Monday, January 31, 2011

Shopping Results

Lil man and I were up bright and early this morning to go on our shopping adventure. Here's how we did.

First stop was Wal-Mart. They didn't have the garden pasta but they had marked down the same brand to $1.08. I had 4 coupons to get $1.00 off of 2 boxes. I bought 8 boxes at $0.58 per box! We have pasta coming out our ears! They also had marked down Rotel diced tomatoes to $0.88 and I had 2 coupons for $0.30 off of 1 can which made them $0.58 per can. I bought 2. I also bought the All You mag which has $70+ worth of coupons in it. It was 2.49. I also bought some chili seasoning at $1.08. We are having friends over so I bought 2 liters of soda for $1.00 a piece. Bananas were $0.47/lb. Lil man would starve without them! Grand total spent $13.88.  Cost without coupons $18.48

Second stop Meijer.
Chicken breast at $1.79lb  $8.43

Apples at $0.99/lb   $3.69

Sweet Baby Rays  $0.99 from $1.50 x3= $2.97

Chi Chi Salsa 2 at $0.99 for $1.98 (It would have been 4.98) plus I had a coupon which knocked it down to: $0.98 for 2!

Imperial Stick butter 2/$1. I bought 8. Cost of $4.00 from $6.00

Johnsonville brats 2/$6 from $4.99. I had 2 coupons which dropped it to $4.00 for 2 packages or $2.00 per package

Popcorn- buy 1 get 1 free. I bought 4 boxes plus had (2) $1.00 off 2 boxes coupons. 4 boxes would have cost  $5.98. I got all 4 boxes for $3.98 or $0.99 per box.

The only thing on my list that I didn't get there was their spiral sliced ham for $1.29/lb. It was already gone!

I spent $29.28.  I would have spent: $52.37!  I saved $23.09 by using coupons and buying sale items.

I went to CVS next but was extremely disappointed. They didn't have any of the items that I needed so I left.

Next, County Market:
Brooks Chili beans 5/$4  ($1.19 per can regularly)

Tomato Juice $0.88 x 4  ($1.39 regularly)

Applesauce  $0.99 x2  ($1.49 regularly)

Bags of cereal $0.99 x4  ($1.69 per bag regularly)

Oranges 4lb for $1.99 ($3.99 regularly)

Westpac frozen green beans $0.99 x3  ($1.79 per bag regularly)

I ended up buying a dozen eggs $1.49 and a gallon of milk $2.49 there too instead of going all the way out to Aldi.

Total spent: $23.58. Would have spent: $35.32. Savings of: $11.74 or 33%.

M&Ms 2/$4 plus $1.50 coupon. $2.50 for 2 or $1.25 per bag
Jello pudding $0.59 per box and coupon for $0.55 off of 3. I bought 3 boxes for $1.22 or $0.41 per box
I did not purchase the Zyrtec

Total spent: $4.13. Would have spent: $8.90  Total savings: $4.77

Rural King
Pringles Super Stacks 4/$5 plus (2) $1.00 off coupons. I bought 4 for $3.00 or $0.75 per stack

Total spent: $3.05  Would have spent: $5.05  Total savings: $2.00

Miracle Whip $1.99 with coupon
Ground Chuck $1.89/lb $6.24
Pepperoni 2/$5 x4 plus (2) coupons for $1.00 off 2. I got 4 for $8 or $2 per package

Total spent: $16.42  Would have spent:  way more!

I know this looks like a lot of stores but where I shop the stores are all close to each other. I also do it all in one day and I usually don't shop like this every week. By doing it this way I spent: $90.34! Compared to: $120.12 plus what I would have spent at IGA. I budget $100 every 2 weeks towards food and I still have $10 left! For our family it's totally worth it to do this. It was quite an adventure to put the groceries away today. My little pantry is bulging at the seams with no room to spare! I actually had to start another shelf for food in my utility room! I am so greatful to be learning how to save our family's food budget. It has truly been a blessing!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week's Grocery List

Studying the ads, cutting and organizing coupons definitely takes time but, I hope I will be saving some $ this week. I'm ready to stock up before the bad weather strikes again! So, here's a look at my grocery list for this week:

Garden Delight Pasta (12 oz) $1.18-$1.00C= $0.18 per box.
All You Magazine

Chicken Breast $1.79/lb              
Apples $0.99/lb
Johnsonville Brats 2/$6- $0.55C x2= $4.90
Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.29/lb
Imperial Stick Butter 2/$1                             ($0.69 at Aldi)
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce  $0.99
Chi Chi Salsa $0.99-$0.50C=$0.49
Orville Redenbacher Popcorn bogo free- $1.00C

Deans Milk  $1.49 half gallon x3 - $1.00C= $3.47         ($2.29 gallon Aldis)
Eggs $0.99              ($1.19 at Aldis)
Hershey's Drops $0.99 - bogo free C

County Market
Tomato Juice  $0.88-  This is the lowest I've ever seen it. It's usually $0.99 on sale and $1.19 regularly
Oranges 4lb for $1.99
Brooks Chili Beans 5/$4
Applesauce $0.99
Westpac Green Beans $0.99      ($1.49 at Aldis)

M&Ms 2/$5- $1 in store C- $1.50 C= $2.50
Jello Pudding $0.59 x3 - $0.55C= $1.22
Zyrtec $5 off in store coupon and $6 off 2

Rural King
Pringles Super Stack 4/$5 - $2C= $3

Miracle Whip $1.99 with coupon
Ground Chuck $1.89lb

Price Book

Since studying cutting our grocery bills I've learned about making a price book. The store that we shop at the most is Aldis. So, I started there. I use a 4x6 spiral bound note cards. I divided it into categories; dairy, meat, grains, baking, snacks, hygiene, household. I wrote down the item, its size, price, and then figure the unit price. It is a great way to tell if something is really a good deal or not. Plus, it fits right in my purse so, I can take it anywhere. It sounds time consuming but, it's easier to do in small pieces and totally worth it to help you save even more. Here's an example of my price book:

Item:                       Size:           Price:        Unit Price: (to figure unit price divide the price by the size)
Sausage               16oz (1lb)     $1.99     $0.12 per ounce
Lunch Meat         9oz (1/2lb)     $2.49    $0.28 per ounce  or $4.98/lb - This is a ridiculous price!! You would be better off buying chicken breast on sale for $1.79/lb and slicing it yourself for sandwiches. I can't believe how much money I've been wasting all this time. I hope this inspires you to make your own price book to start saving!

Happy Saving!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scratch Pancakes

One big thing that I've done to cut our food budget is cook from scratch more. I use to buy pancake mix from Aldi but, I found a recipe for the most delicious pancakes. It is in the Bridal Edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. The pancakes are so light and fluffy.

This recipe makes 18 4-inch pancakes
2 Large Eggs
2 cups flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp sugar or packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. Cook until golden brown.
To make this easier and more convenient I place all the dry ingredients together in a canister. Now, when we want to eat pancakes I just have to add the wet ingredients. It makes it faster. Then, I just refill my canister with the dry ingredients.

Here's the batter all mixed up and ready to cook. I LOVE this bowl. The pour spout is perfect. Another neat way to make pancakes is by using a squeeze bottle. You can make shapes and letters this way. This idea is found at I've found that a whisk works best to stir the batter. I also use a rubber scraper to make sure I get every drop of the yummy goodness cooked.

Cooking. My little man was yelling "pantake!" at this point. He loves pancakes!

All golden brown and stacked with yumminess. Add your fav toppings and enjoy. These also freeze well. Make a double batch and freeze the others for later. Take out what you want and pop them in the toaster or microwave. Great for breakfast in a hurry.

Recipe keeper tip: I use a photo album to hold my family's fav recipes. I write out the recipe on a 4x6 notecard. This works great because the recipe stays clean inside the plastic cover and I can stand the book up while I cook. It's also a space saver. You can go through your cookbooks and just pull out the recipes you want and then donate some of those cookbook that are just sitting in the cabinet taking up space.

Happy Cooking

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year

I know it's already the 18th of January. My new year didn't start out as planned. I ended up sick right after Christmas and long story short I am going to a ENT specialist on the 24th to probably have tubes placed in my ears. So, not how I wanted to start out this year.

On a bright note Josh and I made a huge decision and now I'm a full time stay at home mom. Now that we will be missing that extra $ I am really putting my frugal skills to the test. We have been working towards this for quite a while. One big factor was paying off my car. The only debt that we have now is our mortgage and our goal is to have it paid off in the next 7 years. I want so badly to be debt free. I have been studying blogs, websites, and every book I can get my hands on to learn how to stretch a buck till it screams! When looking at our budget and spending the biggest problem area we have is food. We are totally guilty of eating out too much. So, my quest, mission, goal is to cut that food bill in half. Right now I am reading The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson, founder of This is a great guide and resource. To learn even more I had the privledge of attending a free how to coupon class last night. It was great!! Misty, is awesome! She gave us helpful handouts and she is full of insight. She also has a blog, that is so wonderful. It's like a step by step guide. She is having another class soon and you can bet I'll be going. : )

So today, armed with this knowledge, my CVS ad, coupons, and store card in hand I made my first trip. I did what Misty said and scanned my card first thing to get a "mystery" coupon and out popped $3 ECB (extra care bucks) Holy cow! $3 free! I thought this is my lucky day. On the inside I was totally doing a victory dance. On the outside I was wearing the biggest smile! I went through the store and got everything on my very meticulously organized, in order list. Then, the moment of truth: THE CHECKOUT. That's when my stomach bottomed out and I started sweating (just like Misty said). In truth the cashier was nice. Honestly I think I had "Rookie" stamped across my forhead. So, thankfully she didn't give me a hard time. At one point I got confused and put the wrong thing with the transaction and I ended up spending more than I was going to. I've been kicking myself all day about it and I'm bound and determined to do better next time. It was embarassing when the cashier had to call for another clerk to come help because of the line that was forming behind me. But, like Misty said think about your goal and why you are doing this. So, I looked at my sweet 2 year old and knew exactly why I'm doing this and he is totally worth it. I thought I would let you see what I got during my first trip:
Can you guess how much I spent? If I wouldn't have used any coupons, ECBs, or had a store card I would have spent $76.18. I spent $33.67 and it would have been a couple of dollars less if I wouldn't have made a couple of rookie mistakes. I ended up getting 16 double rolls of Charmin, 12 rolls Bounty paper towels, 6 boxes of Puffs kleenex, 5 bottles of Dawn dishwashing detergent, 4 packs of Orbit gum, 2 tubes of Crest Prohealth toothpaste, 2 bags of Halls cough drops, 1 box of DayQuil, and a green tag for bringing in a reusable tote that you scan on each visit and on the 4th visit you get $1 ECB free. Would you like to know how I did it? Here's the break down:

Transaction 1: 6 boxes of puffs at     .99
Charmin      9.99
Bounty   9.99
Total: 28.19  (I got $10 ECB back)

Tansaction 2: Halls (2) at 1.50
Dawn (5) at .97
Crest (1) 2.99    (my mistake)
I used the $10 ECB and .75 off of the crest
Total: .81 (I got $2 ECB for the Crest)

Transaction 3: Crest  2.99
I used the $2 ECB
Total 1.25 (I got $2 ECB again)

Transaction 4: Dayquil 4.99
Orbit (4) buy 1 get 1 free  1.29
Green bag tag .99  (mistake #2)
I used $2 ECB, 1.50 off Dayquil, and 2.00 off orbits
Total: 3.42 (I got $1 ECB)

I should have paid for the Orbits gum with transaction #2 and then paid for both Crests seperately. I should have paid for the green bag tag last with my $1 ECB. It's a learning experience and it's going to take time! I don't think I did too bad for my first time.