Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In a Pamper Craze (2 Weeks Spending)

Since I haven't posted last weeks spending yet and I'm done shopping for this week I thought I would post both weeks at the same time. They aren't necessarily in the order that I bought them.

And let's just say that our baby will have a very dry and clean behind. With all the great deals on Pampers and Huggies this week I stocked up. I also have a couple of baby gifts that I wanted to give and thought I would add a pack of pampers to what I already purchased.

CVS - (Baby - $13.59)
After the ECB these pampers were $4.00 a bag. With tax it came to $13.59. The mouthwash and toothpaste were FREE. One of them was actually a $1.00 moneymaker

Walmart - (Groceries $5.23)
(Home Care $4.04)
It's a noodle bonanza!!!! :) 23 bags of noodles are WAY more then we need. I gave 15 bags to my mom. In exchange, she gave me 1 quart of french dressing, 5 lbs of sweet potatoes and 1 fresh pineapple. Guess it's called bartering. The total of what I paid for the noodles are included in the Giant Eagle total below.

Giant Eagle - (Groceries 39.28)
Most of my expense was in the hamburger and the butter. I had $7.12 worth of butter and $24.35 in hamburger.
Rite Aid - (Baby $1.65)
The Organix shampoo & conditioner is B1G1 this week. They also have a tag on them that states you can try it for free so after I get my rebate money back they will both be free. Can't wait to try this shampoo and conditioner. Looks awesome!
Giant Eagle - (Groceries $25.24)
The ham was $18.42 so that was the bulk of the cost. My favorite purchases this week:
10lbs of flour for $1.00
Semi-boneless ham for $.99 a lb
Cream Cheese for less then $.60 a box
(Joe and I are going on a little get away this weekend. Some people call it a baby moon. :) My parents are watching the kids. I am planning on sending a bunch of food along down. With the many mouths my mom has to feed she always welcomes food. The cinnamon rolls and biscuits are a few of the things that are headed that way.)
Walmart - (Groceries $10.50)
ALWAYS double check your grocery receipts. At any store. I have made it a habit and it is amazing how many times I am overcharged for an item. I have found customer service reps to be AWESOME 95% of the time. I try to be very polite. Today I had a B1G1 coupon for soy sauce. I saw her mark it but when I looked at my receipt I was charged for both of them. I collected my $1.42 from customer service and then the kids and I took the money and put it in one of those fun round things that goes to a Children's Hospital. $1.42 really isn't a big deal but just in today's shopping I saved $6.42 by checking my receipts and visiting customer service. It all adds up.)
Rite Aid - (Baby $1.65)
This transaction was the same as the earlier one except I got some FREE candy to go along with the shampoo and conditioner. The rebate on the shampoo and conditioner is one per household. I gave this one to a friend who I thought could benefit from it and she is applying for the rebate. I wanted the Huggies.
With the coupon these were actually a $1.50 moneymaker
Target -(Home Care $3.59)
Rite Aid - (Groceries $2.29)
(Baby $5.52)
Like I said earlier, our baby should have a nice and clean behind. :)

Other expenses not pictured:

Aunt Wilma's fresh brown eggs - (Groceries $4.00)
Rite Aid - (Groceries $2.29) (Home Care $ 1.05)
Marathon - Sunday Papers (Groceries $3.25) (Home Care $3.25)

Totals for 2 weeks

Baby - $22.41
(6 bags of pampers, 2 wipes and Desitin.... Yeah!)
Groceries - $92.08
(I am finding myself stocked to the gills. I am thinking next month may be a low key shopping month while I use up some of the stuff I've stocked up on.)
Home Care - $11.93

March totals (4 weeks)

Baby - $22.41
Groceries - $182.00
Home Care - $41.16

Although posting my spending has been a bit time consuming I have found it to be really good for me. To sit down, analyze what I'm buying, how much I'm spending and what I'm spending it on.

What does your grocery budget look like?
How much do you spend?
What items do you buy? Etc......

Friday, March 19, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Joe asked what I wanted for Christmas. I said an ice cream freezer. He thought I was out of my mind. He thought if I want an ice cream freezer, I should buy an ice cream freezer. That's just not the way I work. In my mind, it's something I can do without so I'm not apt to go get one. So I finally convinced him that I was telling the truth.

So part of my '09 Christmas gift was my latest toy. You can find it HERE. I love it! It is SO easy to use! Thanks to all of my friends who gave input on ice cream freezers.

I've been trying different recipes and wanted to share my favorite. It's Strawberry Cheesecake. Yum! Wish I could have some for breakfast.......

If you look at the recipe you'll notice it says 15 minutes preparation time + cooling + freezing. I would like to say the preparation time took about 45 minutes, not 15. By the time the milk gets hot, then you follow the next step and the next step it takes longer then the time they mention.

But....it is well worth the time! Not an overpowering ice cream. Just a light flavor of strawberries and cream cheese.

And maybe my lengthy preparation time had something to do with my 'help'. Seems like I'm blessed with an abundance of kitchen helpers. The counter top has more space filled with my kidders then with the food I'm working on.

Sometimes my 'help' gets bored as you can see.

I give the CuisinArt Ice Cream Freezer 5 stars. It was exactly what I wanted. It does exactly what I need it to do. And it doesn't take a lot of work.

Do you have a favorite ice cream recipe???? I'd love to have some new ones to try. Feel free to share your favorite recipe or leave a link to your favorite one.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Last Weeks Free Stuff

Yes, this is actually last weeks free stuff. Not this week. Better late then never, eh?

The weather has been perfect. I've migrated out doors and have started tackling the seemingly endless amount of flowerbeds. If you've never been to our place here's a small glimpse of what our back yard looks like in a month or two.
(I can't seem to locate the pictures I was looking for so these will have to do...)

But on to the point of this post........ Free Stuff!

From the mailbox : I think I now have 30 Pampers and Huggies diapers from samples. The best part is the coupons that come with the samples. Makes for great diaper deals.

Other then that, nothing too exciting. More shampoo, pad and tampon samples. And my first issue of Focus on the Family Thriving Family magazine.

From the Store:
Giant Eagle - Coffee Mate Creamer $1.50 Used $.75 coupon which got doubled = FREE!

Rite Aid - John Frieda Shampoo & Conditioner on sale for 3/$15 Got 3. Used $3/$12 Rite Aid Survey coupon. Used 3-$3/1 Coupons. Balance is $3. Submit for $5.00 Single Check Rebate.

Target - Used FREE Kashi Cereal or Crackers coupon from Vocal Point.

Used 2-$1/1 Johnson Baby coupons for Johnson Soap Buddies. Soap Buddies are regular price of $.97 so FREE after coupon.

Stacked Manufacturer and Target Coupons to score FREE light bulbs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Honest Frugality

As much as I enjoy saving a dollar here and there I have found there are times that I need to say "no". There are certain sites and certain people that seem to promote trying to get away with as MUCH as possible. Like using coupons on products that they were not at all intended to be used for. Or if a coupon is very specific in it's listing and people try to use it for a different item then what is listed. My intent is to be frugal AND honest.

Now here's a bit of a different twist. I would love to have feedback from my friends to get as many opinions as possible.

I have received a few offers. One from Target and one from Babies R Us. Both of them are offering a $20 or $25 gift card when signing up for a baby registry. They do not have specific requirements listed. I could easily sign up for a baby registry, enter a few things and get a gift card. Here's the thing: I really would not be planning on using the registry at all.

In your mind, is this
ok since it doesn't list specifics OR do you feel like this is taking advantage of the system???

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Weeks Spending

Paypal - (10.41 Groceries)
Do you think it looks like our thirst may be quenched? :) I was able to use my raincheck this week and finish my annual stock up project on Gatorade. The Gatorade was free after coupon plus I got a $4.00 Catalina to use towards next weeks groceries. As you can see I did spend 10.41 on the coupons. If you figure in the coupon price as well as the Catalinas I paid $.32 each.

Giant Eagle - ($2.97 Home Care)
($16.66 Groceries)

CVS - ($.81 Home Care)
Big spender, eh? There were a few other items that I wanted but had to settle for rainchecks. Joe is always happy when I can get another razor to add to his collection. Cheap disposable razors are NOT for this family.....

Aldi - ($8.94 Groceries)
What a fun picture. :) I'm sure you've always wanted to see a bunch of lettuce, some broccoli and some cheese. This was the third store that I checked and couldn't get romaine lettuce. Must be a shortage out there..... Guess all my friends at church carry in will get to eat iceberg lettuce this time.

Rite Aid - (10.92 Home Care)
I was quite excited to get this shampoo. I've heard it's really good and it was a money maker. After my single check rebate I made a dollar on it. It pained me to pay $10.00 for the White Strips but they never end up being free. Guess I should be happy. The original price on them was $44.99. Who really pays the actual sticker price at drug stores?????????
Target - (FREE!)
I didn't actually walk out of the store with a balance of $0.00. I helped Hannah pick out a birthday gift for one of her friends and we paid for the gift along with getting these free items.

Buehlers - ($10.05 Groceries)
Purchased last week after I had posted my spending so it gets added into this weeks. Let's just say I should have purchased 5 bags of those tomatoes. They were AWESOME! They were almost as good as eating candy. I know- I sound like I've lost a few marbles but they really were THAT good. Pregnant women and their taste buds.....

Marathon - ($4.75 Home Care)
I bought 3 Sunday papers this week because there were a lot of coupons that I thought I could use down the road. I'm still trying to figure out a way to get more coupon inserts without having to pay for them. If anyone out there is tossing their inserts, please send them my way!

Weekly Total
Groceries - $46.06
Home Care - $19.45

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Giant Eagle Deals of the Week 3/11-3/18

There aren't too many deals to get all excited about this week but here's a few that I thought I might venture in to get.

Betty Crocker Cake Mix or Frosting (12-20.5 oz.), 10/$10
$0.50/1 Betty Crocker Frosting Tub printable
$0.50/1 Betty Crocker Frosting Tub, exp. 4-3-10 (GM 02/07/10)
As low as FREE after doubled coupon!

(I don't use a lot of icing. Especially not straight from a jar but I have found that Hannah and her little friends LOVE to bake cupcakes, ice them and decorate them. This is perfect because it's one less step for me and it's easy for them to use. 3 cheers for free icing!!)

Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing or KC Marinades (16 oz.), 4/$10
$1/1 Hidden Valley Bottled Dressing printable
As low as $1.50 ea. after coupon!

(Joe's favorite kind of ranch dressing! A must have at our house. I think I may have to check the price at Walmart to make sure this is a better price then what I could get at Walmart. Don't have this item listed in my price book yet.)

Giant Eagle Butter Quarters (1 lb.), $1.78

92% Lean Ground Beef $2.59/lb.

(My freezer is lacking ground beef at the moment. I think I'll get a bit to tide me over till a better sale. If you know of a great sale, please let me know. I'm looking for 90-93% lean.)

Kellogg's Fruit Snacks (9 oz.), 5/$10

$1/1 Kellogg's Fruit Flavored Snacks printable
$1.50/1 Coupon in Vocal Point Mailer
As low as $.50 each after coupon!

(Special treats for Matthew during church... Yeah!)

You can also score FREE deodorant this week. There are numerous printable links. You can find a full list of Giant Eagle deals at Savings in Akron. You'll find the deodorant printables listed under 'Health & Beauty'.

So what deals am I overlooking? Let me know......

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today i will attempt to explain myself as well as answer some questions that I have received. They are random and not in any specific order.

Question: Do I feel everyone should shop the way I do?

Answer: NO. There are a lot of things to be considered. Your time, the needs of your family, your children's ages, your driving distance, your personality, your interests, etc.

Question: Do I enjoy shopping this way?

Answer: Yes! Yes! Yes! I enjoy the challenge of it and have enjoyed trying to figure out what works best for my family. I will see if I continue enjoying the challenge after child #3 makes it's arrival. Somehow, hauling 3 kids in and out of 4 or 5 stores doesn't sound too fun. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Question: Why did I start this blog?

Answer: A lot of my friends had questions about it. When I get excited about it I can't seem to keep my mouth shut and it seemed like a good way to tell my friends why it has worked well for me. I was also hoping some of my friends who are pros at this could critique me and give me tips and pointers.

Question: Do I feel everyone should try to live more frugally?

Answer: Yes. I believe most people raise their standard of living every time their income is raised. The whole idea of being frugal is not because you are forced to save money or spend less but because you can use that money elsewhere or give to those in need.

Question: What are some of my favorite sites?

1. All time favorite -
Hip2Save (she does a lot of posting so you may find yourself feeling like you're wading through a lot of stuff that isn't useful to you. Her match ups are almost always correct and legal. :) I've found some other sites try to use coupons for items other then the size or product they were intended to be used for.)

Money Saving Mom (She has a lot of stuff to wade through but writes some wonderful articles on menu planning, shopping and saving)

Frugal & Thrifty Mama (Love this because I know Michelle and it's been great to connect with her this way. It's not fair that she has a Krogers though. :) If you are a newbie, Michell's site is perfect for you. You would benefit from all her posts without having to wade through a bunch of other stuff.)

Saving in Akron (The only reason I use this site is because it's the best site I've found for Giant Eagle match ups.)

What's your favorite site? Maybe there's a site that I've been missing out on all this time. Please enlighten me!

Question: Which Sunday paper has the best coupons?

Answer: The bigger the city, the more coupons will be included. Our small town papers often don't have near all the coupons in them. The biggest one sold in Dalton is the Akron-Beacon Journal.

Question: What does do the little letters stand for in coupon match ups?

Answer: RP stands for Red Plum, SS stands for Smart Source and P&G stands for Proctor & Gamble. These are the 3 different inserts that are sometimes found in Sundays paper. Hip2Save has written some great stuff on couponing basics. I would recommend you check out her 'Couponing 101'.

Question: If a person doesn't have a lot of time, how can I best save money?

Answer: I think one of the fastest ways to save a buck or two is price matching at Walmart. Take some sale papers, circle the best deals and price match it. You don't need to hop from one store to the next to save. I never pay more then $.33 a lb for bananas or $1.99 for milk. Those are two items I buy every week and price matching enables me to save on them every week too.

Question: Do we eat a lot of rice and beans?

Answer: Actually, I love rice and beans (and lots of other Mexican fare) but somehow I don't think that was the point of this question. :) In my opinion, we eat very well and not like some poverty stricken family. My husband is a meat eater and I don't think I could get away with cooking very many vegetarian type meals. I try to stock up on meat when the price is right. Meat is still a big chunk of my grocery budget.

Now it's my turn to ask the questions? What are some of your living frugal/money saving tips? (Grocery, Eating Out, Around the House, Etc.) How often do you go get groceries and other household goods?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Stuff

Here's a quick recap of last week's free stuff.
Giant Eagle- Always be on the look out for .75 cent coupons. Since Giant Eagle doubles coupons it can make for free items especially when paired with a sale. The sandwiches and gum were more then free but Giant Eagle doesn't give overage. (Overage is when your coupon is worth more then the product and it becomes a moneymaker. The balance of the coupon goes towards other items that you purchase.)

Freebies from my mailbox - The Teecinno was an organic chai sample. They sent enough to brew 6 cups which is a pretty nice sample. We did enjoy it. Too bad it's SO pricey.

Also, has anyone tried the Purex 3 in 1? I haven't tried mine yet but they sent enough for 3 loads. It kind of intrigues me. Throw in one strip and it's the detergent, the fabric softener and then you throw the sheet in the dryer with your clothes too. Hmmm....

As always, the best part of the Kotex sample is the coupon. It's usually a nice dollar value and it doesn't expire as soon as the ones you get in the paper or print online.

The pullup sample also comes with coupons. I always take those to the local library. They have a coupon swap of sorts. I take in the coupons that I'm not planning on using and get some that I would like to have. Great way to get extra coupons for items you really like.

CVS & Rite Aid - I have been learning that the bigger box is not always the better deal. Therefore, 4 little boxes for free is worth more to me then the 4 larger boxes I could have gotten for $.50 each. It comes down to what I spend OOP. (out of pocket) And with a new month almost all the coupons reset and I can get a fresh supply of coupons.
Hope you have a wonderful week! I am enjoying the beautiful sunshine that is streaming in my window at the moment. Makes me itch to start working in flowerbeds and the garden!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weekly Spending

In the interest of keeping myself accountable in my spending habits and for those of you who have asked what my weekly spending looks like. Here's an attempt at showing you. I think over a months time you will have a more accurate picture of how I attempt to do things. I'm learning as I go.
I have 3 separate categories: Groceries, Home Care and Baby.
Groceries = Food
Home Care = Personal Care Products, Laundry Detergent, Styrofoam Plates, Etc.
Baby = Recently started fund to purchase pampers at great prices instead of waiting till we need them.
This weeks shopping was a bit abnormal. On Monday evening the kids and I hitched a ride to Wooster with Joe. While he took his guitar lesson we went to CVS and Rite Aid. After his lesson we stopped at Kohls and Walmart.
On Wednesday I had to take the car to Massillon for an oil change. So I stopped at Walgreens, Giant Eagle, Walmart and Kmart.
I am not a big advocate of driving all over creation for deals but I like to have lists made in case my errand destination coincides with a store that I like I can make a little pit stop.
Walgreens - $1.00 (Groceries)

Kmart - $9.04 (Home Care)
-216 loads worth of detergent @ $9.04 = $.04 a load
Walmart - $5.66 (Groceries)
-Milk was marked $3.38 a gallon. Priced matched it with Fishers and got it for $1.77 a gallon.

Giant Eagle - $16.21 (Groceries)
-My husband and brother LOVE Wheaties Fuel. I was able to get 5 boxes for $5.00. You may think that buying a bunch of Gatorade isn't that budget friendly. I have found it is for our family. Joe used to run to the gas station down the road before many hockey, softball or volleyball games and get Gatorade at the gas station price. Last year I bought 30 bottles of Powerade at a great price and it lasted till now. So I got 10 this week and got a rain check for 20 more. We should be set for another year. :)
Rite Aid - ($3.50 Groceries & $.74 Home Care)

Walmart - ($14.24 Groceries)
Marathon - ($3.25 Groceries)
~some weeks the Sunday paper expense gets taken out of the grocery budget and some weeks it gets taken out of the home care budget
Weekly Total
Groceries - $43.86
Home Care - $9.78

(Side Note: Last month I did some serious stocking up on bonesless, skinless chicken breast while it was on sale and went over my grocery budget just a bit. I'm going to try and keep it around $50.00 a week but I'm also placing my garden order from Henry Fields and think that should probably come out of my grocery budget too. Hopefully the garden will pay me back this summer. :) I'm also planning on buying an apple tree. Yeah~!~ :) Wish me luck! )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fun and Free

In my little world, free is fun. And I wanted to share a little of my free fun with you. :)
(I got this idea from a coupon/savings mentor of mine. I got to know her through her blog and she posted her free items every week. She isn't going to be doing that anymore but I thought I might steal/borrow the idea from her. You can check out Rachel's blog HERE. I've garnered a lot of great information through her blog.)
Here's last weeks freebies that came in the mail. I think I got a few from CVS or Rite Aid that didn't make it on the list.
1. Busy Moms Bible - what an awesome freebie!
I was a little skeptical when I signed up for this one? Who gives away a Bible that retails for $24.99. I did agree to write a paragraph in review of this product. It's a pretty neat and I've been enjoying it already.

2. A huge mound of 'free' vegetables and rice.
These are the same vegetables that I blogged about earlier. I had to get a rain check for 30 of the 40 and last week I was able to get them. Yeah! If I remember correctly I would have paid $.14 per coupon but it's close enough to free to enter into the freebie category.

3. A sample of Kashi cereal from Vocal Point.
It may not look like that much but it came with a coupon for a FREE full size box of Kashi cereal as well as 4 other $1.50 off coupons.
Oftentimes the coupons that come with the samples are the best part of the package.

4. Corduroy - Matthews book of the month from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
This is a really neat program that the kids have been part of for almost 2 years now. Every month they get a book mailed to them. It's for kids age 5 and under, I believe. We've gotten some really neat books through this program. (I think there have been 2 books that have entered the garbage because mom (me) didn't think they were good. You may want to check and see if there is a sponsor in your area. If so, this program is available to you and your kids.

Well, guess this wraps up my 'fun' for one evening. :)