Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Menu Plan- 2 days late.... :-)

Monday
Breakfast –Cereal/ Fresh Fruit/Toast
Lunch – Chicken Nachos
Dinner – Cracker Chicken/Couscous/Steamed Green Beans

Tuesday
Breakfast – Waffles/Fresh Fruit
Lunch – Deli Wraps/yogurt/sliced apples
Dinner- Meatball Subs

Wednesday
Breakfast- Eggs/Toast
Lunch- Pizza/Garden Salad
Dinner- Spaghetti Meatballs

Thursday
Breakfast- French Toast/Fresh Blueberries
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner- Chili/ Breadsticks

Friday
Breakfast- Cereal/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Leftover Chili/salad
Dinner- Pork Chops/applesauce/stuffing/beans

Saturday
Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Hot Dogs/Beans
Dinner- Chicken Broccoli Croissants

Sunday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch- Brunch
Dinner- Chinese Chicken Salad

Monday, September 29, 2008

I was surfing the net looking for information on the failed bailout and the next steps that our government might take. I came across a political blog, and on that I found this statement given by Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

It details some of his core conservative principles, and resonates with my own thoughts about the bailout. Read the whole thing for yourselves at the link listed above.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout Frustrating...Pure and Simple

Our family is working toward becoming debt free. It's something we believe is not only the right way to live, but it's also wise. How in the world then can we move forward working toward this goal, when our country and the people making major decisions in the economic community continue to borrow against our future??? (Not only our future, but our children's future?)

I do not believe this bailout will help us in the long run, and I have some serious doubts it will help us in the short term. Our economy has not gotten to this point overnight.... so no one should believe it will be fixed overnight. It won't.

I guess what is frustrating to me most of all is that my ideals and what I believe to be right, are polar opposite to what our economic actions are in this country. I read something Paulson said.... "I won't bet against the American people ... We will work through this," Paulson said on NBC. "I wouldn't bet against the long-term fundamentals of the U.S. economy."

What long term fundamentals? Mr. Paulson will have to go way back in his memory to come up with some long-term findamentals he can bet on. Because for the past 40-50 years our society has put great stock in credit. Nothing for cash, everything for credit. And you know what? The average family is broke! There is little to no equity.

This article describes somewhat the $700 bailout process, and states: "If the Treasury tapped its full authority, the bailout would put every man, woman and child in the United States on the hook for more than $2,000." (Hey nice to know that even our infants will be on the hook for this one). The thing I find ironic in a very sarcastic way...is that we just received a rebate check from the government in July. It's purpose according to the government...to stimulate the economy. I'm thinkin' that didn't work very well. Oh, and now they'd like to take back that money and a bit more...in a bailout for Wall Street...

And they wonder why our confidence is shot.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Leading economists from around the country oppose the bailout

The following is an article detailing an open letter sent to Congress by leading economists. I'm always interested in what experts in the field have to say: At the very end of the article below, you can click ona link that lists all the economists across the country who have signed this open letter so far.

Economists Send Open Letter to Congress Opposing Wall Street Bailout

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$700 billion bailout....

I'm concerned...are you concerned? I just wrote my state representative to ask that he carefully consider all the options concerning this bailout. (I know Dave Ramsey is advocating one method, and I truly don't have enough information to support or recommend it. That is why I asked that our state representative carefully look at all the options.)

I don't know what the answer to our country's economic problems are... but I DO know adding to our National Debt is not the answer. I am alarmed at how quickly such a huge decision is being rushed through, when Congress many times cannot agree on seemingly straightforward bills. This proposal has tentacles all over the place, and I wonder if anyone is looking carefully at all the ramifications.

Here is one article I found and I'm sure I'll be posting a few more in the days ahead. Click Here

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frugal Furniture

I posted about my husband's ability to change our brakes to save a ton of money. Well, let me tell you another area where we LOVE to be frugal! We are all about re-using an item. For instance in this photo of my children's bedroom...I bought this bed (headboard AND footboard) for $10. Yes, that's right, $10! (There is a matching bed right next to this one, just not in the photo, and it was the same price tag) I found both of them at a Goodwill store, and they did not look like this when I bought them. However, they were sturdy pieces of furniture that could be re-finished. And that is just what I did. This project was all mine as I sanded the headboard and footboard and re-finished them in a cherry stain. Two new beds for $20 plus the cost of a small can of stain and some sandpaper! Pretty cool huh? Oh and btw- the small bookcase I found 4 years later (same finish) at an antique store. It too was $10. :-)



Here is our latest project... I found these rocking chairs for $25 a piece. They are in very good condition other than the need to be refinished. They're sturdy and the seats are strong! So, I plan on sanding them down and painting them black to go on my covered front porch. I've been wanting black rocking chairs for awhile now. I think these will do nicely! I'm not sure when I will tackle this project, but when I do I'll be sure to post pictures!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

My menu Plan

I finally got around to making my menu plan for the week.... It feels good to get that on the fridge and know what we are having for meals ...especially dinner!

Monday
Breakfast –Waffles/Fruit/OJ
Lunch – Salad with baked Chicken
Dinner – Pot Pie

Tuesday
Breakfast – Cereal/Fruit/Toast
Lunch – Deli Wraps/yogurt
Dinner- Fiesta Chicken

Wednesday
Breakfast- Eggs/Toast
Lunch- Nachos/ Salad
Dinner- Cracker Chicken

Thursday
Breakfast- French Toast
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner- London Broil/ Rice

Friday
Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Pizza/Salad
Dinner- Leftovers

Saturday
Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Sandwiches/Fruit
Dinner- Dinner Out

Sunday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch- Chinese Chicken Salad
Dinner- Ravioli

Friday, September 19, 2008

Behind the 8 ball

Once again I find I am a little bit behind the 8 ball regarding my menu planning. I have all the grocery fliers so I will be going through those this morning and trying to come up with a menu plan for the week.....

So, menu plan coming soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Works for me Wednesday


Well, what is working for me lately is my crockpot. We have been super busy with all the kids activities! So, last week I broke out my crockpot twice. Both times on football nights... Last week I made Italian sausage in the crockpot which we all enjoyed after practice. But the beauty of that, was I made a double batch, so that we could have it the next night served over pasta with a side salad. Two nights where I barely had to cook!

This week I decided to make homemade meatballs. (They rock by the way!) We had meatball subs last night and they were delicious! Rave review by all the family. The best part again is that I doubled the batch. We can have meatballs with spaghetti tonight and another salad. All I have to do is make the pasta as the salad is already done!

As the weather is turning cooler, definitely break out your crockpot and start utilizing it! You'll be thankful for the stress free dinner, and you'll probably save money too from pre-planning and not eating out as often! There are some great recipes at All Recipes .com Check it out, they have ratings and tons of reviews too! Oh and for more great ideas go to Works for me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Proud of me!

Just wanted to say quickly that I was soooo tempted to eat out this evening. It's been a l-o-n-g day, and the chicken that I planned to use was still frozen. (I didn't take it out in time). But I decided at the last minute to just use the microwave to thaw it, and I could make my chicken fried rice. I'm so glad I did.... I stuck to my menu and saved about $40 by not eating out! Plus it was a hit with almost all my family. Ds1 was not thrilled, so I'm thinking this would be a dinner for every once in awhile. Then my husband could take the leftovers to work!

Another way to save money...do it yourself!

A lot of times saving money is about doing something yourself. My husband and I have become pretty adept at this over the years. It doesn't hurt that we enjoy doing things ourselves. (Like remodeling for instance).

Anyway, below is a photo of my sweet dh changing the brakes )both front and back), on my van. We've been incredibly busy, and so I was going to have the dealership do it when I took the car in to be aligned. The brakes were going to cost $190 for rear brakes and $170 for front brakes!! Holy moley that is $360 total for new brakes!

Even though we were busy, it wasn't worth THAT much money. So, dh went and bought the brakes at Advanced Auto Parts. Cost: $60.00. Total savings $300! Oh, I am so glad that he can do this sort of thing!!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Savings

My grocery budget for the week was $100. That was what I was hoping to hit. Wednesday I went shopping for everything on my menu plan. My bill was $67.xx and I knew I had around $23.xx left to spend on some BOGO items later in the week when my coupons arrived. They arrived in the mail, and so I made a quick run to Publix to do a little stockpiling.

Since I haven't posted this in a while, here is what I bought for $25.xx. I actually saved more than I spent, which I haven't done in quite awhile!



Note: Unfortunately with my additional $58. Sam's club bill, I did end up being over budget by $60. I am going to try and be under budget next week, utilizing the things I have in the fridge, freezer and pantry.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I wanted to link to another opinion on warehouse stores like BJ's, Cosco etc. I mentioned my friend Jeannie has a large family and stores like Sam's club work for her and her family. I won't re-write it all.... I'll just send you over to her blog and you can read it in her own words.... Click Here.

Budget Blown

Okay, here is my dilemna and how I think I'm going to handle it.... I had to stock up on tons of necessities at our house. We were out of papertowels, and toilet paper completely. My stockpile has been long gone for awhile. We also were completely out of paper plates and cups. Unless there is a mjor deal somewhere I will typically buy these in bulk at Sam's club.

The problem is I went $58 dollars outside of my budget for this. Typically when I stock up like this it will last us 3 months. So I calculated 13 weeks to the 3 month point. I will have to reduce my budget by $4.50 a week. I know that sounds crazy....but it is what it is...

Now about Sam's club. I went in for 6 items, and when I came out I was shocked at the bill! I know shopping there can save money especially for larger families. But I also know that I can sometimes get a better deal at my local grocery store, or Walgreens or CVS using an advertised sale and coupons. Like TP.... I know I can do better, but for convenience sake I needed to stock up now. I will not have time in the coming month with a trip overseas to locate the deals and stock up. (And while my parents are here I'd really like for them to have TP). :-)

Anyone have thoughts on warehouse stores like Sam's Club, BJ's and Cosco? We don't have a Cosco around here, but I have friends who live near one, and I have heard great things about that store! They have some pretty nice stuff. How does it work for your family? I know my friend Jeannie has a large family and the larger quantities work for her. Unless Publix is running a major sale, I find that Sam's has the better price on meat and chicken. But I also have to be focused and stick to my list, or I'll come out of there with stuff I don't necessarily need.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gas Hike

Oh my word! I never thought I would see this... really I didn't. I had heard of it happening in the 70s, but I was too young back then. People are circled around the block for gas in our neck of the woods. My dh just ran down to fill up both our vehicles while gas is still $3.59 gallon.

I heard from several parents at football that gas is supposed to jump $1.50 tomorrow, on account of Hurricane Ike. On our way home this evening at 8:30pm when the roads are typically clear, I noticed traffic busier than normal. Then I saw all the cars at the pumps. TONS! One parent told me that a few stations are closed because they ran out. One station we went to this morning had gas at $3.49/gallon. Tonight as we drove by it has already jumped to $4.09, and we understand it's headed up even more tomorrow!

It's crazy... and we aren't even in an area with a high cost of living. I can't imagine what it is jumping to in NY, California etc. What's it running where you live? Leave a comment... of what state you live in and how much gas is running right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Menu Plan

Well, since my last post was all about how I'm lovin' having my menu plan back in action. Here's another one for this coming week. It's already on the fridge! Tomorrow is another crockpot day because we have football practice at two different fields. We haven't had a pot roast in a l-o-n-g time, so this should be well received by all the men in my family.

I am trying to use up some staples that I have on the shelf.. I haven't made Hamburger helper in a while either, and it's not exactly a favorite here... but it is easy and except for the meat, it's already paid for. :-) Meatball subs close out the week with the leftover meatballs being used for Italian night on Wednesday. (At least I can say I'm prepared!)

Thursday
Breakfast –Muffins/Fruit/OJ
Lunch – Sandwiches/Fruit
Dinner – Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots

Friday
Breakfast – Eggs/Toast/Fresh Fruit
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli/cheese
Dinner- Stir fry Chicken and vegetables

Saturday
Breakfast- Biscuits and Homemade apple butter
Lunch- Hot Dogs/Baked Beans
Dinner- Hamburger Helper

Sunday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch – Omelet/Breakfast Sausage/Brunch
Dinner- Ravioli/ garden salad

Monday
Breakfast- Cin. Raisin French Toast
Lunch- Pizza and salad
Dinner- Chicken Fried Rice and Vegetables

Tuesday
Breakfast- Eggs/Toast/Fruit
Lunch- Deli Wraps/yogurt/fruit
Dinner- Meatball Subs

Wednesday
Breakfast- Waffles/Fruit
Lunch- Mish-mash whatever is leftover....
Dinner- Spaghetti and Meatballs

Works for Me Wednesday- Menu Plan!


What has been my biggest asset this week on the frugal forefront? My Menu Plan! I have loved getting into the swing of things again! My menu plan has kept us all on track, foodwise and spending wise. Everyone in our family automatically knows where to look if they want to know what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s right there on the fridge spelled out in black printer’s ink. No more guessing… no more wasted breath. I just have to say a few words…… “Look at the fridge”.

Here’s an example of how having a menu plan has benefited us this week. As I mentioned before, football has us all incredibly busy, and it has been hard to figure out meals, and quite frankly easier to just dine out. But that was killing our budget for the month. On the menu yesterday was a crockpot meal. Having that on the fridge allowed me to be prepared... ahead of time. So, yesterday evening I actually had a crock pot recipe waiting for us, when we all arrived home at 8:30pm! Let me tell you, with a ravenous husband and two equally hungry boys, this was a huge help! DH was quite pleased and it was just a great time to de-stress, have some dinner and talk about our day as a family.

It’s helped our budget too. There is no question about what’s for dinner… and so no last minute decisions to eat out. There are also fewer stops to the grocery store as we try to buy what we need ahead of time. I do need to improve in my number of trips to the store. My goal is to only go to the grocery store once. But if I have to go back for milk as a staple later in the week then I’ll cut myself some slack. I think part of my problem is our grocery store is like 5 minutes from my house, and is a social place. I always run into friends there! So, who wouldn’t want to shop there more often? LOL!

So, this week’s success for me is my Menu Plan. It has saved both time and money, plus helped me to feel a lot more organized!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Savings $10/week- Does it make a difference?

I absolutely loved this article on savings! And not just because it talks about coins in your couch making a difference.... (but that was pretty cool!)

No, this woman talked about how $10 could really make a difference. The same advice I was given when I was just starting out newly married... that I chose to ignore. I wish I had this article that could have explained it logistically to me back then. I'd be better off today.

She has written and shown how much money you would have accumulated after 30 years if you saved $10 a week. Here is the quote:

According to MSN Money's Savings Calculator, if you saved just $10 a week, or $40 a month, you'd end up with almost $60,000 in 30 years, assuming an 8% return. (Historically, that's been the long-term return for investing in stocks.)

Now doesn't $10 a week sound rather insignificant? I mean, I thought the same thing.... how can a measly $10 make a difference? But look at how it adds up! I am re-evaluating my savings plan today and starting small.... even $10 because with all the adoption stuff etc... I can at least afford that. $40 a month is dining out one time for my family. I can forgo a restaurant in favor of socking that money away.

How about you? Care to take a savings challenge? Even a small one? Take a look at this article and and see if you can save $10 a week..... even a small amount can make a big difference!

How $10 Could Save Your Retirement.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inspiring Article

I found another article that is pretty inspiring. It's from Parade magazine, July 13, 2008.

How America Saves- Secrets of Thrifty Families

Interesting Article

I found an interesting article on MSN money entitled, Why Can't Americans Save a Dime?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Savings

How much money does the average American save each month? Well, according to Forbes Magazine, “In 2005 the personal savings rate as a percentage of disposable income in this country was negative 0.5%”.

The average American is living paycheck to paycheck. If you are saving anything at all, you are above average. Even those whose income indicates they could be saving aren’t. Why? Because they are up their eyeballs in credit card debt. Why are they in debt? Because they are living beyond their means. Now let me qualify that I know this is not everyone’s scenario. But, it truly does represent our current buy now, pay later mentality.

I know a little bit about this…. from personal experience. There was a time when dh and I were considered D.I.N.K.S.- (Dual Income No Kids). I don’t even know if they call it that anymore, it’s been a long time since we were DINKS. Anyway, we both worked outside the home, in fields that paid pretty well. Seriously, now that I think back on it, for the first 4 yrs of our marriage, we brought in about ½ of what we are making now. Our house payment was actually less than it is now, AND we had no kids. That means none of the expenses that go along when you add two more to your family.

Here is the worst part… we saved NOTHING! That’s right absolutely NOTHING. And that my friends is sad. We probably had the ability to save almost ½ my salary or more. That’s a huge chunk of savings over a four year time period! But instead we lived like most Americans today, paycheck to paycheck. We ate out a lot, because we could afford to, and quite frankly because I didn’t like to cook and didn’t feel like cooking. We also bought on credit. Any major purchase to remodel our home, was bought using our credit cards. Holiday shopping was also pretty bad, and like most people we racked up some pretty steep bills come January. Typically when a bonus or tax refund came through that money was earmarked to pay off credit cards. Sound familiar? It’s not a fun way to spend that refund or bonus, let me tell you…..

If you are a newly married couple just starting out I encourage you to sit down together and think about what you make and how you can save. Someone once told me even a small amount saved over a long period of time can make a big difference. I didn’t listen, and here we are just now beginning to work on our savings plan. I hope you won’t make the same mistake we did. We were fortunate and have been spared so many of the financial disasters that couples can get themselves into. If you really don’t know where to begin I recommend grabbing a copy of The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples by Larry Burkett. This is a good basic starting point to learn about managing your finances together. I also recommend you listen to Dave Ramsey on the air or on the net. There are many couples that have come through very difficult financial situations, and become free from debt. Fridays are a great day to hear those success stories! Also, if you are seriously in debt., don’t try to start saving money yet. The first step is to get out of debt. Here is a link to Dave Ramsey’s website where he talks about the Debt Snowball- The truth about how to get out of debt.

My goal is to kick the very last of our debt out the door, (except for our house) and to start saving more of our money. I'm not sure how soon that will happen with our international adoption.... but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Head above water.

I finally feel like my head is slowly coming back above water.... I don't know why I went down under, but I'm making my way back up!

The menu is on the fridge, and a mammoth pile of bills are paid and ready to go out the door. Plus, we have a separate account payment system for medical bills. Those are also completely caught up and d-o-n-e!

It's such a good feeling to be caught up.... but also to know where every dollar is going. To say that the month of August was over budget would be correct. Our dining out expenses alone pretty much killed our budget.

It is SO easy to just forget about the budget and go out to dinner. Going anywhere for dinner seems better than cooking at the time. (Until you get the bill.) I can see why folks use the envelope system now. It definitely would have helped curb the dining out expenses we incurred this past month. No doubt about it!

So, even though this month has already begun.... I am starting our own envelope system, for groceries, dining out and gas. Those are the three main ones that we seem to go over on in regards to our budget. That should really help us to stick to our budget this month. As I mentioned before we have been using our credit card to earn points for our hotel stay in Moscow. But, I believe we have enough for now... and it's more important in my mind to curb some of that spending and see how well we can stick to our budget.

I will say that thankfully we have still been able to pay off our credit card bill each month. Unfortunately, it hasn't left a whole lot of anything for savings. I'll write more about savings and that mindset in a future post. :-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Did it!

It feels sooo good to have a menu done, and to have it on the fridge! I've already stuck to day one.... success!

Thursday
Breakfast- Cereal/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Ravioli/apples/yogurt
Dinner- Tacos/Taco salad

Friday
Breakfast- Eggs/Toast/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Pasta Broccoli Salad
Dinner- Margarita Chicken/rice/fresh fruit

Saturday
Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Sandwiches
Dinner- Hamburgers/baked potato fries/salad

Sunday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch- Omelets/French Toast/Bacon/Fresh Fruit
Dinner- Sandwiches

Monday
Breakfast- Cereal/Muffins/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Pizza/salad
Dinner- Grilled Chicken Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast- Waffles/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Sandwiches/yogurt/grapes
Dinner- Pasta/Italian sausage/salad

Wednesday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
Lunch- Veggie/Deli Wraps
Dinner- Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Publix Deals

Well, since I'm not posting Publix deals on a regular basis, I thought I would at least direct you to a place where you can find those deals.

Click this link to find the latest deals at Publix and the coupons you can match to them: (This is sooo much easier than typing it all out!) lol!

Publix Deals (Sept 3rd-Sept9th, 2008)

Menu Plan...It's coming!

I have everything on paper for all my menu ideas this week. I am very excited about it. It goes all the way through next Wednesday. Hooray! Now I just have to put the meals together and get them on my blog. I am planning to succeed this week! Not only on the frugal front, but on the eating front. My meals are all fairly healthy and when I know what I am cooking... I tend to stick to the plan.

Now onto one other piece of information. I can't believe I didn't know about this sooner. I never noticed this, but my friend Kris has had this blog listed on her website. It's called a Year of Crockpotting. One year!! There are some pretty good looking recipes on this site. The chewy peanut brittle looked awesome. (Yes, I did just say I was eating healthy, so naturally my mind is gravitating to the sweet treats that I haven't had in a while!) Anyway, check it out!

(Especially posted for my friend Becky who is looking for crock pot meals!)

Friday, August 29, 2008

My menu plan

Hmmm... I suppose I can name all the restaurants I have eaten in this week. Lots of salads!

Adoption stuff has taken over my life right now, and I have to just let the other areas step aside...

Big news is that we have been referred two little boys! We are busily getting ready to travel in a few weeks! Plus we have so much to get ready here at home! I have a feeling life is about to get a whole lot busier!

Monday, August 25, 2008

New week

Well, I'm getting ready to start a new week and have high hopes for a menu plan and a good grocery run. I sometimes feel like I am starting over, and just trying to get back into the swing of things. I hope to post my menu plan on Wednesday when the all the new grocery flyers come out in our area. :-)

In other news: My other blog is still not working. If it were frozen, I'd start a campaign to free my blog. As it is, I noticed one very polite comment from someone also recently dealing with the same technical issue that I have. they asked blogger to put all their energies into fixing this problem, or something like that. I don't know how they stated it...but it WAS polite, and I appreciated it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ugh... My blog is not feeling well

Not this blog, my other one about our adoption. Apparently it has caught a blogger bug. It has to do with the new dashboard and gadgets that they recently installed. I have been reverted back to the old template and have no way to install layouts and gadgets on my blog.

I was trying to revamp that blog a little bit, like I did this one. I figured the weekend would be a perfect time.... more time, less to do in a busy week. Hmmmm.... I should have just gone to bed instead.

So, if you can't link to my other blog.... that could be why. I'm hoping blogger gets it straightened out soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Video: Cheap and Proud of It

Here is an interesting video about a family who spends only $350 a month on groceries to feed their family of six. I actually was reminded to utilize price matching. It is one of the things that I forget about all the time. I need to bring flyers into the store with me! I also liked the point about buying groceries at the store one time per week, and no matter what don't go back! WOW! What a challenge that would be for me! But I like a challenge....it makes saving money fun!

Video: Cheap and Proud of It

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Makeover

Yep, I revamped the ol' blog. I wanted to add this little gadget that my friend Kris added on her other blog. But when I added the new Blogs I read, it just sank into the background. The bright orange background!

So, it was time to finally add a little dimension with columns and colors so that the "blogs i read section", would stand out. I don't love the new look....it's okay for a do-it-yourselfer. (Especially when this do-it-yourselfer has no idea about html!)

I'll have to wait to get my blog the way I want it, designed all nice and snazzy. But I can't afford that yet, even at a frugal price. We just forked out $800 bucks to fix dh's car, remember? Dh did report that the car is running much better than it has ever run since we bought it 2 and 1/2 years ago. Hmmm..... I guess that's what maintenance does...... $800 worth.

Night all, I've worked on this makeover way past my bedtime!

Car Trouble

Once again we find ourselves in car trouble. For my previous post about Dh's car which was in January click HERE.

We did not get the work done in January because we did not want to invest $2000 in the car. However, we could not really afford to pay for a used vehicle either, and chose to wait until we could afford it. Unfortunately, this car did not pass emissions inspection, and it needed a major tune-up to do so. It is costing us $800 this time around. He expected it to cost about $300. I had no such misplaced hopes.... I have seen that car, and it has never had a tune up since we owned it. This I knew had the potential to be costly.


I'm sick about it... because each time we try to get ahead, we get a set back. Yes, we have the funds in our emergency fund, but that wipes that out. Not only that, but we have to look at our budget again and spending habits to see where we can cut things... even temporarily. It's gonna hurt, but it's necessary. Bleck. I'll tell you why in a later post.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Hate to Shop...

The title of my post today says it all.... I really do hate to shop. It's just not my thing at all! I had a good friend in college, I'll call her "D". "D" I swear was a professional shopper. Especially for clothing. She learned from the best, her mother. Her mom would go browsing often, and look for beautiful, well made, unique, quality items. Then she would continue her browsing each week, until the item she was interested in went on sale. I don't know whether it was good genes or the training under her mother's tuteledge....but "D" knew how to shop!

On the other hand, I can not stand to do that. I buy stuff like clothing when the need arises. (So, does dh by the way). Since we both detest clothes shopping, my boys love it because they only have to visit that task a few times a year. Trust me it's a chore for all of us when that happens! lol!

The only thing I really do enjoy browsing for are home items. All home items, from accesories, to furniture, to major building materials at Lowes. Even then I typically don't buy those things unless we really need them. (See once again it's an as needed type of shopping).

So, I've really been pondering my Coins blog here. If you are looking for deals on just about anything.... you probably won't find it here. There are plenty of sites listed on my side bar that you can click on to find the latest Walgreens/CVS and grocery deals. Plus I am sure there are many places to find clothing sales or other types of shopping sales, either online or in a store. I'm not a shopper... so I'm not the one to go to for breaking news in any of those areas!

As I have been thinking, I really had to ask myself..."What am I passionate about? What really drives me toward leading a frugal lifestyle?" It isn't the awesome deals, though they certainly help me in certain areas like my budget. What I am passionate about it the steps that our family is taking to not only be debt free, but to live life like never before. It's not necessarily about wealth, but to me it's a journey of breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. It's beginning to understand what saving means, and buying only when you have the money saved. It's learning how to be good stewards of our finances, and taking the steps necessary to be financially free.

It isn't easy. I will be the first to admit this is a really hard thing to learn. I struggle often with a desire to just forget about the budget and "just buy it". I was never taught how to really manage my finances as a youth or young adult, and the habits I have are hard to break. But I'm learning.... and I guess that is what I am passionate about. I want others to learn from our successes and failures. I especially want couples younger than us to learn of the pitfalls and to see that they can start early to really get ahead on the road to financial freedom. Whenever I hear a young couple in their late 20's say to Dave Ramsey on a Friday that they just paid off their house and they are debt-free... I get goose bumps. Seriously. I marvel at how amazing that is, and what a gift they have truly given themselves! And I wish I had know at their age, what I am struggling to learn now. I'm passionate about that process, because I truly believe it is valuable for everyone.

I'm really not sure what that will translate to...here on this blog. I do know that I won't be posting a whole lot of deals! But, I will however be sharing my heart.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Publix Penny Item

My dh ran down to Publix this evening to grab some stir fry vegetables. While he was there he asked about the Publix penny item. For our area the item is a box of Publix Facial Tissues. So, if you need tissues for something, head down and grab your box for 1 penny. Oh and make sure you have your coupon! Our store has a new manager now and they are requiring that you have a coupon to get the 1 cent item. (I miss our old manager.....). :-(

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Football and Frugality

What does football season have to do with a blog about being frugal? Well in my life, everything. My boys started football about two weeks ago, and the practice times have really thrown off my menu planning. And, as I have learned menu planning is one of the keys for me to being prepared. Being prepared limits the number of times I go out to dinner, because I "don't know what to cook". And that helps me stick to my budget.

Here's the dilema: Football practice is typically from 6:00-8:00pm. Dh doesn't get home until 5:30-5:45 most nights, and then we rush to the football field. I don't want to feed the boys a big meal before they practice as it's hot out and football is a tough contact sport. It's not like baseball where I can pack sandwiches and bring them to the field, they need to digest. Practice usually ends around 8-8:15pm and we get home around 8:30pm. See my dilema? We could sit down as a family and eat at that time, but it's really late!

I wanted to utilize my crockpot more for football season, but even that seems difficult because when would we eat? I also thought about making the mid-day meal our big meal and having sandwiches an hour or so before practice. But dh isn't home with us during the day. So, what would he do for dinner... I know he wouldn't be thrilled with sandwiches 4 days a week. Oh yes, did I forget toi mention the kids have practice 4 days a week. That's a lot of practice and it really hampers our famlily time around the dinner table! If I am not careful to carve out some family time..... we end up having too much running and not enough connecting.

So, anyone have any advise for how to work around football season? Maybe I could do a couple days of eating late, and a couple days of big meals at mid-day? I DO know whatever I decide I will be menu planning. That is for sure! Two weeks without a menu have pretty much killed me.

So please post a comment and tell me how you might handle dinner time if you were in our situation. I welcome any suggestions.... :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Publix Penny Item....

For our area the Publix Penny item was a green canvas Publix bag that you can re-use to pack up your groceries. They actually made sure I had the mystery coupon this time which was surprising. I really like that bag, so I think I may have to actually go back and get another. Who knows I might just start doing my part to contribute to the environment by limiting my plastic bag use!

Anyway, that's what the penny item is for our area. Now go get yours so you too can contribute to a better environment!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Consignment Shops

I just LOVE consignment shops. Especially the ones were I used to live in PA! I've been visiting here for the past week and have found some good deals! But what I love best is no sales tax on any clothes... NONE! I packed two suitcases light, so I'd have room to stock up! lol!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Clothes Shopping.... saving at Kohl's

Anyone out there who dislikes shopping for clothes? I really am not a clothes shopper. I can't stand it. I don't like paying full price for one thing, and just finding clothes we all like and fit. It's time consuming.

But today ds1 needed some clothes. His swim trunks are too short, and his shorts are beginning to be too short as well. He has some shirts, but is in serious need of some pj bottoms and athletic shorts. (Which I forgot to get today). Anyway, we went to Kohl's as that is usually where I have good luck finding things. And we left with a basket FULL of things! Almost 1/2 from the clearance sections. I bought him 4 pair of shorts and 2 pr of swim trunks. 9 shirts as well! His brother didn't do so bad either he got 5 shirts.... and I walked away with 5 new T-shirts which I also desperately needed. :-)

I was able to use my Kohl's charge and saved an additional 30%. $65.00!! My total was $162. which averages out to about $6.50 per item. That isn't too bad considering we typically shop 2x a year in this household. I know that seems like nothing, but we hand down items, and that's about it. Thankfully we don't need very much.

I think I may hit some more clearance sales for my dh too.... He could use a few casual shirts and jeans...So, what about you? How often do you shop for clothes in your household? Do you enjoy it? I'm sure those of you with girls will have a much different perspective than me with my two boys... :-)

Chore Chart

I'm not sure what exactly is the deal, but it seems like this house is hard to keep clean. Or maybe it's just an area of discipline that I am working on.... but I would like to be more consistent about keeping up with my house. I would like it to be a place where we can all come home to and relax. To unwind, and enjoy each other as a family. A place where friends came come in at a moments notice and I can welcome them in without cringing over how my house looks, or wondering if the bathroom is clean....

My children are definitely old enough to help in this endeavor. They are almost 9 and 10, and 45 minutes a day of chores, aside from their regular chores is not going to kill them. In days gone by, as a part of our rich history it was expected of children in the family to help out with the family chores. My own grandmother had to tend the chickens and milk cows. Tom Sawyer had to whitewash the fence before he could play, and in Russia and other slavic countries the children all had "jobs" to do within the home. (I'm sure there are other countries as well, but that one comes to mind.) I'm not sure why we think that kids today don't have to do much to help out in the family. I've seen too many kids doing the minimal, and even then begrudgingly, that they have to cease playing video games for the immediate chore. Hmmf. I too have been guilty of not expecting too much from my children in this area. But not anymore. They have 14 hours a day to play, relax etc (during the summer months).... 30-45 minutes to help clean or straighten is not asking too much.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Sorry about that.... :-) So, I created a chore chart for our week to better handle the cleaning of our home. Like I said I want to be on top of it... and not have to do these massive cleanings on weekends. I'm sure some people have used fly lady... but I'm just not into all the emails, or how she breaks everything down. It's a little overkill for me. If you want to check out how I made up my schedule click here.... it will take you to my other post that describes it more in detail.

I'll let you know how it works out. Who knows maybe in a few months it will be a Works for Me Wednesday post. Anyone else make their kids actually do chores when they are at home? I would love to know what chores your kids are required to do. Maybe it will give me some more ideas.... :-)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Holiday Savings...It's never too early!

Mercedes at Money Common Sense has written a great post to remind us about saving now for the holiday season. I know I need the reminder, and I will be thankful come December when I have the cash to pay for gifts for my family!

Click here to read her post.... This truly is common sense!

Planning....

I'm sitting here at the local car dealership as our van gets some regular maintenance.... free Wi-Fi! Yeah! I love when that happens. The kids are happy with gameboy and ESPN, plus muffins and fruit juice, so we're all happy!

I've been thinking that I haven't been very good about planning lately. Menu planning is practically non-existent. In my defense, I have been working rather diligently on my card making, and catching up on my coupons. But, I still need to focus on the menu planning, grocery aspect of my budget. It's like a delicate balance, and when I focus on one area, it seems another area slips.


So, starting this weekend, I'll be working on a menu plan to get my grocery budget back in line. I need to limit my number of trips to the grocery store. I also need to plan to shop the best prices. Especially in the fruits and veggies dept.


I did stop at Sam's club and bought all my meat/poultry for the month. This was a huge savings for me! I will definitely be doing that again. Plus Sam's has Jennie O ground turkey, and Publix seems to be out of it most days. They are pushing their own label and we don't like that as much.

(I feel like I've written the above statement before, but I checked my recent posts and I haven't.... deja vu.... anyone ever feel that way?) lol!

Okay, I'm off to check the local grocery flyers online to see if I can find the best deals... and maybe I'll even start a menu plan for next week. :-)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Funding our Adoption

I've mentioned in passing here at Coins In The Couch, that my husband and I are in the process of adopting internationally. Specifically we are registered in Moscow, Russia and hope to adopt two siblings, either two boys or two girls, ages 4 and under.

We do have two biological children and while some may think we are crazy to head back into the diaper stages of life.... we look forward to expanding our family to six. It's something I have been praying about since 2002, and hopefully God's timing will be such that we will actually complete this adoption this year.

Adopting internationally is expensive for one child, let alone two! With the dollar dropping in value, it's even more expensive than this time last year. We are praying and working toward not going into debt for this adoption. So, we have begun fund raising and saving like squirrels, in order to accomplish our goals.

We've had three yard sales this summer, and now we are working on selling handmade cards. You may have seen this on a few other blogs. Jennifer at SisterlySavings and Jeannie at What's a Girl to Do got together and began spreading the word about my handmade cards. Jennifer created a button on her blog that you can grab and post on your own blog to let your readers know about our fundraising. That was soo thoughtful of them and already Mercedes at MoneyCommonSense has grabbed that button! (And ordered a set of cards! Thank you!!)

So, if you would like to grab the button and post it on your own blog, please do so! And if you would like to help us raise money for this adoption I would love to make a set of cards for you! I'll post some samples on my sidebar and if you click on them it will take you to the link on my adoption blog.

Thank you for helping us fund our adoption!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cowboy Caviar

My friend Michelle invited me over for dinner this past weekend. She served a truly delicious dish! It was a salsa- like creation, made with corn, black beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, olive oil, lime and a little jalpeno pepper. I haven't asked for the recipe yet, but I liked it so much, that I searched for something similar online. It's not quite like the one I had, but it was pretty close. Something is missing, though I can't put my finger on it.... Here is my recipe, and it is addictive! It's pretty good for you, except for the tortilla chips! Unfortunately those make the dish!

I'm going to have to make this when we have company coming over, or expand my willpower! We had it over taco salads tonight, and I think it would be a great flavor-booster to just plain old grilled chicken over a bed of lettuce.

1 bag 14 oz frozen birds eye sweet corn (thawed)
2 cans of Goya black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 small red onion diced small
1 red pepper diced small
1 small tomato diced small
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper seeds removed. (be careful and make sure you wash your hands after working with jalapeno peppers.)
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
1 TBSP EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) or to taste.

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. I read that the black beans absorb a lot of the flavor, so this is good after it has set in the fridge for a while.

Note: I mistakenly used diced canned tomatoes, and fresh are sooo much better. I knew this was one area that the recipe I created was "off". So make sure you use a fresh tomato. I think also I might add a little minced garlic in there as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Fresh Start

I have finally caught up on all my coupons and have actually filed all the coupons from this Sunday as well. It's a fantastic feeling to be so caught up!

I also sent dh out to get some things at Walgreens and CVS that were on sale. I finally have ECB's again from CVS! Yeah, it's time to get back on the wagon.

My friend Jennifer at All Things Frugal has been utilizing Hot Coupon World, to trade coupons that she doesn't need for those that she does. I too started using this site, and have been able to get rid of those that I would never use.... and bless someone else in the process! Plus, I'm getting coupons I use on a regular basis. It's a win-win situation!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Paper, Paper, Paper...

I have a stack of coupons that need to be filed. Plus I have 4 more inserts that need to be cut! Needless to say I am behind on my coupon organizing. On top of that I have a new found hobby using scrapbook papers. I am beginning to make handmade cards to sell to raise money for our adoption.

So, my schoolroom is looking pretty bad lately! Talk about your paper...scraps and all! I need to tackle it this week!

A bottle of water.....

Our family loves baseball.... LOVES it! Our boys play baseball, we follow all kinds of baseball from the minor league level, up to the Majors on ESPN. We have several favorite teams...one of which is the Braves. Well, dh was able to get free tickets to the Braves through work, and free parking as well. So we jumped at the chance to head to Atlanta and catch a game.

What does this have to do with frugal living? Well I'm getting there. The only cost to us was the gas for our van. Very worth it to us... we get to the game, and of course ate dinner on the way down very inexpensively. I know ballpark food can be expensive, especially in the Major Leagues. I just didn't know how much.

Around the 6th inning I asked dh to grab me a bottled water if he didn't mind. He took the kids and came back with a soda for each of them and my water. That's 3 sodas and one water. Wanna know how much that cost at your favorite MLB stadium?

$18.00!!!!

Yes, that's right $18.00. I told dh I didn't want to hear anymore. It made me ill just thinking about it. Unbelieveable! As the game was winding down, I told dh I was finishing all the water, so as not to waste a drop... He joked, that must be the best tasting water you ever had! LOL! Yeah right.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Recipe Re-do

Today I bought some Jenny-O ground turkey at Publix. We use this in place of ground beef in chili and spaghetti sauce. It is a much healthier option for us, and the sauce can mask the taste of the turkey for my beef lovers.

We've been working for much of the day on organizing our master closet, so my goal was a quick and easy dinner. Spaghetti and salad. I am trying to lower my sodium intake for many reasons that I won't go into now. Just suffice it to say, I am limiting sodium and some bad carbs... (like yummy fresh baked bread).

As I was browning the turkey and boiling the pasta, I had a chance to look at my favorite pasta sauce and it's sodium content. Paul Newman's Cabernet Marinara sauce. One half cup of this contains 590 mg of sodium. Yikes!! That combined with the pasta would have put me way up for the day. Fortunately last week I bought some Hunt's unsalted tomato sauce on sale at Publix. A small 8oz can has 70mg.

So I put some ground turkey in a small pot and poured in the unsalted sauce. Then I went to my spice rack and began doctoring my own version of spaghetti sauce with garlic powder, oregano, basil and lemon pepper. The finished product was quite good, and I got to enjoy pasta with my family, without the worry of all the extra sodium. Best part is I only used 1/2 the sauce or 35mg of sodium, and I have leftovers for tomorrow!

Pasta is a staple here at our house, so this will be a great way for me to stay on my healthier eating plan, without cooking a completely separate meal. That works for me!

Publix Mystery Coupon

The Mystery Coupon item for our local area is......

Publix brand Apple Juice. It costs one penny.

So, if you need apple juice, head down to pick up your penny item!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Grilled Kabobs- A Great Summer Meal

Now that summer is just about here, I'm trying to think of easy meals that are also healthy for our family. Last week my husband and I fixed some beef tip kabobs. They were delicious! So, this week I opted for the somewhat healthier chicken. I personally liked the beef better. Whatever you choose, chicken or beef, red peppers, green peppers, onions, and pineapple....all on a skewer. It makes a fantastic meal! Serve it plain or with a some rice. Yummo!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy while sticking to a budget is tough. Maybe others have a better handle on how to do this, and please please share your tips with me!

Here's the deal.... For awhile now I have noticed that a lot of the coupons and BOGO deals are on sugary sweet stuff or junk food. My sister and I have talked about this. Now don't get me wrong I love that kind of food... VERY much! My husband and children also really like it. But I have begun to really re-vamp our eating habits.

It's mainly for me, as I have weight to lose, and not just a little either. I think not having a ton of that stuff around the house will be helpful to me. Plus, my family just needs to eat more fruits and vegetables.

So, for the past two weeks I have not really bought anything much that required a coupon. I'm mainly purchasing meats, fresh fruits and veggies, etc. My body is thanking me, but it's hard on our budget. I wish now I had planted some kind of a garden, or something, that could be helping me save on vegetables. I know some of my friends utilize farmers markets around here as well.

Help! Tell me how you manage to save money and eat healthy too. I could really use some tips and advice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Being Frugal...

1. Being frugal is time consuming

Oh my goodness is it ever! It takes time to cut those coupons, and it takes time to file them. It takes time to go through the coupon clipping sites online and order the coupons that you think you'll need. It takes time to scan three different grocery stores to try to find the best deal that they offer. It also takes time to scan through Walgreens and CVS, to decide what is worth purchasing that week. Then there is the time to make a menu plan, and actually go shopping. The bulk of my time is in the grocery shopping, and coupon clipping. I can see why most people just throw those inserts away. Who has time for that? But as my friend Kris just updated she has saved over $500 since the beginning of the year in just coupons at the grocery store. It is so worth it..... if you're willing to invest the time. For us on one income, it's a must.


2. Being frugal takes sacrifice.

In order to live off of one income it means we give up the ability to buy the latest and greatest. We have to, as we just can't afford it....We don't have the newest, cutest, coolest "stuff". For one thing our cars are old, we just can't afford to go out and buy a new car, or even upgrade. We are saving to buy a car (used) with cash. (Such an interesting idea in today's finance everything market). We also wait several years before getting the latest in technology (until the prices come down). We clean our own house, yes with the kids still here everyday! We also shop consignment for clothing. Some people would turn their noses up at that, but there are some beautiful clothes out there that are a fraction of the price, in great condition. We frequent used book stores and curriculum events to buy our books second hand. Why pay retail for these? I have found books 75% to 85% off that look practically new. It takes time to look through these as well (to go with my time point of #1). I already mentioned we don't go out to eat a lot. For several years we lived with only the most basic cable (12 channels) for $7.00 a month. Now that our whole family is into ESPN, that isn't as much of an option. Though we would go back to basic if needed. To make room for cable another item had to be dropped from the list.


3.Being frugal takes a little bit of creativity.

Some people can be creative using up leftovers to create a new delicious meal for their family. I cannot! But I can be creative by taking ten dollar bed frames (headboard and footboard) and sanding them down, and staining them again to use for my children. I can be creative in frequenting used furniture places and "junking" to find the items that are very inexpensive that would work for my home. My hunt for a bookcase for my boys here is a good example. Coming up with meals that fit my budget and pantry takes a little creativity as well. :-)


4. Being frugal is tough, but worth it.

Living off of one income isn't easy in our two income world. If I were to go back to work, I could probably add several thousand dollars back into our budget and daily living expense. But at what cost? Sure we could eat out way more than we do, and we could afford a nicer house, or to really fix this house up the way that we want. Hey, we could even afford a truck for dh, who continually sacrifices by driving a 13 yr old beat up little car to work daily. But those are all wants...not needs. Our world is all about instant gratification. Seriously, fast food, ATM's, even the new Visa commercials about how fast life moves. When we are being inundated with that type of marketing, it's tough to swim upstream the other way.

But delayed gratification is worth it. It develops discipline in me, that is lacking in so many other areas of my life. It builds a perspective (most of the time) of contentment with what I have. Instead of wanting more and more, and never being satisfied. It ignites in me a certain creativity, to try and make do with what we have, re-inventing things that are old but still usable.

I sometimes think the toughest thing about being frugal is to remember in my moments of discontent, why I do it. Because dh and I feel called to have me at home. To hopefully teach our children to honor God and each other and impact them through life lessons and love on a daily basis. Yes, we sacrifice a second income for this, but we also give up the rat race of life in lieu of a simpler, less hectic one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

When it Rains it Pours.....

I just got finished posting on my adoption blog, how disheartened I am with some mistakes made in paperwork, that have cost us more money in FedEx charges. I know that there is nothing I can do to get that money back..... but I'm still aware of it and it still irks me.

Today in the mail came a nice letter from the IRS requesting information from us from back in 2001. I never like to see anything come from the IRS, unless it is a refund check. (Actually, we have never been sent anything requesting information ever). This is actually from an individual state. So, we pulled out our copies we had on file to sort through and see if we did indeed file correctly.

Thank goodness this is the one year we filed with HR Block, and not on our own. We did this, as we were unsure of which state to file as our primary residence. All the documentation was neatly organized, and dh will be calling tomorrow as well as submitting an answer in writing as requested. I have found the online state IRS filing guidelines to back up our state return. I think everything will be okay...but I'm still stressed!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Almost Debt Free....

Good News! I finally was able to pay off the last credit card today! Woohooo!! That was a big deal in my mind. :-) Now, we do use one credit card currently, but pay it off each month. The reason we use it, is because it gives us Marriott points. We learned over a year ago through many of our friends going through international adoption, that we could use Marriott points at the Marriott in Moscow. This is much cheaper than the going rate for a hotel room there. So, we began using a Marriott rewards credit card to accumulate as many points as we could. We have been using it for over a year, and will probably be able to stay 3-4 nights free with our points. Yeah!

Anyway, I wanted to explain that as I realized I never did before when talking about credit or cash. I do think that it is easier to be held accountable to our budget by using cash. So, once our adoption is completed, we will most likely switch to an all cash/envelope method of grocery shopping. (Gas too!)

Now we only have our van payment and that we could pay off pretty quickly. But we are still trying to save for our adoption. So, we are holding off on early van payments in favor of a debt free adoption. (Hopefully!!)

May Financial Health

I don't have the coupons totals or savings added up just yet. I did however, pay all our bills for the month and calculated how much we spent per week on groceries.

The total per week was $101. I'm not thrilled with this, as I know how much I used food that we had stocked in our pantry. This was a lot of little trips to the grocery store. Many made by my dh, that I completely forget about when figuring my grocery budget. You know how it goes, "Honey can you pick this up on the way home from work?"

Needless to say, I am a bit bummed about my grocery shopping. Worse though is gas! Do you know that we paid almost as much in gas as we did in groceries? How crazy is that??? I'm glad it is summer and activities are done, so we can just hang out here and park the car in the driveway. I don't know how we would have done this with dh's 1hr commute back north. (One way). I know my former neighbor still has that commute, and it's gotta be tough!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mystery Coupon....

The penny item for this week is Publix brand cheese slices. We really are not big cheese eaters here... so we'll pass on that. :-)

But if you like cheese, or like to make grilled cheese sandwiches... go get the Publix brand cheese slices for 1 penny!

The last of a good thing...

Well, I'm not sure, but when dh picked up the papers today and brought them home, he shared the following news:

Apparently, this will be the last of the big city newspaper in our area. He was told by the clerk that this big city is stopping it's distribution up here.

Though I'm not 100% positive of the accuracy of this information.... I am quite bummed about it, mainly because if true, I will now have to rely on coupon cutting services for the majority of my coupons.

I'll let you know the outcome next Sunday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

TP and Tissues...

Do you remember that stockpile of TP I posted just a few months ago? I thought we'd never run out... well guess what? We are almost out! How is that possible?

Not only that but with the recent colds of everyone in the family, we are almost out of tissues. I think I may have one box left in our bathroom. I had at least 12 boxes..... and now the once overstcoked shelf of tissues in the laundry area is wiped clear. Yikes!

I don't know what the deal is... but I seriously need to start finding some bargains with my coupons to restock this area up again. That or Bi-Lo better have a triple coupon day soon! I need it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy....

That's what I have been.... busy. Too busy to menu plan, and too busy to grocery shop. I have managed to catch up on all my coupons except the ones that came in the paper today. I will be attacking those this evening while I listen to a Dave Ramsey archive. I have heard rumors os a possible Bi-Lo triple coupons coming up, so I am keeping my ear to the ground, as I would like to have another stocking up spree. Maybe I should order some coupons from the Coupon Clippers of things we use a lot. Hmmmm.....

We have been eating from our stockpile in the pantry and freezer. I'm glad to have this...but we are getting sick of the easy preprepared food. It's time to get back to some home cookin'. Fresh fruits and veggies would be nice! So, on Wednesday evening I am shopping for the week, fresh produce and meats.... I will have my menu plan ready to go! I already have several ideas...grilled fish, homemade meatballs, and grilled chicken salad.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals -May 14th-20th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Aunt Jemima Pancakes or French Toast -assorted varieties (Save up to $2.29)
Aunt Jemima Syrup- assorted varieties 24oz bottle (Save up to $3.21)
Cheez It Baked Snack Crackers or party mix – assorted (Save up to $3.99)
Chung’s Gourmet Quality Egg Rolls or spring rolls (Save up to $2.99)
Del Monte Fruit or Fruit and Gel or Fruit Chillers – assorted 4pk (Save up to $2.49)
Dial Bar Soap- assorted varieties 3pk (Save up to $2.39)
Doritos Tortilla Chips – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.79)
Entenmann’s Little Bites – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Green Giant Canned Vegetables –assorted varieties (Save up to $1.05)
Hershey’s Kisses or Hugs – assorted (Save up to $3.29)
Juicy Juice 100% Premium Juice- assorted varieties 64oz bottle (Save up to $3.49)
Kellogg’s Cereal- apple jacks,rice krispies, corn pops, froot loops, cocoa krispies, frosted flaskes, cereal straws (Save up to $2.45)
Kellogg’s Eggo Waffles – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.39)
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or supermac & cheese
Lawry’s Garlic Salt or Seasoned Salt 11 or 16oz bottle (Save up to $3.69)
Lender’s Bagels- assorted varieties in Dairy Section (Save up to $1.95)
Lipton Family Size Tea Bags – 24 ct (Save up to $2.11)
Nabisco Ritz Crackers-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.39)
Nabisco Single Serve Tray or Kraft Handi Snacks-assorted varieties (Save up to $5.99)
Near East Rice Pilaf or Couscous or Taboule-assorted (Save up to $2.19)
New England Freshly Ground Coffee-assorted varieties (Save up to $5.79)
Peter Pan Peanut Butter-creamy or crunchy 4oz jar (Save up to $4.99)
Pillsbury Ready to Bake Cookies-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.89)
Popsicle Ice Pops- Fudgesicle or Creamsicle –assorted varieties
Publix Anti-Diarrheal Caplets-24ct box (Save up to $4.99)
Publix Deli Sweet Iced Tea- assorted varieties (Save up to $1.39)
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars- assorted varieties (Save up to $2.45)
Solo Sologrips Plastic Cups or Plates-assorted (Save up to $4.39)
Spray n’ Wash Stain Remover- 22oz bottle (Save up to $2.79)
Starkist Chunk White Tuna- premium albacore (Save up to $2.99)
Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce-assorted varieties 18oz bottle (Save up to $2.19)
Tombstone Pizza –assorted varieties (Save up to $4.99)
Whole White Mushrooms- 16oz pkg. (Save up to $3.29)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals - May 7th-13th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: There are a ton of them! Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer


A-1 Steak House Marinade-assorted varieties 16oz bottle (Save up to $2.89)
Back to Nature Granola –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.59)
Betty Crocker or Sunkist Fruit Snacks – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.75)
Campbell’s Chunky Soup-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.29)
Celestial Seasoning Tea – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Duncan Hines Brownie Mix-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Cake Mix-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.65)
Entenmann’s Donuts-Rich, Frosted or Variety Pk (Save up to $3.99)
General Mills Cereal-Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cookie Crisp (Save up to $4.79)
Hebrew National Kosher All Beef Franks- (Save up to $4.49)
Hefty Everyday Plates-130 ct (Save up to $5.39)
Hellmann’s Mayonnaise – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.75)
Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup -24 oz bottle (Save up to $1.75)
Idahoan Mashed Potatoes-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.19)
Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookiesor Sandies Shortbread (Save up to $3.85)
Kids Cuisine Dinner – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Kraft Dressing – assorted varieties 24oz bottle (Save up to $3.69)
Lance Cookies Crackers or Wafers-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.69)
Lysol Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner-32 oz bottle (Save up to $3.49)
M&M’s Chocolate Candies-Big Party Bag (Save up to $4.39)
Maxwell House Ground Coffee – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.05)
Mrs. Cubbison’s Croutons - assorted varieties (Save up to $1.29)
Mt Olive Pickles-selected varieties (Save up to $2.69)
Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Nature’s Own Organic Bread – 24 oz loaf (Save up to $3.39)
Planters Cashews or Mixed Nuts- assorted varieties (Save up to $4.19)
Pompeiian Olive Oil – Extra Light or Classic Mediterranean 16oz (Save up to $5.49)
Post Cereal –Selects, Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, LiveActive (Save up to $3.37)
Publix Salad Blend – assorted (Save up to $2.99)
Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta or Smart Taste assorted (Save up to $1.79)
Ruffles Potato Chips –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.79)
Willow Lane Scented Premium Candle – assorted varieties 22oz jar (Save up to $9.99)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dave Ramsey in My Head

This evening I was out at HomeGoods, one of my favorite places to browse. I was just there for some "me time" while dh was out with the kids. Anyway, I saw two little stuffed lambs that each had a plastic protective cover on the front for a picture to slide in. I though they would be so cute to take to our adoptive children in Russia with our photo in it. That way when we have to go back home, they have a stuffed animal to sleep with and to help remind them that we will be returning for them.

Anyway, there was another really cute lamb blanket.... but only one. I was so tempted to buy it for me! I mean I was justifying left and right about why i should buy it.... it would be mine, it would remind me of the kids, etc etc etc. What I really wanted were two lamb blankets and then I would give those to the children. lol! So as I am walking around debating... I hear one of the sales clerk ask a gentleman how he is doing today.... He answered in a voice greatly mimicking Dave Ramsey... "Better than I deserve!" I looked at him and just grinned...then I thought about that...and promptly walked back to the children's section and put that lamb blanket back. LOL!

Nope, I surely don't need that to help me sleep better at night... I'm headed toward financial peace instead. :-)

For more on Dave Ramsey click HERE.

Re-vamping the budget

It's amazing how much I can learn each day when I pay close attention to our finances. I was going through our bills for the beginning of the month and balancing the checkbook as well. I found an expense that needs to go. I can't believe I didn't see it before, but it may be because spring is finally here and I am paying for this service again. It's lawncare (weeds etc) and I set this service up way before I got on my Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover program. I spoke to dh about it this evening and effective tomorrow it is g-o-n-e. That means that dh is in charge of trying to make our lawn look beautiful. (Wish him luck!)

Hopefully a little time and effort will have it looking much better than it does now, and in the process we'll be able to pay down on our van quicker.

I'm going through the budget with a fine tooth comb to see if there are any other areas we can cut to help us get out of debt and start saving more... hopefully I'll find another I may have missed. I'm finding that there is always room for improvement and my learning never ceases in the area of frugal living.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Checking in....

I've been so busy with end of year things that I have neglected my blog badly! My mind is a whirlwind of things to post about...but I never seem to have the time! For instance I wanted to blog about a Walmart experience I had recently.... but that was like 4 days ago...and I still haven't been able to put it in writing. Then I have wanted to post about something that just irks me greatly.... a topic that I'll reply with "don't even get me started".... but again... I don't have the time, and can't seem to put it into words.

Finally I am so wanting to post another update on our financial health checkup for April (I just typed October, so that tells you were my mind is!). But I have to gather all my financial data together. I could go on tangents and tangents.... about many things.... lol! But trust me you don't want me to do that!

So, I'll just post that I'm checking in... we had our 2nd yard sale this weekend and it rained cats and dogs! But we managed to raise another $125 toward our adoption costs. We will try to have one final sale Memorial Day weekend, and then we will pack everything up to Goodwill. :-) So far we have raised close to $750. My friend Karen is going to show me how to make cards to sell on my adoption blog. Hopefully we'll be able to raise some more funds in this way! I'm also hoping to try to sell and few things on Craigslist and Ebay.

As my son says... Keep "frugaling!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Menu Plan

Here is my menu plan for the next week. I am planning on going grocery shopping today, and will make sure that I have every ingredient on my list...so there are no added trips to the store! I'm using food from the freezer and from my pantry.... so we'll see if I can do a better job on the food budget for this month.

Thursday
Breakfast – Waffles
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner – Baked Rotini/Salad/Garlic Bread

Friday
Breakfast – Cereal
Lunch – Sandwiches
Dinner- Taco Salad

Saturday
Breakfast- Danish
Lunch- Leftover Rotini
Dinner- Crockpot Chili/Hot Dogs

Sunday
Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch – Omelet/Breakfast Sausage
Dinner- Steak sandwiches/peppers/fries

Monday
Breakfast- Bagels/apple butter
Lunch- Leftover Chili/Baked Potatoes
Dinner- London Broil/Rice

Tuesday
Breakfast- cereal/muffins
Lunch- Deli Wraps/fruit
Dinner- Chinese Chicken Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Hot Dogs
Dinner- It. Chicken/couscous/vegetables

Thursday
Breakfast- Cereal/Bagels
Lunch- Pizza/Salad
Dinner- Leftovers!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Financial Health Checkup -April

Well, the figures are in and they aren't looking as good as last month. It's a step forward and a step back and I'm reminded ouf how vigilent, diligent and disciplined I must be in my focus on our budget and money in general.

When I added everything up, I found that I made waaaayyyy too many trips to my favorite grocery store, and not enough planned trips. Even though I make a menu every week, I forget something, or we need something for a social event...or whatever. So I have a renewed intensity for the month of May! I have already crossed things off the list of things we don't "need". I have plenty of food stockpiled too, so I'm going to really utilize my pantry and freezer this month.

Here are the figures for April:

Groceries Spent April: $537.

Publix Savings: $124.24

Bi-Lo SavingsL $63.26

ECB's : $9.00

Coupon Savings: $38.49

Thank goodness it's a clean fresh slate every month!!

Publix BOGO Deals April 30th-May6th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Aztec Flour Tortillas Soft Taco Style 10 ct (Save up to $1.29)
Breathe Right Nasal Strips assorted (Save up to $4.99)
Del Monte Fresh Cut Canned Vegetables-assorted (Save up to $1.09)
Diner’s Choice Mashed Potatoes-assorted 32oz pkg (Save up to $3.69)
Fresh Express Lettuce Shreds 8oz bag (Save up to $1.99)
Glade Car Scented Oil Starter Kit assorted (Save up to $3.99)
Glade Plug Ins Scented Oil Refill assorted value pk (Save up to $4.99)
Hefty One Zip Storage Bags-or freezer, qt or gal, sandwich (Save up to $2.19)
Hershey’s Syrup-24 oz bottle (Save up to $1.85)
Hunt’s or Rotel Tomatoes-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.25)
Jose Ole Taquitos or tacos- assorted varieties 16 oz box (Save up to $4.99)
Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Cereal Bars or granola bars –assorted (Save up to $3.17)
L’Oreal Facial Products Advanced Revitalift- (Save up to $16.59)
Lender’s Bagels –assorted varieties (Save up to $1.79)
Lipton Sides-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.35)
McCormick Black Pepper-4oz can (Save up to $3.59)
Old El Paso Dinner Kit-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.89)
Old El Paso Salsa-assorted varieties 16oz jar (Save up to $2.39)
Ore-Ida Potatoes - assorted varieties (Save up to $2.79)
Orville Redenbacher’s Popping Corn-assorted varieties microwave (Save up to $3.89)
Philly Swirl Products – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Post Cereal – Pebbles, Honey Bunches Oast, HoneyComb (Save up to $3.09)
Publix Deli Iced Tea –assorted varieties ½ gal (Save up to $1.39)
Publix Enteric Aspirin-100ct box (Save up to $3.99)
Sara Lee Hot Dog Buns or hamburger (Save up to $2.59)
Snickers 6 to go Candy Bars or Milky way, 3 Musketeers, Twix (Save up to $3.79)
Starkist Solid White Albacore Tuna 4pk (Save up to $5.99)
Tostitos Tortilla Chips – assorted varieties (Save up to $3.50)
Uncle Ben’s Original Converted Rice- 5lb bag (Save up to $5.79)
V8 Splash Juice – assorted varieties (Save up to $2.69)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dave Ramsey... he's not warm and fuzzy, but he makes you think.

It's been awhile since I have had the opportunity to listen to Dave Ramsey. Baseball games have taken over as well as our yard sale. (Which btw was very successful and we raised $500 towards our adoption). But anyway...those two things have been keeping me a little preoccupied and there have been quite a few things slipping to the back burner these days. Listening to Dave Ramsey for one, cutting coupons is way behind, and even my frugal blog. Thankfully things are a little more organized here, with the majority of the yard sale work over. Baseball is 1/2 way over, and I finally caught up on 3 weeks worth of coupons!

So, while I was catching up on those coupons, I got to listen to Dave again today. I always seem to glean something from the guy. Now I have to tell you I don't agree with everything he says. I just plain don't. So sometimes you can find me talking loudly to the computer as I disagree with him over the air waves. For instance a few weeks ago a woman emailed him and asked why he didn't offer health insurance to his employees? He was getting on his high horse about employer benefits and how they don't have to offer health insurance. Blah Blah Blah. It isn't a government mandate that says this, and he said "I am not morally obligated to do so". Okay Dave maybe not I thought, but for a lot of employers a good health plan attracts qualified applicants. I just kept telling Dave he was wrong... not because of necessarily all he said, but the woman who wrote the email asked a simple question and he took it way out of context and in my opinion got defensive and went off on a tangent about it. (I think it hit a nerve).

Anyway, aside from his tangents etc I really glean a lot from him and the many calls he takes. As I listened this morning he told a caller that while they are getting out of debt, he recommends holding off on their 401K contributions. He said, many people would say "What are you crazy? Miss out on my employers match?" But he said it's not for 4-5 years, but for the next 18 - 24 months. I never heard him say that before, and it really surprised me. That could really help us pay off the very last of our debt. Truthfully, we could pay it off now, but that money is ear marked for the adoption, so the car payment and interest rate are low, and we'll keep paying it month to month, and instead continue to fund the adoption. But I am intrigued by Dave's suggestion, and mentioned it to dh. He said he really wants to think about it. That's okay with me, and I understand where he is coming from. If we had a lot more debt, I would be more apt to do so, but all that remains on the car is $4000.

We're still thinking about it... which as I said...Dave Ramsey, he makes you think.

Publix Mystery Coupon

I know this is a little late... but our Penny Item for the Publix Mystery Coupon is a half gallon of Publix Sweet Tea. So, if you are headed to Publix today, make sure you pick yours up for one penny.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Little Things...

Today in the mail I received my first rebate check from purchases I made at Walgreens. It was a small check, but I put it with the money we have to deposit for our adoption fund. I'll be looking for other things we normally buy, that I can get a rebate on.... Hopefully my little fund will continue to grow. :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grocery Shopping

Do you know that it is almost the last day of the Publix sales flyer and I have not been grocery shopping this week? Nope, I have't been in Publix in days. Only twice, once to buy capri sun drinks for a picnic, and then to buy chips and two 2-liter bottles of soda for another picnic.

That is unbelievable. I posted all the BOGO's earlier this week, and some good deals... so I guess I better go out and get a few. However, two things have sort of kept me from the grocery store this week. One, I was sick all day Sunday, and while I did head to church I was in bed for the rest of the day. I still feel like I am recuperating from that a bit. Secondly, I am up to my neck in yard sale items, pricing etc... we are having a yard sale this weekend to raise money for our adoption. So, between the two.. I haven't had time to really stockpile at all. I'm hoping to have myself caught up a bit and a grocery list made by tomorrow. (Even though I'll probably need rain checks on everything).

Ah well... that's why I have been MIA a bit on this blog. I'm hoping after the yard sale that I'll be back more regularly. It's getting close to the end of the month. I'm looking forward to hopefully paying off our last credit card. (Hopefully!).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Few more Publix Deals

Just thought I'd post a few more deals that I saw that were not BOGO's from Publix, yet still a good deal....

Birds Eye Steam Fresh Frozen Vegetables - 50% off
Add any coupon $1.00 off two or $1.00 off 3
Depending on your coupons makes them a very low price!

Daisy Sour Cream 16 oz. 3/$5.oo
That's $1.66 each
Add a coupon for $.50 off (doubled to $1.00 off)
Makes them $0.67 each

Friendship Sour Cream- $1.29 each
Add $1.oooff/2 coupon
Makes them $0.79 each

Starbucks Coffee-assorted varieties - $6.49
Not the lowest I have seen, but if you like Starbucks it's a good price.
I'll probably pick one up but I am still trying Don Fransicos. :-)

Publix BOGO Deals - April 16th-22nd

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: There are a ton of them! Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Arid XX Antiperspirant deodorant or total or extra dry –assorted var. (Save up to $2.99)
Arizona Green Tea Energy Drink-pomegranate, original or diet (Save up to $6.99)
Bantry Bay Mussels- (Save up to $4.99)
Campari Tomatoes- (Save up to $4.99)
Cole’s Garlic Bread of Toast Slices-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.79)
Farm Rich French Toast-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
General Mills Cereal- Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms (Save up t o $4.99)
Hershey’s Bliss Dark Chocolate-assorted 9.6oz bag (Save up to $3.99)
Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup -24oz bottle (Save up to $1.75)
Juicy Juice 100% premium juice –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Kashi Cereal-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.39)
Keebler Townhouse or Club Crackers-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.79)
Kellogg’s Cereal – Frosted Flakes Froot Loops (Save up to $4.99)
Kellogg’s Yogos –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.89)
Kraft or Seven Seas Dressing- assorted varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Kozy Shack Pudding –assorted varieties 22oz tub (Save up to $2.99)
Land O Lakes Spread- (Save up to $1.47)
Lay’s Potato Chips –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.49)
Lender’s Pre-sliced Bagels (Save up to $1.95)
Lysol Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner-40oz bottle –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Mt Olive Sweet Relish, spear,chips or cubes-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Nabisco Chips Ahoy Cookies-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.39)
Ocean Spray 100% Juice-assorted varieties 64oz bottle (Save up $3.89)
Quaker Baked Bars,oatmeal to go, muffin bites, oatmeal cookies (Save up t o $3.19)
Shout Laundry Stain Remover w/ trigger 22oz bottle (Save up to $2.89)
Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes -24oz pkg (Save up to $2.59)
Streit’s Matzo Ball Mix-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.59)
Sunsweet Pitted Prunes-bite size or regular (Save up to $3.69)
Swanson Hungry Man Dinner-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
Thomas’s English Muffins- original plain, (Save up to $2.99)
Toufayan Pita Bread-selected varieties (Save up to $1.19)
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice-assorted varieties, microwaveable (Save up to $1.89)
Valley Fresh White Chicken – 10oz can (Save up to $3.29)
Wyler’s Light Soft Drink Mix-assorted varieties, sugar free (Save up to $2.99)

Monday, April 14, 2008

My new favorite breakfast!

My children and I have a new favorite breakfast here at our house. Is it frugal? Probably not. Could I make it more frugal? Not without a lot of work.... (making homemade biscuits) and I don't think I'm willing to do that... yet.

It's biscuits and homemade apple butter. It's delicious! I served the apple butter to a friend, and she thought it was awesome too. So I'm posting the recipe online. Several of my friends have recommended Pillsbury's frozen biscuits, and having tried them many times now, I can concur that they are awesome! The kids LOVE them!

So, Pillsbury biscuits and homemade apple butter. It's quick, easy and it's made overnight in the crockpot.....can't get any better than that.

Apple Butter
4 cups of peeled, chopped granny smith apples
2T balsamic vinegar
1T ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine apples, sugar, vinegar, 2T butter, cinnamon, salt and cloves in crock pot. Cook 6-8 hours on low. After 6-8 hours stir in remaining 2T butter and vanilla. Serve with warm biscuits. Makes 2 cups.

Great Coffee Article

Here is a link to an interesting coffee article. It's called A Frugal Mom's Guide to Good Coffee. Most of my friends know I love coffee, but lately the price has been astronomically high. I plan to try a few brands that people recommended to see if I can find a more frugal coffee for my morning habit.

One thing in the above article I found interesting, especially as we head into warmer weather is to freeze your leftover coffee into cubes. You can then use it for making iced coffee drinks. I love this idea! My own frapucchino. lol! I always have leftover coffee, so this would be a cool thing to implement once I get an ice cube tray. :-)

Check out some of the other tips she has... and enjoy that cup of Joe!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Menu Plan...the short version

I need a menu plan to get me through the next 3 days until the new flyer comes out for Publix. I wasn't thrilled with the deals this past week, so I spent almost all my money at Bi-Lo stocking up on Hebrew National hot dogs. Last week I stocked up on baked beans at Bi-lo, so we are pretty well set for the summer. lol!

Anyway, here is my menu for the next three days....

Monday
Breakfast- Biscuits/homemade apple butter
Lunch- English Muffin Pizzas
Dinner- Crockpot Chicken

Tuesday
Breakfast- Cereal/ English Muffins
Lunch- Deli Wraps/granola bars/fruit
Dinner- Leftover London Broil/rice

Wednesday
Breakfast- French Toast
Lunch- Soup/Crackers/Fruit
Dinner-Spaghetti

Publix Mystery Coupon

The 1 penny item for our area today is a roll of Bounty paper towels. We could always use these and saved $1.98. yeah!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bi-Lo Deal - Hebrew National Beef Franks

I know I hardly ever post about Bi-Lo, but in case someone would benefit..(like my friend Kris)....I had to post this deal. We love Hebrew National beef franks. It's our family's favorite and we eat them through out the summer, grilled or whatever. We'll have friends over and have hamburgers and hot dogs and that is what we serve.

Bi-lo has them BOGO again this week. I bought them before we went to Florida at the BOGO price, and I'll be going back again to stock up. I just freeze them...though the freezer is getting pretty full, and we really could use another one. (How long have I been saying that?)

Anyway.... if you like Hebrew National, then you know how expensive these franks are and that this price really helps out! Go get them at Bi-Lo this week! But save some for me please. :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Publix BOGO Deals -April 9th-15th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: There are a ton of them! Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the paper or from recent online coupons. There may be more coupons that you have stockpiled, or that you have found online to add to these BOGO deals. If there is one you found add it to the comment field. Here is the link to the Publix flyer for some other deals: Publix Flyer

Arnold Classic Italian Bread-20oz loaf (Save up to $2.69)
Bertolli Olive Oil-extra light or 100% pure (Save up to $6.99)
Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper-chicken or tuna - (Save up to $1.99)
Online Coupon for Hamburger Helper HERE
Classico Pasta Sauce-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.55)
Delmonte Tomatoes –assorted varieties (Save up to $1.27)
Doritos Tortilla Chips-assorted varieties ($3.49)
Fresh Express Spinach (Save up to $2.69)
Green Giant Canned Vegetables-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.05)
Hershey’s Nuggets-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies or shortbread –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.85)
Kellogg’s Cereal-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
Kid’s Cuisine Dinner –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.19)
Kraft Real Mayo or Miracle Whip (Save up to $4.49)
Kraft South Beach Living Meal-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Lipton Tea Bags-110ct box (Save up to $3.59)
Lysol Neutra Air Air Treatment-assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
McCormick Garlic Powder or Sliced (Save up to $2.99)
Nabisco Ritz Crackers-assorted varieties (Saveup to $3.29)
Nabsico Toasted Chips or Garden Harvest Chips –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.99)
Northland Juice –assorted varieties (Save up to $3.89)
Pop Secret Premium Popcorn – assorted varieties (Save up to $4.59)
Post Cereal-Pebbles.Honey Buncesof Oats, Honey Comb- (Save up to $3.59)
Publix Nasal Decongestant-PE non drowsy 18ct (Save up to $3.39)
Ronzoni Pasta – selected varieties (Save up to $1.39)
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner-assorted varieties (Save up to $2.93)
Streitz Matzo Ball Mix or Matzo Ball & Soup Mix –assorted varieties (Save up to $2.59)
Sun Maid Natural California Raisins-24oz (Save up to $3.69)
Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Mix-assorted varieties (Save up to $1.69)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Grocery Savings/Spending - March

I finally had a little bit of time to go through all my grocery receipts and savings for the month of March. I have to say I am pleased with how well we did! We are not quite where I would like for us to be yet, but are getting closer. I'm not sure if I posted an actual budget or not, though I do know I had one in my mind. It was around $100. a week. It's actually on my Dave Ramsey budget form as well.

Anyway, I hit under that at about $98 a week. For the month my groceries were $430. The entire month! And I have a lot of food in my house! So I am feeling pretty good about that as I have saved about $150 from the days of couponless shopping. Here are some more figures that I also added to the 2008 tracking numbers in my side bar.

Groceries Spent March: $430.

Publix Savings March: $146.12

Bi-Lo Savings March: $74.24

ECB's : $15.00

Savings from Clipped Coupons March: $190.89

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Blog!

No, not from me! Good grief I have enough of those already! lol!

My friend Mamosa has started a new blog called Practically Proverbs 31. It's all about stewardship of our finances, bodies, and lives. I'm looking forward to reading her blog frequently!

Publix Mystery Coupon???

The penny item at our local Publix is Publix Brand sliced white bread. Yeah! We needed bread, and it has become more expensive, so we were glad to see this! Go get yours today!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Questions Answered...

I had a comment left asking about the Cinnamon Rolls and the London Broil that I prepare.

Well first about the cinnamon rolls...oh how I wish I could say that I make them homemade. I bet it would be less expensive! However, our Sunday tradition is to make the Grands Cinnamon Rolls before church. Dh has been doing this forever...and it's really all him. I just get ready for church. lol! My friend Susan makes an incredible sweet rolll that tastes just like Cinnabon Rolls. Seriously. They are delicious! I have not attempted to make them, though I should as I can make the dough in my under-utilized bread machine.

The London Broil recipe I have not "officially" made yet. I got this recipe at a cooking demonstration I went to recently. We actually got to sample the London Broil served with rice, and it was awesome. It was my favorite recipe of the evening. I also buy London Broil BOGO at Bi-lo and happened to have two in my freezer....so these are just waiting for this recipe to be used! It is so easy.....

3-5 lbs of London Broil
2 cups of water
1pkg onion soup mix
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place meat in the bottom of the crock pot. In small bowl, mix water & soups. Pour over beef. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with rice, potatoes or noodles. Serves 6-8.

*Note* The cream of chicken soup is not a typo. It was really used and actually tastes less "pot roasty" than using cream of mushroom soup. I think the london broil basically falls apart, or was shredded a bit with two forks and served over the rice.