Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'll be Gone for Awhile....

Briefly, I've injured my shoulder and will be away from the keyboard for awhile.  Keep some good thoughts for me over the next few days that the doc can diagnose this quickly and there is something they can do for me.  At this point I'd settle for a mega painkiller as the pain has kept me from sleeping for 2 days.

Oh yeah, and it really sucks typing with one hand!

'Til later...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Old Spice Anyone?

Well I have NOT been shopping all week!
I finally broke down today and headed up to...where else?....Rite-Aid!

I needed a few things before the week and the SCR period for March ended--product to qualify for the NYC cosmetic $1 rebate, 3 more John Frieda items for the 3rd $5 SCR and another $1 worth of something Johnson & Johnson since I miscalculated and only hit the $49 and change mark on the J&J Buy $50/Get $25 SCR deal.
I have 2 John Frieda Root Awakening items rainchecks for the $5 sale price on those products but the stores are still out of the RA 'Poos here and I don't need Conditioners, dang it!  So I'll have to buy the reg. priced Frizz Ease products for the last JFrieda $5 rebate.  Not too bad though, as I get a 10% Wellness discount on the reg. price so they are only $5.84 instead of $6.49.

I did 2 transactions.

2 x Old Spice Red Zone Spray on sale $2.99=$5.98
1 x Old Spice Red Zone Deodorant on sale=$2.99
1 x Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash on sale=$2.99
1 x Johnson's Baby Shampoo on sale=$2.99
1 x JFrieda Frizz-Easse 'Poo wellness discount=$5.19**


Coupons Used
1 x $5/$20 AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x BOGO Old Spice Body Spray ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.99
1 x $2/1 Old Spice Deodorant WYB OS Body Wash ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Old Spice Body Wash WYB OS Deodorant ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Any Skin Care product $2.99 or more Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Any Johnson's Product IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Any Johnson's Baby Product In-Ad Q=$1.00
1 x $3/1 JFrieda product ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $1/1 JFrieda Frizz-Ease product AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$19.99

$20.14-$19.99=$.15 +$.01 tax=$.16 OOP Put on Rite-Aid Gift Card so ZERO Spending.

SCRebates qualified for....$25 J&J Spend $50/Get $25 back

**Well, I thought I had a 10% Wellness discount on any regularly priced the 'Poo should have been $5.84.  But it rang up $5.19, with is a 20% discount.  I knew I was close to enough points for the 20% discount so I guess I am now up to the next discount level. ;-)

That went so well so I went back in and basically did it again.....

2 x Old Spice Red Zone Spray on sale $2.99=$5.98
1 x Old Spice Red Zone Deodorant on sale=$2.99
1 x Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash on sale=$2.99
1 x NYC Lip Gloss wellness discount=$2.39****
1 x JFrieda Frizz-Easse 'Poo wellness discount=$5.19
1 x Trident Gum on sale=$1.00***

Coupons Used
1 x $5/$20 AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x BOGO Old Spice Body Spray ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.99
1 x $2/1 Old Spice Deodorant WYB OS Body Wash ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Old Spice Body Wash WYB OS Deodorant ManuQ(2/21 P&G insert)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Any Skin Care product $2.99 or more Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Any Cosmetic item $2.99 or more Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $3/1 JFrieda product ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $1/1 JFrieda Frizz-Ease product AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$19.99

$20.54-$19.99=$.55 OOP  Put on Rite-Aid Gift Card so ZERO Spending.

 ***I didn't realize I got a 20% discount until THE END of this transaction.   The NYC cosmetic only rang up $2.39 instead of the $2.69 I was expecting, so my Total was under $20($19.54).  The register still took the AdPerks $5 off $20 IPQ however.  We realized the problem when the register wouldn't let the cashier imput my last $2 Q, as my total at that point was only $1.54.  Doh! lol
So I added the pack of gum which made my starting total over $20 so I really could use the $5 off $20 Q and then the last $2/1 Q went through, leaving a balance of .54¢.
****And the $2 off any item over $2.99 type Wellness coupons--I haven't had a problem using them on items that are under $2.99 after the discount.  They ring up over $2.99 initially, then the discount is applied bringing their price under $2.99.  As long as the item starts out over that $2.99 or whatever the threshold price is, there is no problem.  I just wanted to explain that if anyone were to notice.

This transaction I qualified for...$1 SCR for NYC Cosmetic $2.99 or more.

I still need to go back tomorrow and buy 1 more John Frieda product to finish off BIL's 3rd Kao Brands-Buy 3/Get $5 SCR.
I also plan to buy a Veet product in that transaction for the $3 Veet SCR for BIL's account.

And now I have to remember to adjust my totals for the 20% level of Wellness discount when figuring my scenarios/totals/oop.
My head hurts.....


Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Know He is Spinning in His Grave!

I've been working hard the last 2 days out in the stockpile.  While I'm gone here's something to keep you entertained.

Someone on a yahoo group I am on shared this withe me.
I thought this was a hoot and worth sharing with my readers.

And if A. Marie is over here from SonyaAnn's blog, it is OK TO LOOK! ;-)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keeping the Easter Basket Scene Frugal

Today I'd like to continue talking about yesterday's Easter basket post theme found HERE

With many people having less money in their budgets due to the recession, even if you never considered being frugal when putting together your kids' Easter baskets before, you may be forced by circumstances now to downsize your holiday spending.   My thinking about Easter buying is, "Why spend more than you have to, no matter your budget?".

You can provide a nice Easter basket/goodies spread for your kids without breaking the bank.
Here are some ways to save money.

1.Set a Budget.  Either set a budget per child or a total budget for all baskets.  But set one and stay within your budget.

2. Know your child.  Figure out if they could only get 1 thing, what would make them the happiest?  Would your child like candy the most or what they prefer a toy?  With the cost of chocolate nowadays, in some cases it might be cheaper to get them a toy!lol

Keep your child's likes/dislikes in mind.  What's the point of filling their basket with $1 store toys if those aren't the kinds of things they prefer...or malted milk balls that were a great deal if they won't eat them?  Yes, it might be cheap to shop at the $ store but if the toys break within the first 5 minutes it's not a deal.

3. Decide what price tier of chocolate/candies to buy.  When it comes to buying candy/chocolate, there are the off brands, name brands and high end brands.

Off Brands are the least expensive but often they contain artificial ingredients.  Some people don't mind that and some do.  You need to spend your money the best way for your needs. I am talking Palmer's and other brands you find at discount retailers(Family Dollar, Dollar General, WalMart, Dollar Stores, etc.)

If you really prefer the major name brands of goodies(Hershey, M&M/Mars, etc.)there are ways to bring the cost of them down using sales and coupons.  Check out the major drug stores at this time of year, as they are running sales on the seasonal candies.  Combine those sales with manufacturer's coupons as well as store coupons to snag the name brand candy for as little or less than the off-brands.

If you can't compromise on quality and only the high-end specialty chocolate and candy will do, try to find coupon codes and deals online for those brands.  Google or Bing or Swagbucks or whatever search engine you prefer, the names of brands like Godiva, See's, etc.  You may be able to find a deal somewhere. 

Another way to save money on the candy/chocolate is to NOT buy the specialty packages for the Holiday.  Often times, specially wrapped candy/chocolate for the holiday is either more expensive per ounce or you get less product in the package compared to the non-seasonally packages of the same product.
To save money when this is the case, buy 1 bigger seasonally wrapped item(like a bunny shaped or egg shaped chocolate)and use everyday shaped/wrapped/packaged candies/chocolates as the smaller "filler" candies.
Something I do to keep the candy/chocolate cost down is to buy Christmas and Valentine's candies on deep discount during the holiday clearance sales and use it for Easter basket goodies.  I'll pick out the silver, gold, white and green wrapped/colored Christmas candies and the silver, pink and white colored Valentine's candies for the Easter baskets.  Add in a little lavender and light blue Easter themed candies and who can tell?lol

4. Reuse what you can from one year to the next.
When I was a kid, we reused the same basket & fake grass every year.  You don't need to buy the container you use new each year.  Unless you have a really really huge Easter basket, you should have sufficient storage somewhere in your home to stow it away until next year.  Same goes for the grass, and any decorations. Heck, if you wrap the basket in cellophane, you should be able to reuse that as well from year to year.

5. Get if for FREE or Get creative and think outside the basket.
If you don't presently have an Easter basket and grass, for goodness sakes, do NOT go buy them new!  There are numerous places you can find perfectly good baskets for cheap or free even.  Try yard sales, ask friends if they have old baskets hanging around in their attics or garages(I bet most everybody has at least one!), ask on CraigsList or any Free or Barter type local newspapers or online groups.

If you can't find a typical Easter basket for cheap or free that way, think outside the box.  An Easter basket doesn't have to be an Easter basket.  How about using an old Beach Pail, a free pastry flour bucket you can get from your local bakery, a cardboard box covered with self sticking wallpaper scraps or gift wrap you have laying around the house.  If you can crochet, how about a crocheted or knitted basket, a basket made out of string that you can stiffen with glue like THIS.  I have also seen this same idea used to make a basket out of sugar.  Any container you can think of has the potential to be turned into an Easter basket.  You are only limited by the reach of your imagination!

And if you don't have any plastic grass for gosh sakes, DON'T BUY ANY!  Plastic grass is so not environmentally friendly! Try shredding some old bills or papers in place of pre-made grass.  If you need color in your grass then use watered down paints or food coloring to give it that springy pizazz.  If you Must buy grass, buy something that is compost friendly, that's made of paper products or even the edible candy grass.

6.  Stay away from Pre-Wrapped Baskets.
The least frugal thing you can do is to buy one of those pre-assembled Easter baskets.  You know....the ones where all the goodies are already put in the baskets and it's wrapped in cellophane.  Sometimes the price may seem like a deal but look at what is actually IN the basket.  If you add up the cost of the items they contain, usually you can save money by assembling the exact same items.

7.  Hit the After Easter Clearance Sales.
While this tip won't help you this Holiday season to be frugal, check out the prices on the leftovers in the stores when Easter is over.  There are many good opportunities to pick up items for next year on the cheap like baskets,  accessories and toys as well.  Often companies will put out Easter or Spring themed versions of their toys.  Major retailers generally put these toys on clearance with the Easter themed items even though the toy itself isn't's just packaged in a seasonal way.  You can get great deals on toys that way that you can put back and give for Birthdays or at Christmas.
It's even possible to pick up candy/chocolate during the Holiday Clearance sales to use next year.  While I don't recommend this, if you can store the candy in such a way that it won't deteriorate, you can save lots.  I have bought M&Ms and packed them away in the freezer until next year and they looked and tasted the same as a freshly made bag.  Not all candies/chocolates can be kept so long so use your own discretion.

When shopping the sales, just be sure that the CLEARANCE signs don't cause your common sense to leave your brain.  A deal isn't a deal if you really don't need it!  Getting 3 Easter baskets for $.25 each on clearance is great if you NEED 3 baskets, but not so great if you don't NEED that many.  It's always a great idea to MAKE A LIST of what you NEED before you hit the clearance sales.  And stick to your list!!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Goodies....How Much Is Too Much?

When I was a kid.....or as my kid's would phrase it, "when dinosaurs roamed the Earth", Easter was a simpler affair.  Ok, not the religious part of it(if you are religious), but the 'Easter Bunny' part of it.

Back then there were 3 'kid holidays'....Easter, Halloween and Christmas.  The 1st two of those holidays were all about the C-A-N-D-Y & the last was all about the Presents.  Since we didn't get candy all year round(like kids seem to get today), getting that Easter basket of chocolates or that Halloween bag of candy was sure special to us and thus, it was something that you appreciated, no matter how little you actually got.

Our Easter baskets looked something like this....but not quite this full.

There was a basket, some fake grass and an assortment of chocolate, jelly beans and marshmallow 'peeps' or other non-chocolate candies.  Most everything was presented in special Easter wrapping or foil and sometimes in special shapes(rabbits, eggs, etc.).  Most kids in my neighborhood got 1 big chocolate item like a large hollow Rabbit or a big filled Egg and then other much smaller chocolates and candies were sprinkled over the fake grass to fill up the basket.  And if your mom was one of those creative types, like mine, your basket got decorated or accessorized with ribbon, bows and pastel cellophane wrapping.
The basket pictured above would have been one of your 'high end' Easter Baskets back then.

When I became a mom back in the early '90's, I modeled my kid's baskets on what I remembered from my childhood.  There was 1 big item and then smaller candies/chocolates filling out the basket.  I also started putting small toy items in my kid's baskets since all the experts at the time were telling us NOT to focus so much on candy as it was BAD for you.  Mostly what I bought was inexpensive stuff...crayons, coloring book, silly putty, super ball, cap gun, small stuffed bunny or chick, etc.  I probably spent $10-$15 on each kid. 
When they got older(12 & up), they still got some small candies/chocolates and the 1 big item became something they wanted(like a not-too-expensive gift they wanted for Christmas but didn't get), like a gameboy game, Pokemon or Magic cards, a music cd, a World of Warcraft time card, etc.    I spent more on the baskets/gifts at this age, about $25-$30 for each kid. 
No matter their age, when it came to Easter Baskets, the items they received had to fit in the baskets.
They would never have gotten the basket pictures below.....

My rule of thumb....if you can't fit everything in the basket, you shouldn't be buying that much!
And there is no cheating and buying a bigger basket when there is too much stuff to fit in the basket you already

Let me just say it has been hard for me to hold to my Easter basket guidelines over the years.

Because I have seen and I have heard from my kids about the goodies their friends receive from their parents over the years.  Just talking Easter here(Christmas was much MUCH worse!), their friends' baskets have been all about expensive presents with a tiny bit of chocolate thrown in.  They got things that you couldn't actually fit in an Easter basket.....x-box of playstation game systems, bikes, skateboards, new wardrobes, tvs for their own rooms and on and on. 
It's no wonder most of my kids' friends' parents have no money and massive credit card debt.

What's my point?
Gee, I don't know.....
Maybe not every holiday needs to be all about spending money and buying too much, be it candy or stuff.
Maybe we should cut down the amount we are spending on this holiday too like we need to cut down on all the money spent on Christmas?

The daughter doesn't want any candy/chocolate this year.  I'll still decorate a basket for her as well as #2 son since it is tradition.  I'll get them both a gift card this year to put in the basket(along with some chocolate for #2 son).   
I've spent $80 total, between the 3 kids and hubby for Easter.  Since we reuse the baskets, decorations, etc. there is no expense for's just the gift cards and the candy/chocolate.  I've already gotten most of the chocolate/candy thanks to all my Rite-Aid deals over the last month so that's almost Zero OOP for the food components.

How much do you spend on your kid's Easter basket?  Do you have a budget for that?  Do you even do Easter baskets?
What do you do to be frugal at Easter time?


It Pays to Squeak!

A few weeks ago....maybe it was a month ago already, one of the couponing blogs I read(can't remember which one)alerted me to the FREE Double Stuff Oreo Cakesters Coupon that was available to members of the Kraft First Taste program.
Since I am a member of that program I went to the site, from a different computer from mine that didn't have printer capabilities, just to look.

A few hours later, I was able to access the site again from my computer, so I could print the coupon out.
Well, at that point, the coupon was gone.....yep, all I could get was some link to more information about this new product.
No coupon.
Oh goody.....

At that point I started steaming.
Not a good kind of steaming either.

I signed up for this Kraft First Taste Program about a year ago.
At the time I signed up there was an 'offer' to try a new Oscar Meyer Deli Creations product.
I promptly signed up for the offer.
No coupon printing link appeared, so I figured they would snail mail me a free item coupon.
And that didn't happen either.

I went to the site again a month or so later and saw that there was now a SURVEY available for me to fill out.  A Survey about what I thought of the OM Deli Creations product I got a Free Coupon for, that I had supposedly bought and eaten.
Well, since I figured they wouldn't let me have another FREE ITEM Offer unless I filled out the Survey for this item, I went and paid out of my pocket to buy one of these Deli Creations, ate it and filled out their survey.

Then in Jan. 2010 I had an 'offer' to try DiGiorno 200 Cal. Portion Pizza.  I filled out to get the FREE Item Coupon and again, no print your coupon link nor anything snail mailed.
Again, a Survey appeared for me to fill out a few weeks later.
I ended up buying this item, for full price again, so I could fill out the survey and be eligible for more offers.

So this Oreo offer/non-offer was just the topping on the cake-ster!

I emailed Kraft and just laid into them about the totally inept way this program is/was handled.  I told them if they were just going to keep 'offering' me products but not following through with free product or discounts at the very least, they should NOT expect me to spend a DIME out of my own pocket on their products and then spend my valuable time filling out their lame surveys.
I am usually a pretty low-key 'don't make waves' kind of gal but....
Oh, I was hot!

I figured....mega corporation wouldn't give a rats hiney about this email, so, yah....I would not get a response.  At least I felt better venting about it.

Well lookie at what showed up in the mail about a week later.....

 A "we're sorry you never got your coupons" letter and 3 'Free Item' Coupons for an Oscar Mayer product, a DiGiorno product and a Nabisco product.

This certainly made me feel better.
Not sure if I'll still have issues with this program in the future since I don't know if it's me, the website or my computer that causes this hassle.

Has anyone else had problems accessing the offers online for this First Taste Program?
If not, then I'm just a moron who can't figure it out or I have an old lame computer.....I'd like to think that it's the latter choice. ;-)

At any rate, I'll find out whether I'll even bother with this program in the fullness of time.
But it shows that sometimes it does indeed pay to be the squeaky wheel.

Be the wheel.
Be the squeak.
Get the goodies!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday.....March 22nd Edition w/Spending Breakdown & 2 Recipe Links

Last Week's Menu Postmortem...
Everything was served as planned except the Corned Beef.  Couldn't find an inexpensive deal on Corned Beef anywhere last week.  I found one on Sunday so we are on for Corned Beef this week.

Here's what I will be serving our family of 4 this Week.....our household presently consists of 2 adults and 2 teens at home.  No children under 14.

This week we'll be using 2 leftover proteins to make two new meals. Since alot of what I am serving is stockpiled, I'm adding a Cost Breakdown Section where I'll list what I paid for the ingredients that are on hand so you can see what I spend w/stockpiling & sales versus buying it weekly when it might not be on sale. If I use a leftover ingredient I won't add that cost as it was already figured into the previous meal's cost.

MONDAY--Beef Tips w/Gravy(leftover), Egg Noodles(stockpile), Broccoli(have)
TUESDAY--Lena's Lemon Pepper Chicken(freezer), Rice(stockpile), Zucchini(have)
WEDNESDAY--Haluski(have & stockpile), Kielbasi or Sausage(freezer)
THURSDAY--Creamy Potatoes and Ham(using leftover ham/need to buy potatoes) , Wax & Green Beans(freezer)
FRIDAY--Fish(freezer), Coleslaw(have & stockpile), Fries(need to buy)
SATURDAY--Ravioli with Sauce(freezer/stockpile), Spinach Salad(need to buy spinach)

Here are the cost breakdowns...
Beef Tips in Gravy Meal--Beef is leftover(.00¢), flour and soup base for gravy(.30¢), egg noodles(.50¢), broccoli($1.50)=$2.30
Lemon Pepper Chicken w/Zucchini--chicken($1.03),lemon pepper/flour(.85¢), oil(.75¢),zucchini($2.46), tomatoes(.99¢), rice($1)=$7.08
Halushki Kielbasa Dinner--Cabbage(.78¢), Egg Noodles(.50¢), Onions(.25¢), Kielbasa($3.98), Butter(.40¢), Salt/Pepper(.05¢)=$5.96
Potato & Ham Dinner--Ham leftovers(free), Potatoes($1), Butter (.60¢), Cream Cheese($1), Cheese($1), Milk(.50¢), Spices(.30¢), Green Beans($1)=$5.40
Fish Dinner--Flounder($5.99),Hush Puppy Mix for breading(.50¢), Oil for frying(.70¢), Cabbage(.78¢), Mayo, Sugar, Celery Seed & Vinegar(.75¢), Potatoes(.99¢)=$9.71
Ravioli Dinner--Ravioli($6.00), Pasta Sauce($1.25), Spinach($2.00), 2 Eggs(.15¢), Bacon(.50¢), Dressing(.09¢)=$9.99

Adding up what has already been spent and what I need to spend for this week's menu, I can serve this menu of 6 meals to a family of 4 adults/teens for a total of $40.44.

Leftover nights have no cost as they were already figured in when the meal was served the first time.  If you divide the meals' cost by 6 nights(Sunday is dining out & that's on the enterainment budget), you get an average cost per night of $6.74.  That's $1.69 per person per night.  And this is mostly a cooking from scratch menu.  The only 'processed foods' is the pasta sauce for the ravioli.   Who says you can't cook healthy on the cheap?

$17.39 was spent on food/toiletries last week...all of that was on food actually.  Much better than my previous week's total of $135+.  The only stocking-up I did this past week was a few corned beef briskets and I used Catalinas to pay.  A bit over the $10 mark I tried to stay under but not bad overall.

$12.81 at Weis(for milk and cheese), $.07 at CVS(using $4 ECBs), $3.92 at Price Chopper NE  and $.59 OOP at Rite-Aid on bunches of stuff.  I got some produce & sliced cheese at the small independent grocery also but no OOP since I used that Gift Card I had won last year.

The only NEEDS for this week's menu are potatoes and fresh spinach.  I didn't get potatoes last week for the Corned Beef dinner since we had biscuits already and didn't need more carbs in that meal.  No law saying you have to have taters with corned beef, right?lol  But I have 2 meals this week that need that ingredient so a bag of potatoes is on the list.
I have a $7 Cat to use(not Cat deals at Weis this week so no rolling it) so if I get over to the Weis that takes IPQs I'll use the IP BOGO Potatoes Q and use the Cat to pay, netting me some free taters.

Nothing wasted this week...Again! 8-))

Check out ORGANIZING JUNKIE to see what other Home Cooks are serving this week.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

And the Pillsbury Giveaway Winner is.....

I wrote all the names/entries on slips of paper and had DH pull the winner.  This is the 'scientific method' as my buddy Marilyn calls it. ;-)

So the Winner is.....

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}

Congratulations and you have 48 hours from the time stamp on this post to email me with your name and address Cheryl.
You can find my contact email on my profile page.

Thanks to everyone for playing and thanks again to MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury for supplying gifties for this Giveaway.

The next installment of My famous Boring Box Giveaway will begin stay tuned!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

HAPPY SPRING! & This Just In.....Spending Update

Most people would say that this picture is their image of Spring.

But here in PA, this is what we see in our mind's eye when we think Spring.....

 Every year on the 1st Day of Spring, Rita's Italian Ice locations give away FREE Italian Ice!
Now how cool is that?!

I remember one year after we moved here, #2 son was in Kindergarten, which was a half day affair at that time.  I took him down to one of the local Rita's after school for our free Italian ice.  It was rainy/sleety and cold as a debutante's stare, but we had to get our ice!  Heck, we could have stood in the parking lot and held our cups up and gotten our own ice thanks to Mother Nature, if you know what I

That year even sitting in the car shivering with the heater on, we still had to get our ices.
Unfortunately, today we missed out on the free ice.  And it was the most beautiful 1st Day of Spring on which to eat an ice.  Warm as puppy dog kisses it was....

So how is everyone doing staying on budget this month?

Since we are 2/3 of the way through March, I sat down and subtotaled my receipts for food/toiletries spending for the month.
I'm at $202.59 as of 3/20.
The rebates that have come in this month so far total $150.60.....goooood rebate month!!

After the rebate money is deducted, my spending total so far for March is $51.99.

10 more days to go.....


Last Chance to Enter my Giveaway....Ends Tonight 3/20! CLOSED

My Pillsbury Sweet Rolls Giveaway ends tonight at midnight.
Today is your last chance to enter so don't dilly-dally!

Please go enter on the post located HERE.


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Best Laid Schemes....You were so Right Bobby Burns!

Last year I won a $50 Gift Card to a local independent grocery store in a nearby town.  I blogged about it HERE.

Well, since it's been almost a year since I got the Gift Card I figured it was about time I actually went to this store and commenced to spend the bucks.
This grocery store is part of a loosely affiliated group of independently owned/operated grocery stores.  Seems they 'share' the same loyalty card program(you can use your card at any of this brand of store)but their gift cards are store specific(meaning I can only use the gift card at this store, not the other stores in the brand).

Well the sales ad for this 'brand' of store this week was pretty decent.
There is a Buy 7 Quaker Oats products, get an instant $3 off your transaction Deal plus there is a Spend $20, Get a $5 Catalina on Heinz products(like I didn't get enough ketchup at Weis last week!lol). 
I also had 7 Qs to use with that Quaker Deal and the on sale Classico Pasta Sauce(being a Heinz product)was included in the Heinz Cat Deal, plusI had $1/2 IPQs left to pair with the deal/sale AND $1.50 off Meat WYB 2 Classico Sauces ManuQs.
Add in that the Classico sauce was part of the Heinz Cat so I'd also get a $5 Cat outta the deal too!
I was going to pay $3.50 for 7 Quaker products and $15 for 10 jars of Pasta Sauce plus get $7.50 in Meat for free and get a $5 Cat.

So I decided to venture over to this grocery store today and check it out.  It's what you might call an 'urban center market'....translation=heavy car traffic, narrow parking lot, even narrower aisles with oversized shopping carts inside an older not-very-well-kept-up building.
So I walk all the way over to the end of the building where the Customer Service is tucked away, far from the entrance and get in line to ask about the coupon policy before I start throwing products in my cart.  Always a smart thing to check on the policy at a store you haven't shopped at yet, ya know?

Then I spied the coupon policy prominently displayed(ok, this is the first thing they have done right in my book!)and began reading.
And let me say that this was NOT a good read.

Lots of coupon rules....the list was long.
And they lost me at the first 2 rules--
1. Only doubling 3 of any 'like' coupon and only up to .50¢
2. NO computer generated coupons(aka internet coupons).

Well isn't that just ducky?
No Quaker Deal nor Pasta Deal for me today.
This makes the 3rd local store that doesn't take IPQs.

I had a back-up plan in case the coupon policy was a dud....which it was.
So I got some on sale deli cheese, some fresh veggies on special and then went looking for a certain frozen veggie mix we love(also on sale) plus the corned beef briskets that were marked at $2.27lb.
I found fairly quickly that they don't carry the veggie mix we like either and there was not one single brisket in the entire dingy little store!

So I spent a whole $8 on my $50 gift card and it sure took some trying to spend that much!
At this rate the gift card will still have buckies on it by next March....


Rite-Aid this Week....4 Transactions to Finish Off the J&J SCR Deal

I made 4 trips to Rite-Aid this week to do the J&J SCR Deal. Here's everything I bought.....

2 x Band-Aids on sale $1.99=$3.98
Used 2 x $1/1 ManuQs=$2.00 off

3 x Benadryl Allergy $5.49-Wellness Discount Price $4.94=$14.82
Used 3 x $2/1 In-Ad Q + 3 x $1/1 ManuQ=$9.00 off

2 x Sudafed PE $4.99-Wellness Discount Price $4.49=$8.98
Used 2 x $2/1 In-Ad Q + 2 x $2/1 ManuQ=$8.00 off

1 x Sudafed PE $6.49-Wellness Discount Price $5.84=$5.84
Used 1 x $2/1 In-Ad Q + 1 x $2/1 ManuQ=$4.00 off

2 x Visine $4.99-Wellness Discount Price $4.49=$8.98
Used 2 x $3/1 In-Ad Q + 2 x $2/1 ManuQ=$10.00 off

1 x Oral B Adventage Toothbrush on sale=$2.49
Used 1 x $1/1 ManuQ + 1 x $1/1 Any Oral Care Wellness CRT Q=$2.00 off

2 x Welch's Grape Juice on sale $3.00=$6.00
Used 2 x $1/1 ManuQ + 2 x $1/1 AdPerk IPQ=$4.00 off

1 x Welch's Grape Juice 6pack-Wellness Discount Price=$5.12
Used 1 x $1/1 6 pack WYB a 64oz bottle HangtagQ + 1 x $1/1 AdPerk IPQ=$2.00 off

1 x Cottonelle TP 12 pack on sale=$5.99
Used 1 x $1/1 ManuQ + 1 x $1/1 AdPerk IPQ=$2.00 off

3 x Reese's Easter Candy on sale $1.99=$5.97
1 x $2/3 ManuQ + 3 x $1/1 Any seasonal candy Wellness IPQ=$5.00 off

2 x Herbal Essences Shampoo on sale $2.99=$5.98
Used 2 x BOGO WYB 1 Styler ManuQ=$5.98 off

2 x Herbal Essences Styler on sale $2.99=$5.98
Used 2 x $1/1 ManuQ + 2 x $1/1 any Hair Care Wellness CRT Q=$4.00 off

1 x John Frieda Frizz-Ease Shampoo-Wellness Discount Price=$5.84
Used 1 x $3/1 ManuQ + 1 x $1/1 any Frizz-Ease AdPerks IPQ=$4.00

1 x King Size Reese's PB Cups on sale=$.88

Used 4 x $5/$20 AdPerk IPQs=$20.00 off


Coupon Total.....$81.98

TOTAL OOP...$4.87 was put on the Rite-Aid Gift Card I got Sat. night for returning the JFrieda Styler so ZERO OOP.

One of the cashiers took off an extra $1 somewhere because the receipts add up to $3.87 instead.

$3.87 spent and SCRs qualified for.....$25+$5.84=$30.84.

Why I bought what I bought......

The 1st 5 items in my list where bought to finish off the J&J Deal.  I had $11.88 already from earlier in the month toward that SCR, so these items--a total of $42.60--put me over the $50 mark for the $25 rebate.
I bought these particular items because we have allergy issues here and the Band-Aids......well, #2 son skateboards....need I say more? ;-)

The Frizz-Ease 'Poo was to finish off the SCR #4(buy Frizz-Ease styler and 'poo and get the price of the 'poo refunded).  I bought the styler last week so now I get another $5.84 back.

Great price on the Welch's 100% juice with the Qs.  The 6 pack was a spur of the moment buy because of the hangtag Q.  With the Qs and the wellness discount, it was a good deal and I had some $5/$20 to burn anyway.

The TP is always needed.

The toothbrush and shampoo/stylers will be making an appearance at a garage sale/flea market later this spring.

The PB cups was a filler for one of the transactions and the Easter candy is well, for the kids' easter baskets.


Catching Up....Local Independent Market last Saturday

While in a neighboring town to roll the Weis Markets Catalinas last Saturday I stopped in a local Independent Market nearby to use some coupons on some specials they had running.

4 x Nestle Hot Cocoa on sale $1.50=$6.00
Used 4 x $.50/1 doubled IPQs=$4.00 off making each box .50¢

4 x Wise Snacks on sale $2.00=$8.00
Used 4 x $.50/1 doubled IPQs=$4.00 off making each bag $1.00

8 x PA Dutch Egg Noodles on sale $1.00=$8.00
Used 4 x $1/2 ManuQs=$4.00 off making each bag .50¢

1x Bailey's Creamer on sale=$2.00
Used 1 x $1/1 ManuQ=$1.00 off making it $1.00

4 x Carolina Saffron Rice Mix on sale .80¢=$3.20
Used 2 x $.75/2 ManuQs doubled=$2.00 off making each bag .30¢

2 x Blue Bunny Ice Cream on sale $2.50=$5.00
Used 2 x $1/1 IPQ=$2.00 off making each container $1.50

6 x Smithfield Bacon on sale $2.99=$17.94
Used 6 x $.55/1 ManuQ doubled=$6.00 off making each package $1.99!

2 x Penn Maid Sour Cream on sale $1=$2.00
Used 1 x $1/2 ManuQ=$1.00 off making each container .50¢    

Total after Sale Prices....$52.14
Coupon Total....$24.00
Grand Total Spent....$28.14          
Savings of 66.40%


Catching Up....To Weis for One Last Catalina Roll last Saturday Night

Ok, it's official.
Last week I was officially on a 'Bender'.....a Spending Bender!

I did 8 rolls of the Catalina Deals at Weis.

I had IPQs for the Classico Pasta Sauce($1/2), the Hidden Valley($1/1) & the Ore-Ida Steam & Mash($1/1).
Since my local Weis doesn't accept IPQs(BOO HISSSSSSSS!), I was forced to shop at 2 other Weis Markets to use these Qs.

I did the Heinz Catalina Deal 4 times...
4 Ketchup
20 Pasta Sauces
2 Steam & Mash Taters
1 Onion Rings

The Kellogg's Catalina Deal twice....
5 Corn Pops Cereal
2 Keebler Cookies
5 Fruit Snacks

The Clorox Cat Deal twice also.....
4 bottle of Clorox 2
5 bottles of Clorox
2 Hidden Valley Dressing
1 Glad Garbage Bags

I goofed bigtime tho, confusing Kellogg's Fruit Snacks with Betty Crocker ones.  I was thinking the nationwide Catalina was on the Kellogg's(which were part of the Cat Deal)but it was on the BC ones(which were NOT part of the Cat Deal). I bought 5 boxes thinking I'd reap an additional $3.50 Cat Q along with the $7 Cat Q that was part of the Weis/Kellogg's Cat Deal. 
I knew those Fruit Snacks were a bad idea.....why the heck did I even buy them?lol

So those Fruit Snacks will be going back to Weis this week.

While in Weis this week doing the Cat Deals I also took advantage of the IQF Fish for $3.99lb.(3 bags worth at approx. 2.5 lbs. per bag), the $1 a 1lb. bag frozen stir-fry veggies(4 bags), JollyTime Popcorn for $1 a box after sale and my $1/1 home mailer Qs and 1/2lb. of liverwurst at the deli per DH's request(not on sale-the horrors!llol).

I also hit a nice chicken clearance.  Remember that 40% off  'natural fresh' chicken sale Weis held last week.  Well, my local store had a TON of it leftover Saturday evening so they marked it all down and then put $1 or $2 Instant Discount stickers on the packages....
And then they waited for me to come to the store!

I picked up 14.27 lbs. of chicken(mostly breast and a couple packages of thighs)for an avg. price of less than .74¢ a lb!
Oh, yah.....

So to the Cat items above add....
14.27 lb. chicken
8 lb. frozen fish fillets
4 lb. frozen veggies
.43 lb. liverwurst

Total for all....$93.05(before I return the fruit snacks)...$81.40 after the return.  and I have a $7 Cat left.
$34.43 for the Cat items + $46.97 for everything else.

To offset things a bit, I'll be able to send for the Clorox 2 MIR I blogged about HERE for full price of $4.49 x 2(once for me, once for BIL), so that's $8.98 more off my OOP for a grand total spent of $72.42.

Even to me this sounds high for an OOP, but if you laid it all out for a photo it would be a great deal for the price.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Beloved Printer Buddy is Gone

See this printer?
This is DH printer that just went to printer heaven last week.
I LOOOOOOOVED this printer!

I discovered a cool as heck thing about this particular model of HP printer about 6 months ago.
Ya see, if I printed coupons from it, I could hit the OFF button on the printer right before the print job was finished.

By doing that, the printer told itself that it hadn't printed the coupon yet.....even though it had.
And when you turned the printer back on, it would print the coupon again.

And if you follow me could in theory keep turning the printer off & on ad infinitum and you could print as many coupons as you wanted until you couldn't stand it anymore!

Ok, so I only printed coupons on it this way to get a few extra since we only have 2 printers here(and mine doesn't always's a P.O.S. Canon Pixma).....
and I don't have access to other computers from family or friends to print coupons.....
or from work like lots of other people do.

It was just my little special way to get a few more prints on a coupon.

But now my beloved HP All-in-One is swimming with the fishies.....**sigh**

DH brought home a new HP All in One printer. can hear the wheels turning in my head, right?  
Is it possible.....that this one will be "friendly" too??
I was crushed to find out that the new printer does NOT hold the magical power of the old model.
So I am back to being "Two Print Sluggy" again.
No more stockpiling that awesome deal with internet printed coupons.
I have to rely on the crappy local inserts.
And when I say crappy, I do mean crappy.  I have documented such on the blog,  HERE and HERE.

I'm guessing I'll be spending a lot more time on eBay or buying through a clipping service again.

**double sigh**

 R.I.P. my beloved coupon loving HP printer.....
I miss you already!


Rite-Aid SCR #24 Scenario for the J&J Spend $50/Get $25 Deal

Here's a nice low OOP way to do the J&J SCR #24(Get $25 WYB $50 worth of select J&J products)at Rite-Aid this week.

And it's an especially good scenario if you suffer from allergies and/or sinus issues. ;-)

I came into this week with purchases already toward this SCR, so I didn't do it quite this way but did buy some of the items in it for my low OOP.

Here it is....

2 Identical Transactions

1 Visine for $4.99 ($4.49)
1 Sudafed for $6.49 ($5.84)
2 Benadryl for $5.49=$10.98($4.94=$9.88)
2 Band-Aids or 1st Aid Tape on sale $1.99=$3.98

SubTotal.....$26.44 ($24.19-you'll need to add another Band-Aid or something)

Coupons Used
1 $5/$20 AdPerks IPQ=$5
1 $3/1 Visine In-Ad Q=$3
1 $2/1 Visine ManuQ(1/3RP insert)**seems to have been a regional value**=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed ManuQ(3/14RP insert)=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed In-Ad Q=$2
2 $2/1 Benadryl In-Ad Q=$4
1 $4/2 Benadryl IPQ HERE=$4
2 $1/1 Band-Aids ManuQ(1/3RP insert)=$2
Coupon Total....$24.00

$26.44-$24.00=$2.44 OOP

Total OOP after 2 transactions is $4.88 and receive a $25 SCR making this a $20.12 Moneymaker.
**If you only received the $1/1 ManuQ for the Visine, your OOP will increase by $2, for a $6.88 OOP.

Of course if you can use the Wellness card AND have enough points to get a discount on regular priced items at Rite-Aid, you can do this scenario for even less OOP.   You will have to buy 1 additional box of Band-Aids or 1st Aid Tape.

Variation for Wellness Discount
Wellness Transaction #1

1 Visine for $4.49
1 Sudafed for $5.84
2 Benadryl for $4.94=$9.88
2 Band-Aids or 1st Aid Tape on sale $1.99=$3.98


Coupons Used
1 $5/$25 or $5/$20 AdPerks IPQ=$5
1 $3/1 Visine In-Ad Q=$3
1 $2/1 Visine ManuQ=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed ManuQ=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed In-Ad Q=$2
2 $2/1 Benadryl In-Ad Q=$4
1 $4/2 Benadryl IPQ=$4
2 $1/1 Band-Aids ManuQ=$2
Coupon Total....$24.00

$24.19-$24.00=$.19 OOP

Wellness Transaction #2

1 Visine for $4.49
1 Sudafed for $5.84
2 Benadryl for $4.94=$9.88
3 Band-Aids or 1st Aid Tape on sale $1.99=$5.97


Coupons Used
1 $5/$25 or $5/$20 AdPerks IPQ=$5
1 $3/1 Visine In-Ad Q=$3
1 $2/1 Visine ManuQ=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed ManuQ=$2
1 $2/1 Sudafed In-Ad Q=$2
2 $2/1 Benadryl In-Ad Q=$4
1 $4/2 Benadryl IPQ=$4
3 $1/1 Band-Aids or 1st Aid Tape ManuQ=$3
Coupon Total....$25.00

$26.18-$25.00=$1.18 OOP

$.19+$1.18=$1.37 OOP
Qualified for SCR #24=$25 making this a $23.63 Moneymaker!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Weis Catalina Shoppers.....Get Your Money Back for Clorox 2

If you did the Clorox Catalina Deal at Weis Markets last week and bought a bottle of Clorox 2 as a part of your transaction, you can get the purchase price of that item back from the manufacturer.

Just go HERE.
Print the form and send in the supporting documentation(receipt, etc.).
Get back what you paid.


Ok, so even if you didn't buy Clorox 2 last week at Weis, save the link to your computer and the next time you buy the product (from any store, not just Weis), you can send for the refund.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Personal Stockpiling Pittfalls....Only Because I Have Children

Stockpiling is a beautiful thing....once you get a system down.
My first year of extreme couponing was full of experimentation.
Figuring out WHAT to stockpile and HOW MUCH to stockpile was the most important and the most difficult mission.
I stockpiled primarily real food....still do.
You know....the stuff you use to make meals.
But I did also start stockpiling snack type foods and drinks but on a smaller scale.

Once I started getting a handle on the "how much to buy" aspect of stockpiling the savings started piling up.

Then my kids torpedoed my plan.

Oh, they loved that mom was now going to have tons of "bad-for-you" snacks at their disposal.
You know, the stuff that your kids always want you to buy.....Pop-Tarts, Crackers, Chips, Soda, Juice bags(that are mostly sugar), Cookies, Cake Mix and Frosting, Fruit Roll-Ups, etc.  The stuff that goes on sale and there always seem to be coupons available so you can buy it really really cheaply?

This was the kind of stuff I hardly ever use to keep in the house.
I'd buy it now and again, but only 1 or 2 boxes or bags at a time.
And it would get devoured before I would even finish putting away all the groceries from the shopping trip!lol

Well once I began stockpiling snack/junk foods for them, I noticed most of the items piling up.
Piling up not in a "good stockpiling and rotating your stock" way. 
Piling up meaning, that no one was eating the stuff anymore and it was sitting and inching closer to the dark side of the expiration/use by dates!

They complained and begged for years for me to buy snack/junk food for them and whatever food I start bringing it into the house in large quantities, they STOP eating it!

#2 son loves Fruit Roll-Ups.  So I hit a killer sale w/Qs and load up on dozens of boxes for almost free.
Suddenly he stops eating them and I am now considering using them to wallpaper the downstairs powder room.

Daughter pleads for a certain brand of sugared cereal.  I head the plea and gather many many boxes to quench her hunger for it.  Like clockwork, the very day I bring in a dozen boxes, she announces that she no longer will eat this cereal. 
I begin to contemplate using this cereal as packing material for shipping my eBay goods.

The only exception to this trend was the 180 cans of Amp.

I was able to 'buy' that many over the course of 4 months due to some great Qs I found and KMart having those awesome Double Coupon Sales last spring/summer.  2 of the 3 teens begged for this stuff!  It's full of caffeine and could they NOT want it!?

I sat them both down after I had acquired about half of the stash and told them, "Look, this is NOT something I am going to continue to buy for you once the sales/coupons run out.  Whatever I get will be IT!  So you had better not plow through them all.  If I were you, I'd make it last a good long while."

I guess they just didn't believe or hear me.....

I bought the last can in late August of '09.
The Amp stock was gone by that October.
3 months.
2 teens drank 180 cans.

I guess they each figured they had to drink them as fast as possible so that the other teen wouldn't get as many.
Have I mentioned these two don't like each other very much and do this sort of competitive/passive aggressive thing on a regular basis now that they are teenagers?

Wanna bet if only one of them wanted these Amps, most of those cans would still be sitting in my garage?!

I guess the lesson here is to KNOW the audience you are buying all your stockpiled goods for and tailor your spending to those needs.
And don't believe ANYTHING your kids tell you.


Monday, March 15, 2010

My 1st Blogging Award

I was given this award by Who Doesn't Love Coupons?  Well it was the end of last month but I totally forgot until last week so that's why I am sooo tardy posting about it. It took me a whole week to think of 7 interesting facts about myself as well!lol

I hope my delay doesn't mean I am a bad blogger or something.
 That's just me.....all scatter brained sometimes. ;-)

I know this will surprise ya'll (no, not really I hear you say)but this is my very first bloggy award!
Yes, Sluggy's been faithfully blogging on an almost daily basis for over a year now and nada in the awards category until now.  Sluggy obviously doesn't run in the right blogging circles it seems. awards for being a top frugal blog, a funny blog & no awards for being a 'pretty' blog.
So I am thrilled as pie(Mmmm....piiiiiiieeeee!)to receive this award.

The rules for accepting this award:

1.Thank the person that gave you the award...ok, "Thanks Jenn", she said as she waved wildly.

2. Pass this award on to 13 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic!

3. Contact the Bloggers you pick to let them know they've won.

4. State 7 Things about yourself!

Here are the 7 things about me:

1.) I dropped out of graduate school at the NC School of the Arts.
2.)  I sang on the radio with the Chorus of The US Naval Academy.
3.) I have a confirmed ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War.
4.) I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
5.) I have been a natural redhead, brunette and was born with a full head of black hair.
6.) Oprah Winfrey gave the commencement speech at my college graduation(back before she was "Oprah" & just a news reporter in Baltimore).
7.) I can touch my nose with my tongue(without using my hands to push either one toward the other).....try it, it ain't easy!

Here are 13 blogs I have discovered and love.  There are so many others that I read so this list is NOT exhaustive.  Don't feel bad if I read ya and you aren't on the list here.  These are just the blogs my pea-brain could think of at this moment.....

1--Coupons Deals and More  Ann has a delightful sense of humor wrapped around the 'deals'.
2--A Mom Money and More  SonyaAnn is my budget buddy who can be downright wickedly 'bad'...right SonyaAnn?
3-- Graceful Retirement  Great blog about a woman playing catch-up to stash away those retirement $s.
4-- The Happy(Atheist)Homemaker  A quirky young fresh face in the blog-o-sphere.
5--Things I Want to Punch In the Face  Funny. As. Hell.
6-Tight Fisted Miser  Great tips and info for your Inner Miser.
7--Yard Sale Queen's Blog  Chris has a great sense of humour and you never know what she's going to find in her thrift store/yard sale travels.
8--All Doors Considered  An interesting blog by a woman who retired early and her life adventures.
9--Real Life Living  Annie Jones cooks, practices frugality, does home improvement...a true renaissance woman.
10--Sew Not My Day!  McVal recounts her exciting life in middle America.
11--I'm So Pretty, I Fart Fairy Dust  Ms. Fairy Dust's take on life and couponing.
12--The West Virginia Surf Report   A local PA guy's very irreverent humor blog.
13--Marilyn's Money  Marilyn has frugality covered in western OH.

Ok....the following aren't 'blogs' per se, but I like these sites and they are worth checking out too.
Hoard House  This is an issue close to my heart & seems to be the mental illness du jour.
Water Cure This is an alternative health site.
Buy Less Crap  A non-comsumerist Charity site.


Meal Plan Monday.....March 15th Edition w/Spending Breakdown

Last Week's Menu Postmortem...
Everything was served as planned except the Corned Beef.  Couldn't find an inexpensive deal on Corned Beef anywhere last week.  I found one on Sunday so we are on for Corned Beef this week.

Here's what I will be serving our family of 4 this Week.....our household presently consists of 2 adults and 2 teens at home.  No children under 14.

This week we'll be using 2 leftover proteins to make two new meals. Since alot of what I am serving is stockpiled, I'm adding a Cost Breakdown Section where I'll list what I paid for the ingredients that are on hand so you can see what I spend w/stockpiling & sales versus buying it weekly when it might not be on sale. If I use a leftover ingredient I won't add that cost as it was already figured into the previous meal's cost.

MONDAY--Homemade Pizza(stockpile)
TUESDAY--Corned Beef(bought Sunday), Cabbage(need to buy), Carrots(need to buy), Potatoes(need to buy), Biscuits(fridge)
WEDNESDAY--Gourmet Chili(using leftover Pot Roast--freezer/stockpile)
THURSDAY--Creamy Potatoes and Ham(using leftover ham--freezer/root cellar) , Wax & Green Beans(freezer)
FRIDAY--Sloppy Joes(freezer/stockpile), Cole Slaw(need to buy cabbage), Buns, Corn(stockpile)
SUNDAY--Lemon Pepper Chicken(freezer), Rice(stockpile), Zucchini(bought Sunday)

Here are the cost breakdowns...
Pizza--Flour(.10¢), Yeast(.60¢), Olive Oil(.25¢), Tomato Paste(.20¢), Herbs(.10¢), Cheese($1.00), Onion(.25¢), Pepperoni (.50¢)=$3.00
Corned Beef Dinner--Corned Beef($3), Cabbage(.87¢), Carrots(.50¢), Potatoes($1))Biscuits(.50¢)=$5.40
Chili--Pot Roast leftovers(free), Ground Beef($1.69), Green Chilles(.32¢),Spices(.80¢), Beans($1.29), Tomatoes(.99¢), Onion(.25¢), Cheese(.50¢), Sour Cream(.25¢), Biscuits(free/leftover)=$6.09
Potato & Ham Dinner--Ham leftovers(free), Potatoes($1), Butter (.60¢), Cream Cheese($1), Cheese($1), Milk(.50¢), Spices(.30¢), Green Beans($1)=$5.40
Sloppy Joes--Ground Beef($1.69), Sauce($1), Buns($1), Cabbage(.29¢), Carrot(.25¢), Mayo/Sugar/Vinegar(.60¢),Corn(.30¢)=$5.13
Lemon Pepper Chicken w/Zucchini--chicken($1.03),lemon pepper/flour(.85¢), oil(.75¢),zucchini($2.46), tomatoes(.99¢), rice($1)=$7.08

Adding up what has already been spent and what I need to spend for this week's menu, I can serve this menu of 6 meals(plus enough leftovers for a 7th meal) to a family of 4 adults/teens for a total of $32.07.

Leftover nights have no cost as they were already figured in when the meal was served the first time.  If you divide the meals' cost by 7 nights, you get an average cost per night of $4.58.  That's $1.15 per person per night.  And this is mostly a cooking from scratch menu.  The only 'processed foods' are the can of Sloppy Joe sauce and the roll of biscuits.  Who says you can't cook healthy on the cheap?

$135.15 was spent on food/toiletries last week.
This is quite high for me!  But I did a lot of stockpiling necessities....ok, ok, I did buy some junk too(cereal/cookies/ice cream).lol
$98.16 at Weis(doing the Catalina Deals to stockpile items--chicken, fish, frozen veggies, pasta sauce, ketchup, bleaches, etc.), $.49 at CVS, $8.02 at WAGS, $28.14(stockpiling noodles, bacon, sour cream, ice cream, hot cocoa & rice),  and $.34 OOP at Rite-Aid on bunches of stuff.
Approx. $116 of the $135.15 spent was strictly for food.

The only NEEDS for this menu are cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Since cabbage is at a rock bottom low here this week thanks to St. Patty's Day, I'll pick up some extra cabbage this week for a Polish dish I am making for next week's menu.  I also have 2 $5 Cats for Price Chopper NE that I'll use to buy inexpensive Corned Beef this week.  The $7 Cat for Weis I might hang onto until next week as there isn't much for cheap there I want to use it on this week.
There is a good deal on shredded Sargento cheese(sale + doubled coupons)this week at the local independent grocer and we are getting mighty low.  Luckily, I still have a gift card I won in a contest that's good at this store so I shouldn't be out any cash if I get the cheese.
With the gift card and Cats for the stock-up goods I am hoping to get through the week on $10 OOP for the necessities.

Nothing wasted this week.  All the leftovers have been eaten except last night's pot roast and Friday's ham and these are earmarked for meals this week.  There are some side dish leftovers(and a bit of chicken) from last week that the dogs will enjoy with their meals this week.

Check out ORGANIZING JUNKIE to see what other Home Cooks are serving this week.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pillsbury Sweet Rolls Giveaway....Ends March 20th! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

To start the week off right, take time out to create a sweet Sunday morning moment with your family with Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls.

Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls are warm, fresh, and ready to serve in just minutes. With an ooey-gooey texture and a delicious orange icing, Orange Sweet Rolls have a mouth watering aroma that is sure to bring your family together like no other breakfast! Packed with the love and flavor of a treat made from scratch, but without the time and cleanup, Orange Sweet Rolls are the perfect addition to your family’s Sunday morning traditions.

Now we love us some Pillsbury Orange and Cinnamon Rolls in this family!

And we really enjoyed the Free Sweet Rolls last Sunday morning for breakfast that MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury sent us. Oh, they also sent a cool Photo Album too.

But I won't be posting a photo of my warm and fuzzy 'family moment' from that day.
You see, while we do have fun family moments, my kids don't photograph well.
Let me rephrase that....
My kids won't behave for photos.

They LOVED the Pillsbury rolls but here is what happens when I ask them to let me take their pictures....

And this....

and even this....

So you'll just have to trust me that we had our 'own kind' of family bonding over Pillsbury Sweet Rolls.

MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury provided me with an additional Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls gift pack that includes a VIP coupon for Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls as well as a photo album to help keep your family’s sweet Sunday morning memories close at hand to give away to one of my readers.

If you would like to win this prize pack just leave a comment that contains a favorite memory of Sunday morning breakfasts from your childhood along with your email address.

Receive Additional entries by....
1. subscribing to my blog(if you already subscribe just tell me that)and leave an additional comment for this entry.
2. follow my blog(if you already follow just tell me that)and leave an additional comment for this entry.
3. Post on your blog about this giveaway and leave a link to that post, then leave 2 additional comments for 2 more entries.
4. Tweet "slugmama is having a giveaway..." and leave a link to your Twitter ID, in an additional comment for this entry.

This Giveaway ends on March 20th(Saturday) at 12 am(midnight) Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
I'll post the winners name on Sunday March 21st and contact them via email. If they fail to respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
Good Luck!

***Disclaimer***This Giveaway was sponsored by Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark. I was supplied with product and encouraged to blog about the product and offered an identical product to give away to someone in my readership.  The opinion of the product expressed here is my own and I was not paid for endorsing this product.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Expiring RRs So It was Off to WAGS this Week

I had Register Rewards expiring on Wednesday so I stopped into WAGS to see about rolling them.
I wandered up and down the aisles and not much interested me that would have let me roll the RRs.
Hubby drinks instant coffee on occasion and we had less than half a jar left and NONE in the stockpile.  The Maxwell House was part of a Nabisco/Kraft Deal ($5RR WYB $20) plus I had some decent cookie Qs.  I had wanted to get some Nut*rition nuts(lurv the cashew/almond/macadamia combo!)but they were wiped usual! ugh

I finally settled on the following....

1 x Glade Sense & Spray=$5.99
3 x Dental Floss/Toothbrush/Pocket Packs=$9.00
4 x assorted Nabisco Cookies on sale($2.50)=$10.00 *need these like a hole in my head!*
3 x Maxwell House Instant Coffee on sale($3.99)=$11.97 

Coupons Used
1 x $4/1 Glade Sense & Spray ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $2/1 Glade Sense & Spray WAGS booklet Q=$2.00
3 x $1/1 assorted Floss/Toothbrush/Pocket Packs ManuQs=$3.00
1 x $5.01/3 WAGS flyer Q=$5.01
1 x $1/2 Nabisco Cookies Home Mailer Q=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Oreo Cakesters IPQ=$1.00
1 x FREE Cookies Home Mailer Q=$2.50
Coupon Total....$18.51

RRs Used
$4 P&G
$4 P&G
$2 Goody?
RR Total....$10.00

$36.96-$28.51=$8.45+$.32tax=$8.77 OOP
Received $5RR for buying $20 or more of Nabisco/Kraft items(4 cookies/3 coffee).

So I rolled it a bit.  The Sense & Spray was free(plus 1¢ overage) and after coupons, the 3 dental items were a total of .99¢ for all. 

Between the WAGS here being wiped out of all the good deals by 1am(they are a 24/7 store)on Sunday morning, the 'deals' there usually not being something I want/need and the RRs expiring every 2 weeks(or less sometimes), I won't be shedding a tear when I have used this last $5 one up.

I don't know......
I seem to be doing my Ray Charles impersonation and singing, "The thrill is gone!" lately.  ;-)


Friday, March 12, 2010

Another Fine Giveaway at MARILYN'S MONEY

My Buddy MARILYN over at Marilyn's Money is having another Giveaway!

Go on over and check it out HERE.  Tell her I sent ya...

Have a great Friday everyone!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Week at Rite-Aid.....5 Trips Doing the P&G Single Check Rebate

Ok....I just don't have the umph to break this down into the Five, Count 'Em Five trips it took me to buy all this stuff.
So I am just listing it all together.  I broke the trips down so that I can submit various receipts and complete the P&G SCR #18(Purchase $30 in selected P&G items/Get a $10 Rite-Aid Gift Card) twice...once for BIL's account and once for my account.

More later on the other sundry SCRs it all qualifed for....

Here's the big honking picture of the goodies.....

4 x NyQuil on sale($4.99)=$19.96
2 x Always wellness discount($3.59)=$7.18
2 x Metamucil fiber pills on sale($9.99)=$19.98
1 x Gillette Shave Gel w/wellness discount=$4.31
1 x Gillette Shave Gel w/wellness discount=$4.04
1 x Oral B Toothbrush on sale=$2.74
1 x Crest Toothpaste on sale=$2.74
2 x Puffs Tissues w/wellness discount($2.24)=$4.48
2 x Almay Eye Shadow on BOGO sale=$7.49
2 x Luden's Cough Drops on sale($.99)=$1.98
2 x Ricola Cough Drops on sale ($.99)=$1.98
2 x Trident Layers Gum on BOGO sale=$1.49
4 x Cover Girl Face products on BOGO sale($7.49)=$14.98
4 x Cover Girl Face products on BOGO sale($9.39)=$18.78

Coupons Used
5 x $5 off $20 Purchase=$25.00
4 x $1.50/1 NyQuil ManuQ=$6.00
1 x $1/1 any OTC pain meds over $2.99 Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Always ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $3/1 Metamucil ManuQ=$6.00
2 x $1/1 Gillette Shave Gel ManuQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 any shave product over $1.99 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Oral B Toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
2 x Puffs Tissues FREE WYB 2 Nyquil ManuQ=$4.48
2 x $2/1 Almay product ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $1/2 Luden's Cough Drops ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $.25/1 Luden's Cough Drops GOL Q=$.50
1 x $1/2 Ricola Cough Drops ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $.75/1 Trident Layers Gum ManuQ=$1.50
2 x Cover Girl Face products BOGO ManuQ=$14.98
2 x Cover Girl Face products BOGO ManuQ=$18.78
Coupon Total....$90.24

$112.13-$90.24=$21.89 OOP

The $21.89 OOP was put on 2 different Gift Cards that were free from previous rebates, so ZERO OOP.
The first 7 line items qualified for the SCR #18(P&G)so that's 2 $10 Gift Cards.
The other cash SCRs qualifed for in these transactions....
#7 Almay--$5.00
#13 Metamucil--$5.00 x 2=$10.00
#19 Nyquil--$2.00 x 2=$4.00
#39 Oral B/Crest--$1.00 x 2=$2.00
#51 Always--$1.00 x 2=$2.00
TOTAL....$23 in cash & $20 in gift cards.

Even if you didn't have any gift cards to put your OOP on, you would get back $1.11 MORE in cash rebates than you would have paid for it all.  Plus the $20 in gift cards.

Not too shabby, huh?
And then my John Frieda Qs showed up in the mail on Thursday so I've got 2 days left to get in on the John Frieda products SCRs(#41 & #4).

Next week will be working on the J&J SCR #24 with a side of Veet #42 thrown in since I haven't done that one yet.  Then I am done for the month at Rite-Aid.
I need a little time off from Rite-Aid....

Rite-Aid running total so far for this rebate period---
Total OOP...$2.34

SCRs.....$32.00/Prevacid Rebate...$24.99 gives us.....
Total Cash Rebates....$56.99
Total Gift Cards.....$20.00


Teenage Fatigue

I generally am a pretty happy person.  Well, maybe not but I can usually keep my disatisfactions to myself.
But I've been having a really rough patch lately.

Have I mentioned I have 3 teenagers?

Since the oldest #1 son is off living the high life at college I can't complain too much about him, as I'm not dealing with him on a day-to-day basis.

It's the other two alien life forms living in my house.
Yes, I called my beloved children with it!

Because afterall, that's what teens are....aliens.
The hormones have overtaken their brains and bodies, turning them into people I don't know anymore.
And most days, that means people I would really rather NOT know!

And it's just to the point where I can't even say a word to them without being demeaned in some way....either with a look, a sarcastic tone, a negative put down.

It's parent abuse.
It's got me depressed.
And I just want to run away.

I find myself thinking as I'm doing a chore around here, why the hell do I even bother?
Doing their laundry.....why do I bother since they'll just dump it on the floor.
Cooking meals....half the time they say they don't want to eat since it's something they suddenly don't like.
Cleaning up after THEIR's easier just to do it because I am tired of fighting with them to do their chores.
Why do I go through all the hassle and trouble to coupon and shop strategically so I can get the things they want and not go broke in the process?
What does it get me?   A snarl, an eye rolling, a put down.

Yes, they KNOW everything and I'm just a pitiful old stupid woman who's ready to be wheeled to the nursing home.

When school lets out in the afternoon, I spend the rest of the day/evening avoiding my own children.  

Yah, I know this phase will pass but please, can it pass a little faster?
I just don't get why mothers have nervous breakdowns when they become empty-nesters!
I'll be the mom throwing a block party the day the last kid pulls out of the driveway headed for college.

Ok, I'm done with my depressing babbling for now.
Time to go get a spoon and seek out my only true friends, Ben & Jerry.....


Fried Fish...A Breading Idea

If someone is cooking fish and there is a southerner involved, you know that fish traditionally will be fried.  While fried fish is NOT the healthiest choice around, sometimes you just have to give in to your inner Southerner and make it!

In the south when it comes to frying fish, like Shakespeare might have said if he was from North Carolina, "The breading is the thing."
If a southerner is frying up a mess a' fish that breading will involve cornmeal. 

Everyone has their own ratio of meal to flour that they prefer....some even fore go the flour altogether and bread in straight cornmeal.

I also love one of the quintessential southern side dishes that goes with fried fish....hush puppies!  That slightly sweetened, oniony ball of fried dough takes me back to my youthful days.  Nothing beats a good puppy....

But fried fish and fried hush puppies are just too much fried for my old clogging arteries.
Here is how I get the taste of both with half the grease....

I use hush puppy mix to bread my fish!

This simple yet elusive taste combination was borne out of neccessity.  One night as I went to bread some fish for frying, I discovered I was out of cornmeal..oh the horrors!  I didn't even have one of those handy little boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix to substitute for the missing ingredient.
But I remembered I had a bag of hush puppy mix, which is basically cornmeal and flour with some spices and a touch of sugar.
So I used the puppy mix for my breading.
Let me tell you, it was a taste of heaven!

And not only was it a great way to get BOTH taste treats and a grease & calorie reducing move(since I only consumed 1 fried item, not 2)but it was a time saver too since I didn't also have to make the hush


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2 Manu Qs+Wellness CRT Q=Cheap Herbal Essences at Rite-Aid 3/14-3/20 *UPDATE*

Ok, if you have a Wellness Card and used it at Rite-Aid this week or last, you probably received a Q printed on yout register receipt(CRT Q)for $1 off any Hair Care Product purchase priced at $1.99 or more.

The week of 3/14-3/20 at Rite-Aid HERBAL ESSENCE Hair Care Products will be on sale for $2.99.

Take that CRT Q and the Herbal Essence BOGO(Buy any Herbal Essence item, Get a Styling item free) Q from the P&G 2/7 insert to your Rite-Aid AND the $1/1 Herbal Essences Q that is due in this Sunday's inserts.
Buy 1 Herbal Essence Shampoo or Condition and 1 Herbal Essence Styling Product.
These will ring up for a total of $5.98.

Hand over your $1 Hair Care CRT Q, the $1/1 Herbal Essence Manu Q from this Sunday's insert and your BOGO Herbal Essence Styling Product ManuQ.  The BOGO will get you 1 product for free and the other 2 Qs will be taken off your other Herbal Essence product.

Pay $.99 for both items.

A nice price for Hair stuff!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rite-Aid Trip on 3/6/10.....Strange Register Voodoo Makes me Smile!

I took a trip to Rite-Aid on Saturday to get some SCR items for BIL's account.
Well, this store only had 1 SCR item left that I wanted, the Listerine Pocket Packs.

So I wandered around the aisles looking for what else I could buy as inexpensively as possible, to get me up to $20 so I could use the $5 off $20 Q.

I ended up doing the PREVACID Deal this trip as well, though I didn't need it to get to $20.  Now I know Prevacid will be on sale next week at Rite-Aid but since I am getting everything OOP back, except for the $4 they will deduct for the ManuQ that was with the Rebate form in the Parade Magazine, I'm not concerned.  No matter the OOP now, I'll get it back minus the $4 Q amount.

So here's what I bought....

4 x Kleenex Tissue on sale BOGO($2.49)=$4.98
1 x Ocean Saline Rinse on sale=$.99
1 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale=$2.49
1 x Colgate Toothbrush on sale=$2.49
1 x Prevacid 42ct.=$28.99
2 x Revlon Eye Shadow on sale BOGO($4.99)=$4.99
1 x Listerine Pocket Packs on sale=$3.99
2 x Ricola Cough Drops on sale($.99)=$1.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/4 Kleenex Tissue ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/3 Kleenex Tissue AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 any Oral Care over $1.99 Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 any Oral Care over $1.99 Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $2.90 10% off Wellness Discount on Prevacid=$2.90
1 x $10/1 Prevacid Manu IPQ=$10.00
1 x $10/1 Prevacid 42ct. AdPerks IPQ=$10.00
1 x $4/1 Prevacid Peelie Q=$4.00
2 x $2/1 Revlon Eye ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Listerine Pocket Packs ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 any Oral Care over $1.99 Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Ricola Cough Drops ManuQ=$1.00

Coupon Total....$42.00

$50.90-$44.90=$6.00 OOP

I have spent enough at Rite-Aid that I get an automatic 10% discount on any item I buy that isn't on sale.
That is why I received an additional $2.90 off the Prevacid that wasn't on sale.

You'll also notice that I used THREE coupons on the Prevacid.  I came armed with a ManuQ printed from the Prevacid website and an AdPerks Q...which doesn't look like your normal AdPerks Q.
The box of Prevacid also had a $4 Peelie Q on it.  After the cashier scanned the box she started to remove the Peelie so she could scan it.  I said not to bother with it since it was only for $4 and I already had 2 coupons to use on the Prevacid.  She then said that I could use that 3rd peelie Q for another discount on the item.  I attempted to argue(LOL)since the RA coupon policy I had said 2 Qs per item, not 3.  Cashier said that they always let people buying stuff use any peelies on the products, even if they have other Qs.
I must have looked dubious so she called over the MOTD=Manager of the Day, and asked her.  She said fine, take all the Qs!'s like I didn't WANT to use as many Qs as they would let me, huh?

So on my $28.99 Prevacid, I got a $2.90 wellness auto. 10% discount and $24 in coupons taken off.
So I paid $2.09 for the Prevacid!
And then I'll get $24.99 back for the MIR!!!

Like I said, $6 is what I was suppose to pay.
What I actually paid was $2.00 OOP.

When the cashier went to use any of the 3 Prevacid Qs, they beeped....peelie, AdPerk and ManuIPQ.

So she tried taking off the Prevacid item and adding it back onto the transaction multiple times, trying different coupons against it.  One time 1 Q went through but not the she kept putting on and taking off the Prevacid and assorted Qs.
Finally she called over the MOTD again and had her key in or authorize or whatever it's called all 3 coupons.
My register receipt ended up being about 3 ft long!lol
And my total was now $2.00 instead of the $6.00 I had calculated it would be.
But after all that....and holding up the line for 15 min.....I didn't want to argue again and spend more time redoing this disaster of a transaction, so I just shut my mouth, paid my 2 bucks and got the hell out of Dodge!lolol

The next day I went over the receipt and found the error....the cashier had added the $4 peelie Q discount once and hadn't taken the discount off again and then gave me the $4 Q discount again in the midst of the Prevacid coupon fiasco.
I figure, it all evens out in the end, since there are times they forget to use some of my Qs.
I got the better end of the stick this time, who knows?

Ok, so I am OOP $2.00 for this transaction.
I qualified for a $3 SCR(Listerine) so this becomes a $1.00 Moneymaker!
Add in the $24.99 Prevacid MIR and I've got a $25.99 Overage...WOOT!!!