Monday, March 30, 2009

My Menu Monday

Leftover Lasagna (from Sunday)

Cheese Ravioli and Chicken in Vodka Sauce
Texas Toast

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes


whatever I can scrounge up -- my husband will be out of town for the weekend.

See Friday

I have been trying to make these two meals for the past 2 weeks I think. Things just keep coming up and I haven't been able to cook -- surprise birthday parties, friends bringing dinner over, free thai food, etc. We haven't been going out to eat on the night's these meals are planned, so it's not adversely affecting my budget. And that's good news!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Reasons for Saving Money

Evan and Allyson love each other.

Evan helped Mommy make cupcakes.

Ally riding on Daddy's back at the Baltimore Aquarium.

Ally loves the warmer weather!

Look at the bones, Mommy!

I can wear pigtails now.

I'd like to introduce you to the reasons I'm trying to save money. They are my two beautiful kids. I want to save money and get out of debt so that I can provide them with everything they need. I want to be able to help put them through college and I want to pay for weddings. I don't want to be saddled with debt and have that always hanging over my shoulder. This is why I'm trying to save money.

Giant Foods $1.00 Doublers

**I've updated this post because I realized that I had forgotten to factor in the $1.00 doublers. Kind of funny since that's what this post was all about.**

This week at Giant, they are doubling for 4 $1.00 coupons. I had already done my shopping for the week (at Weis) so I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but I couldn't let those coupons go to waste. So here's what I did:

I bought:
2 - Lysol Wipes 2/$4.00 plus $1.00/2 coupon, doubled to $2.00 . Final Price 2/$2.00
2 - Lysol 4-in-1 Bathroom cleaner 2/$5.00 plus $1.00/2 coupon, doubled to $2.00. Final price 2/$3.00
2 - Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner 2/$4.00 plus $1.00/2 coupon, doubled to $2.00. Final price 2/$2.00

So I spent $7.00 and got 6 different cleaning products, which isn't bad, especially when you are trying to stockpile. But I also got $.20/per gallon off gasoline with these 6 items. So it makes my deal a little sweeter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

A BIG thanks to Jessica at Pudget for this Award. Now I have to name 7 things I love and the pass it on to 7 blogs I love, so here goes.







Saving Money
Knowing I'll spend eternity in Heaven


Check out these great sites! Thanks again Jessica!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Urge to Splurge

Have you ever had one of those days where the 'urge to splurge' overwhelms you? I'm having one today. Actually, it started two days ago. I am an emotioal spender. When I get stressed, or sad, or nervous, I like to spend money. I've already covered that I don't care what I'm spending it on, as long as I'm making purchases. This is a very bad thing. I understand that. But I turned 30 today, and I'm having a rough time with it. Before you think I'm some sort of crazy person who thinks her life is over because she's 30, let me just say, "I DON'T THINK I'M OLD!" It's just that I'm saying goodbye to a part of myself that I miss sometimes. I love my family, and wouldn't change anything in the world about my life, but it's hard to not miss my carefree college days. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "I'm not just playing house. I am responsible for feeding and caring for this family." I hope you don't think I'm a bad person for sharing my feelings because I really do love my family. They are my world. Turning 30 is just making me a little sentimental.

I wanted to tell you what I've learned about my shopping habits since I've been on a budget. I can still spend money. I felt a need to shop for the past few days, so that's what I've done. But I'm going about it in a different way. I'm being more mindful of my purchases. For example, two days ago, I really wanted to shop. The old me would have done some frivolous shopping. Instead, I realized that my son's birthday is coming up in 6 weeks, so I looked at the blogs I follow, saw a good deal on a toy at Amazon, and sat down and ordered him some birthday presents. I didn't even have to leave my house, and I had satisfied that urge. Then, I found every season of Battlestar Gallactica on DVD for my husband. I didn't buy them yet. They are saved in my Amazon account right now, because I don't have a good reason to buy them. His birthday is in July, and I'm bound to have a moment where I want to spend money.

Today I was feeling the same way...sort of down. So as I cleaned my microwave, I noticed some rust spots. I noticed them before, but never did anything about it. So I thought that I would buy a new microwave....I really have heard that those rust spots are not good for a microwave and that you shouldn't keep using it. So I went to Wal-mart (I know, I know) and bought one. and didn't use any of my own money. I had $50 from Christmas, $35 from Shop At Home rebates, and $28 from Rite Aid rebates. My microwave was $82 and I used money that I had gotten from saving money! And I still shopped.

This might sound totally crazy to some of you, but it really works for me. I'm sort of tricking myself when I comes to spending money. I'm still spending but it's on things I need. How great is that?

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Menu Monday

**It's official! Since this post this morning, my menu plans for the week have changed. My husband called from work this afternoon to tell him that the awesome people at the Thai restaurant in town brought him free Thai food. Voila! Dinner is served. All I did was make some rice. And since our week is always a bit crazy, that throws off dinner all week. I have to laugh because some of these meals are meals I've been trying to make for 3 weeks....I've have the ingredients for them for that long.

So scratch my Monday menu -- I'll try it again maybe Thursday -- it depends on how much Italian Chicken is leftover from Wednesday.

So I'm not complaining about this change. Afterall, who would complain about free food???**

My menu for the week is on hold a bit. I went shopping on Saturday, something I never do. But I had the time and knew it would save me time in the long run. I had plans for some good meals this week.

Homemade Cheese Ravioli with Chicken in Vodka Sauce
Garlic Bread

It's my birthday so we're going out. I have a coupon for a free meal when you purchase a meal, and we have a gift card.

Italian Chicken (which I didn't get to make last week)
Chicken Pieces - boneless skinless chicken breasts or any chicken pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Melted Butter
Italian Seasoning
Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chicken pieces in bottom of greased baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and melted butter. Salt and pepper. Finish with Italian Seasoning.
For potatoes, cut into wedges. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, melted butter. Add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir and place potatoes around chicken pieces. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 45 minutes.


Dinner at a friends


Lasagna -- which my husband is making.
Garlic Bread

However, I may not follow this menu since my husband and my mom surprised me with a birthday party last night! We have lots of food leftover and I don't want to waste it so I think some meals will have to get pushed back.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Target Haul

Today at Target, I spent a total of $2.90, none of it out of pocket. I got 6 12-packs of pepsi, and 1 22 oz bottle of Suave for Kids. How did I do it, you might be wondering? Well, I found the most awesome deal! Pepsi's 12-packs are on sale this week, 4/$11, or $2.75 each. Well, I recently received my Pepsi/Frito-Lay coupons in the mail, which brought it down to $.75 per 12-pack. I printed an online coupon, thanks to Jessica at Pudget for telling me about it, Read this week's Saling Sunday for the specifics on this deal, and to also find the link to print out the coupon for free Pepsi! Remember you can print it twice. Plus, I also had a coupon for a free bottle of Suave (any product, up to $3.00). I was pleasantly surprised when the coupon took $3.00 off of my purchase, because the coupon said it would reimburse the company up to $3.00, so my understanding was that I would just get the bottle for free, not with $.26 overage. So, this $2.90 was including tax, and my out of pocket expense was $0 because I have a $10 Target giftcard for joining Ebates (actually they sent me two for some reason, but that's another story).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saling Sunday

Sorry this is late, but between church in the morning and small group last night, plus one sick kid, the day just got away from me.

I was able to get quite a few good deals this week at CVS and RiteAid.

Irish Spring Body Wash $4.99 with 4.99 ECB and $1 coupon =
Colgate Max White $2.99 with $2.99 ECB AND $1 coupon = $1 OVERAGE!
Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner 2/$7 with 2 ECB and $1 coupon = 2/$4
add this with the coupon for a FREE Pantene Styling product with the purchase of
a shampoo or conditioner. This makes your final total 3/$4. AWESOME
VO5 shampoos and conditioners $.77
Rightguard Deodorant (or Dry Idea) $2.99 with $2ECB and $1/2 coupon = 2/$.98

SAMY IStyle $4.99 with $4.99 rebate = free!
Herbal Essence Shampoo $2.99 with $2.99 rebate and $1.00 coupon = $1 overage!
Dial Bodywash BOGO with $1 coupon = 2/$4.99
Huggies Mega Pack $14.99 with $1.50 coupon = $13.49

I am very excited by Target and Pepsi this week! First, around the time of the Superbowl, Pepsi and Frito Lay offered this deal: buy 4-12 packs or 8 2-liters and 3 bags of Frito-Lay chips, send in the POP and receipt and get $15 in Pepsi/Frito-Lay coupons. They came in the mail this week, and just in time too. (5 $2 Pepsi coupons and 2 Frito-Lay coupons)

Target has their Pepsi 12-packs 4/$11. This means that I can use 4 of my $2 coupons and get 4/$3 or $.75 per 12-pack. Click here to get a coupon for a FREE 12-PACK WITH THE PURCHASE OF 2 12-PACKS....print it twice. So, this means I can get 6/$3 or $.50 a piece. And I have gift cards! GOD BLESS TARGET! (only one coupon per purchase, so I will probably have to do 2 transactions.)

Giant is tripling 6 coupons up to .50 this week. My only problem is that I had a hard time finding 6 - .50 coupons that I wanted to use.

Perdue Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts BOGO
Juicy Juice Juice Boxes $1.99, buy 3 get $1 off next order (I also had $2 off of 4 store coupon = 4/$5.96)
Sargento's Salad Finishers$3.59 ($1 coupon from Sunday's paper and Mail-in Cert. for free Finisher = $1 overage)
Wrigley's Slim gum $1.19 and free with coupon for free gum
Bisquick Just Add Water Pancake Mix 10/$10
Giant Brand Butter 10/$10
Sargento's Shredded Cheese 2/$4 ($1/2 coupon = 2/$3)
Ziploc Sandwich Bags $1.83 ($3.66/2 and $1/2 coupon - 2/$2.66)
Domino Sugar 2/$5 ($.50 coupon, tripled to $1.50 = 2/$3.50)

I was really pleased with my spending at Giant. I used some other coupons and save over $50.

My Menu Monday

Once again, this is a crazy week for us. I was going to say that it's another abnormal week for us, but seeing that this is week number 3 of this, I'm beginning to wonder if this is the new normal? With that in mind, here's my menu for the week.

I'll have to update the costs later, since I need to buy the meat for most of these meals still.

Chicken Tetrazzini click here for the recipe for this super easy, really yummy dinner!
Dinner Rolls

leftover Chicken Tetrazzini

Italian Chicken
Korean Rice
this is a super easy meal. It's just whatever pieces of chicken you want to use (I use dark meat b/c that's what my husband prefers). Spray your pan with cooking spray, lay down the pieces of chicken. Drizzle with EVOO and melted butter, add salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Cut up potatoes (into quarters or eights, not cubed) and toss with EVOO and Italian Seasoning. Lay potato pieces around the chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake another 45 minutes, or until chicken in fully cooked.

This week, I am forgoing the potatoes and will make some Korean rice instead, which will further cut my costs since we don't have to pay for our rice.

Pizza -- I am having friends over and they are picking up a pizza.

To Be Determined
We're having dinner with friends, and I'm not sure yet what they want me to bring.

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Leftover Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Once again, breakfasts are cereal, eggs, pancakes or waffles, all things I have on hand. Lunches are PB&J, cheese balls and yogurt for the kids and maybe even for me too! I need to vary lunch for my daughter, but my son is a creature of habit....he things that PB&J is the only lunch food. :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Save Me Saturday

It's been such a crazy week here at my house, that I'm not even sure how much I spent or saved this week. Not that I went hog-wild here, but I know there is one small Walmart trip (yes, I said Walmart) that I cannot recall how much I spent. It was around $27.

Remember, my budget is $140.00 per week. I was pretty close this week, after having shaved $25 off of last week. My total for the week: $131.65 minus $9 that I am owed for picking something up for a friend. Grand total: $122.65. Not too bad for such a busy week!

Unfortunately, we've eaten out once for dinner -- that was for our anniversary last night, and the total bill, tax and tip included was $73.00. It was a nice dinner, and it was our anniversary, so I'm okay with that. We are also having friends over for dinner tonight and I spent #15.01 on a roast (it was actually a great price) and extra on things for side dishes. It's worth it to have a great night with friends!

I haven't been that into couponing that past 2 weeks, so it's time to get back into the game. It's hard to find the time when you have a 13 month old and a 2 1/2 year old. My challenge for this coming week is keep my spending to $120.00 for the week. I want to say $100.00 but I need diapers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dinner Update

No, this is not a picture of tonight's chicken, I just needed a visual aid. I wish I would have taken a picture of it, though. It really looked pretty. Anyway, tonight's dinner was by far the best we've had in a while. After last night's near disaster, I needed to redeem myself! Tonight's menu was Honey Dipped Cornflake Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and glazed carrots. I just thought I'd add some comments about the meal. If you look at My Menu Monday for this week, my estimate was $8.50, but that would include 2 meals. It ended up being $9.00 total because I decided to do two packs of potatoes. My son told me he wanted some, so I made extra. I could have gone with one pack, since he ended up eating a hotdog instead. I also added some ground red pepper to my cornflake crumbs, to add some spice. It gave it a nice flavor. My husband said that this is his new favorite chicken dish!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bird's Eye Steamfresh Meal for Two

I recently purchased one of these Steamfresh Meals for $3.00 at my local grocery store. I was pretty excited, since it seemed like such an easy meal. And it was, don't get me wrong. I chose the Asian themed meal and it was very good. The veggies were steamed perfectly, still a little crunchy. My only issue is that it's not really enough for two people. I thought that might be the issue, so I made some Korean rice to go with it, and it was good that I did. I took a small amount and my husband ate the rest, along with the rice. The sauce has really good flavor, but my suggestion would be to have something else to eat with it...maybe some eggrolls. But don't count on it being enough for 2 adults. I think it's something I would purchase again, but only if it's a really good deal and I can get something else to go with it.

Walmart: Friend or Foe?

I made a comment in Sunday's post, a combined Save Me Saturday and Saling Sunday about how I went to Walmart purely out of convenience. Then, I was talking to my mom and she was telling that she had to buy ground beef at her local grocery store, and she hated to do it, because she can get such a better price at Wal-Mart. My first response was, "Well I never shop at Wal-Mart anymore." Why is that?

Do I live 2 hours from Wal-mart? No, in fact, Wal-Mart is 7 minutes from my house.

Is it difficult to find good deals? No, there are some really good buys.

Are the cashiers unfriendly? Not to the point where it would make me never go back.

Have I been banned from the store? Nah, I was too good a customer.

Until recently, that is. It's pain and simple: I don't shop at Wal-Mart because I can't. I can't trust myself to only shop from my list. There is too much see! And buy! It's like an amusement park for adults!

My love affair with Walmart began simply enough. When I first had my son, almost 3 years ago, it was the first time I had been unemployed since I was 16. (except for a brief few months after I got married and moved to NC and was looking for a teaching job. March - July) I didn't get out much, and I like people. So I started going to Walmart almost everyday. I'd pick up a few things here and there, maybe a cute outfit or a baby toy. But then I started buy more stuff -- new towels, a pair of shoes, a movie. Then I discoved Before I knew it, Walmart was my addiction. I added up my Walmart spending for November 2008 a few weeks ago. I stopped at $1300. How insane is that???? $1300? No, this is not a type, and boy do I wish it were.

So, sadly, I cannot just at Walmart except for very quick, very detailed trips. Maybe one day I will be reunited with my lost love, but until then, I have my memories and I have my checkbook registry.

What is your relationship with Walmart like? Love it, hate it? Let me know!

My Menu Monday

Once again, I'm getting out of cooking on Friday. WAHOO! It's our anniversary, so we got a sitter and are going to one of our favorite restaurants -- Rose Marie's. So excited.

Bird's Eye Steam Fresh meal for Two -- the Asian one. I got it on sale and had a coupon about a month ago, so I want to see how it tastes.

Cost: Around $3.00

Honey Dipped Cornflake Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Veggies
I'll just dip some chicken pieces in honey mustard dressing, then corn flake crumbs and bake them.
Cost: $.50 potatoes, $1 veggies, chicken $7.00 -- I need to make enough for 2 meals, hence the higher cost. TOTAL -- $8.50

Leftovers, although I'll probably make some rice for my husband.

Cost: see Tuesday.
**Note -- there is no additional cost for the rice, because we don't pay for it. My husband's parents pick it up for us and will never take any money for it. GOD BLESS THEM.

Rice Paper Roll Ups
I'm not sure what to call these, but essentially, you take dried rice paper, put it in hot water until it is soft, then fill with lunch meat or cooked shrimp, lettuce, tomato, pineapple, thousand island dressing and rice noodles. Roll it up, and eat. Like a fajita, asian style! SO YUMMY! And healthy too. It's a Vietnamese recipe that I got from my Korean mother-in-law.

Cost: Estimated at $5.00. It's difficult to estimate how much of each ingredient we'll use.

Dinner Out

Saturday -- We're having friends over for dinner, so the cost is higher.
Pot Roast $15
Chantilly Potatoes (mashed potatoes with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon)
Green Bean Casserole (?)
Korean Egg Rolls as an appetizer

Cost: Unknown, probably around $25

I thought I'd mention that lunches are fairly simple: the kids eat PB&J (out of habit, they won't eat anything else), yogurt (maybe) and milk and I eat leftovers or nothing, depending on how busy I am.

Dinner's for the kids are usually mac & cheese or spaghettios. And they've been eating a lot of grilled cheese.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Save Me Saturday/Saling Sunday Combined

Wow! So, the week just totally got away from me. I can't believe it! We went to Baltimore for our anniversary this weekend, so it's been busy for us. Just a quick update: since I didn't post my usual Save Me Saturday, here's the lowdown on my spending/saving this week. Remember, my weekly budget is $140, but I'm doing my best to keep it way below that. I didn't do too bad this week

March 1 - 7, 2009
RiteAid - $0
CVS - $22.49
Giant - $73.40
Weis - $0
Walmart - $15.00
Total - $110.49

This would have been $15 lower, but I broke down and went to Walmart (purely out of convenience). My church asked me to help supply some food for a group of missionaries in town, so that's where that money went....that and I thought we might need some extra wipes while we were out of town.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, here are some deals I've found this week.

Secret Flawless Invisible Solid $3.99 with 1 ECB, plus I had a $2 coupon - final cost $.99
Crest ProHealth $2.99 with 2 ECB, plus I had $1 coupon - final cost free plus $.01 overage
Palmolive Dish Liquid $1.49 with 1 ECB - final cost .49
Vaseline Intensive Care $3.69 with 2 ECB, plus a $1.25 coupon - final cost $.44

Purchasing all of these gave me 9 ECB total (I purchased multiple quantities w/ multiple coupons for some items).

These are the deals I picked up on at CVS. I'm sure there are more, but I'm really trying to keep my costs down for the next few weeks.

Rite Aid
Garnier Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler 2/$6 with $3 rebate and 2 $1 coupons (if you bought 2 papers) - final cost 2/$1....If you have only 1 $1 coupon, final cost is 2/$2

Truthfully, I'm not seeing a whole lot for Rite Aid this week. Although, it could be because I'm looking for only truly exceptional deals since I have $50 in gift cards and I'm waiting on on almost $28 in Rebates from them. Don't want to spend any money I don't have to right now :)

To my dismay, Weis is not having and $1 bread this week :( Neither is Giant. :(
Green Giant Frozen Veggies in sauce (the boxed ones) 10/$10
Pepsi Products (2-liters) $1
Big Top Apple Juice 10/$10
Butter (1/2 lb) 10/$10
Soft Soap handsoap 10/$10 -- I realize I could do this cheaper, but it's so convenient to just grad a new one when I finish an old one. And I only do it in my kitchen, I refill everywhere else. I only buy it when it's $1 or less.

I haven't had time to look at the Giant flyer yet....if I decide to, I'll post those good deals as well. Feel free to leave comments about good deals you've found. I'd love to see what I've missed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Menu Monday


Bulgogi, Korean Rice, Leaf Lettuce

Total Cost: $12.29


Beef Roast, gravy, Korean rice and veggies

Total Cost: $8.50



Total Cost: FREE


Ja Jang Myun

Total Cost: yet to be determined (I need to see how much I paid for the pork and noodles) Probably not more than $10-12.


Saturday: OUT OF TOWN

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saling Sunday

Sorry it's late, but here's Saling Sunday. We just got back into town today, so I didn't have alot of time to search out great sales. I went to Giant tonight, and I did manage to score some pretty sweet freebies and almost freebies! A few weeks ago, I found a site (and I apoligize that I don't remember what site it was) with a coupon for a free bag of Rice Works. I printed out 10 of them. Giant has them for $2.73 per bag. I got 10 bags for free! That's $27.30 worth of product for ZERO DOLLARS! I was really excited! It even made me overlook the very young, very much laughing at me, register clerk what had to double scan each of those coupons during my 10 transactions. Also, they are discontinuing the Chef Boyardee ABC/123 and Dinosaur shaped spaghettios (in the larger containers, not the microwavable ones), so I was able to get 10 cans for $.37 each.

Chicken of the Sea (Solid white Tuna in water) 10/$10
Pepsi 2-liters 10/$10
Giant Italian Bread 10/$10
Juicy Juice for Tots $1.99 (buy 3 get $1 off next order)
Skippy Natural 3/$5 (plus I had a $1 coupon)

I didn't need a whole lot, so I just picked up the basics, plus a few things for dinner this week. There are other sales, just check out for the full sales flyer. I live by this site!

Be watching for a new post this week: Walmart: Friend or Foe?