Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending.....May Update

* Posting my grocery totals a bit early as I am done food spending for May.  If for some reason I shop again before Thursday, this amount will go onto June's spending.*

Onward to May's food spending report.......

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for MAY 2017.

I have posted May's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in May.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3-4(4 at home this month). No kids under 21.

OOP  $5.32
Value  $10.87
Savings   51.05%

OOP  $13.09
Value  $48.41
Savings  73.00%

OOP  $1.50
Qs/Ads/PPs  $182.12
Value  $183.62
Savings  99.18%

OOP  $62.27
Qs/Ads  $52.21
Value  $114.48
Savings  45.61%

OOP  $41.85
Value  $75.48
Savings   44.55%

OOP  $13.96
Value  $23.88
Savings   41.54%

OOP  $76.31
Qs/Ads/Free Gift Cards  $217.20
Value  $293.51
Savings  74.00%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 99.18%, Aldi's at 51.05% and Weis at 74.00%.  My WORST savings rate was Walmart at 41.54%.
Ok, having a "worst" savings rate of 41.54% is not too shabby..... ;-)

I shopped at 7 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$214.30
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$535.95
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$750.25
TOTAL Savings of ..................................71.44%

This closes out the May food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into May not knowing where we'd come out on the budget since I was away for half of the month and the family was loose with my food budget. I also spent $61.13 on various foods to bring home while in VA too(most of that spending was for a case of wine at Trader Joe's).  And I actually had a brain fart and spent $1.50 in REAL MONEY at Rite-Aid this month instead of spending down $1.50 in Plenti Points! ugh ugh ugh
Any month I can stay under $300 in food spending is a good month in my book so I am happy overall with how the money played out in May.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went DOWN by 5.61% in May to 71.44% compared to April's 77.05% savings average.  Not worried about that since over a 70% savings rate is still awesome.  ;-)

With 5 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $1,565.90 on food/toiletries in 2017 which is a 72.77% savings rate for the year to-date and averages out to $313.18 per month spent in 2017. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD To June........
Well I've got $260 in prepaid Visa cards($200 was purchased and $60 was a "freebie").  If I can only spend that $260 on food in June it won't add to my OOP spending for the month since they were paid for in April(but the $200 will still count against my food spending since they weren't free).  If I can stay at that amount or less it means no additional $ put on the credit card in June to pay off in July.

I need to balance stocking a few items so that when we leave mid-July the kids still have plenty in the pantry/freezer to prepare meals with and not overspending in June on deals.  I think $260 is enough to get the job done.  I'd love to stretch it out into July until we leave on our trip too but that might be too optimistic.  $260 to cover food for 6 weeks(or $43.33 per week)?  We shall see if THAT's do-able!

If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in May?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?
*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I Got Nothing Because There's So Much!

Have you ever felt paralyzed into inaction because there was just so much on your plate?
Well that's how I am feeling right now.

I've got so much to do and talk about I just can't get myself up for doing or talking about anything.

So that's my excuse for not blogging lately and I'm sticking to it. ;-)

The trip to VA, coming home to my own little disaster of a house(and the people in it), the end of the month accounting to do, the mega Summer trip to finish planning.  And did I mention Hubs impending retirement?!?

I suppose I should start a list and just get on with things.
But I just got off the phone with Cousin Sonya Ann and all I want to do is go back to bed now.......sigh.

Have you ever wanted to just avoid doing anything?

I'm going to try to do my May Grocery Spending Post as I am finished spending $ on food/toiletries this month.  Perhaps I'll get that posted tomorrow so stop back then.


Monday, May 29, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Finally Home" Edition--

Well I'm home finally and decompressing from this adventure.  More details to come later.

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--I wasn't home all week so this wasn't my plan. ;-)

1. Sunday--Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Baked Ham, Corn Casserole, Asparagus
3. Tuesday--?
4. Wednesday--?
5. Thursday--?
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--?

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Burger King Whoppers
2. Monday--Baked Ham, Mac and Cheese, Peas
3. Tuesday--Beef Stroganoff, Brown Rice
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--BBQ Riblets, Corn Casserole, Brussels Sprouts
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

Last week saw 7 nights of dinners....1 night of take-out, 3 nights of Leftovers and 3 nights of cooking new meals.

First old news--Last week's grocery trip was $14.85 and not $15 as Daughter told me. Daughter made one trip to the Shursave market at $31.39 and I had a receipt from before I left town I forgot to add in so that was another $25.50 spent at Weis(PMITA)Markets. Both of these put a dent in the food budget of $56.89.   This brings my May food spending total to $151.67.  There are 2 days left in the month. 

My savings percentages last week was 47.71% which brings the month's percentage to 66.77%. 

Leftovers going into this week.......

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Chinese Take-out
2. Monday--Burgers and Dogs, COC, Beans(Hubs is cooking)
3. Tuesday--Leftovers, Spinach Salad
4. Wednesday--Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Salad
5. Thursday--Steak, Baked Potato, Caesar Salad
6. Friday--Fried Cod, Cole Slaw, Steak Fries
7. Saturday--Meatloaf, Veggies TBD

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 1 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 1 nights of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu? Steak, Burger Rolls, Cole Slaw, Corn(COC), Spinach, Fish, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Garlic Bread, Ground Beef.
Out of lots of stuff here.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Back on Sunday

I am on the road traveling.
I'll be back online Sunday evening, maybe with a new post.

Sorry I've been MIA mostly the last 2 weeks but I've been busy wrangling cats and mother in-laws and such.  '-)

I hope everyone's relaxing some and enjoying the long holiday weekend.

Talk at y'all later,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

And the Giveaway Winner is..........

There were 23 valid entries.  I used Random dotOrg to pick the winner.
And the winner is...........


Hi Sluggy this is Chris. I will send you another email so you have my email address. I like the idea of more chocolate."

Congratulations Chris!
Please contact me within the next 48 hours with your full name and mailing address.  I'll get this out to you after Memorial Day after I get home and put some more chocolate in that box.  ;-)

Thanks to everyone who entered this go 'round.  
Maybe I'll do a quick Giveaway in June before we head out on The 2017 Mega-Summer Road Trip.  Who's up for another one?


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Last Day to Enter

Today is the last day to enter my current Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway.

Go HERE and leave a comment on the Giveaway Post.
Remember, only one entry per person on this one.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Little Bit of Shopping Last Week

My time in Southern Virginia is coming to a close.  I found some time last week to do a bit of shopping when I wasn't in Cat Hell.

While at the grocery store picking up some provisions I found these.....

These mixers were on clearance for $1.19 and make a gallon each so $3.78 w/tax for all.

Then I found these at Big Lots.........

Bags of Hickory and Mesquite wood chips for my smoker.  I was nearly out after last Summer so now at $2.50 a bag+.45 tax=$795 total(cheaper than the last lot I bought 2 years ago)we are all set for Summertime smoking.  8-)

And you know I had to go to Rite-Aid too, didn't you?

1 x Colgate toothpaste=$2.99
1 x Nivea lip balm 20% Wellness discount=$2.55

I used--
1 x $2/1 Colgate ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Nivea product R-A FlyerQ=$2.00
Q Total....$4.00

$5.54-$4.00=$1.54+.18¢ tax=$1.72 paid with Plenti Points.
I earned $1 back in new PPs for buying the Colgate so I "spent down" my Plenti points by .72¢.

Go me....

I still have a $5 OYNO Catalina from Rite-Aid from before I came down here to expires soon so I'll probably go to R-A and buy some beer with it...because down here in the Commonwealth of VA the liquor laws are bit more lax so drugstores can sell beer/wine, not like home in the Draconian Commonwealth of PA.

What have you found a deal on lately at the stores?


Monday, May 22, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Eating Whatever" Edition--

My meals down in VA have been somewhat haphazard and slapped together.  The point is I have NOT been cooking other than reheating or heating in the microwave.  On Friday I cooked bacon in the microwave and made me and the mother in-law BLT sammies.  I also had a Stauffer's spinach souffle one night for myself for dinner.  I went out to Captain D's and got us a fish dinner for lunch one day but mostly I haven't been getting any take-out/eating out here.  I bought snacking foods(pimento cheese, hummus, cheddar, crackers, pita chips,celery)and have been having that for meals with fruit, or a can of soup or beefaroni.  Plus the mother in-law has been eating on the Mother's Day ham dinner sis in-law made.  I had to put those leftovers in the freezer finally but she'd got a stack of TV Dinners her daughter bought her.

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Ravioli and Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread
3. Tuesday--Roast Chicken and Veggies
4. Wednesday--Leftover Chicken in Gnocchi Soup
5. Thursday--Leftovers or Fend for Yourself
6. Friday--Biscuits and Gravy(BFD)
7. Saturday--? or Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Ravioli and Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread
3. Tuesday--Roast Chicken and Veggies
4. Wednesday--Leftover Chicken in Gnocchi Soup
5. Thursday--Leftovers or Fend for Yourself
6. Friday--Biscuits and Gravy(BFD)
7. Saturday--Leftovers

Last week saw 7 nights of dinners....0 night of take-out, 4 nights of Leftovers and 4 nights of cooking new meals.  Daughter stuck to her meal plan, go team!

One trip to Weis put a dent in the food budget of $15.   This brought my May food spending total to $94.93.  There are 9 days left in the month and we are still under $100 spent on food this month.  Daughter has been emptying the freezer in my absence since she HATES food shopping!  Works for me. lolz

My savings percentages last week was ?% which brings the month's percentage to ?%. 
I don't have the receipt from Daughter's grocery shopping so I don't have the accurate amount she spent(other than telling me "around $15")and I don't know what she bought.  I'll get the details when I get home.

Leftovers going into this week.......haven't a clue what they have left.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Baked Ham, Corn Casserole, Asparagus
3. Tuesday--?
4. Wednesday--?
5. Thursday--?
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--?

This week will see ? new meals cooked, ? night of Take-Out/Eating-Out and ? nights of Leftovers.

Daughter is baking a ham and they'll be eating off leftover ham this week.  She also plans to make Beef Stroganoff and a Veggie, a Chicken dish(Marsala or ?)and maybe Shrimp Scampi w/Liguine(which was my suggestion).

What I need to buy for this menu?  Well I'm not there so I am not buying anything. lol
She says she needs to by fresh produce(corn, asparagus, mushrooms)and will pick up some frozen veg too.  And cheese.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cindi is Back

Just a short post to let everyone know that Cindi, from All Doors Considered, Thrifty at Sixty and The Thrifty Millionaire(among others)is back with a new blog.

Retired and Thrifty

Go over and give her some new blog love, ok?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

2016 Road Trip.....May 15th LA to TX & Back-Part 1

On Sunday, May 15th, Daughter had off from work so we took a little road trip.
Want to guess where we went?

We visited an animal park in Bayou Pierre called the Natchitoches Alligator Park.

So here is the sign after you enter the enclosed park.  Beware the gators!


And look at this first vicious critter we encountered.  And he wasn't even behind a barrier for our safety!!!

We went up a walkway to a natural bayou area where the gators were just being gators in their natural environment and us humans were behind fencing.......

A sleepy alligator.
You can't hardly see this gator for the weeds.

A big old gator shot from between the bars and trees.  Yikes!

Then it was over to the area with the baby alligators in the baby pool.
For an additional price they'd come over and let you hold one of the babies and have your picture took.
Um, I passed on that one.

So we took goofy photos instead for free.......

They had an inside exhibit alligators that they couldn't put out in the general population.  They all had something about them that wouldn't let them "fend" for themselves with the others.  I guess you'd call them "special needs" gators.

This guy had a deformed snout and crooked teeth..

They had some inside exhibits of  snakes and another exhibit of racooms behind very dirty filthy plexi-glass.

Evidently they use to have a rare albino alligator at this gator park, Edgar the Albino Alligator.
Unfortunately Edgar passed away a few years back and they have had him stuffed and preserved so he is now an "ex-gator".
This is the best shot I could take of him through the nasty plexi-glass......

Then it was back outside to feed the emus...

A short video of us feeding one of the emus.....

Then of course we had to feed the ponies.......

But the pygmy goats were one of Daughter's favorites.

She wanted to take one home that took a special shine to her.

This one fella got quite up close and personal and nibbled on her ear..........

Then it was back to all things gator.

The announcement that the Alligator Feeding Show was about to begin sent us off to that area.

"Please Be Safe.  Do not stand, sit, climb or lean over fences!  If you fall, the alligators will eat you and that might make them sick!  Thank You."

Goodness knows I don't want to be responsible for making gators sick........

Here are some little gators swarming along the shore line before the feeding frenzy started.

They had a boat of sorts on a pulley and the guy in it pulls the boat out into position in the bayou.
Wearing gloves and hooking a whole chicken onto a wire, he then dangles it over the side of the boat and the gators jump to get it.

Gators waiting for lunch.....

A big gator getting antsy and started jumping even before the chicken gets dangled.......

I caught the moment this gator took the "lunch" clear off the wire.

Then amidst the feeding frenzy this HUGE gator sleeping on the opposite shore must have smelled lunch and threw himself into the water with a loud WHACK! and everybody in the bleachers turned to look.

More shots of gators jockeying for lunch......

You can see the wooden sheathing on that "boat" has also been eaten away from many gator feeding sessions.

Here's a short video I got all the feeding frenzy too........

This was a different algae filled pool with some small gators, also algae covered.

A random peacock we encountered.  He knows to steer clear of the water.....

I wanted to have some one take my picture with this fake gator bursting through the underpinnings of the deck to the entrance/exit but Hubs and Daughter were already inside the snack bar looking for food.

A gratuitous shot of deep fried cookies sign for McVal......

Me about to have my first Boudin Ball....and I am not sure if I want to do this because I know this stuff is spicy.......

The prices were ridiculously high so we shared 3 things and 2 drinks.  It wasn't lunch time yet but we needed something to stave off hunger.

This was my piece of a fried gator bite, a piece of a Natchitoches meat pie and a few fries.
Being in Natchitoches of course we had to try a Natichitoche meat pie.  The town is pronounced nah-coh-doches. 
Not to be confused with Nacogdoches(Nah-coh-Do-ches), which is in East Texas about 2 hours away from Natchitoches LA.

I let Hubs/Daughter have m Boudin Ball after one bite.

They had photos of CeeLo Green in the snack bar.  I guess he shot a music video here or something...

Then it was off to the gift shop(which you have to go through to enter or exit the park)....


I saw this book for sale in the gift shop and had to laugh......." Dead Is No Excuse-The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral".

Then amidst all the gator themed novelties I spied this Steam Punk Lamp for sale.  Since Lorraine's Hubs makes stuff like this and sells it at "Cons" I sent her a photo of it. lolz

A huge taxidermy gator in the gift shop(he wasn't for sale)next to plastic gator squirt guns. lolz

I did bring home a small souvenir from our time with the 'gators.........

What says Christmas better than gators on a Xmas tree ball? lolz
And with that we bid Natchitoches Louisiana adieu.

This has gotten long so I'll talk about the rest of the days adventures next time.