pick up a little notepad so that he could keep all his notes in one place. I was more than happy to do that.

This brought my total to 17.03. I had a 15.00 ECB that I needed to use before it expired, and I would be using a $5/$15 coupon, so I needed 2.97 to add to my total. The light bulb went off, and I grabbed 2 Sunday editions of the LA Times.

Less $5/$15: 15.03
Less $15 ECB .03!!!

I am not certain how the tax works, but somehow I didn't have to pay any! None of these things generated ECB's for me, but it is pecisely orders like this, on things that I need, that motivated me to store my closet with 50 bottles of tylenol! Thing that I don't need, or that I donate, help me to get the thing that I do need.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Tonight's shopping was not so spectacular. But here is what I got...

Cleaning/toiletries/Misc- $7.19 of $40.00
Oust-.50 each x 4
Speed Stick- FREE
SunSilk-$1.14 for both
Orbit's Gum - $3.36 for 15 packs
$ LEFT IN BUDGET- $32.81
(note: I decided to transfer the $3.36 for the orbit's gum to the Misc budget, instead of the grocery budget since this is not technically GROCERY)

Kraft Cheese- $1 each x 3
PopChips- .50 ( I can't resist these!)
Jelly-.50 ( though this was free...oops)
Mustard- $1 ( I can usually get this cheaper, but hubby put in a request, so I didn't wait for a sale)
French's onions -$ 1.12 ( making a casserole this week, so I didn't wait on these either)

$ Spent in grocery budget-$78.94

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How do I cost breakdown meals?

Jennifer left a great comment on my last blog...

Jennifer said...I really like the way you break down the total cost per
meal!! How do you figure it out? I would really love to know!!
Well, I have a few strategies....

First, I look at the amount of contents in the bag. This bag of cheese contains 2 cups of cheese. I paid $1.50 for the bag, so each cup cost .75 cents. I write this amount right on the bag, since I usually cook in 1 cup increments.

By writing it on the bag, later calculations are a breeze. I also makes me visually aware of the cost of the food that I prepare. As a result, I am more hesitant to run through the drive through, if I know that I can make myself the same chicken sandwich for .58 cents!

I do the same with the 25 lb bag of flour I buy.
The Nutrition label states that there are 386 servings of 1/4 cup each. A little calculation ( 386 divided by 4) tells me that the 25 lb bag has 96 1/2 cups in the entire bag. I paid 7.59 for the bag, so that makes each cup almost 8 cents. Then I write that amount on the flour bag... (Because the original bag is so large, I split it into zip top bags and use one bag per month for several months, this helps our family stay on budget when shopping at warehouse store)

Other items I price by actual number of items, for example, I bought a 10 lb bag of chic
ken for 23.29. Instead of pricing this by the pound, I count how many pieces are in the bag, and price it per breast. This bag
had 40, 23.29 divided by 40= .58 cents each. Pricing it this way is so much easier when I am trying to plan out the cost of dinner.
Now, things like sour cream, I price in 2 Tbsp
servings. I buy little cups at smart
& final that are 2 tbsp each. I can buy 250 cups for a little over 2 dollars. This makes measuring so much easier. It is worth the cost to get the cups.

Catch Up...

Ok, so on Monday we had Sunday's intended dinner... Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and steamed veggies. Here is the cost breakdown...

Pan seared chicken breast ( 1.16),
mashed potatoes(.55)
Gravy (.28), and
Steamed veggies(.83).
A nice Sunday Dinner(for a total of $2.82).

On Tuesday we were to have tacos, but Money Saving Mom's post on eating healthy made me crave french fries. I have a great homemade french fry recipe that is super easy that I really wanted, so Tacos turned into Sloppy Joes. Cost ....$1.67

1/2 lb hamburger-.61 cents
1/2 cup oats- 6 cents

2-3 Tbsp of ketchup- free from CVS (instead of tomato paste)
1 packet of Lawry's Sloppy Joe Seasoning-Free with a coupon

4 small Idaho Potatoes- .40 cents MAYBE LESS
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups warm water

3 cups oil-.60 cents

Buns- Free with Sara Lee Deal

March Grocery Tally

Today I bought a head of green leaf lettuce from Albertson's for $1.69. This brings my March grocery tally to $70.68.

The freezer is still really well stocked. I am feeling really good about March's grocery budget. I think I can get it even lower than last month. Let's keep our fingers crosssed!

Homemade French Fries-less than $1

4-5 small potatoes or 2 large potatoes - about 40 cents
about 1 -2 inches of oil in a pot (2 cups?)- about 50 cents

1/3 cup sugar
2 cups warm water

Mix sugar and water to dissolve

cut potatoes into strips, soak in water mix about 15-30 minutes.

Deep fry at 350 for 1 min, remove
bring oil temp back up to 350, fry until golden

Salt to taste.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jane Make-up $4.71

My pictures had to be split up in 2 because my sister,
who has wanted to get in on the Jane deals for some time now, took off before I could good get a picture of all the goods. So here they are, in 2 parts. She has been awaiting this day all week! I took her to Walgreens, and here is our loot.
Our total? A WHOPPING... $4.71
A savings of 76.51!

Sunday dinner.-$2.82 then $2.49

Sorry, no pictures tonight. The time change has really thrown me off schedule. We got to dinner really late tonight!

But, here is what we were going to have...

Pan seared chicken breast ( 1.16), mashed potatoes(.55) Gravy (.28), and Steamed veggies(.83). A nice Sunday Dinner(for a total of 2.82). I had the chicken going. I took them out of the pan to rest while I got started on the rest of dinner, and suddenly I saw those chicken breast on the cutting board, and all I could think about was.... nachos. So tonight's dinner turned into nacho night. (Shame on me, we haven't had a really healthy dinner yet this week... but these were a HUGE hit!)

SO, the cost for nachos? 2.49

Tortilla Chips-42 cents
Chicken -1.16
"Salsa"- Free (from my stockpile)
1 cup Cheese-.75 cents
1 can of Campbell's Southwest Cheese Soup- Free ( from my stockpile)
Black Beans - Free ( from my stockpile)
4 Tbsp sour cream- 16 cents

I realize that many of my free items are not available to some readers if they are new to couponing, or do not stockpile. But my goal is to show how valuable stockpiling can be, when you find something for free or close to it. Especially pantry foods that will not expire quickly. Once you have a stock of food, you can make your meals around that.

.72 cents for Breakfast

So today we made breakfast burritos. The little one is at grandmas, so it was breakfast for 2. total cost...72 cents!

2 tortillas- 18 cents

1/4 cup cheese-18 cents

1 cup shredded hash browns- 10 cents

1 egg (fluffed with a Tbsp of pancake batter to strech it) .25

"salsa"- .01

Makes 2 burritos

As we were eating this, I thought to myself "what do you eat with breakfast burritos?"

Does anyone have any advise on this?

26 cents at CVS!

Money Saving Mom is hosting Super Savings Saturday... but let me tell you , SUPER doesn't even scratch the surface of the deals I got at CVS this week!
I am so ecstatic! The CVS fairies were definitely with me this week. I got a late start, because I wasn't planning a CVS trip this week. I decided that I really need to cut back. I was going just about every night, and hubby said that I need to slow down. He was so right! I looked in my stockpile, and I have like 40 tubes of toothpaste, and at least 35 bottles of sambucol. I know when to admit that I am addicted.

Anyways, I had to do about a million transactions, ( well, 13 actually) ....but I think it was worth it. There are a ton of CVS's in my area, so it really wasn't that painful. I would run a couple of transactions at each store each time I went. Also, I didn't do them all in one day. Usually on my way home from where ever I was , I would hit one or two.

My husband and I each have a CVS card, so I was able to maximize our deal. Also, most of the stores I hit were out of the Venus Razor, so the manager offered to give me a rain check. Because he couldn't Rain check the ECB, he offered to price it at 3.99 instead of 9.99! The same thing happened at 2 stores.) (maybe CVS is getting more lenient in their rain check policy, as I have NEVER been able to get this done before! must be those fairies!) Another advantage on my deals was on one of my transactions the cashier forgot to scan my $4 coupon for the Venus razor, so she scanned it after, and just gave me 4 bucks cash. On a separate transaction I purchased CVS Vitamin C expecting it to ring up 2.99 w/ 2.99 ECB. After checking my receipt I discovered that it rang up 5.39 without any ECB ( I grabbed the time released Vit C, instead of the one that was on sale) so, I just returned it. The cashier ran out of gift cards, so she gave me cash on this too! So technically I spent 10.04 ( on my gift card) and after the $5.39 + tax, and $4.00 CASH was given to me, I came up with 26 cents!

All of this for a total of 26 cents, and increased my stash of ECB's by $29.73. (which brings my running total to $140.18 plus the $18.09 I still have left on a gift card) I did however fail to buy my usual Sunday paper at CVS this week, so I had to pay for that OOP...$6.50 ( for 4 papers) So, I guess one could argue that I actually paid $6.76 OOP for all of this (since the coupons saved me a ton of money!) I am the HAPPIEST CAMPER EVER!!!!

I have to give a special thank you to Crystal and Denise for being so open to share these wonderful finds with all of us every week!
less CVS 5/15 Coupons: 65.00
less Extra Care Savings: 33.00
less Manufactuer Coupons: 74.66
ECB's Used: 129.18
CASH refund for Venus Coup 4.00
CASH refund for Vit C 5.78

Friday, March 7, 2008

Home Schooling

Apparently California is trying to make it more difficult to homeschool. Take a look!


I have been avoiding CVS this week. I get a little out of balance when I start working all the deals. But tonight we needed milk, so at last...I had a valid excuse to go.

By using manufacturer coupons, $5/$15's and ECB's I got all of this for 3.94. I did however have to split this up into multiple transactions. It was the middle of the day, and no one was in line, so the cashier said it was fine.

Some of these items have no ECB's like the milk, note pad, and lunch box. The box was 9.99, but hubby really needed it. It is times that these that I am so grateful for CVS. Even with this non ECB purchase, I still made money today, so that makes me happy!

I still have a gift card from a prescription, so I used that to pay. After my orders, I realized that my $4.00 coupon for the Venus razor was never scanned, so the manager just gave me $4.00 cash from the register. So really they paid me 6 cents, plus 4 dollars in ECB's.

The husband is so funny...when I walked in the door he said "what, that's it?"
I guess I have been going a little overboard!

Pizza Night! $1.50 feeds all 3 of us!

Italicized measurements added for clarity for those that the link to Biblical Womanhood is not working for...

My dough recipes is from Crystal at Biblical Womanhood.

Cost of dough for crust and bread sticks: 23 cents

2 1/2 cup flour-20 cents
1 Tbsp yeast- 1 cent
2Tbsp Veg Oil-2 cents
1 tsp Sugar- negligible
1 tsp Salt-negligible
1 cup warm Water- FREE

I split the dough into 2 sections...about 1/4 for bread sticks, and 3/4 for crust. I roll the sticks first so that they have a chance to rise a little.

Then I make the crust. Lightly coat the pan with cooking After it is shaped, poke the crust with a fork several times and brush with a little oil. Bake crust alone for about 5 minutes to lightly brown. Don't put the sicks in yet. Let them rise a little longer.

Now for the toppings. I don't have any sauce made, so I used a little spaghetti sauce with a little Italian seasonings and garlic mixed in. It doesn't take much sauce, maybe 2 Tbsp. If you put too much the crust gets soggy.

Then I put the veggies, ham and pepperoni on. The little on doesn't like any topping, so her side has just cheese. I make pizza packets when I cut the veggies, and freeze them. Each time I make pizza, I just pull out the packet with all the topping already cut, and cheese already shredded. Why do it 8 times, if you can just do it once?


Spaghetti sauce-FREE on sale with coupon
1/8 pkg. Pepperoni (about 7 slices)- 4 cents (bought on sale with coupon)
Ham- FREE (Sara lee deal)
1/8 cup red onion- 4 cents
1/8 green pepper-12 cents
1 cup cheese- .66 cents

Now bake pizza and sticks at 400 for about 7 minutes. If your family likes garlic bread, you can brush the stick with a little olive oil and sprinkle some garlic salt on top of them before you bake them.

This is a 12 inch pan. I cut it into 6 slices, 2 for each of us.


1/4 head of lettuce- 25 cents
1/4 cup cheese- .16 cents
dressing- FREE (stock up from sale when it was free)

The oven ran for 17 min. (5 to preheat + 12 to cook)= a little more than 4 cents to cook!


I have some alfredo sauce in the pantry and some spinach in the freezer....Does anyone have a good spinach pizza recipe?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Saving Money on groceries

Sherry asked us to comment on some grocery store savings ideas. Here is my comment from her blog. I thought is might be a good one to put on my own blog.
I have a few grocery stretchers.

First, I have a basic menu plan every week.

  • Sunday: Chicken
  • Monday: Tacos ($1.94)
  • Tuesday: Pizza ($1.04)
  • Wednesday: Quesadilla (with or without chicken, depending on the budget)
  • Thursday: Spaghetti FREE (stocked up till eternity)
  • Friday: Chicken
  • Saturday: Leftovers FREE

Exceptional deals always trump the menu. Like the Sara Lee deal which
left me with 15 packs of Hamburger Buns and 72 packages of lunch meat, among
other things (FOR FREE!!!) So we had hot ham and cheese, sloppy joes, and pizza
burgers for several dinners.

Things like tacos and sloppy joes, I add 1/2 cup of oatmeal to 1/2 lb of
ground beef. This is really great to stretch it. It changes the texture a
little, but if I don't say anything, it usually is never even noticed.

I also am always certain to add lots of fillers to our meal, so that dinner
doesn't require so much meat. Bread rolls, salad, rice, mashed potatoes, steamed
veggies are all really great fillers, and are usually pretty cheap. Costco sells
a bag of 36 rolls for like $3.

Another tip more on the side of best nutritional value is Fruit
Leather. I get these at Costco. Each leather is equal to a fruit serving, and
cost 22 cents each. These have no added sugar and are delicious. You can also
get them at Trader Joe's, and I think I have seen them at Albertson's. I can't
match that price on fruit, unless we eat bananas, which get boring after a
while,(and don't store nearly as long) The only drawback is that I wish it had
more fiber like true fruit. But it is better than nothing at all.

Lastly, I often let my little one "make" dinner from stuff that we have
in the pantry. We make a game of it. She has to come up with the best dinner she
can, out of what we have. She loves it, and because she "made" it, I don't hear
complaints about it. I also love that it is a lesson into becoming a "maker at
home" It's a win !

Good luck! I hope this is helpful.

There a few more that I wanted to add. I found out that IHOP uses a
little bit of mixed pancake batter to "fluff up" their scrambled eggs. It
taste exactly the same, and saves on eggs too! 1 egg with batter makes the
same amount as 2 eggs without. I also use this trick when making quiche!.

Also, my favorite cookbooks Dream Dinners and Don't Panic!-Dinners in the Freezer. This method is not OAMC, but rather prep ahead. You put every thing together that you need uncooked in a ziploc, then just pop it in the oven when you are ready. This works perfectly for families like mine. Warehouse stores don't make much sense for a small family, but by using this cooking method, you could split those bulk purchases into dinner packs, and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I have been wanting to start up a prep ahead dinner cooking club too with some of my friends. The idea is that one person make the chicken dinners, one make the beef, one the pasta etc. That way the food can still be bought in bulk, but then would be traded, for variety. It also saves time. Each person would make 2-3 different meals in multiples, trade them, and go home with 12 different dinners.

I really have to get on that.....

I have been eye-balling this book...does anyone have any feedback on it?

Rubber Chicken- 3 dinners for $9.71 average $3.23/dinner!

Here is one my very favorite shoestring recipe. Rubber Chicken. I added the cost breakdown to each day in parentheses.

  • Chicken, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 celery rib, cut in pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to

Day 1: Make a roasted chicken. (4.99 chicken COSTCO, .80 instant potatoes, $1 frozen veggies=$6.79)

If you don't know how, don't fret, I'll
help you.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place your clean chicken in a
roasting pan, breast side up, with all the veggies placed in the cavity. Season
liberally and cook. Baste it if you like. Depending on the size, it will take an
hour or two to roast.

While the chicken is cooking, throw the neck in some water
to make additional stock for the gravy. Cook it on low.

When the chicken is done, the leg should move easily in the socket. Before you make gravy, remove chicken to a cutting board and pour all the cooking juice out from the roaster into a bowl to cool. Put it in the fridge or freezer to encourage the fat to glob up on to the top. Then you can skim off that nasty fat and throw it away. Return the juice — without the fat — to the same pan and deglaze your pan by scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

(My note: A rotisserie at Costco is 4.99. I realize that I could buy a 5 lb whole chicken at .69 for 3.45. But I figure, once I get the spices, and the butter...a half a stick at least, (.50) a lemon (.50) and the cost to cook it for an hour. ( .16 cents per hour...yup, I really have calculated some of my most used items to find out the cost)

So my homemade chicken will cost $4.61 and it doesn't taste anything like the juicy rotisserie chicken that Costco makes! The benefit of making it at home is that on a cold day, running the oven would warm up the house, saving on the heating bill.

Anyways, all in all, this is one of the few purchases that I am willing to let someone else make. I will not however justify paying 6.99 at Albertsons, or close to 10.00 at Boston Market!)

In a small mixing bowl, take a tablespoon of flour, about 3/4 cup of cool water and make a smooth paste. Heat the cooking juice, add the neck broth (this is really starting to sound gross!) and then add your paste. Using your wire whisk, whisk like a crazy lady over a fairly high heat till your gravy starts to look like gravy. Remove from heat and serve with mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables. Remember, you want leftovers.

Day 2: On the menu tonight is — Chicken and Bean Burritos! (tortillas, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, chips=$1.57)

To make, pick every scrap of chicken off the bones and toss it together in a pan
with a can of black beans (or equivalent homemade). Add about a teaspoon each of garlic powder and cumin and warm it up. In the meantime, get out your fixin's:
shredded cheese, salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, whatever you like. Warm
your tortillas and serve buffet style.

Day 3: Take the skeletal remains and toss it in a pot with a stick of celery, a carrot or two and a big onion. You don't even need to cut the veggies up. Throw a quart or more of cold water over the top and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for an hour or so until the veggies are mushy. Strain the whole thing (now you can throw out that chicken with a good conscience!) and make whatever soup your heart desires. (1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 onion 1 bag of egg noodles?=1.26)

Of course, the menu here could be anything that you are in the mood for. I have made chicken enchiladas, chicken pasta primavera, chicken salad...the possibilities are endless!

Actually, I think there are even cookbooks devoted to rotisserie chickens! This is every starving college students dream come true.....and if you really really want to, out of loyalty to the cherished & trusty go to food, you could add chicken to your ramen noodles too!
You could make this cost even about chicken quesadillas, or a big green salad with chicken tossed in some BBQ sauce, corn, black beans, salsa, ranch dressing, and crushed tortilla chips on top. Or maybe some good old fashion chicken nachos. Did you buy this Knorr Lipton sides for .33 cents during the Ralphs sale a few weeks ago? Add some chicken to it with some frozen veggies and it makes an awesome main dish! Pair it with some crunchy bread. bon appetite!

Grocery Shopping 3/04/08- Costco

Costco is such a dangerous place for me. I can easily go in for a bottle of aspirin, and come out $200 poorer! It is sad really. It's like I have no control. But I cannot avoid the fact that there are some purchases that just don't make sense to buy anywhere else! So I have committed to go ONLY once every 2 month. When I get home from my Costco shopping spree, I split everything up, and divide it into the budget. March was my month to go, and here is what I scored....

March's Ration (prices shown are the amount for March Only. The original price is multiplied by the # of months)

25# bread Flour- (last 6 mos)-$1.26 8 cent/cup
Dish Powder- (to bleach laundry, 6 mos.)-.94
Brown Gravy-(6 mos)-.73 5 cents per meal

100% Juice Capri Sun 40ct - (2 mos) $4.34 22 cents ea
100% Stretch Island Fruit Leather 48ct- (2 mos) $5.34 .22 cents ea
Tortilla strips 3lbs -(2mos) $1.65 .07 cents per serving
Chicken Breast 10lbs, 40 pieces (2 mos) $11.64 .58 cents ea piece

Sour Cream-48 oz- $3.69 .08/2Tbsp serv
Oatmeal 144 oz. -$ 6.44 12 cents/cup
Parsley Flakes- $2.49 3 cents / tsp
baby carrots 5lb bag-$ 4.49 .17 cents/3oz serv or .89 cents /lb
Bananas 4lb, 10ct -$1.39 .14 cents ea or .35 cents/lb
flour tortillas 36 ct $3.15 .09 cents ea

When I get it home, I split up the stuff that gets divide into ziploc bags, and label it by the month. This helps me to make sure that I don't overuse anything, and therefore mess up my rations. The only exception to that is the spices. Actually, I usually have to throw some out because they don't get used up quick enough. Even then, the cost is less than what I would pay at the store...even Wal-Mart.

So, according to these rations, I will take the following amounts of money out of the monthly grocery budget as follows....(I mark this amount on my menu plan calendar so I don't forget. The money is "borrowed" from an overflow savings jar that we put any remaining money in at the end of the week from our cash envelopes. Once the budget for the month is distributed, I pay back the savings jar, that way I am not actually spend any money.)

March- $48.13
April - $25.90
May-August $ 2.93 each

March grocery MTD= $68.99

Chicken Quesadillas- $ 2.16

Tonight's dinner was Chicken Quesadillas. I love these! And best of all they are really quick, and SUPER CHEAP!

So here is the cost breakdown..

6 tortillas- .52
2/3 cup cheddar cheese-.43
1 Chicken Breast-.58

Tortilla chips(3 serv) .21
4 tbsp sour cream-.16
4 Tbsp "Salsa" - .01
(the salsa was made from these canned tomatoes that I scored at Vons in Feb. 72 cans for $3.00!)

Uncle Ben's rice-.25 (on sale w/ coupon)
So there it is. 3 full servings of quesadillas, for just over 2 bucks...
You could cut the cost even more by omitting the chicken, bring the cost to $1.58 for 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Snacks: The Unhealthy

mmm... Dip ( this dip doesn't have a name...)

16 oz container of Sour Cream- $1.50
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix-(HAS TO BE Hidden Valley Ranch, trust me) $1.00

then add
1 jar of real hormel bacon bits , bacon pieces are a little too big (or any REAL bacon product, note: these are NOT real bacon) -about $2.50

2 cups of finely shredded Mexican cheese blend.-$1.25

add the ingredients in this order. Total cost- $6.25

(this recipe can be reduced to $3.86 by buying in bulk from Costco. All of these ingredients can be used in other meals too, so they won't go to waste)

Serve it with a vegetable cracker, or crudete.

This recipe doesn't sound so spectacular, but I make it for every party, and there is never enough. It is so addictive, but sooooooo bad for you! Try it, I PROMISE you will love it!

February Grocery Budget- $100.00!

Peggy left a comment about my 100.00 grocery budget for February. This has inspired my next post. In my coupon days past, friends and family have been in disbelief to my grocery savings...(actually disbelief might be an understatement...I think they really thought I was bending the truth)

Well, I am here to set the record straight once and for all!

It really started in the end of January. Safeway was running a Breakfast promo. buy 10 participating products, get $10.00 off instantly. I carefully chose to purchase 10 products priced at $2.00 each, so instantly it brought the total to 1.00 each after the instant savings. Then I used manufacturer's coupons, which double at Vons.

After it was all said and done here is what I ended up with...

my comment from Money Saving Mom's Blog:

Anonymous said...
I don't know if this is in the right spot, but I couldn't
keep silent. I went to Vons today, and got out with 14 boxes of Life cereal, 12
boxes of Oatmeal to Go, 10 boxes of granola bars, 10 boxes of oatmeal packets, 6
boxes of Natures Harvest, and a jar of Miracle Whip...In case you lost count,
that was 52 boxes of cereal type food for $3.25 TOTAL!!!! Why doesn't everyone
January 22, 2008 7:16 PM

In January, I also stocked up on (15)Pasta,(15) Pasta sauce, (12)peanut butter and (8)Jelly.

The newspaper from 1/6/08 had like 7 inserts. It was really amazing. I "bought" 10 of those newspapers...(paid ith ECB's at CVS of course!) With all of these coupons I purchased the above pasta, sauce PB&J for free after double coupons. I had to do separate transactions, as Vons will only double 1 like coupon. This was a small sacrifice to pay to get these thing for free. I try to be respectful of the store cashier, so I would usually do only 2 transactions per visit, and would go to the store on separate days on my way home from work. We also have a Von's and Pavillions within close proximity, so I would sometimes hit both stores in a day.

We also have about 15 chicken quarters in the freezer and 3 pounds of ground beef. So we are pretty set for meats for February.

With breakfast out of the way, my February budget's focus was on lunch and dinner.

So, here we go. Here is the tally of my February Purchases

And if you are really curious, here are all of my receipts. You will have to Zoom in to see the actual purchases and totals.

I also purchased 2 gallons of milk and 2 dozen eggs from CVS. I sent in the receipts for rebates, so I don't have them here. But those were purchased with ECB's so I didn't pay anything.

Lastly, my Pavillions meat trip was taken out of March's I guess I cheated a little. This trip cost me $20.86

Now with the Groceries purchased, my trusty menu plan keeps me on track. It is pretty boring, but it works for our family. Of course it is not set in stone, but it gives us a good foundation.

Sunday: Chicken

Monday: Tacos ($1.94)

Tuesday: Pizza ($1.04)

Wednesday: Quesadilla (with or without chicken, depending on the budget) (1.73-2.30)

Thursday: Spaghetti FREE

Friday: Chicken

Saturday: Leftovers FREE


Lettuce -1.00

Red Onion-.60

Tomato- 2.00

Homemade Bread- .50

Chicken nights are a wild card. Sometimes its a rotisserie chicken from Costco, or a chicken and rice casserole, or maybe fried chicken.

This month we varied from the menu quite a bit. We had lots of hamburger buns that we didn't have room for in the freezer, so we made hot ham & cheese sammy's, sloppy joes, and pizza burger for lunches and dinner.

Thanks for encouraging me to put this together. I am praying that this info will bless someone else who thinks that it is impossible to cut your grocery budget.

Feb Grocery Tally

Feb Receipts