Thursday, April 29, 2010

Publix Savings as of 4/29

I don't have all my Publix receipts available.

I am reporting on those I have available, and will try to do a better job of keeping track!

Found a receipt from last month! Here's my new total:
Amount spent: $243.13
Amount saved: $640.87
Percent savings: 73%

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Publix Savings as of 4/28

I don't have all my Publix receipts available. I am reporting on those I have available, and will try to do a better job of keeping track!

Including today's shopping trip:

Amount spent: $212.33
Amount saved: $552.78
Percent savings: 72%

Publix Savings, 4/28

Some really great deals at Publix this week. I only had 20 minutes to plan my trip, so I didn't get a whole lot. Oh, and we're out of computer paper, too, so I can't print coupons at present.
Here's what I got:
9 assorted Hamburger Helper -- $.99
Used 3 $.75/3 coupons from 4/11 SS
Paid: $.74 each, or $6.66
2 Ken's Steakhouse dressings -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.29
Used $1/2 coupon from ??
Paid: $1.15 each, or $2.29
2 Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn 10 ct.-- BOGO -- 2 for $5.07
Used $1/2 coupon from Publix Yellow Advantage
Used 2 $.40 coupons from ??
Paid: $1.64 each, or $3.27
6 cans Hunt's diced tomatoes -- BOGO -- 2 for $1.39
Used 2 $1/3 coupons from April All You
Paid: $.36 each, or $2.17
Paid: $14.39
Saved: $28.58

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free 4x6 Photo Magnet at CVS -- Mother's Day gift, maybe?

Go on over here to create your CVS photo account. You'll get 50 free prints just for creating an account! Then search for "photo magnet" and make your own 4x6 custom photo magnet. Enter the code FREE4MOM at checkout to get it absolutely free! I just ordered mine! It'll be ready in 7-11 business days, and I won't have to pay a thing!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Publix Savings as of 4/21

I don't have all my Publix receipts available. I am reporting on those I have available, and will try to do a better job of keeping track!

Including today's shopping trip:
Amount spent: $197.94
Amount saved: $524.20
Percent savings: 73%

A Mid-week Publix Trip, 4/21

I went to Publix with no list today . . . never done that before. Not sure I liked it. I had just browsed my favorite blogs and cut out the coupons for the deals those super-bloggers mentioned. There was only one thing that I didn't get; I just couldn't find it in the store. I'll try another store over the weekend, I guess.

Here's what I did get:

Maizetos tortilla chips -- $1.79
no coupon
Paid: $1.79

Publix sour cream -- $1.39
no coupon
Paid: $1.39

Publix dried black beans -- $1.49
no coupon
Paid: $1.49

1.05 lb. plum tomatoes -- $1.99/lb.
no coupon
Paid: $2.09

6 Scrubbin' Bubbles cans -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.29
Used 6 $.75 coupons from 3/21 SS
Used 3 $2/2 coupons from the booklet There's Value in Family
Paid: FREE! plus $.63 overage!

4 15-ct. Ziploc Easy Slide bags -- $2.09
(I think I missed a sale on these.)
Used $1/2 coupon from ??
Used 2 B1G1 coupons from 4/18 SS (I think.)
Paid: $3.18 for all 4

Total after store sales but before coupons: $26.36
Total after coupons: $7.59
Total saved: $29.17
Total percent savings: 79%

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One Trip, 4 Stores, a Handful of Deals, 4/18

I left the house at 6:15 this morning -- yes, that's right, 6:15 AM on a Sunday morning -- so I could get to Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, and Target before getting the family to Sunday School at 9:00!

Here's how it went:

1st stop: Wal-Mart
Since I have a new-found aversion to Wal-Mart, I made this trip as short as I could. Is it just me, or is there no such thing as a short trip to Wal-Mart? Took me 30 minutes! They only had one cashier, and the line was pretty long.
I bought 3 newspapers, after inspecting them for a certain coupon. We didn't get the coupon I was hoping for, or I would have bought 9 today!
Paid: $3.20

2nd stop: CVS
Didn't get much here, either.
I bought 2 Thermacare shoulder and neck wraps at $2.49 each and a green bag tag for $.99.
Paid: $6.05.
I used gift cards I got for doing surveys on-line. I didn't pay anything out of pocket.

3rd stop: Walgreens, 2 transactions

1st trans:

Nature Made vitamin D -- $5
Used $2 printable coupon
Paid: $3
RR generated: $5

3 Walgreens reusable shopping bags -- 3 for $1 with in-ad coupon
Paid: $1

Used $2.50 in RR that I had from a previous transaction.
Paid: $1.72

2nd transaction:

U by Kotex -- $3.49
I had a $1 printed coupon, but it was for CVS only (how did I miss that?) and I didn't bring any other coupons with me.
Paid: $3.49
RR generated: $2.49

2 Bayer low dose 32 ct. -- $2.99 each
Used $3/1 coupon in the ad to deduct $6.
This coupon has actually been recalled by the stores now. I'm glad I'm got there early, because with some fancy footwork, the cashier pushed them through for $.01 each.
Paid: $.02 for both
RR generated: $3

Colgate total toothpaste -- $2.99
Used $1 coupon from April's All You
Paid: $1.99
RR generated: $2

Paid: $6.58
RR generated: $7.50

I have $12.50 RR left over for next week! I hope to find more grocery items next week.

4th stop: Target

Silk soymilk -- $2.69
Used $.75 coupon from 4/11 SS
Paid: $1.94 from gift card.
Got a free Target reusable shopping bag. It's cute!

Out of pocket today, I spent around $10!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Publix Savings as of 4/17

I don't have all my P
ublix receipts available. I am reporting on those I have available, and will try to do a better job of keeping track!

Including today's shopping trip:

Amount spent: $190.35
Amount saved: $495.03
Percent savings: 72%

Saturday Savings, 4/17 -- Publix

A great experience at Publix today! Not the best percent of savings, but that's okay. I bought 2 or 3 items (depending on how you count them) without coupons.

Here's the rundown:

2 Cole's garlic bread -- BOGO -- 2 for $2.79
Used $.30 coupon I received in the mail after complimenting their Texas toast.
Paid: $2.49 for 2

Juicy Juice fruit punch boxes -- $2.15
no coupon
Paid: $2.15

2 Hunt's ketchup -- BOGO -- 2 for 1.75
Used $1/2 coupon from April's All You
Paid: $.75 for 2

2 Prego meat sauce -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.69
no coupon
Paid: $3.69

6 Yoplait yogurt cups -- $.50 each
Used $.50/6 printable coupon
Paid: $2.50 for 6

2 Peter Pan peanut butter -- $1.33 each
Used $1/2 from April's All You
Paid: $1.66 for 2

2 V8 soups -- 2 for $5
Used 2 $1 peelies I got off of V8 V-Fusion
Paid: $3 for 2

4 Orville Redenbacher (sp?) boxed popcorn -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.09
Used 2 $2/2 printable coupons
Paid: $2.18 for 4

12 Mueller pasta -- BOGO -- 2 for $1.29
Used 4 $1/3 printable (can't for the life of me find the link)
Paid: $3.74 for 12

Used $20.96 in gift cards, $20 of which I got for free for buying AmEx gift cards a while back. The other $.96 was on a card that I bought.

Paid cash: $.40!

Paid: $21.36
Saved: $43.71
Percent saved: 67%

Saturday Savings, 4/17 -- Target

I really like the cashier I had today. Jay forced all the coupons through today, even the ones that, by all rights, could have been adjusted down to match the price of the item.

I bought:

6 single-load packets of Tide -- $.97 each
Used 6 $1 from the 4/4 P&G
Paid: FREE! plus $.18 overage!

1 Dove Men+Care travel sized body wash -- $.99
Used $1 (from???)
Paid: FREE! plus $.01 overage!

1 Crest Kid's toothpaste -- $1.47
Used $1 Target coupon from mailer
Used $.75 Crest coupon from P&G newspaper insert
Paid: FREE! plus $.28 overage!

1 pair of socks (I was just in the mood for some new socks!) -- $1
no coupon
Paid: $1

Used a reusable bag, so I got $.05 off.

Paid: $1.05
Saved $10.37!
Percent of savings: 90% WOOHOO!!

By the way, isn't the bag in the picture cute? You can get one FREE tomorrow only, 4/18, with purchase!

Publix Is My Favorite Store

Since Publix began opening in our area a year or so ago, we have enjoyed going there. At first, our opinion was that the products were mostly over-priced, but we enjoyed the selection and atmosphere. We didn't do a big percentage of our grocery shopping at Publix, but we'd often just walk around the store for enjoyment. Since I started couponing, though, Publix has become the place where we get the best deals and save the most money. (who knew?) After my unfortunate experience at Wal-Mart yesterday, I can say for certain that Publix is my favorite.

I was browsing a few other blogs early this morning and saw one blogger who keeps track of yearly grocery spending/saving in a banner-type-thing on the side of her blog. I was inspired. It's too late for me to keep track for the year. I try to do a good job of keeping the receipts from my shopping, but I obviously don't do a good job. I only found 12 receipts!

I thought I'd start now, keeping track of spending/saving for the year, particularly at Publix. FUN!

Amount spent: $168.99
Amount saved: $451.32
Percent savings: 73%

I have a goal of getting to 75% or more in savings at Publix.

As I find more receipts or do more Publix shopping (like I'll be doing in a little while), I'll make a new post and update my savings!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Friday 4/16

We went out tonight! We haven't eaten dinner out in 2 weeks!
Okay, saying we ate out is almost glorifying tonight's dinner.
We went to Sam's Club and ate at the little-more-than-a-concession-stand.
We ordered 3 pizza combos (a giant piece of pizza and a large soda each) and a hot dog.
We paid $9.91.
That's about the cheapest eat-out dinner we can get.
Not great for the diet, but it was nice to not have to cook!

Why I'm Growing to Dislike Shopping At Wal-Mart

I had an unpleasant experience with a Wal-Mart manager today when I tried to use the P&G $1 off any Tide coupon to buy the travel size Tide. (The travel size is $.97.) When the cashier scanned the coupon, the machine beeped and she called over a supervisor. The supervisor looked at it and said that it should be fine and that she would check on it. She came back a moment later (probably felt like an eternity to those waiting behind me) with another manager who said she would only do one and not 10. I said that I was buying 6. She said, and I'm giving her exact words here . . . "Well, for one thing, this is $.97, and the coupon is for $1. I mean, come on." And she gave me a look that said that I was trying to pull the wool over the cashier's eyes and do something wrong. My eloquent response was, "What?" Not that I was asking her to repeat; no, I was doing that beligerent, "What?" that we teachers detest from our attitude-filled students. She said that she could do $.97 but not $1. I said that if she could make the coupon valid for $.97, then I'd be fine with it. She said, "I can do one." I said, "Well, then I'll take my coupons back. You can keep the Tide. Other stores will accept the coupon." She said, "Fine," and walked away.
Her whole, "I MEAN, COME ON," really got me fired up. I don't know if she realizes that if Joe Schmo consumer bought a Tide single load packet, Walmart would gain $.97. But if I bought with my $1 coupon, P&G would reimburse $1.08. She just turned down money for her store. Oh, well, Rosalind.
I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of how a store gets reimbursed for coupons, so I don't know what hoops Wal-Mart stores have to jump through to get their money back from manufacturers. But she was WAY nastier to me than any manager ought to be toward a paying customer. And now that I coupon, Wal-Mart is NOT the cheapest place for me to shop anymore. I used to go to Wal-Mart at least 3 times a week. I go once a week to get my newspapers, and that's usually it. (Tonight I was shopping for a baby shower for a lady who is registered at Wal-Mart.) I'll probably still get my papers from there -- it's cheaper and I don't have to worry about a coupon. (Wait, are there coupons for the paper? If there are, I want to know about them!)
I used the form on Wal-Mart's website to share my experience with whomever-receives-that-kind-of-thing. I don't know what will come of it, but I do know that I am happy to know that I can shop other places and get good or better deals. I'm not stuck shopping at Wal-Mart.
And that's my bad-attitude rant for the day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Publix Shopping, Thursday, 4/15

Just a quick stop today to pick up a few things for dinner. Had a few other items to get, as well, but ended up not getting the best deal on my list because they were out of stock.

Here's the breakdown of this trip:

2 Peter Pan peanut butter -- BOGO -- 2 for $2.47
Used $1/2 from April's All You
Paid: $.74 each, or $1.47!

1 head of lettuce -- $1.69

2 tomatoes -- $3.55 -- WHAT?!?! I'm glad I don't buy tomatoes often!

1 16 oz. sour cream -- $1.58

2 Hunt's ketchup, 24 oz. -- BOGO -- 2 for $1.75
Used $1/2 from April's All You
Paid: $.38 each, or $.75!

Total spent: $9.04
Total saved: $6.32
Not the best trip, but that's okay.
Heading to another Publix tomorrow or Saturday for the rest of the great deals I want!

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Thursday 4/15


We cooked for company tonight, so we did a little more than we normally would have done.

Here's the breakdown:

2 lb. ground beef, bought in bulk from Sam's -- $3.78
Rice, bought on sale at Publix -- $.33
Cheese, bought on sale and with coupon at Publix -- $.40
Sour cream, bought at Publix, no sale or coupon -- $.25
Tomato, bought at Publix; is this a normal price? Yikes! -- $3.55 (WOW!)
Lettuce, bought at Publix -- $.80
Taco Sauce, bought so long ago I don't remember where or how much, so I'm estimating -- $.50

I haven't included the cost of taco seasoning. I really can't give a good guess there. I can say that it's a homemade mix from a recipe I got off the internet. I don't remember the source, but I found it by googling "chili seasoning recipe". I use the same mix in my chili, and I really like it. It can't be more than a couple of pennies, and I made it all from things I already had in the spice cabinet; I didn't have to buy anything to put it together. I made it probably 4 months ago and, even though I made chili or taco rice fairly often, I have probably only used half. I know it's cheaper than buying the packages at Wal-Mart (although I'm not above buying the packages if I can get them for free or super cheap!), and I like that I know all the ingredients and that there are no preservatives added.

Total: $9.61
(for 5 people)

We have a good bit of leftovers. So much, as a matter of fact, that we may just eat the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. Or I might see how I can morph the meat into a tex-mex pizza or something. Or even into a tex-mex style hamburger helper meal. Something super awesome and super frugal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Tuesday 4/13

Chicken helper tonight. A convenience food, to be sure.

about 1 lb. of chicken -- $1.79, purchased in bulk from Sam's
Chicken helper -- $.75
a handful of extra noodles -- $.25
a can of pears, for a side dish -- $.00 (I raided my sister's shelf in the pantry. Sorry, Mandi. I'll replace it if you'd like. ;) )

Total for tonight's dinner: $2.79!

Wednesday's dinner: Not sure. We've got company coming and church . . . I don't know what I'll do. Not chicken. Two nights in a row of just about anything is enough. Maybe Moroccan beef and rice. Or taco rice. Or Hamburger Helper.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Monday 4/12

I remembered to take a picture this time, but can't find my little USB thingy that lets me put my pictures on computer. Yes, we have a memory card slot on our laptop, but our son put a penny in it last year, and we can't get it out.
On the menu tonight: Balsamic-marinaded chicken with garlic-butter noodles

Chicken - 1 1/2 lb. (maybe less) purchased at Sam's at $1.79/lb -- $2.69
Balsamic salad dressing used as marinade purchased at Publix, BOGO plus coupons -- $.25
Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta, bought at Publix, BOGO plus coupons -- $.35
2 Tbsp. butter -- $.14
Garlic salt, purchased in a large container from Sam's an eon ago -- $.05 (or less)
Steamfresh broccoli, purchased at Publix at 50% off plus Publix coupons stacked with manufacturer coupons -- $.05

Total for this meal: $3.53!
And there's enough left over for my sister to take to work for lunch tomorrow!

On the menu tomorrow: Chicken helper chicken fried rice, I think. It'll be very easy and affordable with a package of rice purchased at Publix (steamfresh again) for around $.30!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

TCBY Waffle Cone -- FREE!

Get on over here to sign up for TCBY updates and get a get a coupon for a free waffle cone! I just did and my coupon is in my email box already!

$1 Coupon for Uncrustables Is Available!

Go here to fill out the information and print a $1/1 coupon for Uncrustable sandwiches. These make such a quick and easy snack or lunch for the little ones.

Heather, over at reports that these may go on sale for $2 per box next week at Publix. (Keep in mind that sales are regional; her sales might not be ours in Pensacola, or yours wherever you are.) If you can find them, stack the sale with the coupon and get them for just $1.00 a box! There are 4 sandwiches in the box, so each convenient sandwich is just $.25 after sale and coupon!

If Publix doesn't have the sale, you can always find these pretty cheap at Wal-Mart. Sweeten the deal with the coupon there, too!

I was able to hit the "back" button on the browser after my coupon printed in order to print a second coupon. Score!

Free Sample of Uncle Ben's!

Go over to to get a free sample pouch of Uncle Ben's rice! You can choose from the two flavors shown above: chicken medley or roasted garlic. I'd suggest going quickly; this kind of thing usually doesn't last long!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eat-In Until Vacation countdown -- 52 days to go

I hate this challenge. We've done horribly. Thanks a heap, spring break.

We have eaten out 6 times already this month!
We have spent around $82 on eating out in April.

Yesterday and today were good days, maybe because we are back to school.

We ate at home all day yesterday and today. (Well, we will have done so after dinner.) For all that we have eaten at home over the past 2 days, we have spent less than $15.

We'll hang on to our challenge and keep trying.
Only 52 days until we leave for Disney!

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Tuesday, 4/6

A left over night. Nothing fancy. A bit of this and that from the fridge and freezer.

Left over roast -- $1.50, although I accounted for the whole roast on my Sunday post.
Rice -- $.33
Frozen pizza -- $1.00
Left over chicken nuggets -- $.50

Less than $5 again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Monday 4/5

A leftover night! Again, we dug in without thought of taking a picture. Picture this: Sweet and Tangy ham and rice. Nothing fancy, to be sure, but our family enjoyed it!

Here's the cost break down:

Spiral sliced ham, the third leftover meal from last week Sunday's dinner (not yesterday, last week) -- around $4 or so -- when you're on your fourth meal from any source, you shouldn't have to count the cost at all, should you? :)

mustard -- about $.03 -- just a tablespoon or two from a bottle purchased at Target for around $.84

butter -- $.25

brown sugar -- $.30 -- REALLY just guessing there; I used the last 2 or 3 tablespoonsful out of a bag we bought ages ago. Way before we started couponing, so I probably spent too much for it. Anyway, I used 2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, bought at full price.

rice -- around $.33 -- bought at Publix on sale.

Veggies -- $.05 -- bought at Publix on sale with store coupons stacked with manufacturer coupons

Total for this frugal and tasty dinner -- less than $5!


A tentative plan for tomorrow night: something with leftover roast beef.

Tonight's Frugal Dinner, Sunday 4/4

We LOVE Sunday pot roast dinners! We have pot roast almost every Sunday, even though it's been a challenge since our crock pot gave up the ghost. (We have one in our Owner's Locker in Orlando that we are bringing home with us after Disney World, so we refuse to buy another.)
My husband has become the master at preparing our oven-baked pot roast. He uses Montreal Steak seasoning, onions, garlic, and -- when we have them -- mushrooms. That's it.
He made rice to go along with it last night. We love roast and rice so much that we usually don't even have a vegetable with it. We just want roast and rice. The kids devour it and so do we. Last night, we dug in so quickly that I didn't even think to take a picture!

Here's a price run-down:

pot roast -- around $7.00
(purchased from Publix at $2.39/lb.)
rice -- around $.33
(Rico brand rice purchased at Publix on sale; no longer at that price.)
Onion -- around $.30
garlic -- around $.15
seasoning -- less than $.05
Total: less than $8 for our Sunday dinner, even with the butter, salt, and pepper that we added to the rice and that I didn't account for.
That's a little more than I normally pay for a meal at home, but it's a special meal. Food on Sundays should be more special than every other day, right? That's what I think, anyway.
I know we have some left over, so I'll have to come up with a creative take-two recipe. Stay tuned for tonight's Frugal Dinner: Sweet and Tangy ham with rice or noodles (Another Daddy special; he's so great in the kitchen. You know, it takes me about 45 minutes to cook a Rachael Ray 30 minute meal, but he can actually do it in 30. Amazing.)

Publix Deals, 4/5

I'm working on my Publix shopping list, and thought I'd share it here. I'm trying to find good match-ups for the BOGO deals and coupons. Hope this is helpful to us all.

Birds Eye Voila! Meal -- BOGO -- 2 for $5.15
$1/2 from the 3/14 SS
Pay: $4.15 for 2

Kraft barbecue sauce -- BOGO -- 2 for $1.69
$1/3 from tearpad (use 2)
Pay: $3.07 for 6 bottles

Ken's Steak House marinade -- BOGO -- 2 for $2.79
$1/2 from 3/7 SS
Pay: $1.79 for 2

Thomas bagels -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.99
$1/1 from March All You (use 2)
Pay: $1.99 for 2

Lean Cuisine -- 4 for $10
Use $1/4 from tearpad (use 2)
Pay: $8 for 4

Immaculate Baking Co. cookie dough -- BOGO -- 2 for $3.09
Use $1/1 from April Greenwise magazine found in stores (use 2)
Pay: $1.09 for 2

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 32 oz. -- BOGO -- 2 for $11.75
Use $1/1 printable coupon (use 2)
Pay: $9.75 for 2

Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper -- $1 each
Use $.75/3 from 3/7 SS
Pay: $.75 each when you buy in multiples of 3

Campbell's soup -- $1 each
$.40/4 or $.25/4 from 3/28 SS
Pay: as little as $.90 each

Top Sirloin steak -- $3.99/lb.
no coupon
I just like to stock up on meat when it's at a good price. :)
Pay: $3.99/lb.

Large white shrimp -- $5.99/lb.
no coupon
Boy, will my husband love me for buying him shrimp. I NEVER buy shrimp!
Pay: $5.99

Publix mushrooms -- 2 oz. pk. for $3.00
We like these with pot roast.
Pay: $3.00

White seedless grapes -- $1.69/lb.
Pay: $1.69

Well, I hope I have enough here to do 2 or 3 transactions of $25 or more each so I can buy the BP $50 gas card for $40, an in-ad coupon special. I love this deal. 20% off gas is great. We paid $2.69 at a BP in Mobile, AL, recently. Using the prepaid gift card we bought at 20% off, it was like paying only $2.15!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chik-Fil-A Fun!

We went for our traditional family breakfast at Chik-Fil-A yesterday (Saturday) morning. We used our 2 free lemonade coupons from the calendars we have . (PS -- learned that I DON'T like Chik-Fil-A lemonade!) Our total was $14 something, which is pretty good for a breakfast at Chik-Fil-A. But, then the cashier told us that we were the 100th customer of the day and that we got $10 off our meal! So, we paid less than $5 for our Chik-Fil-A breakfast! Our cashier said something cryptic about it being 10 minutes until we get our chicken strips . . . we didn't ask for chicken strips. We just kept quiet, thinking maybe we got free chicken along with the $10 off. We found the receipt and found that the cashier had rung us up for a 3-piece chicken strips. We could have gotten by with paying just over $1. Oh, well. We really didn't order the strips, but we enjoyed them anyway!
So, now we plan to try again next week to time our trip to be 100th customer again!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eat-In Until Vacation Countdown -- 56 days to go.

56 days to go until our family vacation at Disney.
Okay, we are not doing well. Maybe I need to rethink our goals!
We ate out for breakfast and lunch yesterday.
And did the same today, I'm afraid.
We're doomed.

Meals remaining till vacation: 165 out of 171
Meals in so far: 2
Meals out so far: 4
Percent of meals eaten out: 67% (a far cry from the 12% we're shooting for)
Spent on eating out: $52 (oh, so sad!(

Our goal is to eat out as little as possible throughout April and May until we go to Disney. We set our goal at 20 eat-out meals or fewer.

Tonight's Frugal Dinner

Well, I guess the picture isn't too inspiring, but oh well. It would have looked so much nicer with some butter or cheese on top to make it really golden and crispy. Hmm, something to think about for next time.

So glad to be getting back into the swing of eating at home. (Curse you, spring break and payday combined! You've ruined us for the rest of the month! Seriously, we've had 2 weeks' worth of eating out in 2 days.)

I thought I'd post about our dinner tonight because it happens to be quite frugal AND convenient. Like, I could cook this on PTM night convenient. It's the first time I've made it, and we haven't tasted it yet, so I suppose this post is a little premature. If it's awful, I'll leave a comment below. :)

Quick and Easy Shepherd's Pie
adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe I found on

1 tub Bob Evans Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1/2 T. oil
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 to 1 carrot, diced
a handful or two of corn or peas (I didn't want this mixed in; kind of a weird thing with me. I used some Steamfresh broccoli in the microwave instead, to be served alongside the shepherd's pie.
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. beef stock or broth (I used chicken because I didn't have any beef.)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (I added a bit more since I was using chicken broth.)
shredded cheddar cheese, optional

In a skillet, brown ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. After beef has begun to brown, add onion and carrot. Let cook together for a few minutes. In another skillet, melt butter, then add flour. Stir to create a paste. Whisk in stock and Worcestershire sauce to create a gravy. Add the corn or peas to the meat and veggies mixture and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add beef gravy and stir.

Set the oven to broil on low. Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in beef and gravy mixture. Spoon potatoes in an even layer on top. Broil until the potatoes are golden on top. Add cheese, if desired, and allow to melt in the broiler for just 2 minutes or so.

Here's the cost breakdown:
potatoes -- bought on B1G1 and with a coupon -- $1.20
beef -- bought in bulk and broken into smaller portions -- $1.89
onion -- $.15 (estimate)
didn't use carrot -- all out
butter -- $.20
flour -- $.05 (est)
Worcestershire sauce -- $.10 (est)
broth -- $.50
broccoli -- bought on sale with a store coupon stacked with a manufacturer's coupon -- $.05
didn't use cheese -- kiddos don't like cheddar, weird
Total cost: $4.14

If I had used cheese (on sale w/coupons) and a carrot, I would estimate that dinner would have cost around $4.50.

Stock Up List -- Target

I'm working on putting together a list for Target that will include many items you can get for less than $1, some even for free. This list has been very labor-intensive, but I hope it helps the couponers in the Pensacola area. Both the prices and the coupons have all been verified.

Don't forget that you can get $.05 credit for each reusable shopping bag you use. This is not limited to Target bags.

Target's coupon policy is available online. It would be a good idea to print it and carry it with you.

Dove Men+Care travel size -- $.99
Use $1 from April All You p. 72 (expires 5/27)

Airwick Freshmatic Ultra iMotion Starter Kit -- $6 (sale through 4/10)
Use $5 from 3/7 SS
Use $1 Target printable

Clean & Clear Morning Burst, travel size -- $.97
$1 from 3/28 SS (expires 4/25)

Re-Nu, travel size -- $1.54
$2 printable coupon

Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo, travel size -- $.98
$1 printable coupon

Tide, travel size -- $.97
$1 from 3/7 P&G (expires 4/30)

Johnson & Johnson baby lotion, travel size -- $1.07
$1 printable coupon

GE Reveal Light Bulbs, 4 pk. -- $2.14
$1/2 printable
$1.50 Target printable (use 2)
$.14 per pack, when you buy 2 packs!

Colgate Total or Max Fresh, travel size -- $.97
$.75 printable coupon

Campbell's Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom soup -- 4/$3
$1/2 printable coupon (use 2)
$.25 each

Friskies Party Mix -- $1.69
$1.50/2 from 3/28 SS
B1G1 from 1/24 SS
$.63 each when you buy 3

Shout 4-pack travel size wipes -- $.97
$.55 from 3/21 SS (expires 5/11)

Lip Smackers -- $1.47
$1 printable coupon

Heinz 16 oz. Vinegar -- $.99 (sale price through 4/3; regular price is $1.09)
$.50 printable coupon

Bugles, 5 oz. -- $.99
$.50 from 3/21 SS (expires 5/15)

Banquet Frozen Meals -- $.89
$1.50/4 printable coupon
$.52 each

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta -- $1.29
$.75 printable

Aquafresh Extreme Clean, travel size -- $1.07
$.50 printable coupon

Chef Boyardee, 7.5 oz. -- $.82
$.50/2 printable coupon
$.57 each
You have to play a time-consuming and confusing game in order to get to the coupon. I decided it's not worth the time and hassle today, but I have gone through the process in the past. I'll have to be pretty desparate for pantry staples to play again. But if you're desparate . . .

Whisker Lickins, 2.1 - 3 oz. -- $1.07
$1/2 from 2/7 RP (expires 5/1)

Rice-A-Roni or Pasta-Roni -- $.93 (sale price through 4/10)
$1/3 from 1/3 RP
$.60 each

Lunchables Lunch Combination -- $1.69
Use $1 from 3/21 SS (expires 5/16)

French's Mustard -- $1.30
$.50 printable coupon

Degree Girl Just Chance deoderant -- $2.34
$3/2 printable coupon
$.84 each

Kellogg's Clever Kids Fruit Snack, 10 ct. -- $1.88
$1 printable coupon (must join Vocalpoint)

Palmolive Aroma Sensations, 10 oz. -- $1.47
$.55 printable coupon (fill out info to print)

Betty Crocker Warm Delights -- $1.57
$.75 from 3/28 SS (expires 5/22)

Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer Air Freshener Spray -- $1.92
$1 printable coupon

Downy Wrinkle Release, 3 oz. -- $1.97
$1 printable coupon

Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray or Wipes -- $2.99
$1 printable coupon
$1 Target printable

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel -- $1.99
$1 printable coupon

Renew Mini Walkway Solar Lights -- $3
$2 Target printable

Walgreens -- Thursday, 4/1

Well, I live in the land of a Walgreen's on every other corner (maybe that's the whole country; I don't know). I visited several Walgreens over the past couple of days looking for those great free-after-register-rewards items and just couldn't find them. I went a little farther out of my way than usual last night (Thursday) and found most of what I was looking for. The trade off is that the manager wouldn't allow 2 of the important coupons to go through.

I did 3 transactions. Here's how they went:

Transaction #1:

1 14-day Dulcolax -- $10 sale price
$4 printable coupon
Paid: $6
RR generated: $10

5 Bumblebee chunk light tuna in water -- $.69 each with in-ad coupon
no coupon
Paid: $3.45

Used $5 in RR.
Paid: $4.45

Total savings on transaction #1: $14.49

Transaction #2:

12 pack Cottonelle -- $5 sale price
Used $1 coupon I received in the mail.
Used $1 coupon from the April Savings Booklet
Paid: $3

7 Betty Crocker Warm Delights -- $1 each sale price
Used 7 $.75 coupons
Paid: $.25 each or $1.75 for all 7!

5 Royal (jello-type) Gelatin -- 5 for $1 with in-ad coupon
Tried using $1/5 blinkie coupon I picked up at Publix a while back.
The manager wouldn't allow the coupon to be used since I was getting sugar free gelatin. The coupon says, "any" item on it, but the picture does not include sugar free, so it was a no-go. I told the cashier that I had used the coupon at several Walgreens. (Seriously, I have like 20 of these.) She said that some managers allow it and some don't. I went ahead and got the gelatin -- it wasn't worth voiding them when there were already people waiting behind me -- but I did get the coupon back to use at a more coupon-friendly store.
Paid: $1 for all 5

Air Wick Imotion compact -- $3.99 sale price
Tried using $4 coupon and the manager wouldn't allow it to be adjusted to match the price of the item. grr. I should have known that would have happened. They were the only store I've been to that still had those in stock. Nobody wants to buy those things if they have to pay for it. I did void that out of the transaction. Oh, well. Every Walgreens in town will report 100% sales on their inventory of these, and this store will sell almost none. Their loss.
Paid: $0

Dove shampoo -- $4
no coupon
Paid: $4
RR generated: $4

6 Super bubbles -- 3 for $1 with in-ad coupon
Paid: $2 for all 6!

Used $10 RR
Paid: $2.83

Total savings for transaction #2: $33.72

Transaction #3:

14-day Dulcolax -- $10 sale price
Used $5 coupon I got in the mail
Paid: $5
RR generated: $10

2 Cadbury Eggs -- 2 for $1

Used $4 RR
Paid: $2.08

Total savings for transaction #3: $11.99
Total spent: $9.36
Total saved: $60.20
And I came away with at least $10 RR! (I have $16 altogether, and I don't know how much I had left over from before.)

Publix -- Thursday, 4/1

Made another stop at a different Publix.
Still can't find those travel sized items that I could get for free with coupons (Dayquil/Nyquil, Zantac, and Zicam). They will probably be restocked the day after the coupons expire!

I did get some good things. Here's the rundown:

6 assorted Hallmark cards -- $.99 each
Used 2 $2/3 coupons from the tear pad in the card aisle
Paid: $.33 each, total of $1.94 for all 6!

3 Johnson & Johnson buddies bar soap -- $1.09 each
Used 3 $1 coupons I purchased from (click the link on the top right of the page to get your own shipment of money saving coupons)
Paid: $.09 each or $.27 for all 3!

1 Tiramisu -- $5.59
no coupon
A little something special for my husband who works hard to provide for us and who works hard around the house to keep things running smoothly.
Paid: $5.59

3 blocks and 6 bags of Kraft cheese -- 3 for $5 sale price
Used 4 $2/2 blinkie coupons found right in front of the cheese
Paid: $.78 each or $7 for all 9 items!

1 package Chinet napkins -- $1.50 sale price
Used $1 printable coupon
Paid: $.50

Total after store sales but before coupons: $32.11
Total oop after coupons: $16.11
Total saved, including store sales and coupons: $30.03

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Publix -- Thursday, 4/1

I'm getting upset that I can't find the Nyquil/Dayquil and Zantac travel sizes. Grr. Would somebody leave some for me, please? :) I never knew I could get so worked up about something being out of stock. I'm afraid my coupons will expire, and I'll miss out on getting those great deals. I'll keep trying until the coupons do expire or I find what I'm looking for, I guess.

Here's how I did today:

9 blocks of Kraft cheese -- 3 for $5
Used 3 $2 blinkie coupons found in front of the cheese.
Paid: $9 for all 9!
I could have used another coupon and gotten them all for $7, but I didn't realize that until I was out in the car. I was very thankful to find this blinkie dispenser stocked again. I've looked a couple of times this week at 2 different stores, and the blinkies were always out. I'm glad something went my way today.

3 Hallmark cards -- $.99 each
Used $2 Publix coupon from the tearpad in the card aisle.
Paid: $.97 for all 3!

7+ lb. ham -- $1.39 per pound
Paid: $10.79
I thought this was a pretty good price and didn't want to miss out.

Paid: $21 and change.
Saved: $40 and change.

In a related note, I tried to load a Publix gift card that I already had with $20 more. I was told that once a card is loaded for the first time, they can't reload. That doesn't make sense to me; you can add at Walmart and Target. Why not Publix? I can't make my existing $10 card into a $30 card. Weird.

Walgreens -- Thursday, 4/1

Can't find the little USB thingy to put my pictures on my posts. So for now, no pictures. If I find it, I'll get the pictures I took of my shopping uploaded.

Two transactions this morning at two different stores. I was hunting for a few items that I think I probably won't find at this point in the week. Both stores I went to were completely out of the Dulcolax, Simply Saline, and Air Wick that I could have gotten for free this week.

Transaction 1:

5 Royal brand sugar-free jello-type mix -- 5/$1 with in-ad coupon
Used $1 blinkie coupon I got at Publix several weeks ago now.
Paid: FREE! for all 5

Dove Conditioner -- $4
no coupon
Paid: $4
RR generated: $4

Simply Saline -- $9.99, adjusted to $7
no coupon
Paid: $7
No RR generated, which caused me to question the deal. I had the wrong type of Simply Saline, so I returned it and got my $7 back.

Walgreens one-a-day vitamins, 100 ct. -- $3, sale price
no coupon
Paid: $3
RR generated: $3

Used $11 in RR.
Paid oop: $3.30
(Then got $7 back from the Simply Saline.)
RR generated: $7.

Second transaction:

5 Royal brand sugar-free jello-type mix -- 5/$1 with in-ad coupon
Used $1 blinkie coupon I got at Publix several weeks ago now.
Paid: FREE! for all 5
(Anybody need jello? I have a ton that I've gotten free over the last couple of weeks!)

Walgreens brand one-a-day vitamins, 100 ct. -- $3, sale price
no coupon
Paid: $3

Paid oop: $3
RR generated: $3

Paid oop: $6.30
RR generated: $10
Got $7 back in cash for return. That's like getting everything for free, plus $.70 in my pocket and $10 RR or next time!

Eat-In Until Vacation Countdown -- 57 days to go.

57 days until our family vacation at Disney World.

That's 171 eat-in-or-eat-out decisions to make. We made one already today. The kids and I ate OUT for breakfast in between stores as we were bargain shopping this morning.

Our goal is to eat out 20 or fewer times in the next 57 days. That averages out to 2 times per week until vacation. That's eating out roughly 12% of the time and eating in about 88%.

Meals remaining till vacation: 170
Meals in so far: 0
Meals out so far: 1
Percent of eat-out allowance used: .5%
Spent on eating out: $8.60