Thursday, January 31, 2008

WHERE is the Customer Service???

Today was not a good day in the customer service arena. I don't know about you but I grew up with a knowledge of what it means to provide good customer service. I am not the type of person who will get in a huff a matter of fact most people will say that I exhibit a ton of patience when faced with a difficult person or employee at a store. I will go out of my way to be sweet to them, always giving the benefit of the doubt that they could just be having a bad day. I am not confrontational by nature, (I send my husband for those jobs). lol! So today we went through McDonald's as the boys were starving after piano. We hadn't been there in a while, and I thought it would be a good treat, since we had several more errands to run.

I place my order through the drive through, pay and pick it up at the window. As we are going around the building to leave, my ds1 says "Ewww, this milk is AWFUL!" I look back and sure enough his face is puckered up pretty badly. I asked him to hand me the milk so I could smell it... Spoiled, and pretty badly! Ewwww. I'm not thrilled, so I ask ds2 to check his chocolate milk before I go back in. I smelled it as well, and it was fine. So, I head back in and tell them that the milk I was given is spoiled. They hand me another one from the cooler and I smell it too.... guess what? It's also spoiled. So, I ask to speak to a manager, as this is just not good.

I wait forever for one to come to the front, and can tell she is not happy to have to deal with me. I'm thinking in my head? Hello...... you know you are handing out spoiled milk here? But I don't say that. Instead I say very nicely, "your milk seems to be spoiled, and my son actually drank it, which is just not good". So, you know what she does??? I kid you not........ she goes into the cooler (huffy like) and begins pulling out milk, opening the bottles and smelling them. Then after about 3 more she gets one, opens it, smells it, puts the lid back on and hands it to me, and says... "Try this one." Are you serious??? I appease her and smell it, and then just ask for my money back please. (Notice the please?) So she has to go to the back drive through register, and has an attitude going back, and then has an employee come back and hand me the money. No apology, nothing.

You better believe that McDonalds Corporate will be hearing about this. I wish I would have gotten the name of the woman. I have the store and where it is located though. Who knows if it will make a difference as big as that corporation is....but I have to try, because that's just not right.

I won't even go into my experience at Walgreen's tonight! I must have a magnet on my forehead that says, "Pick on me today!"

Grocery Shopping...more coupons!

You know, my pantry is so full, and my menu plan is working out, that my thought this week was: "I really don't need to step foot into a grocery store." Seriously, I could easily skip a week. (Well maybe not for milk, or bread, as that is a staple).

I was planning for a quick run to Publix, for a few BOGO items, until I received an email from Kris at Living Sensibly. One of our local grocery stores is once again offering triple coupons! Again!!! Good grief! My friend Jeannie at What's a Girl To Do? answered with, "You are Kidding me! Time to replan!"

She's right, so I will be replanning my strategy with triple coupons. I can't say that there is a ton that I need to pick up, but I could find a few things, that will benefit from Triple Coupons. Those for $0.75 off tripled to $2.25 are awesome! But really, the Publix BOGO deals when you add a coupon to it, are an even better deal. I'll let you know what I pick up at both places...later this week.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Frugal Blessing!

Some of you may know that we bought a computer in December, since mine was from 2001, and had crashed. It was on it's last legs, and died the last week of November. So, I was sans computer while we waited and researched what to do.

We ended up buying a laptop from Dell. It has a large hardrive, and a ton of memory. I love the fact that it's a laptop, and that I am not stuck in one place all day. I can take it into the family room, and surf while dh watches TV, I can take it upstairs with me into the playroom, I can even take it to Panera Bread if I want! lol! So what does this have to do with my frugal blessing? Well, certainly not that laptop as it was expensive! (But it IS a blessing).

My frugal blessings arrived this week, in the form of two gift cards to Dell in the amount of $140. This was from two of the add ons we purchased with the computer. Now, many of you also know I have been wanting to get a new digital camera. Mine is my dad's and very old. While I am happy to have a camera to use at all...the color quality was not accurate on this camera, and simple functions such as deleting photos took forever. So, I'm now able to purchase the camera I want at Dell with the two gift cards! I called dh and told him right away! What a blessing!

Recipe- Colorful Chicken Stew

This is a fantastic recipe that I have been making since about 2001. Let me preface this blog post with this disclaimer: I did not come up with this recipe! (I'm not a very good cook). I got this recipe from a friend Stacy- via the net back in '01. It is still in my recipe box, written on the tattered piece of paper I wrote it on 7 years ago. So today I did a search on the recipe name, and low and behold I found at least 10 web addresses listing the recipe, and submitted by different people each time! So, I'll just say, if you want to do a search yourself great....I'm definitely not taking credit for the recipe, but can't say that there is any one person to give the credit to either! lol!

Now back to this delicious, healthy chicken stew. I made this a lot when we were living in New York. The stew is hearty and warm, perfect for the cold months up there. It's still chilly here in the south, and I'm sure Spring is a few months away up north, so try this recipe! It makes enough for a family of 4-6, with leftovers to bring for lunch at work, or to have later in the week. When I was doing Weight Watchers, I calculated 1 cup of the stew to equal 2 points. So a 2 cup lunch is a very low 4 points!! The best thing about this recipe, is that it is made in the slow cooker! Just pop in the ingredients and come home to a wonderful meal!

Colorful Chicken Stew

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 can (14 1/2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into circles
3 celery ribs - chopped-diced
1 large onion- chopped
1 medium green pepper- chopped, diced
2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes (we use no MSG)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 cups cold water

In slow cooker, combine first 12 ingredients. In small bowl, combine cornstarch & water until smooth. Stir into chicken mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free Oral Antibiotics - Publix

FREE ORAL ANTIBIOTICS- the following is from this weeks Publix Circular. Just in time for those needing antibiotics this week! The dates effective are Jan30- Feb 5th. (This week's circular). Get the word out!!

Just bring your prescription for one of the oral antibiotics listed below to your neighborhood Publix Pharmacy and receive it FREE, up to a 14-day supply.

• Amoxicillin
• Cephalexin
• Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)
• Ciprofloxacin (excluding ciprofloxacin XR)
• Penicillin VK
• Ampicillin
• Erythromycin (excluding Ery-Tab®)
And just added to the list ...• Doxycycline Hyclate (capsules only)

Check it out at this week's Publix Ad (last page)

Publix BOGO Deals - Jan 30th- Feb 5th

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6 or 1/13 1/20 or 1/27 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

Also get ready for a great deal on Johnsonville Sausage…. I should have saved mine but who knew Publix would put them on BOGO $4.89 for two packs - $1.10 (2/$0.55 coupons) = $3.79 for two packs or about $1.89 each. That’s a huge ($6.00) savings off of two!

Birds Eye Voila! Meal (Save up to $4.69)
Edge Advanced Shaving Gel or Skintimate (Save up to $2.83)
Eight O’Clock Coffee (Save up to $4.99)
General Mills Chex Mix (Save up to $2.39)
Gia Russa Select Pasta Sauce assorted varieties 24oz (Save up to $5.79)
Johnsonville Bratwurst or Sausage (save up to $4.89)
Juicy Juice 64oz (Save up to $3.19)
Keebler Sandies Shortbread or Chips Deluxe (Save up to $3.79)
Kellogg’s Cereal select varieties (Save up to $3.99)
Kraft Barbecue Sauce (Save up to $1.49)
Kraft Easy Mac and Cheese Dinner (Save up to $3.39)
Kraft Real Mayo or Miracle Whip (Save up to $4.19)
Lay’s Potato Chips (Save up to $3.49)
McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (Save up to $0.99)
Meow Mix Dry Cat Food (Save up to $4.19)
Mt Olives Pickles –select varities (Save up to $2.69)
Mushroom (Save up to $3.29)
Oscar Meyer Beef Franks (Save up to $3.59)
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Snack Crackers (Save up to $1.99)
Pillsbury Moist Supreme Cake Mix (Save up to $1.59)
Planters Peanuts (Save up to $3.19)
Post Cereal Select Varieties (Save up to $3.69)
Publix Medium Shrimp Platter (Save up to $10.99)
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner (Save up to $2.93)
Shout Laundry Stain Remover (Save up to $2.89)
Snicker’s Milky Way Twix M&M’s Mars Minatures (Save up to $3.19)
Solo SoloGrips Plastic Cups or Plates (Save up to $4.39)
Tombstone Pizza (Save up to $4.99)
V8 Splash Juice (Save up to $2.85)

Auntie Anne's Pretzels - Free on February 2nd!

Do you like soft pretzels?? I do, but we never seem to get them..... and if we do it's a TREAT! So, I was excited to see this offer over at Sisterly Savings.

Auntie Anne's Pretzels is celebrating it's 20th anniversary... and to kick it off they are offering Free Pretzels on February 2nd. The website says to stop by between 10am-4pm on that day to receive a pretzel on strings attached. Click Here to view the page. I love those pretzels....they are that good! So, sometime on February 2nd, we'll be heading over to get the boys their free pretzels....and bringing along a Capri Sun or Gatorade. It will be a nice treat for after their basketball games!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Lunch- Baked Potato Broccoli
Dinner-Tacos/Taco Salad

Breakfast- Eggs/Sausage/Toast
Lunch- Sandwiches, Fruit, Granola
Dinner- Turkey Pasta

Breakfast- Toaster Strudel/Fruit
Lunch- Homemade Chicken Soup/Breadsticks
Dinner- Hamburger Helper

Breakfast- Muffins/Bananas
Lunch- Leftover Pasta
Dinner- Chicken Pot Pie

Breakfast- Cereal/Fruit
Lunch- Soup and Sandwiches
Dinner- Burgers on Grill/Tater Tots

Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Steak Sandwiches
Dinner- White Chili/Homemade Bread

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Coupons Inserts....

I just have to gripe for a minute.... our paper recently switched from the Valassis coupon insert to something called Red Plum. I have to say, I feel completely jipped out of an extra coupon insert each week, especially when I see what is listed in the Valassis. Secondly, the Red Plum is pretty much worthless. 8 coupons in the entire thing. Eight! And 5 of those were for dog food, and we don't own a dog. I really wish I knew what the deal is and why our paper switched. The larger metro paper doesn't carry either one (Red Plum or Vallassis). I am seriously considering finding out if the large metro area northwest of us carries better coupons. Maybe my mom can send me some from Florida.

Anyway, because I was so dissatisfied with the coupons inserts this weekend, and it was an unusually busy weekend as well..... I only got two papers. Not a big deal, since I wasn't enamored with the selection.... but there were a few things in there that I really could use. So this is what I did and it cost a little less than buying 2 more papers. It worked really well for me!

I went to The Coupon Clippers site and selected my coupons to have clipped and sent to me. They will be mailed to me today. Yeah! A few things I missed because I didn't start clipping coupons until I'm missing all of December. Plus, if you are savvy and you see a good coupon come the recent Electrosal... it would be worth it to order those and use them again later! I wish they still had them, but of course since they came out a few weeks ago, they have all been snapped up. Anyway, this is another option for those who would like some extra coupons.... As long as I keep it under what I would pay for a couple of papers...I will do this again!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Frugal Lesson.... Ha!

I was checking out Jennifer's post at All Things Frugal, detailing her awesome shopping experience for the day. At the end she listed a link for Breyer's Ice Cream sold at Food Lion. It was a $2.00 off coupon.... and she got two half gallons for...are you ready for this..... $0.12!!!! I went to the link, and although it said there were no printing restrictions, I realized too late that I should have printed multiple copies. (Lesson learned). If you want to go to that link click here.

I asked dh, if we could try to fit it in the freezer, as we have little to no room. (Mind you we are already watching what we eat, so ice cream isn't the greatest idea). But when I told him it was $0.06 a half gallon...he said, okay go ahead. So I grabbed the boys, as a special treat to them, allowing them to pick out the ice cream of their choice. Now, I still don't have a clue for how much they are selling this ice cream, all I know is Jennifer got it for $0.12. I am planning on teaching the boys a lesson in frugal shopping and can't wait to see their eyes, when the total comes up to pennies on the dollar. But I know it's not gonna go my way, when I get to our Food Lion and the Breyer's ice cream is $5.19 BOGO. Oh no.... I knew it, I should have had two coupons! I just knew it! I also live in a different state than her, so I am guessing that is one of the reasons for the price difference as well.

So, we were all the way down there...I knew I couldn't print another coupon, as I tried and it wouldn't let me. Plus the boys were looking so forward to picking out there ice cream! LOL! So, I paid $3.40 for both, about $1.60 each. lol! I learned a lesson today. And had a good chuckle in the meantime. Hey at least my boys got a special treat...and it didn't cost too much! LOL!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

There goes my plan.....

Well, I had a plan....the remaining budget I had to spend was $53.00. I was trying to be so careful at Bi-Lo too. I even put some things back, because we really didn't need them. I bought everything (and I mean everything) that we will use.... and I still went over my budget by $1.00. Now normally I would say, well $1.00 big deal, that is awesome! However, I still need to go to Publix this week and get some things there. I know there are good deals at Publix to be had, but if I want to purchase them, I have to go way over my self imposed budget. Bummer... I am disappointed. It makes me think the following:

  • Maybe my $75 goal for over two weeks was a little too unrealistic.

  • Maybe I am buying too many snack items as well, although I know we will use them, especially the days the boys have to pack their lunch for activities.

  • Maybe instead of getting snack pack items, that are individual in size, I should have gotten normal sizes and used containers (like for Pringles and canned fruit). I'm paying for the convenience of the packaging.

  • Maybe I should get more of a balance between the whole foods I used to buy, and the packaged products I am purchasing now.

  • Maybe I should just stay out of grocery stores for awhile....

It makes me wonder how I would do if I ever lived during the Great Depression. I guess I wouldn't even have the money to spend.... Which is why Crystal over at Money Saving Mom, only brings cash with her to the grocery she isn't tempted to overspend on her budget. Hmmm... good idea.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I have a plan!

Last evening I found out that one of our local grocery stores was offering triple coupons again this week. I saved over 50% last week on items that we use, so I really feel like I need to take advantage of this. It isn't offered often. The only dilemma I have is, I spent an awful lot on groceries since the beginning of the month. Sure I was stocking up on many many items....but I knew I had to "settle myself" down a bit. So, I set my dollar amount for the last two weeks at $75.00 for both of them. Seriously. This doesn't include CVS at all, but I don't expect to spend more than a few dollars there.

So, I have my budget set. It's a benchmark that I want to hit. I also made my menu plan for next week, using everything that I have in my pantry, fridge and freezer. I am proud of that! I knew we needed mostly perishables. I have spent 23.00 thus far on those essentials. So that leaves me with about 52.00 to spend. I have a big stack of coupons just waiting to be tripled. So I'll see what the best deals will be.... I do need to hit Publix as well to get some BOGO deals. Between the two stores I'm going to see if I can stay within my budget. I'll let you know how I do....

Thrifty Thursday...better late than never

Kris over at Living Sensibly has a coupon giveaway going..... She is giving away coupons, and so go over there and sign up before she selects a winner tomorrow!

It's a deal.... lol!

Okay, afer I just posted about how much I am learning...and that the deals will always be there..... I just found out one of our local grocery store is accepting triple coupons again this week! GREAT. Now I'm in a frenzy again. lol! I need to get a plan. :-)

Deal or No Deal? :-)

My friend Jennifer at All Things Frugal wrote a thoughtful blog today about her shopping experience at Publix. I have been thinking along those very same lines this week. I have a goal that I want to spend by the end of the month, but I also don't want to miss any really good sales. So, in trying to figure out how to plan and shop on a budget that works for my family, I made up the following list.... however, it is based upon the fact that I make up a menu plan for our family.... and for us and budgeting that is key.

When I look through the grocery circulars and get ready to shop the BOGO's or coupon deals...I'll ask myself these questions:

1. What staples does our household need this week?
This assumes that I made a menu, and it takes into account the fresh food, and groceries I will need. Perishables. Sometimes, it will be a meat that I planned our weekly menu around, or vegetables and fruit. Milk is always a staple much so, that if I could, I'd consider purchasing a dairy cow! (just kidding-sort of) lol! Then after I figure out the staples, I see how much that will add up to. That way I can see what kind of wiggle room I'll have in the budget.

2. Does this work into the menu plan for the week?
Secondly, when I see some things, I'll see if they can work into the menu plan for the week. Or if the might fit next week's menu plan. For instance my family has not had pizza in a while, so since it is on sale I'll add it to next week's lunch menu, and I'll have less to buy for next week.

3. Is this something my family needs/eats/uses?
If it is something that we may use, and I'm sure the kids would eat it.... I may get it. If it's a really good deal. But, perhaps not in large quantities. If we use it alot, like the honey I just bought on sale at Publix for $0.50 each.... I will snap it up. Currently, CVS is having a great sale on M&M's, and while we could use them for Valentine's Day, or to give away to friends....both dh and I are watching what we I will pass on this product. (Even though I know I could get ECB's with it). What a great thing...ECB's and Candy! Tempting me for sure.... but I'll stick to my plan.

4. Is this the best deal I can get?
Again, if it isn't the greatest deal I can find then I let it go. I'll know if there is room in the budget, and if I'm willing to pay $x.xx for the item.

5. If the deal is really good, can I alter the menu plan?
If I found chicken $1.99 a pound again, I would snap it up in a heart beat and use it for next week's menu, or freeze it. Or like Crystal at Money Saving Mom.... finding free range eggs by the dozen for $0.20 each. I'd snap that up in a heartbeat, and we would be having a lot of eggs that week. The rest of the menu's could be pushed back until the next week.

I think the most important thing I am learning is this: There will always be another good deal. I need to remember that...I don't have to get caught up in buying now, in case I miss out.... Sometimes I personally get a little frenzied thinking...I don't want to miss this or that. As long as I am working on stretching our families budget, I'll hear of the deals when they come. (Like the recent triple coupons at Bi-Lo). It will come around again, and so will other good deals. I just need to incorporate the ones that work for our family.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Publix BOGO Items this week - Jan 23-29

Here is a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6 or 1/13 or 1/20 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

Publix Salad Blend (Save up to $2.99)
Bush's Best Baked Beans 22-28oz can (Save up to $1.77)
Maxwell House Ground Coffee (Save up to $3.05) $1.oo online coupon
Barber Food Stuffed Chicken Breast (Save up to $4.49)
Muellers Pasta Asst Varieties 12-16 oz box (Save up to $1.29)
Kellog's cereal assorted varieties (Save up to $4.49)
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (Save up to $2.79)
Duncan Hines Brownie Mix select varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Lipton Sides asst varieties (Save up to $1.29)
Kraft or Seven Seas Dressing asst varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Ocean Spray 100% premium juice (Save up to $3.89)
Crystal Light Drink or on the go mix, or Iced Tea Mix (Save up to $4.69)
Ragu Pasta Sauce (Save up to $1.99)
A1 Steak Sauce 10 oz. (Save up to $3.99)
Starkist Chunk White Tuna (Save up to $2.99)
Tostitos Tortilla Chips select varieties (Save up to $3.50)
Nabisco Toasted Chips assorted (Save up to $2.99)
Nabisco Garden Havest Chips in paper and online here
Cheez It Baked Snack Crackers (save up t $3.79)
Orville Redenbacher's Popping Corn (save up to $3.89)
Entemann's Donuts Rich Frosted or Variety Pk. (Save yp t $3.99)
Hershey's Nuggets assorted varieties (Save up to $2.89)
Red Baron Pizza select varieties (Save up to $5.49)
Kellogg's Eggo Waffles (Save up to $3.39)
Swanson Hungry Man Dinner assorted varieties (Save up to $3.29)
Hall's Mentho-Lyptus Cough Drops (Save up to $1.69)
Aquafresh Toothpaste assorted varieties (Save up to $2.49)
Q Tips Cotton Swabs 300 or 375 count (Save up to $2.53)
Glade Scented Plug In Refills 2 count box (Save up to $4.99)
Lysol All purpose Trigger Spray Cleaner (Save up to $2.69)

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, I debated which blog to post this is for family, one is for home remodeling and that could have worked, but I decided to put it here....because one of the tackles does have something to do with finances. And hopefully Dh will tackle it today. But let me start with my projects I tackled today. I cleaned all the bathrooms. Now I'm sure I could post a before and after photo of them, but really I just don't think anyone wants to see my dirty bathrooms. And it's quite okay if you refrain from posting yours in the future too. lol!

But I will post this photo of our scale. I will never get one of these scales again, as they are difficult to really keep clean. We have had this one for years, and it has the lines on the top (I guess it's to help with being slip proof). Anyway, dirt and grease and whatever gets in those lines and the scale looks dingy all the time. After cleaning the boys bathroom, and having everything finally look really pristine, I looked down at that scale. UGH! So, I got out the fantastik that I bought on sale at Walgreen's and some toothpicks, and paper towels and started to de-dingyfy (is that a word??) the scale. It took me like 30 minutes to do this...which is why I won't get another scale like this again! Here is a photo in the process, so you can see the difference that really cleaning it makes, and here is an after. So now the entire bathroom looks clean and crisp!

Now onto the other tackle that is on dh's plate. It's a long saga with our cable company. We bundled services before Thanksgiving in order to save money. We got the digital phone service, and it was awful! It would cut out on people during conversations, or I would sound completely garbled. The cable company couldn't even understand me one day when I called to request it to be fixed! I had to call them back on my cell phone! So, today we received a bill from them after having cancelled with them for over a month.... it's full of one time charges added on, as well as a modem charge..(and we OWN our own modem!) I was steamed to say the least. Dh was down there already last month to fight the bill, and they were supposed to credit our account for over $125.00.... guess what...... they didn't! So, dh is waiting on customer service right now to straighten it out again! GOOD GRIEF! But it's a matter of principle.... So, that's what I truly pray gets tackled today! I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Sometimes when I try to save money it backfires on me! Like my what happened to my friend Jeannie, poor girl! :-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday....

I'd like to link to Laura at Org Junkie's blog button, but for some reason her site is locking up on me every time I try to access I'll have to go back later and edit. :-)

Well, before Monday is gone before my very eyes... I thought I would post my menu for the week. I learned my lesson after losing my last menu plan, so I put this one on the computer. It's in a Word Table, and it looks so cool on the fridge. Dh was lost the other night as I hadn't put a menu up all last week. He asked me, "Are you gonna put a menu up for this week, so I know what we're having?" lol!

So here is the menu: (I do my menu on Saturday evening, so since Sunday was already over, I left it out.)

  • Waffles/Cantaloupe
  • Chicken Vegetable Soup/Homemade Bread
  • Spaghetti and Italian Sausage


  • Eggs/Sausage/Toast/Fruit
  • Sandwiches/Fruit/Granola
  • Tacos/Taco Salad


  • Cereal/Fruit
  • Leftover Sausage Sandwiches
  • Cracker Chicken/Green Beans/Couscous


  • Muffins/Bananas
  • Chicken Vegetable Soup/Breadsticks
  • Hamburger Helper


  • Cereal/Fruit
  • Pasta Broccoli Salad
  • Orange Roughy/Rice/Green Beans/Peas


  • Pancakes/Fruit
  • Steak Sandwiches/Carrots/Fruit
  • White Chili/Homemade Bread

I have a partial week's menu completed for next week, hopefully utilizing a lot of food we already have!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Check out this funny link...

And one more quick post for the day... I cracked up at this I too am linking it, as some may not have seen this blog. Nichole over at A Call to Higher Places... put togther a very funny list on You Might Be Addicted to CVS If....... For those of us that shop CVS, it's a hoot!

Publix, Friends, and Savings...

So, today was a quick run into Publix to stock up a few things that they had BOGO free. It wasn't a very long list, but I did want to pick up the things I knew were a good deal, and that I had a coupon for.... so off I went (by myself). It was after Upwards Basketball, so the store was hoppin' with people. I quickly picked up a cart full of items that we used and then I got to the condiment aisle. Sue Bee Honey was on sale BOGO free, and they had two different bottle sizes. I started to put the one in my cart, and then looked at the one labeled table honey. Right on the front of the bottle it said... "Save $1.00 NOW, look on back of package". The little light bulb in my head started going off.... "DEAL, DEAL, DEAL...!!" We use quite a bit of honey in cooking, and my sons use it on all the chicken I make... so I picked up 6 bottles normally $2.00 a bottle, I got it for $0.50 a bottle! Now that is something!

But the funniest thing was at the register. The lady at checkout was asking the girl who was bagging groceries, if she took that cart out of the lady who had all the coupons? Then she said to me, "All I can say is she sure knows how to shop!" I told her, it was probably one of my friends! Lol! Then I just smiled all the way home thinking about that..and wondering "Which one of my friends was at Publix today???" LOL! :-)

Here is a picture of my items today. My bill was $114.xx before savings and after was $46.xx. The lady said to me, "you're a shopper too!" I just smiled and said, "No, really you should see my friends, they would have done even better than that!" lol!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some Grocery Budgeting Thoughts...

I was talking to Dh about all that I bought this past week, and all that I managed to save. I have stocked the pantry full of food, and the cleaning supplies are full to overflowing. Dh said that he didn't think I'd have to buy cleaning supplies for about a year... (I think he's kidding, but I bet I'll come close on some things). Anyway, I began thinking late last night about where do I go from here?

It's almost like a huge rush to find these awesome deals and stock up, and it's a real blessing as our pantry and cleaning supplies were quite low. (All except Cream of Chicken soup) *grin* But anyway, I don't really need to go on buying in these larger quantities for awhile....but I know I'll be tempted if I find these good deals again. So where can I challenge myself now? How can I motivate myself in this grocery saving area, and still make saving money fun??? Here are my thoughts:

  1. I'm still going to shop the big advertised deals of both grocery stores as well as Walgreens and CVS. I think that if I have a coupon for those things, and our family uses the items, well it's just a no-brainer to saving money. (This in itself is tons of fun!)

  2. I won't completely stock up on those items unless I find our stock at home looking depleted, then I'll buy in larger quantities.

  3. If the sale is really good, like 70-80% off with coupons, and it's again something we could use, then I'll consider buying in larger quantities as long as I know it's something that can last... like dried box products or personal items.

  4. I plan on continuing to use CVS and their Extra Care Bucks for our family. This should still make it fun to see how low I can get my Oop and still earn ECB's. (I love to challenge myself!)

  5. I'm going to continue to make a weekly menu (actually I usually plan out 2 weeks). This is my most dreaded part of planning. But once it's done, I know what we are having each night for dinner, and I also know what to shop for. I'll go to the pantry several times each week to see if I can use items in there first, further saving money at the grocery store. Making my meal plan also helps cut down on our eating out, as there is a plan in place for each meal...and like I said in a previous post, I'm not scratching my head wondering what is for's right on the fridge!

  6. I'm going to make a grocery list each week based on my weekly menu...and allow for it to be under my budget for the week, so that if I see hot deals, I have a little wiggle room in the budget to stock up on them. This will also be good, to insure I won't overspend on the grocery budget.

  7. I'm going to set a grocery budget for each week. When I think of budgets, I think b-0-r-i-n-g.... lol! But it really is a great tool, and marker for your family. I mean, if you don't set a benchmark, how do you even know how much your spending? Or how much you can save? This will also be my personal challenge to see if I can hit the budget or even go under each week. What will that budget be? Well, I'm not sure..... I don't really have a feel for how much I can spend on groceries yet. So for now, I'll set it higher at $100 per week. I really hope to actually lower it.... My goal will be to challenge myself to go as low as I possibly can without sacrificing the quality of wholesome foods. I'm tracking the money I saved, and I plan on putting it in the bank. (More about that in a future post!)

So what at about you? What are your grocery goals for the coming weeks/months? Leave a comment!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A budget dilemma.

I was so excited to tell my grocery shopping story last night, that I didn’t have time or really the desire to talk about another budget hurdle we will soon be facing. Dh called right before heading home from work, to tell me that we need to start looking for a new car soon. UGH! My response, “Seriously?” Apparently so. He had the car into the shop because it hasn’t been driving well, and all the work they would need to do is gonna cost over $2000. So sorry, but we are not putting that kind of money into the car! It’s a 1995 and has close to $200,000 miles. It’s time to say goodbye. In my opinion, we already put too much money into this car, and needed to say goodbye about 6 months ago. (I know my sister is probably smiling at this comment, as she knows how many times we have conversed on this subject).

Anyway....this puts us in a slight budget dilemma. Okay, more than slight, we just don’t have the money to buy a car right now. We never buy new cars, only used, which I think is a wise move. But even a used car can be expensive. We have been working on several of Dave Ramsey’s principles from his Steps to Financial Freedom. But we skipped the first step…. And that would be “Start saving now for a $1000 Emergency Fund”. Uh, I guess that’s why he suggested that first huh? So we would be prepared when the unexpected happens. Sigh... we always seem to learn the hard way.

So, this evening I was online looking at cars on Autotrader. I found a truck for dh, and it’s used, but we both love it. Unfortunately we don’t love the price. We could always get a loan in a heart beat, but that would saddle us with another car payment….when we are almost done with those. So, we chose to step back and pray about it…. To not make any hasty decisions just because it’s exciting to get something “new”. We’ll see what doors the Lord opens for us, and how He directs. Our situation is not immediate, dh can still drive that car for a couple more months. In that time, we may find just the vehicle we need, while still adhering to our financial goals.

If you’d like to read more about Dave Ramsey and his financial wisdom click here, or on his name. Dave also has a really interesting video on how to purchase cars for the future without a car payment Dh and I watched this a few months ago....It's an interesting concept.... Click the link to take you to the video. Dave Ramsey Car Video.

Grocery Shopping Can Be Fun!

I promise that I will not post another thing on Bi-Lo after this evening for at least a couple days! PROMISE! Let me just tell you about my experience this evening..... yes, to those who put two and two together I did run back out this evening after seeing this post of some more great ideas and deals at Bi-Lo. Another friend commented on that blog that "Shopping at Bi-Lo today was so much FUN, I wish it were like that all the time!" I couldn't agree more with that statement!!

Tonight was so much fun.... I am ready to burst to tell the story. lol! I went to Bi-Lo with another quick excel spreadsheet,being careful to only get the really good deals. I must have stood at the toothpaste aisle looking at Colgate toothbrushes for 5 minutes, trying to determine what brushes to get the boys. Talk about your indecision.... lol! As I was going from aisle to aisle gathering my supplies, it was so quiet, I was able to think and find deals that I didn't even have listed . One of those was on taco shells that were 2 pks of 12 for $3.76. There was a coupon for Save .55 on two NOW. Well that tripled to $1.65 giving me each pack for $1.05. I have tacos on the menu frequently, so I snapped up 4 boxes, and now have two coupons to use for a future date.

Anyway.....I got to the cash register and watched the monitor as it added up all the groceries I just bought. It was $92.06 before coupons.... With great anticipation, I handed the young man my stack of coupons, and turned my head to the monitor to watch the total go down. I almost wanted to say to the cashier..."Watch This", but he was busy scanning all the coupons. Finally he scans the very last one and says with no emotion whatsoever... $36.66 is your total.... I smile very quietly, but inside I want to scream "$36.66!!!! - Did you HEAR That?" I want to shout or giggle, or gurgle or SOMETHING... I look to see who is in line behind me, to see if I can babble to them, my good news of a job well done. But the guy behind me looks like he came in from hunting, and has beef jerky, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and a loaf of bread in his hands... I can hear him now..."Yeah, lady...great job, good for you... " Not. So, I had to wait to get home so I could share my exciting news with dh.... only he was on the phone with good friends from Texas, and then I got on the phone with those same good friends, and so I never got to tell him! So, I'm telling my blog. Because really...if you're frugal'll celebrate with me. Right?!

Organized Coupons...

Several of my friends have shared how they organized all of their stash of coupons. Trust me, after several weeks of cutting multiple coupon're gonna need to be organized! Too much paper floating around the house! Mine is in our homeschool room, which happens to be where I blow dry my hair. (Yes, I know that's odd, but I multi-task and surf the net while I dry!) lol! Anyway, with all that paper everywhere.... all I could think was one wrong move with the blow dryer...and it will be raining coupons!!

Anyway, I organized them using a method I found from Crystal over at Money Saving Mom. Click her link for a great blog post on how to organize all those coupons...she offers a wealth of information. Click the following to see how others have organized theirs What's a Girl To Do? and Living Sensibly.

Here is a picture of my organizer...and nope it's not as snazzy as a binder (which I think are so cool), but this bare bones method works for me. It cost me absolutely nothing to pull together. I had the envelopes, index cards, staples, marker and even the plastic storage box! I bring it with me everywhere I shop, and just bring in the store envelopes filled with coupons that I will be using. The rest stay in the car in case I see something that I didn't expect to be on sale, and I have a coupon for it. I've included a few close ups of the envelopes for different stores, and then two subcategories in my coupon filing system. Maybe one of the ideas mentioned here would work for you!

Bi-Lo Savings w/ triple coupons!

Well, I went to Bi-Lo today with the kids... I just knew once evening came, I would not want to go out... I really don't like to go out shopping when it's cold and dark. Before I set out on this adventure, I popped some figures into a quick excel spreadsheet. I just put the item in one column (with a 2 after it if the coupon required a purchase of 2 things), then I left a blank for the current price, then the coupon amount, then a column calculating the coupon at it's tripled value, and lastly the final price. This was a huge help to me when I got into the store! I printed that excel worksheet and set off!

I was only shopping for coupon items.... and bought only one thing without my coupons and that was OJ since it was on a 2/$6 special. Anyway....we got there around 11:30 am, and I had the coupons pretty much in aisle order. (As was my spreadsheet).... so I just looked at the price listed, subtracted the tripled coupon amount, and could tell if this was something I was willing to pay. Ds1 was in charge of his calculator punching in the numbers I gave him.... (I was using a separate calculator to do the math quicker, and to check him), but it kept him occupied. Ds2 was in charge of the cart and helping me find items. Most things averaged about 50% off after coupons, which wasn't bad! It wasn't like recent trips to CVS or Walgreens ...but it was all coupon savings...and for that I am happy! No pictures, as I already put it all away, and I'm not pulling it back out! lol! It was a grocery cart full...not overflowing mind you, but full of everything we use!

The order before savings totaled: $148.xx
Bi-Lo Club Card Savings: $7.xx
Coupon Savings: $68.xx
After Savings: $73.xx

Some More Publix Deals

These are not the BOGO items that I listed earlier, but are still a good deal with coupons:

Motts Apple Juice is 2/4.00. - With $1.00 off coupon on 2 it brings it to $1.50 each

GE Reveal Light Bulbs- 2/$4.00- With two one dollar off coupons = $1.00 per pack

Suave Natural Shampoo or Conditioner $1.39 - Use this coupon for $1.00 here (print twice) and get it for $0.39 each. Click for Coupon

Starbuck's Coffee $6.99 - while this isn't a great deal, if you are like me, and that's the coffee you's a savings of up to $2.40. I've seen it at least a dollar more and as high as $ I usually get a few at this price. Target had it for $6.29 one day, which was the lowest I ever saw.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Triple Coupons-Bi-Lo

My friend Kris got a tip earlier today that one of the grocery stores in our area was running an unadvertised promotion of triple coupons. Now, I have to say that I am not really a fan of this grocery store....and so I filed the information for later research. I found out that I had NO CLUE how triple coupons work. I know what your thinking....

"How is that possible? I mean really you just triple the coupon, it's simple math. And by the way weren't you a business major in college?"

Yes, I mean business management was my you'd think I would have known this.... BUT, I never really clipped coupons before. Not like I'm doing now, and I never knew how to use the coupons to the best advantage.... so I really was clueless! In my mind I thought that they tripled up to $1.00. Don't ask me why, but I thought $1.00 was the maximum you could get on any coupon. So, $0.50 coupon would double to $1.00. $0.35 would almost triple to $1.00. Get it???

I was sooo wrong! I just confirmed this with the same Kris above in an email, that if I had a $.075 coupon, the grocery store would triple it to $2.25 off!!! I am so not kidding you!! Anyone else feel giddy at the possibilities here? lol! I swear who needs drugs, alcohol or even sugar for that matter....this is such a rush! (Okay, sugar would be nice sometimes too).

So, I pulled all my coupons of the things that we need or could stock up on. All the coupons are under $1.00, since they won't bother tripling $1.00 or over. I'm going to take my time tomorrow sometime going to the store and seeing what would be the best deal. I'm going to have a list of of items and the final dollar amount after tripling, and I'm also going to have my calculator to see what my final amount might be.... But I will need to think while I'm there, so it's not the best trip to bring the kiddos. Especially since every other sentence will be... "Can we get this, or can we get that?" :-)

Oh, I really hope it's gonna be a good shopping day tomorrow!

Coupons Preview Website

This is a website that I go to frequently to see the weeks current list of coupons. It's alphabetically listed by flyer, so I can see if I overlooked a coupon or two from my grocery list. Plus they have online printable grocery coupons, plus printable CVS coupons and much more! I also go to this site to see the Coupon Previews for the coming week. This was, since our grocery stores run their ads until Wednesday or Thursday, I can see if a coupon is coming out that Sunday for an item on sale. If it looks like sweeter deal, it will be worth it for me to save those items for a quick trip in on Monday or Tuesday after the coupons have come out that week. Make sense? This site is a fabulous resource!

Here is the link for the website, and I've included it under Blogs I read as well. Click Here!

Publix BOGO Items this week...Jan 16-22

Just thought I'd do a quick rundown of the Publix BOGO items for the week: Items in Bold you can add a recent coupon from the 1/6 or 1/13 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

Red Potatoes (Save up to $3.49)
General Mills Cereal- assorted varieties (Save up to $4.79)
Quaker Instant Grits (Save up to $2.39)
Quaker Oats Oatmeal (Save up to $2.05)
Post Healthy Classic Cereal-assorted varieties(Save up to $3.89)
Nature Valley Bars (Save up to 3.99)
Farm Rich French Toast (Save up to $2.89) Online Coupon Here
Oscar Meyer White Turkey (Save up to $3.49)
Hormel Fully Cooked Meat Entrees (Save up to $6.99)
John Soules Foods Seasoned Beef Fajitas (Save up to $6.49)
Publix naturally Hickory smoked bacon
Betty Crocker Premium Muffin mix (Save up to $2.29)Online Coupon Here
Ronzoni pasta (Save up to $1.39)
Motts Applesauce-4 or 6 pack (Save up to $2.29)
Smuckers Preserves (Save up to $3.09)
Helmann’s Easy Out Mayonnaise (Save up to $4.19)

Hunts Tomato Ketchup (Save up to 1.69)
Nestle Hot Cocoa Mix (Save up to $1.79)
DelMonte Fresh Cut Canned Vegetables (Save up to $0.87)
Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice 5lb bag (Save up to $5.49)
Sue Bee Clover Honey-12 oz (Save up to $2.99)
Keebler Townhouse or Club Crackers (Save up to $4.79)
Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers (Save up to $3.59)
Famous Amos Cookies (save up to $3.39)
Publix Microwave Popcorn (Save up to $3.39)
Ruffles Potato Chips (Save up to $3.49)
Lender’s Bagels (Save up to $1.95)
Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes (Save up to $2.59) Coupon in Publix
Land O Lakes Spread (Save up to $1.39)
Kozy Shack Pudding (Save up to $2.99)
Whole Fruit Sorbet (Save up to $2.99)
OreIda Potatoes (Save up to $2.79)
Cole Garlic Bread (Save up to $2.59)
Gorton’s Shrimp Temptations (Save up to $6.99)
Electrosal Automatic Dishwasher Detergent (Save up to $4.19)
Mennon Speed Stick Deodorant (Save up to $2.59)

Freezer Needed...

We used to have the oldest refrigerator in the garage of our home... I mean old! It was a Kelvinator...a Kelvinator! Now whoever heard of that brand anymore! It was vintage that's for sure, with a rounded frame and door. It even had the horizontal door handle on it. No separate doors for fridge and freezer...nope this baby was old! But it worked! (I'm sure using tons of electricity every minute it ran)...but no matter, we used that thing for storing lots of our soda and kids drinks). I'm not sure I'd take one of those again and put it in our current house...but we are looking for a good used appliance! Here is a picture for one that looks just like our old one! It's for sale on ebay here .... if you are interested!

With all these great deals I've been finding, especially stocking up on meat products... we have found our freezer full. We have a side by side freezer, and it does hold quite a bit, but it's stuffed to capacity right now! So, we are on the lookout for a used freezer to put in our garage. I know just the spot, but it's covered right now with all of dh's wood and junk. That will have to move, and then we can fit the freezer in. I've found now that I am coupon clipping and using the sale ads to my best advantage...I am stocking up on things when they are really low prices. Which is a great thing for our budget...but not so great for storage! There are several things on sale right now...that I just can't get because I have no room! :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Take your lunch to some money!

This is one area of saving, that we are just not very good at.... and it's an area where if we improve, we'll see some big savings each month! We're sort of forced to deal with this area right now, because for some reason dh spent his entire budgeted dining out money for the month. He thinks he misplaced $20, and I'm sure it will show up....but for's bring your own lunch. (BYOL) lol!

So, the Chunky soup and the Tortino Pizza Rolls I got on sale at Publix, and some Peanut Butter and Jelly will be heading to work with him tomorrow. Plus we have enough Pepsi products that we bought on sale at CVS.... he is SO set! I'm just excited that we have 15 more days (excluding weekends), to get into a routine of packing a lunch. Thankfully he does have a microwave and a refridgerator/freezer at work, so he'll be just fine!

We'll also be watching our family dining out budget. Since the boys have basketball practice on Tuesday evenings we opted to get a Papa Johns' pizza for dinner. They have a deal on Tuesdays for a large 1 topping pizza for $5. That's all it takes to feed our family....(that, and a salad made at home.) However, even $5 a week can add up to $22 w/ tax over a month. I know it's not much, but I'd rather eat in for at least two of those weeks, to save money in the long run.

I'm off to peruse the Publix flyer for next week. I sure hope there are some good deals!

Walgreens Deals Today!

I found some awesome deals this week at Walgreens, thanks to Jeannie's Blog! All the cleaners that I use brand name, were on sale Buy One Get One Free. I had coupons for each one further reducing my spending.
  • 4 Fantastick All Purpose Cleaner (3.19 original BOGO with coupons .74 each)

  • 4 Lysold Toilet Bowl Cleaner (2.59 original BOGO w/ coupon .79 each)

  • 4 Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner (2.99 original BOGO w/ coupon .74 each)

  • 2 Windex Glass Cleaner (3.79 original BOGO w/ coupon .89 each)

  • 2 Glade Country Garden Spray 2 coupons - FREE

  • 4 Glade Scented Oil Refills (3.29 original BOGO, w coupons .64 each)

  • 2 Colgate max Fresh Toothpaste (2.89 original BOGO, w/ coupon .69 each)

  • 4 Kotex Feminine Products (3.19 reduced to 2/$5, with $2.00 coupons .50 each)

Purchased original merchandise prices $83.xx
Saved in Manufacturers' coupons and store savings $60.xx
Out of Pocket Spent: $23.xx


Welcome to my new blog! I'm a wife and homeschool mom to a family of four, living on one income. I hope you'll join me as I try to stretch our family's dollar as far as it will go. I'm a novice penny-pincher, who is still just learning about using coupons to their best advantage, and shopping the best advertised prices I can. I cannot believe that I never knew any of this information about saving before!?! I could have been saving so much more money over the years! My goal for this year is to track my savings and my red-light spending habits, so that we can work our way toward being debt-free.... It's gonna be a fabulous ride!!!