Saturday, August 30, 2008


I didn't go grocery shopping at all last week, unless you count the quick trip to Kroger which didn't involve any food. Just free TP. I didn't plan for it to happen that way, I just bought a ton of food last week plus I didn't have ANY time to shop this week. As a result, we did end up eating fast food a couple of times these past couple of days. Or, I guess I should say MY HUSBAND ate fast food. I never eat fast food. I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS scrounge for something to eat.

Anyways, my inlaws are in town and they informed me that they will be buying our groceries tomorrow. I'm thrilled and completely appreciative. Money has been extra tight since we just paid our GIANT summer tax bill. Ouch.

The free groceries will probably make up for the fact that Mike and I are going out on a date tomorrow night. That should even us out! We haven't been out together since May... so I know dinner is on the agenda.

Time to come up with a grocery list for tomorrow.


Haven't been having much luck with Walgreens lately.

I had my scenario planned out for this morning, and they were out of L'Oreal Concentrate so I should have just left. Had I been without Alex, it would have been okay trying to come up with another workable scenario. But, instead of just leaving, we wandered around the store while I tried to figure out what else to buy. It didn't end all that well.

I bought:
(5) 12-packs of Pepsi brand pop = $12.00 total - not $11 like most others (wasn't planning on buying this, but need it anyways)
(1) Nivea for Men body wash = $4.99
(1)Chemistry shampoo = $7.99
(1) Revlon nailpolish = $4.79
(1) Crest Pro-Health = $3.79
(1) Starbucks coffee = $7.99 Desperately needed
(2) Junior mints = $2.00 thought I needed a filler
(2) John Frieda = $9.74

(1) -$1 Nivea Coupon
(1) -$3 Chemistry
(1) -$3/2 John Frieda
(1) -$10/$40 WAGS

Issues I had: Wouldn't take my Revlon coupon for the nailpolish and the cashier couldn't push it through. I also misplaced my crest coupon.

Total:$42.xx YIKES!

But, I got $9 RR for the John Frieda and will receive $21.56 in rebates... so it's like paying about $12 OOP.

I wasn't anticipating my transaction going like that AT ALL. The $12 OOP that I spent is all a result of the pepsi.

I need to stop shopping with Alex.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quick Kroger and Target runs

My inlaws will be here on Saturday and they are staying in our house for the first time. This means that we need more pillows and caffiene free pop!

I loaded Alex in the car and he was amazingly agreeable throughout the entire trip. I will highlight my deals.

-(3) Bottles of Dove cream BODY WASH! on clearance for $1.74 a piece

Used (3) $1 Dove body wash coupons making them $0.74 a piece.

It looks like my store may have just marked down clearance items today because there were quite a few items crammed on the ends of the aisles. At least in the health/beauty section. There were lots of things I wasn't interested in like nail polish and make-up. But, it's worth checking your local Target, you might even find better deals. Usually when people post about cheap things on clearance, I head to my store and the same things are on clearance but they are generally a few dollars more. I didn't put the pillows and pillow cases in the picture. Although they were inexpensive (pillows @ $2.54 each and pillow cases were $7.99 for a 2 pack), they weren't on sale, nor did I use a coupon.

Afterwards we stopped at Kroger next door.

(5) 4-packs of Cottonelle at $0.99 a piece
(5) Pepsi brand 12-packs of pop

Used (5) $0.50 Cottonelle coupons that doubled to $0.99 making them free

I scooped up the free cottonelle toilet paper... and wished I had purchased more newspapers last sunday to get even more toilet paper. But, oh well. I also got 5 packs of pepsi for $11, not including deposit. Not pictured is the 5th pack of pepsi because it fell out of the trunk when we got home and the box exploded.

I'm excited about the body wash. Although $0.75 isn't the best deal of the century, I paid less than the retail amount of one bottle, for all three of my bottles. They started out at $3.5xsomething. We'll find out soon enough if it was on clearance for a reason...

I hope to hit up Walgreens tomorrow to use the $10/40. Idealy I'd like to get there before I have to work. But, it could be interesting getting Alex out of the house that quickly in the morning.

All for now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Office Max and Staples

(10) Free folders from Staples
(2) Free packages of erasers from Staples
(2) Pencil cases ($0.10)
(10) Folders from Office Max ($0.10)
(3) Packs of crayons from Office Max ($0.03)
=About $0.23... I can't remember the tax but I'm guessing just an additional $0.02 for tax

But what about body wash?

So, I got into CVS's deals this week even though I totally don't need any more feminine protection or shampoo/conditioner. You know what I do need, BODY WASH! I have been CVSing and couponing for about 3 months now and I have only found one good deal on body wash (the olay deal at CVS)... and I HATE Olay's Ribbons Body Wash. It leaves pink residue throughout everything in my shower. Annoying. I have noticed that next week there are ECBS on Sauve body wash, but I don't have any coupons.



Transaction #1:
2 Herbal Essence shampoo ($6.67)
1 Children's Advil ($5.79)
-$2/10 CVS coupon
-$1 Children's Advil IP
-(2) $1 Herbal Essence tearpad coupons
-$5 ECBs
=About$0.87 OOP (includes tax)
Earned $5.79 ECBs

It was at this point I realized I forgot the rest of my $2/10 coupons so I had to make due without

Transaction #2:
2 Stayfree Pads ($9.00)
1 Herbal Essence conditioner ($3.33)
-$4.50 BOGO Stayfree coupon
-$1 Herbal Essence coupon from newspaper insert
-$5.79 ECBs
=About $1.44 OOP (includes tax)
Earned $5.00 ECBs

Transaction #3:
2 Herbal Essence conditioner ($6.67)
2 Revlon nailpolish ($8.98)
-$4.49 BOGO Revlon cosmetic (CVS advertised deal)
-$2 Revlon CVS crt
-$2 Revlon coupong from newspaper insert
-(2) $1 Herbal Essence coupons from newspaper insert
-5 ECBs
=$0.40 OOP (includes tax)
Earned $5.00 ECBs

Not bad. Less than $3.00 OOP. Would have been better if I had remembered my $2/10 stash.

I might make another CVS run later this week for pepsi. Plus I'm sure I will take advantage of the double dipping going on this friday/saturday at Walgreens!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Latest Deals

Well, I'm back at it this week, after a slow one last week. Yesterday I made a trip to CVS and Office Max.

Today I had a horribly unsuccessful trip to Walgreens which will require some returns.

If I have tomorrow off from work (I'm scheduled to work, but hubby might work for me....) then I will make another CVS run, a Walgreens run and then post pics and updates.

One nice thing about this week is I created a meal plan for the first time. And it has worked out pretty well! I had to make some adjustments because Mike told me he refused to eat chicken kabobs... plus my father-in-law came into town which meant we ate out (on him ofcourse), plus he brought fresh corn :)

But, I have discovered how much it's going to save us money. Last week I shopped with our meal plan in mind. I have tried my hardest to stick to it. And the best part, is I don't have to stand infront of the fridge, with the door wide open, wondering what on earth I should make for dinner... because I already know my options. And I'm not wasting money on buying food that doesn't "go" with other foods. Get it?

Anyways, I'm definitely sticking to planning out my meals. I may even be able to stretch last weeks groceries to a week and a half.

Expect a picture update tomorrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Slow week

So, this was probably my slowest week since starting my grocery and drugstore games. Life has been busy. And Alex has been cranky. And I hate being that person trying to shop with the cranky baby. I make hasty decisions about what to purchase just so we can get out the door.

But, a cute baby does help you get on a cashier's good side.

I made one CVS run and 2 Walgreens runs. Well, I should say 2 CVS runs, but one was only to return a revlon mascara I thought was part of the BOGO deal, but apparently wasn't. I have just started my blog, and I also JUST got my new digital camera, so I promise pictures for next week.

I'd like to utilize my $3/15 coupon tomorrow, but my schedule is tight. It will have to be tomorrow morning before I go to a baby shower... and sometimes getting out the door before noon is difficult with Alex. But, we desperately need some more pop. I'm trying to get my husband to crack his addiction to the corner store. He used to make many, many, MANY runs a week up to 7-11 to get candy and pop. Yes, he's a total healthnut. Obviously, this goes against my frugal principles, so I had to put an end to it. So far, he has successfully given up candy-runs cold turkey because of all the candy deals I've been scoring. But, we don't usually keep pop in the house, so he continues to spend money on that and I've been avoiding buying pop because I don't want Alex to drink any. But, I will be giving in and taking advantage of the deal CVS has this upcoming week.

Uh. I'm rambling. So tired.

Anyways. I'm pretty proud of the amount of money I have saved on tomorrow's baby shower gift. I am making up my own little basket (purchased from Hobby Lobby with a gift card) containing baby items I got during the CVS baby deal (J&J baby wash, lotion and rash cream) plus some Gerber wash clothes I found on clearance at Target. In addition to that, I have a package of Gerber onesies found on clearance, plus a book I got using an amazon coupon code. A really great book, actually. One of my favorites ("Hush Little Dragon"). Retailed $10.82 and I got it for $0.82 and free shipping. I might throw in a couple other books I scored during the Borders coupon code frenzy. I'm debating on whether to "re-gift" a few outfits someone gave to Alex that I never took the tags off of because the person didn't properly wage the whole age-season gauge properly. I personally don't have any sort of problem re-gifting as long as the gift doesn't suck and it's something the person could truly use. If it's a piece of crap gift (like some giant ugly scented candle), I'm not going to pass it onto a friend. But, I happen to know that this friend of mine is working hard to save money on baby stuff and I know she'd appreciate anything I could pass onto her, including handmedowns.

Rambling again.

Time for bed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not skimping

So, I have always been a money saver. But, when we purchased our home a few months ago, I became obsessed with saving money. OBSESSED. To the point where I really only have 4 summer shirts that I wear. One that has accumulated some mysterious pink stains on the back, which has led me to look into purchasing red dye just so I can keep it in rotation and not have to buy a new one.

There are some things I don't skimp on though. Fresh produce is one. I read lots of blogs that post pictures of their weekly grocery haul, and I often wonder - Where are the fruits and vegetables? People rarely talk about the produce they buy. Is it because it's hard to find good deals on produce, so why bother talking about it? Or is because they are only consuming frozen or canned veggies and fruits? And I'm not talking about the produce people have canned themselves. I'm talking tin cans here. I recently read a woman's meal plan on her blog where she talked about serving cans of mixed vegetables that she found for a good price. It didn't sound appealing to me. Sorry. I don't care how cheap it was. The only canned veggie I buy are green beans for Alex because he's ADDICTED. He dips them in ketchup. They're easy to chew. And I hope to learn to can some of my own soon. Although, by the time I learn, he'll probably be over them.

I also buy the "pricey" deli meat. If it were up to me, I would be fine with some of the pre-packaged deli meat that you find in the deli cases. But, my husband is a food snob and loves things like hot capocolla (did I spell that right?) and black forest ham. These generally add at least $10 to my grocery bill, but it's worth every penny. My husband hasn't quite converted into the frugal spender that I am today, and he is very easily tempted by take-out, drive-thrus and delivery pizza. Spending a bit more on higher quality, yummy deli meats is worth every penny. It tempts my husband to make a nice thick sandwich instead of heading to McDonalds.

Finally, I'm finding it difficult to say "no" to the "causes". Now, donating to charity is one thing that I have always done and will continue to do. But, now that I'm a mother and a home-owner, I have discovered a whole new world of "causes" to help support. The other day a nice young man from our town's highschool football team rang my doorbell and sold me a discount card for $20. It was pricey, in my opinion. But I bought it. My husband is a huge sports fan. And I am a fan of supporting schools. So, I agreed. It might come in handy. Probably not.

Today I purchased a $15 box of goodies to help support the DARE program. It contained flash cards, crayons, coloring books, stickers. Most of it was beyond Alex's level, but I will save it as Christmas present.

Anyways, I have a difficult time saying "no" to people, but so far I don't regret helping these various causes. I just hope it doesn't send me to the poor house.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Frugal Right of Passage

The Crock Pot.

You know you're frugal when you bust out the Crock Pot!

So, despite the fact that we have owned a brand new one for over a year, I used it for the first time the other night. And it was a disaster. I should say, my husband was eventually able to save our dinner.

I read about this wonderfully yummy Mac N Cheese you bake all day in your Crock Pot. Perfect! We all love Mac N Cheese and I had all the ingredients on hand.

I should have known better and followed my instinct. As soon as I tossed all the ingredients in, I read the recipe over again, 4 or 5 times to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. It just didn't look right. But, whatever. I gave my husband strict instructions not to lift the lid while I was at work. And off I went.

I got a phone call about 4 hours later from my husband telling me there must be something wrong. At first I wanted to blame it on him for peeking. But, he insisted he only did it once.

The layer of noodles that came in direct contact with the Pot were dried, burnt and had formed a giant solid noodle. And where was all the yummy cheese?

We managed to save it buy purchasing some pricey cheese to add. Thus adding about 100 additional grams of fat as well (let's be real, it wasn't a healthy dish to begin with though...)

I will give it another shot on Saturday when I attempt round two of Crock Potting.

Chicken Burritos.

Let's hope there was an ingredient accidentally omitted from the Mac N Cheese recipe I used, and not that there is something horribly wrong with my Crock Pot ... or dare I say, my cooking skills.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meal Plans

Food for this week, in no particular order:

-Hashbrowns and Fruit
-Muffins and Fruit
-Starbucks (Alex and I share an oat bran muffin)
-Cinnamon Toast and Fruit

-Burgers, Fries and Cucumber salad
-Mac & Cheese, Fruit and Cucumber salad
-Tuna Melts, Pretzels and Fruit
-Chicken Burritos, Rice and Fruit
-Omelets, Bacon and Fruit
-Homemade Pizza
-Deli Meat Sandwiches
(Alex substitutions: Nuggets, Bagel Pizza, Canned Beans)

-Pork Tenderloin (pricier than expected) Left Overs, Roasted Potatoes and Fruit
-Spaghetti and Veggies & Dip
-Kabobs, Rice and Corn on the Cob (swarming in fruit flies at the grocery store) Roasted Potatoes
-Oven Fried Chicken, Fries and Veggies & Dip
(Alex substitutions)

Shopping List (in random order): Pork tenderloin, Hashbrowns, Bran muffin mix, eggs, ground sirloin, hamburger buns, frozen nuggets, cucumber, red onion, red pepper, baby carrots, corn, whole mushrooms, veggie dip, potatoes, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, green onion, red wine vinegar, black beans, salsa? frozen fries? garlic?

I'm going to have to purchase all of it at the grocery store because I don't think I'll make it to the Farmers Market.

Christmas Expenses

During all the blog excitement over "Christmas in July", I started my holiday shopping early. I'd love to spend less than the gobbs I ended up forking over last year. So, with the help of all my favorite frugal blogs, I'm capitalizing on all the deals I hear about in an attempt to spread my shopping over a period of months, as well as save money! Hopefully I'll hurt my wallet a little less this year.

These are my estimates, although I do keep all my receipts

About 25 children's books plus a "Juno" DVD= $26.00 (
Thomas Train toy= $1.00 (Walmart)
Thomas Train toy=$3.50 (Meijer)
Tonka monster truck= $5.00 (Target)
4 Blockbuster DVDs= $2.50 (
ABC Magnets= $1.00 (Target)
*Decorated Tea Bag Magnet=$8.00 (local free trade shop)
*Bluebird salt and pepper shakers=$10.00 (some random website)
**Scooby Doo Activity Set=$15.00

Total $72.00

*These purchases were made awhile ago before I started my frugal ways. Now, I probably wouldn't purchase the shakers. And instead of the magnet I should have purchased the coasters which are cheaper, then added my own magnet to the back. They are for a terrific cause. So I'm fine with it*
**Purchased to help support the DARE program

Grocery Budget

So, in an attempt to reduce the amount I spend on groceries a week, I must figure out how much I spend in the first place!

So far...

-3 Jars of Skippy= $3.80
-6 Dove Shampoo/Conditioner= $3.00
-1 Preparation H= -$0.51 (gave me overage, but not the -$1.01 I was expecting)

Total $6.29 Received $1.50 RR

Meijer (highlights of my trip):
-2 Lawry's Marinades= $0.67 a piece
-Free Milk (bought 3 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats at $2.00 a piece and got free milk - contemplated awhile over this deal because $2.00 a box is more than I'd like to spend. But they were the giant boxes, we do love Honey Bunches of Oats and were out which meant I would be buying some soon regardless)
-Free Deli Meat (bought 2 Kraft deli sliced cheeses at $2.75 a piece and got free deli meat - contemplated this awhile as well but my husband does like sliced cheese A LOT, and it's cheaper than buying Kroger or Meijer brand sliced cheese, plus I planned on buying deli meat regardless)

Total $62.86 - I'd like to go back and get more marinades because we use them quite a bit. But, Meijer only doubles 2 of the same coupon per transaction and I'm not yet comfortable with the multiple transactions per visit.

Kroger (highlights of my trip):
-Free Oreos - Used a Kroger Catalina (Oreos are my FAVE and I had given them up because they are never priced low enough for me)
-Whole Seedless Watermelon= $3.88
-4 Kroger Brand Tortilla Chips =$1.00 a piece (my husband loves making nachos)

I opted not to do the Juicy Juice (Nestle) deal and now I'm glad I didn't. We don't need more juice even if it is priced right. (Buy 20$ worth, get $5 off instantly - Buy 8 bottles, use 8 $1.00/1 coupons, get all 8 for $7.00)

Total $21.35


Not bad. This is about average for me right now. A few months ago I would have been spending around $115-$120. As I continue to build my stockpile I anticipate it to go down further. I would also like to purchase an additional freezer.

I will add pictures to my posts when our new camera arrives.