How to Have More While Spending Less

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekly Shopping List -3/30/11

Alrighty.  Here's what's at (or pretty close to) its lowest price this week.

But first, I need to call the team into the Locker Room for a quick update. 

Five grocery store flyers had zero items at their stock-up price this week.  We have nothing from Vons, Albertsons, Fresh & Easy, Sunflower Market & Glaziers.
That's a record.  :(   I had to do some serious hunting.

This is week # 48 of my price-tracking.  With prices climbing steadily over the past 10 weeks, shopping isn't quite as fun as it used to be...BUT, it's a lot more fun for us than for people who have no idea what's going on. 
Please pay attention to what's happening with prices & keep stocking up (since at OUR prices, we can afford more).  :)  I'm not stoked about paying whatever they might wanna charge me next week, month, etc.

OK, Las Vegas, here we go:

Buxted chicken leg quarters                        59 cents/lb       Liborio
Chicken wings                                              99 cents/lb       BuyLow *3/31ONLY*
Cheese, Tillamook, 5 lb.                              $9.99                Smiths

Limes                                                             33 cents/lb       Marianas
Iceberg Lettuce                                             33 cents ea.    Cardenas
Fuji apples                                                    33 cents/lb.      Cardenas
Navel oranges                                              13 cents/lb.      Liborio
Lemons                                                         25 cents/lb.      BuyLow *3/30 ONLY*
Mangoes                                                       33 cents ea.    Food4Less

Rosarita Refried Beans 30oz.                    $1.25               Cardenas
Hunt's pasta sauce 26 oz.                           75 cents           Smiths
Libby's canned veggies 14.5-15oz.           48 cents           Smiths
Chicken Boullion, Knorr 35.3oz.                 $3.99                Cardenas
Pasta, Anthony's 16 oz.                               99 cents           Cardenas
Tomato sauce, 8oz, store brand                20 cents           Smiths

Shock Top beer, 12 pk. bottles                  $9.99               Marianas

Despite the smaller number of stores being in the mix, it's a pretty good list!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cereal Coupons

Click on this link to sign up for $5 in coupons,
special offers, promotions & more from Kellogg's.


More Cheap Food

Quiznos sent me a coupon where you can get any small sub & a cookie for $2.99.

Click here for the coupon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

This is awesome.  Kim (one of my very favorite people) sent me a link to a video that shows all kinds of recipes to make your own cleaners. 

It's dirt-cheap & the lady says they work great.  You'll also have fewer dangerous chemicals in your house & her recipes are all safe to mix with each other. It's definitely worth checking out. 

I went to this site & entered my (junk/coupon) email address & was able to find a printable recipe list.  On the video, she recommended adding some essential oils (she uses grapefruit and peppermint, but not together!) to cover any smell from the vinegar.

If you want to watch the video, it's right here.

A lady who spoke at our Money-Saving Workshop makes her own liquid laundry detergent that's even safe for "H.E." machines.  If you're interested, I'll ask her for it & try to post it for you.

Since I haven't tested these myself yet, I'd love feedback from anyone who has experience.  Has anyone made any household items?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Popcorn Shrimp for 58 Cents

I forgot to share an awesome Wal-Mart deal!  Somehow this one slipped through the cracks...sorry.
Last time I was at Wal-Mart, SeaPak's popcorn shrimp (6 oz.) was priced at $1.58.  Take the $1/1 coupon from the 3/6 SmartSource & you've got some 58 cent shrimp!

Over the weekend, we had it along with their popcorn fish & it was great.  You can make some cocktail sauce & tartar sauce for super-cheap, too. 
(Our anti-fish girl now craves their popcorn fish! Amazing!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just the Inspiration I Needed...

Well, it's official.  I'm finally gonna take the plunge. 

I want to make my own bread.

Molly O posted some stuff on her blog that gave me the structure, encouragement & exact method that I needed. (That's her & her sweet family in the photo.)

I usually get really pumped up about starting a new project & then get frustrated and give up.  Molly broke it down so well & told us why she does each particular thing.

It's (understandably) a royal pain to track down each stinkin' ingredient individually & drag 'em all out to then begin the entire process.  Her post is a God-send (...and a good read with lots of pictures!).
Here's the link to that post on Mocha Drop Mama.
Mmmm...I can smell the fresh-baking bread now.  AND the cold, hard cash this is going to save me!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Free Photo Calendars

Don't you just wanna eat him up?  Even without the icing, he's still pretty irresistible!  (I might be biased...maybe.)

This sweet face graced the covers of both photo calendars I got from VistaPrint.  Grandpa & Granddaddy were both recipients of my 'masterpieces'. 

You can even print your family's special dates on there.  We put birthdays & anniversaries on ours.

For a limited time, they're offering these calendars for free!  I cannot say enough good stuff about them...the company or the calendars themselves.  I've used VistaPrint for years & love 'em.  (The fact that they keep offering free stuff definitely doesn't hurt their case!)

Click on the icon below to start your free photo calendar.



Note: I'm not sure, but I imagine they don't give everyone unlimited calendars.  (They're generous, not insane.) We didn't even attempt to get more than 1 per person, so I have no clue what their policy is there.  We just happen to have 2 logins with them, so my account made a calendar & so did the hubby's (they're registered under our 2 separate email addresses).  Hope that helps.  Have fun!!!

Diaper Coupons

Woo-Hoo!
Here's a link to a $3 AND a $2 coupon for Huggies!
Click here to print. ...and remember to hit your "Back" button 3 times after printing a coupon. It'll usually cause it to print 1 more time. 
Print both of these coupons twice & that's ten bucks!

Starkist Tuna Coupon

Click here for a Starkist Tuna coupon.

Just in time for Lent AND the fast-approaching swimsuit season. 

If you're burned out on tuna sandwiches, their site has lots of unique, healthy recipe ideas.

Wishbone Dressing Coupon

Wishbone Salad Dressing sent me a $0.75/1 coupon!

Take it to Vons where the dressing's on sale for 99 cents now through April 2nd.  Then, you've got 24 cent dressing! (Limit 3)

Just click here & follow the directions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cooking With Sale Items & A Stockpile (Pt. 2)

This series of posts is in response to Julie's request that I explain how I feed my family.  We eat a combination of the random fresh items that were on sale & non-perishable items from our stockpile.

In Cooking With Sale Items & A Stockpile (Pt. 1) we talked about how to begin stocking up.  Basically, if you buy the right stuff at the right time, the stockpile just kind of magically happens.  If you only buy things when they're dirt-cheap, you can automatically afford to buy lots more of them & poof!...you've got a stockpile!  That way, you'll never get stuck paying more than you absolutely have to.

So, what's in our stockpile? 

Canned
Black beans
Pinto beans
Chili beans
Green beans
Corn
Tomato paste
Petite diced tomatoes
Ro-Tel
Evaporated milk (for casseroles)
Tuna
Creamy soups for cooking
Chef Boyardee pastas
Black olives
Chunky (meal-type) soups
Peaches
Spaghetti sauce
Pineapple
Enchilada sauce
Refried beans
White beans
Chickpeas
Nacho cheese sauce

Bottled
Any type of sauce you can imagine
Brandy
Pickles
Relish
Pasta sauces
Salad dressings
Mustard
Ketchup
Salsa
Peanut Butter

Boxed/Bagged
Cereal (40-60 boxes)
All types of pasta
Mac 'n' Cheese
Crackers
Hamburger Helper
Granola bars
Fruit snacks
Rice
Ramen noodles
Cup o' Noodles
Stuffing
Spice mixes
Sea Salt

A 45-pound bucket of wheat

Whew!  Keep in mind, this does not include our pantry items that are in "normal" quantities.  These are the non-perishable items we try to maintain a large supply of.

Our fridges & freezers are full of the perishable stuff that we found at really good sale prices.

Important Note: Organization is key!  If you lose track of something & let it expire, that 75% savings becomes 100% waste.

This is embarrassing, but I literally cursed at my chicken wings last night.  I had lost track of them & they expired.  (How DARE they!?!) I looked into the bottom drawer of the garage fridge & there they were!  3 days past date.  I was livid!  Don't let that happen to you.  It just plain sucks.

Next in the series:  Cooking with the very random perishables we find on sale.

Sunday Coupon Preview -March 27, 2011

Well, gang...I'm a little confused on this one. 

The Coupon Insert Schedule for 2011 says we should expect 1 SmartSource, 1 RedPlum (in Tuesday's mail) and 1 Proctor & Gamble this week.

However, the Sunday Coupon Preview has 2 previews for SmartSource.  I'm not sure if it's for 2 separate SmartSources or if they just posted the preview in 2 parts.

Either way, it looks like it'll be a great week to buy a few papers because it's P&G week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekly Shopping List -3/23

Alrighty. Here's what I went to Wal-Mart in search of this week.


Lemons                                               10 cents ea. (Marketon)
Fuji Apples                                          34 cents/lb. (Marketon)
Braeburn Apples                                25 cents/lb. (Mariana's)
Oranges                                              13 cents/lb. (Liborio)
Jalapenos                                           33 cents/lb. (Liborio)
Black Beans (dried)                           50 cents/lb. (Cardenas)
NY Steak, bone-in                              $3.99/lb. (Albertsons)
Chicken, whole                                   77 cents/lb. (Albertsons)
Cheese, store brand                          $4.99/32 oz. (Smiths)
Annie's Natural Mac'n'cheese          49 cents (Smiths)
Pasta, Amer.Beauty 16 oz.               49 cents (Smiths)
E&J Brandy 750mL.                          $6.99 (Marketon)
Powerade 32 oz.                               39 cents (Smiths)
Coke 2 ltr.                                           78 cents (Food4Less)


Note: My Wal-Mart didn't have Braeburn apples or the bone-in steaks on display.  :(  They were sold-out of Annie's Mac 'n' Cheese, too.


Overall, a good shopping trip.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wal-Mart deals

Wal-Mart Deals page is updated as of March 23.

There are some pretty fun deals right now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooking With Sale Items & A Stockpile (Pt. 1)

Julie had a brilliant suggestion:
"...post what you are making for dinner using the things you bought that week and what you use from your storage. That way people can see how effective your strategy really is."

Good question.  Complicated answer.  :)

How does it all work?  How do we save the most grocery money?  ...& preferably not raise a family solely on Ramen noodles.

We combine our stockpiled pantry items with whatever fresh ingredients are at their lowest price.

This topic will take a series of posts.  This post will discuss starting a stockpile. 
Don't worry.  It's not intimidating...actually, with a tiny bit of effort, it kinda just happens by itself!

My garage contains cans, boxes & bags of non-perishables.  It also contains a bucket of wheat (for whenever I get a bread machine), a refrigerator & 2 freezers.

It's about to contain my stockpile of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, lotion & medicine, too because my ketchup & other heat-sensitive items are about to reside in my bedroom closet.  The desert heat turns ketchup brown.  Who knew?

All of the items in my stockpile have been found at an extremely good price.  I track grocery prices each week & compile them on the Price-Tracking Spreadsheet found on the Resources page.

The photo shows most of our canned goods.  (They're on a pretty cool shelf that rotates them to help prevent anything from expiring. But, I digress...)

Each week when the grocery store circulars arrive in the mail, I list which items are at their lowest price that particular week.  Also, known as the "stock-up price" because that's when you want to stock up. 

That includes meat, produce, canned goods, cereal...whatever's at an awesome price.  (...& that I'm pretty sure my family will eat or that's cheap enough where we can donate it if they don't.)

If you can find a coupon to combine with that sales price, you're a Rock Star & should buy that item by the case!  Then, you'll have enough to last until the next time it hits the rock-bottom price.

Yes, you'll end up buying some items your unfamiliar with.  Great!  That's part of the fun!  Just do an internet search about that ingredient & it may end up being a new favorite.  Different cuts of meat & exotic produce are exciting!

The point is: Each week, only buy what's at its rock-bottom lowest price. (& anything else that's absolutely necessary, but rarely goes on sale...milk, toilet paper, etc.)

The price of each item on your list will be so good, that you can afford to buy 2-5 times MORE OF IT for the same amount of money you would have spent for it at "regular" price. 

Hence, a stockpile is born.

This applies to non-perishables as well as whatever meat & produce can be stored properly.  (We're going to start vacuum-sealing a lot of our fresh produce & then freezing it.)

Coming up next: What exactly should we stock-up on?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Freezer Experiment #1

This is the 1st post in a series about freezing. 

Freezing might seem pretty basic & mundane, but I'm determined to learn how to do it the right way.  My hubby doesn't hate many things, but he does hate freezer burn...and leftovers.  Hence, the challenge...and this series.

"Freezer Cooking" is all the rage right now.  I'm considering trying it on a somewhat small scale.  Also, we just got a new freezer, so I'm excited to fill it up with healthy, yummy food. (...and with food prices increasing at a faster rate than they have in the last 36 years, it might not be a bad idea to have some stuff in the freezer.)

Experiment #1 was a complete success!

I've heard of people using ice cube trays to freeze little bits of various liquids & purees in individual portions. Then, you're supposed to pop the cubes into a freezer bag, so you can have small portions of these fabulous ingredients at your fingertips.
A few factors came together, so I finally tried it.

Factor #1- Lemons were on sale & I price-matched them for $0.50/lb.
Factor #2- My Mom gave us a pressure cooker.  We cooked a chicken & some veggies which gave us lots of amazing chicken stock.

So, while the hubby watched a movie one night, I used my citrus press to juice the lemons into a cup & then filled an ice cube tray.
Then I ladeled the chicken stock into another cup & filled more trays.
They went into the freezer & a few days later, I popped the cubes into some labeled zipper bags.
Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. (ha!)

I can't wait to make Chicken Piccata or a nice, steamy Mussel Pot!

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Week's Shopping List

Tonight, I had a revelation. ...about 15 minutes ago, actually...so you're getting this Hot/"Impromptu" Off The Presses!

I've been soul-searching, brainstorming & researching this blogging thing half-to-death.  I've had a fun 4/12 weeks with this blog & I LOVE helping people spend less money & have more food! 
We had a fun Workshop last week & I saved more money this week than I ever expected. 
Life is good.

And, tonight, in the midst of more research, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Stop trying to be a professional & just show folks exactly what you buy."

So, how 'bout this...I'll just post my personal shopping lists.

It can't get more straightforward than that.  :)

I made the list based upon my exhaustive spreadsheet of Las Vegas's lowest prices.

I buy what's at its lowest price this week (or anywhere close to it considering the recent skyrocketing of food & gas prices).

Here's what I bought this week at Wal-Mart using price-matching. (The price & store name are in parenthesis.)

Corned beef, point cut                                    99cents/lb (Vons& F&Easy)
Shrimp 41/50 count                                        $3.99/.b (buylow)
Pork loin chops w/ bone                                1.59/lb (Smith)
Jennie-O lunchmeat 9-10oz                           1.98 (Food4Less)
Chick breast boneless                                   1.29/lb (LaBonita)
BumbleBee pouch Albacore 2.5 oz              49 cents (Smiths)
Eggs, Jumbo 20 ct.                                         1.67 (Marianas)

Strawberries                                                    $1.50/lb (Food4Less & Marketon)
Gr. Cabbage                                                    25 cents/lb (BuyLow)
Oranges                                                           10 cents/lb (LaBonita)
Green Beans                                                    50 cents/lb (Marianas)
Jonagold apples                                              25 cents/lb (Marianas)
Cilantro bunch                                                 15 cents ea (BuyLow)

Pasta, Ronzoni 12-14.5oz                              49 cents (Smith)
Pasta, AmercanBeauty 16oz                         49 cents (Smith)
Ragu 16-26oz                                                  99 cents (albertsons)
Kraft 8oz block/shred                                     1.48 (F4Less)
Kraft 12 oz singles                                          1.48 (F4Less)
Cokes 2 ltr.                                                      78 cents (F4Less)
Take your sales flyers with you, just in case the cashier asks for proof.  If you don't receive all of these flyers in the mail, just google the store name & print them out...it's worked for me so far.
The more organized you are before you leave home, the smoother (& faster!) the shopping trip will go.
***Don't forget to look for online coupons to match.
For example, the Ronzoni pasta is 49 cents & here's a link for $1/2 coupon.  Your pasta's free & you make an extra penny per box.  :)

Would you like to see my weekly lists?  I can post them with my coupon match-ups, too, if you'd like.  Just leave me a Comment & let me know.  I'm happy to share.

Sunday Coupon Preview -March 20, 2011

Just a few of the great deals that are headed our way:

$2.50/1 Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons 18 ct.
$4/1 Gillette Fusion ProGlide
$1/1 Wonderful Pistachios
    *The 8 oz. bags will be on sale for $2.99 at Vons this Fri-Sun.  That'll make them $1.99!


For the rest of the Sunday Coupon Preview click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kellogg's Coupon

I just saw this coupon on the  Freebies, Great Deals & Swagbucks blog.

It's for $1 off Frosted Mini-Wheats Touch of Fruit in the Middle! 

My family is addicted to this stuff. 
It's like Mini-Wheats & Strawberry Newtons got married & had a baby.

Click here for the coupon. 

When you're finished printing, click your "back" arrow 3 times & it should print again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Coupon Services

Wow.
I just stumbled upon a couple of potential time-savers.

Most people who are on a serious Money-Saving Mission look for multiple sets of coupon inserts.  Also, those of us attempting to save money don't enjoy paying for several newspapers to get the precious inserts. (& I only have a limited group who are willing to give me theirs.)


So, I found 2 sites that were recommended online where you can procure specific clipped coupons & specific coupon inserts. 

*Legal disclaimer!*  From what I've gathered, it is illegal to purchase coupons.  There are sites who will give you coupons when you pay them a "clipping charge" or a "handling fee" for their "time".  They are not selling you coupons;  you are purchasing their services.  Got it?  Cool.

Both of these sites got rave reviews from their clients, but I haven't tried either of them yet.  I probably will very soon!

http://www.wholecouponinserts.com/

http://www.couponsthingsbydede.com/

I'm sure there are more out there, so leave a comment if you'd like to recommend a site like this.

Also, my BFF's Mom has "purchased some clipping services" of people on ebay.  It's very inexpensive, but she gets coupons for stores she's never heard of.  Last I heard, there was a large enough percentage of usable coupons for her to keep it up.  Just a thought.

Coupon Insert Schedule- 2011

At Molly O's request, here it is...The Coupon Insert Schedule for 2011.

It shows which inserts should be in each Sunday newspaper. 

*Now available on the Free Downloads page of this blog.

Again, the RedPlums they mention come in our Tuesday mail with the grocery flyers (at least on the West coast).

I found this at Southern Savers & they have a disclaimer/explanation that's worth reading. 

Also, I've found that newspaper stuffers aren't always terribly accurate.  I've heard legend of people accidentally having an extra insert, but I've been the recipient of a few empty papers.  It sucks.  It happens.

Just be sure you check this schedule before heading out to get the paper each weekend. 

Combine this with the Sunday Coupon Previews & you'll know exactly how many papers you want to buy that week.  If there are multiple inserts with coupons that your family uses, I recommend buying a few newspapers from a cheap source.  (McDonald's sells the Sunday paper for less than cover price!)


Just click on the Free Downloads tab at the top of the blog.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

During both of the Money-Saving Workshops we've had, someone has asked about Bountiful Baskets.

I've never bought one, but they sound very intriguing...& quite possibly delicious!

At tonight's workshop, there was a question regarding the origin of the fruits & vegetables in Bountiful Baskets.

I went to their website & here's what they say

I hope their link (partially) answers the question of where their produce comes from  & I will do much more research.

If they can offer us something exceptional, I'm IN!  :)
If they're priced higher than I need to spend or if their produce comes from somewhere I shop anyway, I'll probably pass. 

I will make Bountiful Baskets my next research project & post results soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Food!

You can get a FREE order of Skillet Queso & Chips at Chili's when you sign up for their Email Club. 

Here's the link.



(Thanks, Screaming Penny)

Sunday Coupon Preview- March 13, 2011

Hey, everyone.
Here's what we can expect to find in this Sunday's SmartSource & next Tuesday's Red Plum.

I hope they keep the Greek yogurt coupons coming...swimsuit season's coming up!  Maybe it will counteract all of the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing I'll be eating.  :)

Click here for the list.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Page: Wal-Mart Deals


Check out the new Wal-Mart Deals Page.

I will update it as I find new deals.  There appear to be 4 Freebies right now & lots of other good deals.  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Frugal Recipes

I have changed the Frugal Recipes page to allow you to post your recipes directly.  It saves the step of emailing them. 

I'm looking forward to cooking some new things.  :)

Starbucks- Free Petite Dessert

Happy 40th Anniversary, Starbucks!

To celebrate our last 40 years, Starbucks is doing some really fun stuff!

Today, we launched Tribute Blend which is a brand-new coffee.  It's meant to be a Tribute to all of Starbucks's customers, partners, roasters & farmers.

AND this Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12, you get a FREE petite dessert with any handcrafted beverage purchase between 2-5 pm! 

These things are so delicious!  We have cake pops which are a cake ball enrobed in icing & put onto a lollipop stick.  There are tiny whoopie pies, salted caramel squares & other fun, yummy things. 
Click here to see them all.

This is a free dessert per beverage while supplies last.  If you need to rack up some Brownie Points at the office, take everyone's drink order & bring them each a free dessert. 

Have fun!  (The Salted Caramel Squares are insane!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Greek Yogurt Coupons

Here are 2 coupons for Greek yogurt.

The babies love it with some honey & berries. 
The hubby loves it mixed will fresh dill & diced cucumber.  It's a great makeshift taziki sauce alongside herb-grilled chicken, pita bread & a Greek salad.

$0.75/1 Voskos Greek Yogurt

$0.30/1 Yoplait Greek Yogurt

Friday, March 4, 2011

Calling All Cooks!

Two heads are better than one, right?

Well, we've got hundreds of heads here, so let's put them all together to help each other's dinner tables be more exciting.


I'm looking for frugal recipes.  Give us your exotic, your rustic & everything in-between!

I will begin posting your frugal creations this weekend. 

Please email them to stefanowiczcoupons@gmail.com and write RECIPE in the subject line.

Yum!

Sunday Coupon Preview

It looks like it might be a fun coupon week!

$1 off A-1 Sauce and $2 off Simply Venus razors!

I'm learning that in Las Vegas, our Sunday newspaper only contains the SmartSource.  The following Tuesday is when the RedPlums arrive in the mail. 

So, think of this as a "Next Few Days" Coupon Preview.


Click here to see what's coming up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free Stuff!

I don't care who you are... free is fun!

I'm glad we got our Fiscal Foundation set in the earlier posts...and learned a bit of Coupon Lingo as well.

Now, here comes some FREE stuff!  (followed by some dirt-cheap stuff!)


A Few Target & Wal-Mart FREEBIES:

Target:

Benefiber 16 ct Stick Packs (2 yummy flavors! If you don't need fiber, donate 'em.)
 - Use $3 off printable Target cpn  AND SS 2/27 coupon

Excedrin Extra Strength 20 ct Express Gels
 - Use $3 off printable Target cpn  AND SS 2/27 coupon

Wal-Mart:

Quaker Oats 1 min. Microwave oatmeal pouch
 - Use $1 off coupon from RP 1/2


Other stuff for WAY under a buck!

Target:

Up & Up All Purpose Cleaner w/ Bleach = 37 cents w/ the $1 off printable Target coupon

Halls Cough Drops 30ct = 19 cents after the $.50 printable Target AND SS 2/6

Garnier Skin Renew Brusher Cleanser =  26 cents after $2 printable Target cpn AND RP 2/6

Wal-Mart:

Gain Fabric Sheets 80 ct = 26 cents w/ RP 2/13

       (Thanks, CouponMom.)



Woo-Hoo!  Despite the rising prices of...well, EVERYthing, you can fill your basket for next-to-nothing.

P.S.-  If these abbreviations don't make sense, (RP, SS, etc.) the post about Coupon Lingo will explain it all.

If you need Target printable coupons, click on this.

Much more fun stuff is on its way! Happy Saving, my friends!