Sunday, January 31, 2010

CVS - You have to see it to believe it!!!

Here is my amazing CVS trip today - you will just have to follow along to appreciate this one!!!
2 Ragu 1.67 each
*Used .60/2 MQ
1 Skippy Peanut Butter 1.66
*Used .40 MQ
2 Lipton tea bags 2/$5.00
*Used .60 MQ
*Used .40 MQ
*****Paid 8.00 total, but earned 3.00 ecbs = 5.00
1 Colgate Kids Toothpaste 2.99
*Used .50 MQ
*****Paid 2.49, but earned 2.00 ecb = .49
2 Valentines with pencils (Toy Story and Princess and Frog) 2.99 each
*BOGO - 2.99
1 Peanut M&M 2.50
1 Plain M&M 2.50
*Used 1.00/2 MQ
*****Paid 4.00 OOP
1 Dove Mens Body Wash 5.49
*Used 1.25 MQ
*****Paid 4.25, but earned 5.49 ecb = MONEYMAKER!
Scanned my green bag tag - don't forget this great reward!
Used old ecbs of 12.00, 2.00, 6.00
Paid 2.43 OOP for 11 items!!!!!
Earned back: 10.49 ecb
1 Dove Mens Body Wash 5.49
Used 5.49 ecbs from previous trandaction.
Paid .39 OOP!!!
Earned back: 5.49 ecb
Walking out of the store, I paid $2.82 for 12 items (that we catually will use and needed) and I have $12.49 in ecbs to use next week. Can you say profit, baby? Cha-Ching!

Walgreens Trip $4.22 OOP, Have $8.00 RR Leftover

Here was my Walgreens trip...All of these deals are good through this week!
Trans 1:
Gillette Fusion Razor 8.99
Used 2.00 MQ
Royal Jello 5/$1
Comet 2/$1
2 Kit Kats (Filler) 1.59
Used 10 RR that were going to expire 2/1.
Paid 1.28 OOP.
Earned 4.00 RR for razor.
Per receipt, saved 15.72.
Trans 2:
Blink Tears 7.99
Used 2.00 MQ
Cow Tail (Filler) .39
Used 4 RR from previous transaction.
Paid 2.94 OOP
Earned 8.00 RR for Blink
Per receipt, saved 8.00
I profited 3.78 to take these items out of the store today!

Meijer Trip - Saved 27.19, Spent 15.61, Earned 5.00

Here is a pic of today's Meijer trip. I purchased all of this stuff for 15.61 and earned a $5 catalina for my next trip!*** Here's how I did it:
(2) Triaminic Thin Strips 3.99 each
Used (2) $3 MQ = .99 each!!!
(1) Aluminum Foil 2.50
Used .75 MQ - doubled = $1.00!
(2) Red Baron Pizza Singles 2.50 each
Used (2) .75 MQ - doubled = $1 each!!!
(1) Digiornio Pizza 4.99
Used 1.00 MQ = 3.99
6 Kraft Cheeses @ 3/$4
Used (2) 1/2 MQ = 6.00 for all 6 ($1.00 each!!!)
PLUS, earned $5 catalina for next purchase from Kraft.***
That's it - 12 items for $15.61. Or $10.61 net (figuring in catalina.) A savings of app. 64%. Not a bad trip, folks! :)
***$5 catalina for Kraft is only good through 1/31/10.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Do You Have an Emergency Fund?

Go HERE to read a great post on having an emergency fund! If nothing else, it is a great investment for peace of mind.

For more info on emergency funds and becoming debt-free, read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Desk is Clean!

Our desk is finally clean!!! Need I say more? 6 Kroger bags of trash later and a bunch of recycling and it's done - I know, shameful. But it's clean!!! I did it!!!! I got motivated!

PS It's amazing what kids will do for pennies and a potential "bonus" on their allowance...hehehe. :)

FREE $5 to Toyrs R Us/Babies R Us - Thursday Only

Today ONLY become a fan of Babies R Us on Facebook and get a coupon for $5 FREE to use at Babies R Us or Toys R Us!

Monday, January 25, 2010

FREE Stuff from the Limited

Go HERE to print a coupon for $15 FREE at The Limited! Thanks, Moms by Heart!

Get Motivated Monday

I WAS motivated this week - I truly was. Seriously. I promise.

I just wasn't motivated to clean off that desk or do filing...

I DID get our tax stuff together.

But, what I really had fun with was painting out dining room - the entire thing - with a 2" brush from Dollar Tree and 2 FREE quarts of paint from a previous promotion in the late summer. It looks great. I will have to show you before and after pictures... Now to make the new curtain and table runner that I am dreaming about...

OK - so this week's necessity (for me) is to tackle this desk. Pick something that you despise doing and make that your challenge this week, ok?

Just do me a favor, do as I say and not as I do! :)

Meal Plan Monday

Monday - Sausage Gravy & Biscuits + Scrambled Eggs
Tuesday - Mac & Cheese + Applesauce (hubby isn't home tonight = kid friendly)
Wednesday - Corn Chowder with Ham + Homemade Bread
Thursday - Chicken Divan + Jello with Fruit
Friday - Pizza Bread with Dipping Sauce + Brownies
Saturday - Meatloaf + Mashed Potatoes + Green Beans
Sunday - Shredded Chicken Sandwiches in the Crockpot + Chips + Vegies/Dip
Breakfasts - Cereal, Oatmeal, Pancakes, Pop Tarts, Taoster Struedel (One Day Only)
Lunches - Leftovers, Sandwiches, Canned Soup, Spaghettio's, Ramen Noodles

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cleaning Out the Pantry = New Recipe

Hi all! Are you still joining us in the "Eat from the Pantry Challenge?" Well, if you are like me (and shopped the great sales anyway) your pantry needs to be cleaned out a little more... I wanted a nice, filling, easy lunch, so I adapted an old recipe and came up with this... Took less than 15 minutes and was supper yummy and healthy!

Tex Mex Soup (Easy & Hearty)

2 cans chicken broth
1 can mexicorn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar Pace picante sauce
1 "palmful" of dried minced onion
1 LG squeeze of lime juice
1 LG dash of Frank's hot sauce
Leftover cooked chicken breast, shredded (mine was in the freezer from freezer cooking day)

Combine all in a dutch oven; boil 'til hot, steamy, and chicken is heated through (about 7 minutes). Serve in bowls with corn chips on top and shredded cheese for garnish.

YUM-O! Protein, veggies, fiber, and flavor all in one bowl!!!

Also, we had this with an excellent salad prepared by the hubs...kudos to him. He rocks. :)

McDonald's Has New Coupon Books Available

Here's what's included in the new Valentine Day coupon booklets from McDonald's:
3 Free Apple Dippers
3 Free small cone
3 Free small apple juice/milk jug
2 Free Hamburgers
1 Free McCafe coffee

You get all of this for $1!!!!!!

Coupons are Valid: 2/14/10-5/31/10

Thanks, Couponing to Disney!

My CVS Transactions This Week

Trans 1:
2 large bags M&M's 2/$5
2 Oust Sanitiser Sprays $3.99/each

BOGO MQ for Oust -3.99
MQ for 2 bags M&M's -1.00

Used 5.50 +2.00 ECB's from last week

Subtotal .49
Paid .82 (incl. tax)

Earned 6.00 ECB from Oust
Earned 3.00 ECB from Mars (M&Ms)
Profit of 8.18!

Trans 2:
2 6pks of Soyjoy bars - 6.00/each

Used 12.00 ECB's

Paid 0.00

Earned 12.00 ECB's
Completely FREE + got ECB's!!!

Trans 3:
1 more 6 pk of Soyjoy bars (disn't realize that they were limit 3) 6.00

Used 5.00 ECB

Paid 1.00

Earned 6.00 ECB's
Profit $1.00!

If you are interested in doing any of these scenarios, you can still do the SoyJoy and the Oust through today (Saturday.) The M&M's were a 3 day only sale. It was a good week at CVS!

Friday, January 22, 2010

WIN this Jacob Necklace from Magpie Designz

Don't you just LOVE this personalized, hand-stamped necklace from Magpie Designz? Well, you can win one of your very own!

My friend, Megan, is doing a giveaway on her site, Daily Essentials and Deals. Go HERE to get your chance to win this one of a kind piece. Thanks, Megan, for this awesome opportunity to own a keepsake piece!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Here is a FREE Redbox code good for today only (THURS) at MEIJER!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Preach It, Gayle!

Please take a moment to ready this post by Gayle titled, "Are you Paying for Food or Conveinience?" It is truly something to think about, especially for you 'coupon-newbies.'

Gayle, writes, The Grocery Cart Challenge, where she blogs about feeding her family of 6 for $60/week. What an inspiration!

Kroger this week - 2 items for .50 and 2 FREEBIES

Here's what I bought at Kroger this week:

Quaker Instant Oatmeal - $1.88 each

Campbell's Soups (select) - $1.00 each
Use $.40 off 2 MQ (doubles to $.80 off)
Final Price: .60 each

Chef Boyardee Pasta (14.5 - 15 oz. can) - $1.00 each
Use $1/5 MQ
Final Price: .80 each

Rice-a-Roni or Pasta Roni - $1.00 each
Use $1.00 off 3 MQ
Final Price: $.67 each

Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding or Gelatin 4-pack - $1.00 each
Use .50/2 MQ (doubles to $1.00)
Final Price .50 each

Kroger Brand Milk, even chocolate - $1.88/gallon

Kroger Brand Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Dip - $1.00 each

Dannon Yogurt (select) - $1.88 each
Use $1.00 off Danimals MQ
Final Price: .88 each

Hot, Lean, Croissant Pockets - $1.78 each
Use $1.00 off 4 MQ
Final Price: $1.53 each

Birds Eye, Freshlike - $1.00 each
Use $.50 off 1 Birds Eye Steamfresh MQ (doubles to $1 off)
Final Price: FREE

Gatorade - $1.00 each
Use $.50 off G2 MQ
Final Price: FREE

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix 8-10 count - $1.00 each
Use $.50 off 2 MQ (doubles to $1 off)
Final Price: $.50 each

It was a GOOD week for stocking up at Kroger! I came home with 6 boxes of hot cocoa, 3 bags of frozen veggies, 2 gatorades, 4 pudding packs, 6 pasta ronis, and STILL spent under $25!

Just Signed Up

I just signed up for this Mueller's Pasta menu planner filled with coupons. It is FREE! Thought you may want to sign up to receive yours too...who doesn't love pasta?!?!?

Thanks, Kristen, at Couponing to Disney, for this tip!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Get Motivated Monday

OK, last week stunk for me. I had two sick kids, an ER trip, and overall LACK OF SLEEP (and lack of posts, as I'm sure you noticed...) So, needless to say, my computer desk still looks like a bomb went off!

This week, in addition to attempting to start and finish last weeks challenge, I will attempt to:

Get caught up on filing and paperwork in general. Tax season is right around the corner and quite frankly stuff around here is a mess.

Hope that you can get your paperwork organized too! If you have any great filing systems, please, please, please, share them with us (me)!!!

Have a great week! (I'm off to conduct a breathing treatment...)

Meal Plan Monday

Here is this week's meal plan:
Monday: Black beans and rice + chips and salsa
Tuesday: Hammy Mac Casserole + cresent rolls + peas
Wednesday: Leftover night
Thursday: Green bean lasagna + garlic bread
Friday: Pizza Bread + brownies or cookies
Saturday: Hamburgers with mushroom gravy in crockpot + mashed potatoes + applesauce
Sunday: Corn Chowder + yeast rolls
Lunches: tuna, chef boyadree, ramen noodles, lunchmeat, pb & j, LEFTOVERS
Breakfasts: eggs, cereal, oatmeal, doughnut day (really good sale this week; a treat for us.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Gonna Break...I'm Just Sayin'

Have you SEEN the SALES this week at Meijer and Kroger????? It's a good thing that I was flexible with myself for our "Eat from the Pantry Challenge" for this month. I am so stocking up on some FREE or under $1 items! I can't help myself...

Free Body Scrub from Victoria's Secret

Go HERE to read about and print a coupon on how to get a free body scrub from Victoria's Secret. I usually aim to purchase something for around $5 or less to get these kind of free gifts. Think trial size item, 1 pair of panties, clearance rack, lip balm, etc...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

This week's meal plan may look a little familiar...we just didn't get to everything last week due to leftovers and a fast food meal...have I mentioned that I'm fighting a cold and don't really feel like cooking...
Monday - hamburger helper + green beans
Tuesday- lasagna roll ups + texas toast + desert (cake for following a rule for a week!)
Wednesday - mac and cheese + hot dogs
Thursday - roast beef, potatoes, carrots in crock pot
Friday - chili, fritos, sour cream + cornbread cake
Saturday - leftovers (I am freezer cooking all day)
Sunday - ???
Breakfasts: cereal, oatmeal, eggs, muffins, pop tarts (almost gone from the pantry)
Lunches: LEFTOVERS, turkey/ham sandwiches, PB & J, soup and crackers, ramen noodles

Get Motivated Monday

Did you clean out your shelves last week? I did and we were able to take a bag of personal hygiene products to the Food Pantry this week!

(I also cleaned out the kids dressers and took some clothes and shoes to a few friends!)

This week's challenge: Clean off your computer desk. Pitch old papers. File when needed. See what you have and store it attractively. Then dust it! I want to see a clean and shinging desk by the end of the week! That's my goal (and it's long overdue)...

What big project will you tackle this week?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Movie Night!!!

Here are two new Redbox codes for a FREE movie rental. Remember these codes can be used once per debit/credit card.



Friday, January 8, 2010

Top Ten Ways to Save NOW on Your Grocery Budget

The grocery budget is one of the most flexible lines in your family's monthly budget. Utilites don't change much, car payments and mortgage are consistent, and gasoline is a requirement...but are the ho-ho's that you want to buy? NO! Grocery shopping is the one place where you can get flexible and creative. If you are struggling with your check-out totals, if you are bug-eyed when you get to your car, if you are embarrasssed to tell your spouse what you spent...then this is the post for you, my friends!

So, in traditional, Hope-Filled Home style, here are my...

Top Ten Ways to Start Saving NOW at the Grocery Store

10. Love Your List - make one every time you step foot in the store. Even if you are going in for milk and bread, write it down and keep yourself accountable to it.

9. Make a Meal Plan - know IN ADVANCE what you are going to be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week that you are shopping for. Knowing what you are going to be eating makes your shopping easier, promotes less waste, and gives you no reason to hit a drive-thru.

8. Shop Sales - make your meal plan based off of what is on sale. Hamburger on sale? I see meatloaf... Good price on apples? I see apples in lunches and apple crisp for a special desert. Don't plan your list around what you want to eat, plan what you want to eat around what's on sale!

7. Clip Your Coupons - clip coupons on Sunday afternoons. 15 minutes clipping and filing can save you major moolah every week. For every coupon I clip, I am able to: buy a luxury item (Dove chocolate), pay down debt, take a trip to Disney, etc. Don't believe me? Taking only 5 .50 coupons to Meijer/Kroger saves you $5 off your bill (they double coupons at that store.) That equals $20/month or $240/year. If you took 15 coupons each visit, that would equal $720/year. I think that's enough for park tickets, don't you?

6. Stockpile for Savings - when something goes on an exceptional sale, buy more than one. Buy as many as you have coupons for. Ask your neighbors to save their coupon inserts for you for a FREE way to get extras. Some people buy extra coupons that they want on ebay, but I see no reason to spend more money to save money. Regulary, frozen vegetables end up free after sale and coupon. Buy 4 bags, or 6, or 10 and use them when you need them.

5. Lose the Loyalty - don't think that you are always getting the best deal when you shop where there are "low prices everyday." You aren't. You are getting conveiniece, but may possibly spend more money. Check out your ads and go where the best deals are. I regularly shop at 2 stores and then hit Aldi once a month to stock up on some canned goods there. I never shop somewhere "just because." I know exactly why I am going there, and it's because the have the best deals on...cheese, chicken, crackers, pasta, etc.

5 1/2. Lose the Loyalty Part 2 - don't always buy Skippy because you've always bought it. Your family may like Peter Pan better...if not, you can always hide it in cookies :) Buy what's on sale and/or what you have a coupon for. More times than not, you will be surprised.

4. Make Meatless Meals - once a week, enjoy a meatless meal for savings on your grocery bill. Have pasta with sauce, pancakes with fruit, or baked potatoes and salad. Think simple and save.

3. Use Cash Only - never ever use a credit card to buy your groceries! Do you know how much you would end up paying for them after interest? I don't even recommend using your debit card to buy groceries. Why is that? When you take cash to the grocery store and you commit to only using that cash, (ie $60) you are less likely to impulse buy and more likely to stay under budget. What happens if you get to the register and your total is $62? Put something back. Don't use your debit/credit because then you are more likely to add even more (like the candy bar, magazine, gum, or pop by the register.) Just don't do it, trust me on this!

2. Freezer Cook - spend a Saturday cooking up some of your favorite meals or casseroles and deep freeze them for a later use. Have company coming? Pull out a lasagna instead of hitting the store. Need to feed a crowd? Thaw out that chowder in the microwave and crockpot it for down-home comfort food. Forgot to make a meal plan/feel uninspired with the grocery ads? See what's already in your freezer and go from there! In 5 hours (with the help of 2 girlfriends), we put up 45 meals (15 per family.) What a helper and a timesaver that was (and so much healthier than the local drive-thru!)

1. Start Small - be encouarged! Make attainable goals. Be realistic with yourself. You don't have to go into the store and save 80% on your bill... Evey dollar counts. Every time you eat leftovers instead of pizza, every time you say no to an impulse buy, every time you find something for free - celebrate! Bring out the nice dishes and toast yourself on a job well-done. You deserve it!

You Go, Girl!

Read HERE to see how my blogger friend, Megan, made RR at Walgreens work for her this week. She paid under $1 for milk, tomato sauce, makeup, and 2 diabetes meters and EARNED $13 for shopping! You go, girl - show us how it's done!


At Christmas, my aunt was over here hunting for a tissue. "Where are your tissues," she asked? I replied, "Use tp; we don't keep tissues in the house." She was appalled. Had no idea how we "live like this." I cracked up (silently, of course) and thought to myself "since when are tissues a necessity of life?"

Tissues are one of the many luxuries that I have cut in order to make our grocery budget work.*** I have also cut high price cleaners (use a lot of baking soda), air freshners (only buy when they are free or less than .50 at CVS), name brand trash bags, lunch sacks (we use reusable ones now), etc.

I have cut way back on my purchase of paper towels as well. After reading this blog; however, I am considering cutting them altogether. We could do without paper towels and help our environment in the process...

What do you sacrifice to stretch (and stick to) your budget?

***Author's note: I will admit to buying a box or two of kleenex with lotion when we have sinus infections around here, but only if they are really bad :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

$10 with RX transfer at Target

There is a coupon on the Target Coupon Generator for a $10 gift card with a new or transferred prescription. The coupon expires 1/31. You can use multiple cpns for multiple prescriptions. I have 3 to transfer, thus earning me $30.

Also, at Target, they flavor kids meds for FREE. They carry multiple generics for $4, which is cheaper than our $5 copay.

If you are nervous about transferring your maintenance meds, why not print the coupon if you need an antibiotic (aka "sicky med") this month and earn yourself $10?

Juicy Juice for .50?!?!?!?!

ATTN Friends with Kids: Go HERE to see how you can get Juicy Juice for .50 at Target this week! Thanks, MY Frugal Adventures, for this great deal...I've already printed my coupons.

And, don't forget, if you use reusable bags at Target, they credit you .05 each!

Recycled Dinner - Chicken Alfredo w/ Broccoli

Last night we had aanother recycled's the breakdown of how it went.

Heartland Mickey and Friends Whole Grain Pasta: clearanced at WalMart from the remodel .50
2 Leftover chicken breasts (cooked with a sweet basil rub) from Sundays dinner, Shredded: free
2 1/2 jars of Alfredo sauce from the fridge: free
Milk to thin the sauce: .10
Sprinkle of shredded parm cheese leftover from spin/art dip: free

1 box Immunity Blend veggies (our favorite): .67 (sale + MQ)

This dinner cost us app. $1.27 and we have leftovers for today's lunch!

Also, all of these items were pulled from out pantry or freezer, helping us to stick to January's eat from the pantry challenge!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Get Motivated Monday

Hello, Friends!

Two things this for you and one for others.

1. Start a journal:
It can be funny things your kids say, prayers, quotes, sermon notes, random thoughts...whatever.
Take time once a week to document your life in some tangible way.

2. Clean out your medicine cabinet and stash of toiletries:
Pitch anything expired.
Give away anything unopened that you will not use before its expiration (think food pantry, pregnancy center, battered women's shelter, etc.)
Neatly store your like items (ie. toothpaste together) and make room for new deals in 2010!

Meal Plan Monday

A new feature of this blog in 2010 is Meal Plan Monday. I realize that most of you know that I meal plan monthly, but to keep me accountable and give you ideas, I will post our meals weekly.
Monday? Leftover chicken breast with whole grain pasta and alfredo sauce + Steamed broccoli
Tuesday? Meatloaf + Cheddar potatoes (boxed) + Frozen corn
Wednesday? Crockpot smoked sausage, potatoes, green beans with cheddar cheese
Thursday? Hamburger helper + Applesauce
Friday? Frozen pizza + Brownies
Saturday? Tacquitos + Chips and salsa
Sunday? Swiss steak + Mashed potatoes + Frozen corn
PB & J
Lunchmeat/Tuna Sandwiches
Ramen Noodles
Mac & Cheese
Canned Soup

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FREE items with today's coupons!

See this post on how many FREE items that you can get by using coupons from today's paper (including Buddies Soap)! Thanks, My Frugal Adventures, for the reminders on FREE stuff!!!

CVS Deals

Here are some of the great deals that I see at CVS this week:

Aquafina 12-pack bottles - $2.49 each
ECBs Earned: $1.00 (limit 1)
Final Price: $1.49
Colgate Total/MaxFresh/MaxWhite - 2 for $5.00
Use $.75 off coupon from 1/3 SmartSource
ECBs Earned: $2.00 when you buy 2
Final Price: $.75 each
GE Energy Smart Lightbulbs - $2.99
Use $1.00 off coupon from 11/22 SmartSource insert
ECBs Earned: $2.00 (limit 1)
Final Price: FREE
Nivea Body Wash/Lip Care/Lotion - prices start at $3.99 each
$2.00 off lotion coupon from 1/3 RedPlum insert
$5.00 off 2 lotion coupon from 1/3 RedPlum insert
Buy 1 - Get 1 FREE lip care coupon from 1/3 RedPlum insert
ECBs Earned: $5.00 when you buy $10.00 (limit 1)
Final Price: REALLY GOOD
Oust Spray - $3.99 each
Use $3.99 off 2 (BOGO)coupon from 1/3 SmartSource insert
ECBs Earned: $3.00 (limit 6)
Final Price: MONEY MAKER
Other Things Worth Mentioning
All Detergent - $3.99 each
Use $2.00 off coupon from 12/6 or 1/3 RedPlum insert
Final Price: $1.99 each
Really Good Transaction #1 - Make $2!!!
Buy 2 Oust sprays - $7.98 ($3.99 each)
Use $3.99 off 2 coupon from 1/3 SmartSource insert
Out-of-Pocket Cost: $3.99 plus tax
ECBs Earned: $6.00

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - Hope Style (top Ten)

Happy 2010!!!

This year, I hope to:
1. Pray harder and for others - start a journal.
2. Pay off our car payments and snowball that money to student loans.
3. Have a family game night once a week and ENJOY IT!
4. Lose 20 pounds by eating less and moving more.
5. Go to Disney World (debt-free) with the 2 best kids in the world!
6. Stay more organized, overall.
7. Have once a month date nights with my man...who I still want to love when the kids are gone.
8. Say "no" more often (and lose the guilt over doing so.)
9. Eat out less.
10. Be less wasteful - start recycling more.

I am attempting to be realistic about these goals and want to make this the best decade ever! Here's to a great year!!!