Tuesday, June 30, 2009

$5/$25 purchase at PetSmart

Petsmart Q here.

Time Saving Tuesday

Here's a great time saving tip that I love!
Pour leftover wine into ice-cube trays and freeze, then transfer to a labeled freezer baggie (you don't want the kids adding these cubes to their juice). The next time a recipe calls for wine, there's no need to rush out to the store or look for another sustitute. I always hate pouring out the end of the bottle. I measured my ice cube tray and one individual cube holds 2 tablespoons.

Monday, June 29, 2009

June monthly spending - 8isGreat checks in

My June monthly budget GOAL for groceries, H&B items, baby items and cleaning supplies is $400/month for my family of ten. I have not switched to a cash system. I tried it for the first two weeks of June, but got off track.

An unusual expense that affected my OOP expenses this month was my oldest DD's HS graduation party which was a celebration I wasn't about to skimp on.
My OOP expenses for the above categories for my family was $553.83 for the month of June.I estimate that the graduation cost me approximately $127.95. If I subtract the graduation food expenses, which I intend to, my June bill was $425.88. Only $25.88 over my goal! I am sooo close!! I know I can meet it in July!
Once again, my goal for July is $400 for the same categories. If Frugal Momma can continue to fall below her goal each month, surely I can at least meet mine one month! :o)

I did quite a bit of stockpiling this month on really cheap or free items. I stocked up on canned tuna, toilet paper, cereal, Pampers, chicken and pork (and sugar free gum, too!) I also bought alot of Propel and Joint Juice. These two items were "teasers" they cost me nothing, they were only in my basket because purchasing them lowered the cost of the items I actually needed in my basket. If this confuses you read this post on MoneyMakers. I did get stopped by a fellow shopper who wanted to know if I was throwing a party for "old" people. I didn't know what he was talking about until I realized what I must look like selecting produce and dairy products with a cart filled with Joint Juice. Oh well. :o)
One thing that REALLY surprised me was that we purchased 50 gallons of milk in June! Insane!! There are only 30 days in the month! I guess with all the kids home from school we are going through more than normal. But to be honest I don't know what normal is. Never before have I counted how many gallons I bought. I just usually grab between 4 and 8 gallons when I am picking up milk. I am sure at least 3 gallons ended up down the drain. I told the kids how much milk we are drinking and asked them to help me reduce this for next month by placing their unfinished milk in the refrigerator or using smaller glasses so they don't over pour.
Here is what I bought in June. All this (not including the H&B items I forgot to save receipts from because I got them for free) cost me $553.83. I spent $425.88 for our family's needs and stockpiling for future family use plus $127.95 for a graduation party.

13 jumbo bags Pampers
2 pkgs GoodNites
1 Baby bath wash

I didn’t save my receipts from all the free items I got at CVS and Wags (I figured because I spent zero I didn’t need to keep my receipts – I’ll remember this next month)
I know I bought 1 large shampoo, 2 large conditioners, razors, 2 sun blocks, etc.

Tomatoes (Roma) 1 lb.
Granny Smith Apples 2.12 lbs.
5 Avacados
Bananas 18.21 lbs
Green Onions
Fresh Express Spinach
Green Leaf Lettuce 3
Vidalia Onion 1.08 lb
Tomatoes (large slicing) 2.92 lbs
Cucumbers 2
Cherry tomatoes 1 pkg.
Strawberries 1 pkg
5 lb red potatoes
1.15 Peaches
1 bag baby spinach
Fresh Express Chef salad
Fresh Express cranberry pecan salad finishers

Freezer Jam Pectin
Ketchup 3
Mayo 4
A1 Steak sauce 4
Charcoal 2
Ice 3 10-lb bags
Jarred cherries 1

3 Angus London Broil
Perdue Split Chicken Breasts 14.87 lbs
20 hamburgers
10 packages of Boneless Pork Tenderloin
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts
1 one lb. pkg Ground beef
2 OM hot dogs
2 lb. cooked shrimp

1.57 lb Turkey breast
1 lb honey ham

4 Apple juice concentrate
6 OJ concentrate
4 sherbert tubs
Ice cream 3 Bryers
7 DiGiorno Pizzas
3 personal store band pizzas
1 Puff Pastry Sheet
2 Ocean Spray Cranberry juice
3 10# bags ice

3Egg noodles
22 Ramen Noodles (individual)
1 Manacotti
3 Spaghetti
6 Elbow Macaroni
2 Penne

8 loaves Pepperidge Farm Rye/Pumpernickle Swirl
1 loaf Honey Wheat
8 loaves wheat bread
Entemann’s Doghnuts
½ Sheet Cake
4 packages hamburger buns
4 packages hot dog buns

4 Rice Krispies
6 Kix
4 Multi Grain Cheerios 2
1 Cheerios
4 Frosted Mini Wheats

1 OEP Enchilada Sauce
2 Chicken Noodle soup
1 jar roasted red bell peppers
5 Cream of Chicken Soup
1 jar cocktail sauce
1 jar maraschino cherries
74 cans of tuna (total cost $32.68)
1 Peanut butter
1 Tomato paste
1 mushrooms
6 black beans
9 OEP refried beans
4 Tomatoes and green chilies

50 Gallons Milk - Woah! Who knew!
5 twelve count eggs
2 eighteen count eggs
2 Cream cheese
27 Cheese shredded (these were a $ maker at HT)
6 Cheese blocks
36 Yogurt (individual)
1 Whipped cream
2 Cool Whip
2 packages of 4 sticks butter
10 Sour cream (these don't expire until 10/09)
3 Refrigerated dough
3 Ricotta Cheese

1 Downy
6 boxes Hefty Kitchen garbage bags
9 boxes Hefty One Zip bags
8 packages Chinet Casuals Lunch Plates
2 packages Chinet Dessert Plates
2 Greased Lightning
4 Hot Shot Insect/wasp spray
6 Packages of 12 rolls of Scott Bath Tissue

108 Joint Juice individual bottles (&Maker at Safeway)
49 Propel individual bottles($Maker at Safeway)
7 2L bottles Soda
5 Energy Drink
9 Individual canned soda

1 McCormick Rum Extract
1 McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1 McCormick Almond Extract
3 small McCormick cinnamon
3 bags of Flour
10 packages of Muffin Mix
10 boxes BC Brownie Mix
1 Shortening
2 Jello pudding
8 Pancake Mix
1 Pancake Syrup
1 Olive Oil
1 Vegetable oil

McCormick Oregano Leaves

5 Ritz
5 Wheat Thins

11 Potato chips
1 Corn Chips
1 Pretzel Rods

10 Individual Candy Bars 10 (total cost .89)
51 FoodLion brand gum (total cost $4.59)

Cash only groceries--month of June review

Last month was our family's first go at using cash only for all of our grocery shopping. You can read the results of last month's budget here. Since we came in under budget last month, I decided to cut $20 off this month's budget and set a budget of $340 for our family of 6 for the month. With just 1 day left in the month and no more shopping trips for me I thought I'd run and post my numbers today. To my surprise we came in WAY under budget this month!

Total for the month of June groceries:
Budget: $340
Actual spent: $216.72
Amount UNDER Budget: $123.28
Mail in rebates submitted from this month's grocery receipts: $51

Not counting the money we'll get back for the mail in rebates we spent only 67% of our budgeted amount. That's $54.18 a week for a family of 6! If you count the money we're getting back from the rebates that brings the month's total to $165.72 or nearly 49% of the monthly budget.

You can see by looking at my Meal Plan Monday postings that we eat pretty well, but if you're wondering what you can really buy for $54 a week this list is for you! (Note--we eat lots of frozen veggies that I've stockpiled for pennies a bag so you don't see anything like that on the list this month and you'll remember how prolific our lettuce has been this year so we didn't need to buy any of that!.)

Number Unit Item


4 lbs strawberries
10 indiv bananas
1 32 oz blueberries
1 indiv pineapple
12 fuji apples
3 oz baby spianch
1 bunch green onions
1 indiv tomato
2 indiv tomatoes
7 indiv bananas
2 bags salad mix
4.17 lbs seedless watermelon
2.8 lbs apples
6 ears corn
1 pt blueberries
1.98 lbs bananas
1 lg onion
1 lg pack raspberries
1 lg seedless watermelon
5 indiv bananas
5 indiv apples
1 indiv tomato
1 qt blueberries
1 indiv sweet potato
1 indiv pineapple
1.96 lbs apples
2 indiv roma tomatoes
1.86 indiv apples
2 indiv pineapples
1 indiv seedless watermelon
4 indiv apples
2 lbs lbs potatoes
1 indiv large sweet potato
1 indiv small onion
5 indiv bananas
1 pack strawberries


1 gallon skim milk
2 gallon 2% milk
3 gallon 2% milk
4 lbs butter
2 blocks cream cheese
1 gallon skim milk
1 dozen eggs
1 dozen eggs
1 gallon skim milk
1 gallon 2% milk
3 dozen eggs
1 gallon 2% milk
4 lbs butter
5 lbs shredded mozzarella
2 lbs cheddar
1 qt heavy cream
3 gallons 2% milk
1 6pk TJs yogurt
5 indiv containers yogurt
1 gallon skim milk
1 lbs Kraft american cheese
1 gallon skim milk


1 16pk hot dog buns
1 16pk hamburger buns
1 8 pk hamburger buns
1 8 pk hamburger buns
1 loaf sandwich bread
1 bag mini bagels
1 pk hamburger buns
1 pk hot dog buns


10 lbs frozen chicken breasts
2 lbs bacon
2 8oz packs pepperoni
0.67 lbs beef strifry
1.3 lbs ground beef
1.67 lbs london broil
2.67 lbs sirloin steak
22.14 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
5.2 lbs pork tenderloin
2.5 lbs pork tenderloin
3.6 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1 pk taylor ham
2 pks hot dogs


2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 bottles BBQ sauce
4 bottles BBQ sauce
2 bottles BBQ sauce
1 bottles soy sauce
1 can chili


1 bag flour
1 bag confectioners sugar
1 bottle vegetable oil
1 bottle syrup
2 boxes Cheerios
1 box cake mix
1 box instant pudding
1 box cake mix
1 box instant pudding
3 boxes cake mix
3 boxes instant pudding
1 box brownie mix
2 boxes brownie mix
2 boxes cake mix
3 boxes instant pudding
1 bag flour


24 pk bottled water
29 bottles joint juice
14 bottles joint juice
14 bottles joint juice
27 bottles joint juice
36 bottles joint juice
2 half gallons Tropicana OJ


2 bags Lays Potato chips
1 box granola bars
1 bottle soy sauce
12 oz bag chocolate chips
4 lbs chocolate chips
5 indiv donuts
1 jar crushed garlic
1 bottle lemon juice
1 can cooking spray
1 bottle ketchup
1 pack zesty herb marinade


4 boxes tissues
2 bottles handsoap
1 bag gallon ziplocks
3 bottles Shout
1 8pk Bounty paper towels
2 purse packs tissues
2 12pk Cottonelle toilet paper


9 bags Pampers
1 bag Huggies swim diapers

Harris Teeter

There are just two days left to take advantage ot the Harris Teeter Super Doubles promotion. HT will double all coupons up to $1.98. Look here for coupon matchups.

HT is honoring the Giant PDF $5/$15 fresh meat Q that Frugal Momma posted here.

I used it last week to buy $30 in london broil for $10. The London Broil is B1G1 free through Tuesday. It came to just over $15 after I used my VIC card and then down to just over $10 after the Giant coupon. Check with your customer service desk before attempting this at the check out. My HT said they honor all competitor coupons. This includes all competitor Catalina Qs!

Kroger 6/28 - 7/4

Jenny at Southern Savers has the Kroger ad with coupon match ups for the week here.

What can you get for 50c ?

Mom's by Heart has a page on her blog every week with items that are 50c or less after coupons and store sales/promotions. You can find this weeks 50c deals here.

Pharmacy deals and coupon Match Ups 6/28-7/4

Money saving Mom has the deals, match ups, and scenarios for Rite Aid here, for CVS here and Walgreens here.

Meal Plan Monday - 8isGreat

Sunday - Zucchini Alfredo and Tomato Basil Bread. We picked up this bread at the farmers market. It was great. The zucchini alfredo was eaten, but not raved over. Don't think I'll make this again.
Monday - dressed up Leftovers.
Tuesday - Piquant Chicken with Basil, salad, and crusty bread.
Wednesday - Ham & pepperoni stromboli (we never had these last week).
Thursday - Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, potato salad.
Friday - Spaghetti, beans, garlic bread.
Saturday - London Broil and Zesty Herbed Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, salad, grilled corn on the cob. Still searching for a dessert fit for the 4th.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Free Sephora Make Up -- JC Penney

Head into Sephora inside JC Penney and get a free 10 day sample of Bare Escentuals new matte foundation and baby buki brush.

Print coupon here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swagbucks--new sign up BONUS!

Search & Win

Since signing up a few months ago with Swagbucks I've earned 12 $5 Amazon giftcards just by doing my regular internet searches and I'm over halfway toward another one! Rather than opening up google to search, now I open up swagbucks.com. Their searches are powered by google and sometimes you earn "bucks" for your searches.

Swagbucks is offering a special to readers of this blog for extra bucks when they sign up and use the referral code LUVSDEALS (case sensitive.) You'll receive 3 bucks for signing up and 2 extra bucks by entering LUVSDEALS as the swagcode. You'll be on your way with a great start toward earning bucks! The code is good until next Monday.

Just use the widget below to sign up and enter LUVSDEALS as the swag code and let the fun begin!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thrifty Thursday!


Bartering is a great way to save money on items or services you need!
All of us have been blessed with gifts or have aquired skills that are valuable to others.
Bartering is when you trade your talent for someone else's talent.

If you need of a talent you don't possess, think of someone you know who has this talent and what you might be able to do for them in return.

Make a list of the talents you have: cleaning, an ability to organize a room, teach music lessons, car detailing, running errands, tutoring, teaching a struggling reader, gardening, hanging drywall, painting, driving someone in need of a ride, cutting hair, repairing plumbing/electrical, child care, letter writing, baking, cooking, canning/freezing, knitting, sewing, budgeting, financial planning, furniture repair or refinishing, and even your couponing skills. Think of the education you have, the classes you've taken, and special training you've received. Don't forget your hobbies. There are people who need services you can provide and are willing to trade for them!

Your skills are valuable! Others are in need of your talents! Once you have a list advertise your skills. Post a flyer in the library, the grocery store, or take an ad out in the wanted section of a community paper or a neighborhood email bulletin, etc.

When you find yourself in need of a skill, get the word out. Tell co-workers, friends, neighbors, and people you do business with. You would be surprised how willing people are to trade services to avoid the high cost of hiring someone! If you need to, take out a small ad in the paper or post a sign. When you make contact be sure to let them know up front you'd like to barter with them and find out what you could do for them in exchange.

I have a friend who learned how to coupon and match deals to get diapers cheaply. She traded diapers in exchange for art lessons (from a new Dad) for her daughter. My daughter helped clean the art studio or babysat for the same teacher for her art lessons. For two years I have exchanged a homecooked casserole for private music lessons.

Bartering is a teriffic way to get what you need and return the favor! Everybody wins!

Whittle Down Wednesday

I began re-reading Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much this past week. Last Wednesday I posted here that I had gotten side-tracked into just "cleaning up" rather than "cleaning out." Keeping in mind that the items I store should serve my family rather than us serving these items, I tackled another small space in my kitchen this week.

I can remember wishing someone with "real" organizational skills would come and help me streamline the spaces in my kitchen. I had so much stuff in my kitchen I didn't know where to begin. Thinking about tackling it myself seemed overwhelming. But, I did it. I just took one cabinet at a time. I thought about what the best use for the space could be and I started small. I can't believe how uncluttered my finished spaces look and how easy it is to find just what I need. It is also easier for the kids to help me set up for a party or a meal, and to clean up without my help. My boys would just put clean dishes on the counter for me to put away because it was too dangerous for them to try to balance the dishes so high on the shelves.

This is my other 4 shelf top corner cabinet. This sits in the opposite corner from the cabinet I posted here last week, between my oven and my refrigerator.


Sorr, I can't find my before picture. It could have been taken with my DD's camera. Trust me, it was in bad shape. :o( I will post a photo if I find one!

The only item in this cabinet that I used regularly was my food chopper. Four shelves - what a waste!

I also kept some serving dishes, a box filled with cake decorating supplies, all my candy making molds (last used maybe 2 -3 years ago).

A waffle maker, a sandwich maker, an apple peeler-corer-slicer, and a carving set were here (they still are).

I also had some candles, a warming pot to melt scented wax discs and lots of these wax discs. (I sure do wish I'd cleaned this cupboard before my yard sale!)

I also had a number of baking spices and extracts. I moved these to my baking cupboard.

Just about anything else in here went in the garbage.

Now the cabinet holds all my serving dishes collected from various other kitchen cabinets. It still holds the waffle maker, sandwich maker, carving set, my slicing/grating tool, and apple peeler-corer-slicer. The only other item in this cupboard is a plastic Tupperware container that holds some CD's. (I have a CD player mounted under this counter). Here is the finished product!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time Saving Tuesday--lists

It's summer travel season! Often all of the prep and packing for a trip falls on Mom's shoulders. Why not save yourself some time and effort and make master lists for your trips? Chances are you bring pretty much the same thing for each trip. Your winter trips might be different than what you need to pack for your beach vacation, but if these are regular trips you make you may find list making an invaluable timesaver. You can make your lists in Excel or Word and type it once and save it forever! Each trip you take you can just quickly print it out or make any additions or deletions based on your destination.

We make the 20 hr drive to my in-laws twice a year usually--summer and Christmas. The more times we make the trip, the less I realize we really need to bring. I've got a summer list that covers van or plane travel or regular family visit or a trip to the beach (but our list might be considered a minimalist approach compared to some others.) Here's our list to get you started with your own Master list for your family.

Summer List

shaving cream
after shave
body wash
glasses/contact stuff
hair brushes
ponytail holders/headbands

2 sets church clothes
bathing suits
church shoes

cell phone and charger
video camera

For Van
Portable DVD
mini cooler
bottled water
bookbags with books and coloring supplies
diapers/wipes/changing pad
portable potty

For plane
bookbags with books and coloring supplies
umbrella stroller

For beach
cooler full of dinners
beach toys
swim toys
shade canopy
umbrella stroller
air mattress
pancake griddle
beach chair
non-perishable groceries

Hopefully that list can help you get started. A quick search of the itunes App Store also showed at least a couple of apps that you could download to your itouch or iphone to make travel preparations easier.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Finally--I got to post this on a Monday again!

Here's what's on tap for the week:

Sunday: Chinese food take out for Father's Day

Monday: Rosemary-Orange pork tenderloin, grilled potato packets (sliced regular and sweet potatoes and sliced onions tossed in olive oil with rosemary, salt and pepper wrapped in foil and grilled), broccoli. Here's the full article for "fool-proof" grilled pork tenderloin. Includes brining tip and cooking instructions.

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Casear salads , pineapple

Wednesday: Baja lime chicken, black bean rice salad.

Thursday: Turkey club sandwiches, chips, raw veggies and dip, fruit salad.

Friday: Grilled pizzas (veggie for grown ups, plain cheese for kids) and salads. (I use this recipe for the dough--but add an additional cup flour and a little more water. I use my bread machine to mix it all up and knead it for a while, but never let it run the full dough cycle, then roll out individual size pizza crusts, spray with cooking spray and throw on a hot grill for just a few minutes per side to cook the crust, then top with sauce, cheese and toppings and return to low covered grill for just a bit until the cheese is melted. You need to watch carefully so they don't burn though!)

Saturday: Fajita salads (Marinate thinly sliced steak strips in half bottle of Italian dressing, 1 tsp cumin and a couple of dashes of hot sauce for 1 hour--or however much time you have! In hot skillet coated with cooking spray cook thinly sliced red & green peppers and onions. Add steak--and marinade--and cook through. Serve over salad greens, drained and rinsed black beans, rinsed frozen corn, crushed tortilla chips/taco shells. Top with cheese and dressing made from equal parts sour cream and salsa.)

For more suggestions, check out Org Junkie's Meal Plan Monday.

Meal Plan Monday - 8isGreat

Sunday- Beef and cheese Quesadillas

Monday - #1 son's 11th Bday! We're having his favorite, Chicken Enchilada's and birthday cake!

Tuesday - Meatloaf, potatoes, beans, rolls.

Wednesday - Ham & Pepperoni Stromboli with sauce and ceasar salad

Thursday - Pork Tenderloin, rice (make extra for pork fried rice next week), veggie.
I had no recipe in mind when I posted this meal originaly. I am updating to add the recipe because I found a super easy one (10 min. before I put it in the oven) and my family loved it.
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I only had 1 cup so I added 1 cup of crushed seasoned croutons) and 1/2 cup olive oil. Spray cooking pan. Place tenderloins in pan. Coat with bread crumb and oil mixture about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 425 for 35 min or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let pork rest for 10 min then cut into 1/2 inch slices.l Yummy! And, I have one whole tenderloin left - I was missing 2 eaters from the table that night .

Friday - meatless spaghetti, garlic bread, veggie or salad

Saturday- chicken sandwiches, sliced pinepples

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Money Maker Cheese at Harris Teeter!

Kraft shredded cheese is a MM at HT!

Right now it is on sale for $1.47/bag.
There are 50c/1 Kraft 2% Qs out there (I got mine from a tearpad at HT a few weeks ago). There are also $1/1 printables on the kraft website here and a $1/1 Q in the June 2009 Family Circle Magazine.
The 5oc Q doubles, so either Q brings you to 47c/bag.

Kraft is also running a Catalina promotion right now (through 7/12/2009): when you buy 3 bags you get a $2 OYNO Cat back, buy 4 bags get $3 OYNO Cat, and 5 (or more) bags get $4 OYNO Cat!

Transaction 1: 3 bags.
1.47 x 3 =4.41 - $3 in Qs = 1.41 + tax and earned a $2 OYNO cat

Transaction 2: 5 bags.
1.47 x 5 = 7.45 - $5 in Qs = 2.45 - $2 CAT = .45 + tax and earned $4 OYNO cat

Total OOP for two transactions = $1.86 plus tax, But I ended up with $4 to spend on my next trip.
This is like getting paid $2.14 to take 8 bags of Kraft shredded cheese home!

This sale ends June 23. Enough time to ask friends and family to print extra IPs for you!

Cheap Tenderloins, Chicken at Giant

I was near Giant this morning and couldn't miss out on the meat deals with the $5 Q Frugal Momma posted here! I bought 2 large pkgs of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I also picked up 2 pork tenderloins. You can read in Frugal Momma's post about the savings on chicken.

Here is the deal on the pork tenderloin:
1 pkg. of tenderloin was $15.51 - $5 Q - $8.36 club card savings = $2.51.
I regret I only bought 2 of these. I think I'll go back for more!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Giant-- $.43/lb boneless skinless chicken breast

Today at Giant I bought 22.14 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $9.63, which works out to $.43 per pound! I usually buy the big bag of individually frozen chicken breasts at Costco (about $2.50/lb) because they cook so quickly and it's easy to reach in and grab what I need out of the bag--but I couldn't pass up this steal of a deal at Giant. (This also would have been possible at Stop and Shop.)

I used the $5/15 meat coupon that I posted earlier in the week. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.79 per pound with your club card. I found the packs that were just over $15 (BEFORE USING THE CLUB CARD.) At the check out I scanned the pack of chicken, then scanned the coupon THEN scanned my club card. I paid approximately $1.50 per ~3.5lb package. My total after 6 transactions was $9.61 (before tax) and I walked out with 22.14 pounds.

All afternoon I then played butcher and flattened and trimmed and bagged the chicken. I left just over half of it plain in freezer bags and half of it all set in marinades (for fajitas, jerk chicken, baja lime chicken and balsalmic zesty herb.)

The coupon is good until July 2nd, but chicken breasts are only on sale until Thursday. To get the best deal, make sure you find packages with pre-Bonus Card pricing as close to just over $15 as you can.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

FOOD LION - my shopping trip 6/18

Here's my FL run from today:

I bought:
1 DiGiorno Pizza
2 boxes Ritz crackers
2 boxes Wheat thins
1 FL elbow macaroni
10 FL chunk light tuna in water
2 large boxes MultiGrain Cheerios
2 large boxes Kix cereal
1 Kraft shredded cheese
1 5lb. bag red potatoes
6 bananas (1 not pictured - 20 month old ate it!)
I used 4 FLIPs and 8 mfr Qs
I also used a $4 OYNO catalina from purchasing FL brand items.
I paid $10.95 OOP.
I received 2 OYNO CATs:
a $1 OYNO from DiGiorno and a $2.75 OYNO because I bought 11 FL products.
I saved:
$17.25 in MVP savings
$6.00 in FLIPS
$4.00 using OYNO CATs and
$16.23 in mfr. Qs
I paid $10.95 for $54.43 in groceries and earned another $3.75 in future groceries.

CVS Advisory Panel

Both 8isgreat and I are members of the CVS Advisory Panel. What that means is a couple of times a year CVS will email us asking up to participate in a survey. It could be about store layouts, a new product line they're thinking of, pharmacy experiences--all sorts of different things. In exchange for your time in doing these surveys you earn Extra Care Bucks! I did one recently and very shortly thereafter an extra $10 ECB printed at the end of my receipt!

They are currently accepting more members now. Go HERE to sign up!

Harris Teeter 6/17-6/23

Jenny at SouthernSavers has all the HT deals and coupon match-ups.

NOTE: Super Doubles coming to HT! Any coupon $1.98 or less doubled!!! Runs 6/24-6/30!

Food Lion 6/17 - 6/23

Jenny at Southern Savers has all the deals and coupon match ups. She has the latest FLIPs here.

Remember that FL is giving 25c back in the form of a OYNO catalina for every FL product you purchase (up to 40 items and $10 OYNO Q per purchase limit). This promotion ends June 23. I've been stocking up on FL tuna fish 67c/can - 25c oyno = 42c/can.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whittle Down Wednesday

I'm re-reading Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much. I was getting sidetracked into just "cleaning up" rather than "streamlining my spaces" by removing clutter (items that don't serve the function of the room or space) and keeping only items that serve me!

I hosted a High School Graduation party for my oldest this weekend and I was busy all last week (too busy to post anything on the blog!) getting my house ready for guests and planning our party meals.

I did plenty of cleaning & de-cluttering last week.

Our family moved into our home 4 years ago. We were blessed by the addition of two new babies to our family since we moved in. I think when you are always in "baby-mode" (pregnant and being so tired OR, nursing a little one and being so tired) it is especially difficult to keep your head above water let alone have the clarity to try and figure out the difference between an item that serves you and an item that you serve. My "baby" is 20 months old now. Idecided now was a great time to take a look at my spaces from an un-foggy perspective.

I spent some time in my kitchen re-organizing my cupboards. Before last week I hadn't changed what went where since I unpacked all my boxes 4 years ago. I have lots of cabinet space. I think all this space caused me to keep items that just cluttered up my cabinets.

Here is an upper cabinet between my stove and my sink.


I was keeping vitamins, medicines, and first aid items on the first shelf. Crafts, flashlights, grilling equipment, baby soap & lotion (for sink baths), matches, candles, pens, paper, 4 broken Christmas ornaments and two broken dishes I planned to one day glue together.

I decided I already have a place for medicines upstairs and that it was silly to have more than band-aids and pain relievers here with the vitamins. So when I'd gathered up all the medicine to bring upstairs it didn't all fit in a grocery bag! I needed a bag and 1/3 - and this didn't include all the expired meds that went in the trash! I moved all the vitamins up to the third shelf from the bottom shelf. I think this is safer.

I let myself off the hook and I threw away the broken ornaments and decorative pottery. I threw away any dried up paints and glue. I choose a shoebox sized plastic container to hold all my painting supplies and glue for the kids. Other craft supplies are somewhere more accessible to the children, in this cabinet I only keep what I need to supervise. All these crafts are now on the very top shelf.

Now I have a very large decorative pasta bowl on the bottom shelf, the second shelf up stores my cut glass cake pedestal plate (this gets a lot of use April - October!), my grilling basket fork and turner & matches.

On the third shelf are all vitamins on a lazy susan and some candles.

The top shelf holds the crafts I mentioned earlier.


I will post my other cabinets in the weeks to come.

Free Tropicana Juice coupon--hurry!

Offer good only for the first 5,000 people who sign up, but you will receive a coupon for a free carton of Tropicana Pure Premium OJ.

Coupon HERE.

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the heads up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Meal Plan Monday--The Tuesday edition--again

Yesterday was another busy day, so I'm day late posting my weekly menu.

Salad is on the menu often this week because our lettuce we planted from the free seeds from Earthbound Farms is growing like gang busters and the kids have realized they really like salads when it's really fresh lettuce!

Here goes:

Sunday: Beef shish kabobs, corn on the cob, salads.

Monday: Salmon cakes (never made them last Friday), brown rice (make extra rice for Thursday), broccoli.

Tuesday: Diane burgers, mashed potatoes, salads (baby greens, walnuts, chopped apples and Newman's Own Light balsamic vinaigrette.)

Wednesday: Baked chicken parm, salad.

Thursday: Beef fried rice.

Friday: Pasta and sauce, salad.

Saturday: Kielbasa, carrots, potatoes, green beans.

Check out Org Junkie for more ideas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meal Plan Monday - 8isGreat

Sunday - Sundaes!! We ate leftover graduation party food in the afternoon and I thought it would be fun to treat the family for helping to get the house ready for guests, so we had ice cream for dinner! :o)
Monday - Shish Kabobs (left over from party), Rice, rolls.
Tuesday - Chicken - looking for the recipe - will post when I find printout
Wednesday - Swim meet - PB&J sandwiches, pasta/tuna salad, chips.
Thursday - Taco Cups
Friday - spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Saturday - (Father's Day Celebration) grilled chicken and veggies (using McCormick zesty herb marinade mix), rice, crescent rolls.

New Giant Meat coupon $5 off $15

Came across this coupon for $5 off $15 worth of a meat purchase at Giant on their website and thought it was a good one to pass along to everyone!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Family Fun Friday

Last night our family was generously given tickets to a Major League Baseball game. It was a fun evening, but even with great seats the kids felt a little removed from the action. A much cheaper alternative to Major League Baseball is Minor League Baseball. Many areas have minor league teams. The parks are smaller and the often offer more promotions geared toward kids (running the bases after the game, fireworks, meeting the players, etc.) The price is a significant difference too! The local team here offers $1 Mondays where tickets, hot dogs and drinks are all only $1. All of Minor League Baseball is participating in a promotion with Kraft where if you bring a wrapper from Kraft Singles American cheese to a park on Tuesday night your tickets are buy one, get one free.

To read more about that promotion, click here. To find a team in your area, click here and then click on "Find Team".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sears--spend $50, get $50

Sears is running a promotion for Father's Day. Spend $50 in mens jeans or pants and receive $50 in Sears Rewards after mail in rebate.

Info here.

Meal Plan Monday--The Tuesday edition

Yesterday was a very busy day so I wasn't able to post our week's menu. Here's what's on tap:

Sunday: Grilled BBQ chicken sandwiches, potato chips, baked beans, carrots, pineapple.

Monday: Fajita salads. (Marinate thinly sliced steak strips in half bottle of Italian dressing, 1 tsp cumin and a couple of dashes of hot sauce for 1 hour--or however much time you have! In hot skillet coated with cooking spray cook thinly sliced red & green peppers and onions. Add steak--and marinade--and cook through. Serve over salad greens, drained and rinsed black beans, rinsed frozen corn, crushed tortilla chips/taco shells. Top with cheese and dressing made from equal parts sour cream and salsa.)

Tuesday: Stromboli, salads, fruit, chocolate cake.

Wednesday: Catalina chicken (marinated chicken in Catalina dressing and then grill), grilled potato packets, green beans

Thursday: Quiche, fruit salad

Friday: Salmon cakes, rice peas

Saturday: At 8isgreat's house!

For more ideas check out OrgJunkie!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meal Plan Monday - 8isGreat

Sunday - Chicken Enchiladas

Monday - Shepherd's pie and homemade egg braid loaf

Tuesday - Greek-Italian chopped salad & homemade egg braid

Wednesday - Swim Meet - Egg salad sandwiches, carrot & celery sticks, potato chips

Thursday - Chicken Cacciatore (the recipe linked is the one I use, except I add Penne Pasta - The DG doesn't use pasta at all) Ceasar salad, garlic bread

Friday - Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, stewed tomatoes, homemade bread and peas.

Saturday - Graduation (from HS) Party for oldest child - burgers, dogs, beef shish kabobs, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, potato salad, cake & ice cream.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Free Chocolate Friday!

Don't forget! It's free chocolate Friday again!

Get your free chocolate each Friday (while supplies last) from M&M/Mars as part of their "Real Chocolate Relief Act".

Click here every Friday morning through September for a chance to get a coupon for your favorite Mars product: M&M’s, Snickers, Dove, 3 Muskateers, Twix, or Milky Way. Limit 250,000 coupons per Friday!

Freebie Friday--6 weeks of free diapers!

Arquest is doing another size 4 diaper study. This time you will receive 6 packs of diapers, rather than one. The gratuity will still be $10.

I just finished a study on Wednesday and was able to participate in this one as well.
The number to call is:


Ext 634 for boys (Cheyla)
Ext 646 for girls (Georgia)

Want more details on how it works, read our first post about it here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Stretching Liquid Fabric Softner

I was all out of fabric softner and found this bottle of Downy on closeout at Food Lion for $3.42 (this happened to be cheaper than the FL brand). I mixed it with water (1/3 softner, 2/3 water) in a large screw top plastic bottle. I keep a glove with it to protect my skin. I soak and then wring out a sponge in the solution before throwing it into the dryer with clothes.

It has worked great! I am very happy with the results! I need to add another sponge or two. I spend too much time trying to find my sponge! :o)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I need to re-read Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much for some more motivation to declutter! I'm still working, but with less enthusiasm. I also have more people in the house to work around now that two of my girls are out of school.

I've been working on the basement and throughout the house slowly diminishing our "stuff." I had a VERY successful yard sale last Saturday. I cleared $500! I got rid of quite a few large items (A Little Tykes playhouse and toybox, a desk) and many smaller items such as frames, books, toys etc.

I wish I had pictures.
I was the coordinator of a large comunity yard sale in my church parking lot. I brought my camera, however, I was working to help other sellers find their spots and having them remove their vehicles that the buyers swarmed on us before I could pull out my camers. I hadn't even "set up" before I'd sold more than $50!

My best sellers were items I'd purchased using coupons. I sold toothpaste, diabetes monitors, glade plug-ins, razors, toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving cream, shampoo and conditioner among other items. I had quite a lot of these items and I'm sure at least half of my profit was from my "couponing cheapies" or "couponing freebies"!

I live in a very rural area, and I would never get the volume of traffic we got beside the highway and with a crowd of sellers and food to draw customers. The yard sale was a lot of work and a lot of stress. I'm not sure if I'll volunteer to coordinate again - we'll see. Hopefully I will find a yard sale someone else is coordinating in the future.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TIme Saving Tuesday--house cleaning

A few years back I came across a resource that is such a blessing in it's simplicity. It's by MotivatedMoms.com. She has put together a planner that has daily check lists for cleaning. You save time by spending just a small amount of time each day cleaning, rather than letting the whole house slip into chaos and then struggling to climb out of the mess. The planner offers printable checklists for each week. There are daily chores and then each day of the week has additional chores to tackle. Some will be really quick--like "replenish the toilet paper in each bathroom" others make take longer--like "clean microwave inside and out". A friend who just got the planner last week commented "I couldn't believe how clean my house was at the end of last week. I just went by the list and off I went."

The list breaks cleaning your house into small do-able tasks and don't overwhelm even the messiest of housekeepers. The cost for this resource is only $8 for a whole year of a clean house!

Interested in checking it out for yourself?
To order Motivated Moms planner
If you are interested in ordering and saving $1 use the code GROUP!
It's a complete steal at $7!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cash only grocery budget--month in review

This month was the first I tracked my purchases and used only cash for groceries. Dave Ramsey (author of Total Money Makeover) writes that people spend 18% more when they use "plastic" to make their purchases over cash. I thought we did pretty well already in the grocery area--but decided to see if using cash only made a difference. It did! I thought more about each purchase I made and would need to be aware how much cash I had on me when I was in the grocery store.

At the beginning of the month I took out $360 in cash. I thought that was reasonable for a family of 6. That covered all grocery, baby, cleaning supplies, health and beauty items.

I spent $324.48. I came $35.52 UNDER budget this month. I also submitted $87 in mail in rebates from those grocery receipts. If you count that money back I'm getting, I spent $237.48 for the month. (And I still have $12 in catalinas that I can use on June groceries!) I was hoping to spend even less than I did, but you'll see in the list posted below that I stocked up on a LOT of different items this month, hopefully meaning next month's spending will be even less.

In the month of April I spent $523.55. Not counting the $87 I'm getting back in mail in rebates, I spent $199.07 LESS in May than April. I'm not all that good at math--but I think that's a 38% savings from last month!

When I got back from the store I input my receipts into Excel to track not only what I spent, but what I bought. (I was curious how much milk I get each month, how much bread we eat, how much produce we go through in a month, etc.) I also put what I've spent into my itouch as soon as I get home from the store, that way I have a running budget in my purse at all times.

From what I purchased this month, I was able to I donate over $200 worth of groceries to the food bank.

So, what did $324.48 cash buy me this month?


5 indiv apples
2 indiv bananas
2 indiv tomatoes
6 ears corn
1 head iceberg lettuce
3.1 lbs potatoes
0.9 lbs apples
6.39 lbs bananas
0.65 lbs roma tomatoes
5 lbs potatoes
5 lbs Fuji apples
3 indiv bananas
6 ears corn
2 lbs strawberries
1 indiv pineapple

18 oz pk blueberries
7 indiv bananas
3 lbs apples
3.89 lbs bananas
2.67 lbs apples
2 lbs organic carrots
3.97 lbs potatoes
2 indiv portabella mushroom caps
2 lbs celery hearts
1.52 lbs grapes
2 lbs vidalia onions
seedless watermelon
6 ears corn
1 indiv red pepper
1 indiv green pepper
1 lbs carrots
1 lbs organic carrots
2 indiv red peppers
1 indiv green pepper
1 indiv cucumber
2 indiv oranges
8 indiv Fuji apples
3 indiv pears
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 indiv extra large tomoato
9 indiv bananas
2 lbs strawberries
2 indiv sweet potatoes
6 ears corn
6 indiv kiwi
5.76 lbs Fuji apples
9.92 lbs potatoes
1 indiv cucumber


1 gallon 2% milk
3 gallon 2% milk
2 gallon skim milk
1 dozen eggs
3 dozen eggs
1 lb Kraft American cheese
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 package cream cheese
1 6 pk yogurt
4 lbs butter
4 gallon 2% milk
2 gallon skim milk
4 lbs cheddar cheese
3 6pks yogurt
2 pks shredded cheddar
4 blocks cheddar cheese
2 blocks colby jack
3 dozen eggs
1 gallon whole milk
2 gallon 2% milk
1 lb Kraft American cheese
2 gallons skim milk
1 lb Kraft American cheese
1 32oz plain yogurt
2 4pks Yoplait yo-plus yogurt
4 lb Kraft American cheese
2 16 oz Breakstones sour cream
1 8 oz Daisy Sour Cream
3 gallon 2% milk


1 loaf bread
1 pk hot dog buns
1 dozen mini bagels
1 2pk ficcelle bread
2 loaf bread
2 loaf bread
1 16 pk hamburger buns
2 loaf bread


5 pks Hot dogs
10 lbs frozen chicken breasts
6.07 lbs ground beef
8 lbs hamburgers (32)
2.6 lbs ground turkey breast
1.66 lbs london broil steaks
1.5 lbs eye round steaks
2 lbs NY strip steaks
1 lbs thin cut fajita steaks
13.33 lbs 90% ground beef
2.6 lbs ground turkey breast
4.7 lbs stew meat
12 indiv beef shish kabobs
1.5 lbs thin cut fajita steaks
1.25 lbs ground turkey breast


1 jar strawberry jelly
1 bottle syrup
12 bottles Pace salsa
3 bottles Pace salsa
2 cans baked beans
1 bottle syrup
1 jar seedless red raspberry jam
1 jar orange marmalade
1 30 oz jar mayonaise
3 bottles Kraft ranch dressing
1 bottle Pace salsa
20 bottles Kraft BBQ sauce
130 bottles Kraft BBQ sauce
2 bottles Kraft salad dressing
2 bottles A1
4 cans refried beans
2 cans hormel chili
2 bottles Newmans Own Balsamic Vineg.
2 jar miracle whip
1 jar skippy peanut butter


13 boxes Special K
1 boxes Saltines
2 boxes Life Cereal
2 cans kidney beans
1 bottle Parmesan cheese
1 bottle Vegetable oil
1 boxes brown rice
2 lbs brown sugar
1 boxes baking soda
1 5lb bag flour
2 boxes Special K yougrt
1 boxes Frosted Mini Wheats
5 boxes Frosted Mini Wheats
2 boxes Ritz crackers
2 boxes Wheat Thins
4 boxes Froot Loops
4 boxes Apple Jacks
4 boxes Corn Pops
2 boxes Frosted Mini Wheats
9 boxes Raisin Bran
4 boxes Rice Krispies
4 boxes Frosted Flakes
2 boxes Barilla Picollini bowties
3 boxes Uncle Bens brown rice
1 box Black pepper
3 packs Wacky Mac
20 packs McCormick Zesty Herb marinade


10 pks 6 ct Deer Park water
3 boxes capri sun
1 bottle iced tea
4 bottle Vitamin water
12 pks Coke
1/2 gallon Tropicana OJ
7 bottle Vitamin water
5 bottle Vitamin water
1 1/2 gallon Tropicana OJ
1 bottle Deer Park Sparkling water


12 boxes Fiber One bars
1 indiv donut
2 bags Sunchips
2 indiv reusable shopping bags
1 indiv newspaper
1 bags marshmallows
1 bags Hershey Bliss
2 bags Hershey Bliss
2 bags Lays potato chips
5 bags Hershey Bliss
1 bar Hershey Bliss
6 boxes Jell-O
12ct boxes Poptarts
3 indiv donuts


8pks Paper towel
1 12pk Cottonelle toilet paper
1 pk napkins
1 box tissues
3 pks 36 ct Chinet plates
2 box Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
10 bottles Lysol toilet cleaner
2 boxes Ziploc gallon freezer bags
1 large tub Oxiclean
6 packs Marcal Napkins


1 pk 184 Huggies wipes refill


1 box Frozen pretzles
1 box french toast
1 bag french fries
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
7 bags peas
3 bags corn
5 cans OJ
3 half gallons ice cream
2 indiv cheese pizzas
1 indiv pepperoni pizza
2 bags Lender bagels
2 tubs cool whip
1 box ice cream sandwiches
1 box frozen spinach
3 half gallons ice cream
2 bags Lender bagels
1 box Frozen pretzles
4 boxes Bagelfuls

We always pay our credit cards off each month so I thought I was doing a good thing using plastic and getting 3% back on all the purchases. I think I'd rather have the 38% savings instead!