Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yesterday's great "Deal Shopping" deals

2 reams of paper for around $1:
-Buy 2 reams of HP paper at Staples using (2) $1/1 coupons printed from (use zip code 99011).
-Total was $$11.02 after tax and coupons. Rebate form printed after receipt.
-Enter rebate info online @ for 2 rebates @$4.99/ea=$9.98.
Total after coupons, tax and rebate: $1.04.

3 free tubes of Colgate 6.4 oz toothpaste @ Walgreens:
-Use "Sale price $.99" coupon on back of this week's Walgreens sale flyer from the Spokesman Review.
-Stack with 3 Colgate coupons found in March MaxiSaver coupon booket found at the entrance of FAFB Commissary. (Um, not allowed to post Commissary sale prices publicly. Not sure if this applies to coupons found there. Until I know for sure, I'm gonna play it safe).
-Add Plackers flossers on sale this week for $2, comes with a $2 Register Reward
Total after coupons & tax: $1.48, with $2 Register Reward. Makes this a $.52 money maker. I used the $2 Register Reward to get free Plackers flossers in the next transaction.

Groceries at Fred Meyer:
This weeks FM sale flyer (from Sunday's Spokesman Review) with "7 Day Coupons" was what made these deals!
-2 lb. strawberries @ $1.50/lb=$3
-10 8-oz pkgs. Tillamook shredded cheese $1/ea=$10
-2 Challenge butter for $5. Stack this with 2 "Save $1 on 1" coupons printed from last week (No longer available, but there is a .55/1 coupon available there this morning, print twice, still making this a good price). =2 Challenge butter for $3, or $1.50/lb.
-2 18-pack eggs for $3.
-2 FM ice cream at 6/10 or $1.67/ea=$3.33.
Total before coupons: $48.58
Total after coupons: $22.34

Yes, it took a morning of running around Spokane. Yes, it took a bit to match coupons with sales. But it's worth it! I love it! Email me with questions! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Off we go....

Well, it's official. We're moving to Altus, Oklahoma in July. Now, the first things most military spouses think of when they think of Altus are sweltering heat, bugs (including huge hairy tarantulas), mold, and having to drive 40 miles to see any semblance of a city. Altus, where tornadoes come through often and the power has gone out every single time we've been there. Altus, with its lack of LifeCenter-type churches. And mountains. And evergreens. And winter wonderlands. Sigh. Spokane feels like an Eden compared to Altus. And saying goodbye. Oh, how I wish that weren't a regular part of this life. But wait, haven't I always felt this at moving time? And hasn't God always taken care of us?
~Pulling myself together~.
Okay. It feels good to get that out, but I'm really trying hard not to dwell on it. I signed up for this life and I've gotta make the best of it for me, my children and our family! The plusses:
-More family time. The possibility of J not having to deploy at all, being home during holidays with time off.
-Old friends! Jenn Miller from Scott and Becca Watkins from Fairchild will both be moving there around the same time as me! Plus Altus is the hub for training for 2 AF jets-that means lots 'o friends coming through for weeks at a time! Maybe our house can be a place for them to be refreshed and hang out!
-WAYYY closer to family! A few hours drive to see my parents, sibs, and J's sibs as compared to a minimum 2 days drive now.
-New friends! From what we've heard, the military families stationed at Altus are a very close community-everyone's there with nothing to do, so they get together and have fun!
-The possibility of owning again. We don't know where we'll live. But we are playing with the idea of buying a house and fixing it up. This sounds really fun to both of us.
-The opportunity to live out our faith that God has a plan for us.
-Meers burgers.
-A longer growing season-maybe we can have a little veggie garden!
-Possibly more opportunities/time (shift in priorities) to make crafts or start the quilting project I've been dreaming of.
-A fresh start. I love getting rid of junk that I've been holding on to. This usually happens around moving time and leads to a more peaceful, organized life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Final stats

Well friends, the January Grocery Experiment culminated this week with 28 lbs. of wonderful beef in our freezer, purchased from friends at church with some of the leftover January grocery money! Their family raises beef not too far from here. Yeah! It was really a fun experiment, and quite a challenge. Towards the end there we were eating some pretty interesting things. I'd have to say the most uh, interesting, thing was Sweet & Sour Lentils. Let's just say we won't be having that one again. I didn't even make the girls eat it after I tried it myself. ;)
Grocery totals:
Ok, so the final amount we spent in January was $140.76. A bit disappointing, but good nonetheless. We cheated a bit and used grocery money for entertainment-type things such as pizza for the girls and babysitter, a family ice cream run to McD's, beer at the Class 6, lunch between running errands and preschool, and one more Costco run for bananas and milk.
Some of the recipes we did enjoy:
-Spicy Tuna Melt Pie from the 5 Dollar Dinner Mom. (well I enjoyed it. I probably won't make it again because the rest of the family didn't really like it at all)
-The Ultimate White Chicken Chili from Laura Euler's blog, served in sourdough bread bowls from the freezer. This was a huge hit! E, who doesn't like "spicy" at all, asked for thirds! YUM!!! Also, to save a couple bucks I bought dry white beans and cooked them in the Crock Pot first.
-Salsa Chicken from SparkRecipes. Another huge hit and a keeper! (See recipe below)
-Buttery Soft Pretzels from A treat we all really enjoyed.
-Baked French Toast ( I used the leftover sourdough bread insides from the bread bowls, placed in a greased casserole, and poured on a mixture of eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. I let it sit in the fridge overnight and baked the next morning at 350 for about half an hour. This was delicious!)
-Granola from the recipe Sharon used when the boys were little.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken:
-2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
-2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
-1 cup canned diced tomatoes
-1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
-1/2 cup finely diced celery
-1/2 cup shredded carrots
-1 cup salsa
-3 tbsp. fat free sour cream
Put chicken in Crock Pot. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Spread tomatoes, onion, celery and carrots over top, then cover with salsa. Pour 1/2 cup water over mixture, cover and cook on low 6-8 hrs. Shred chicken with 2 forks. We put this inside warm flour tortillas and put the sour cream on top.

Now on to the next challenge!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grocery Update #3

Thursday is my usual grocery shopping/errand day. Today was no different. I usually scan the local sales fliers and plan which (if any) stores I'll be visiting for the week before I go. The Commissary is the one store I always shop. We are so blessed to get to shop there!
-On Tuesday I made a trip to the Com-izzle for milk and popcorn seeds-$6.07
-Fred Meyer today for .68/lb apples and .33 cans of tuna-$5.75
-Commissary today for the rest of the groceries-$18.35

Which brings us to a total so far of $100.69. Past the limit now, but oh so close. Can we make it with only one more buying of milk????

Monday, January 17, 2011

Grocery update

Since January 6th (last grocery post) I've made a few trips to pick things up from the store:
-Yoke's for their awesome cereal sale ($10.80 for 10 boxes of cereal)
-J got soda for our "Pizza and Movie Night ($2.46)
-Commissary for a few things before the last snow storm and to use some coupons that were about to expire and burning a hole in my coupon binder! ($9.92) I was SUPER excited about this trip because it was over $20 worth of groceries for under $10!
I'd like to mention (and I think most of my friends know) that I love using coupons. However, I try not to use them for things that I wouldn't buy otherwise. I've noticed that a lot of coupons are for junk food, which I try to keep to a minimum. That being said, I've found some fabulous deals in the past few months and will continue in my couponing hobby!
-We're up to $70.52 for January groceries. We're about to run out of popcorn (anyone who knows us knows this is a staple at our house :) and milk. I'm smelling a Costco trip coming up....

The experiment continues!

Well let's see. We are still under budget for January and have been enjoying some fabulous meals! I knew that my little experiment would require a lot more cooking from scratch and that's proven to be true. I added a "bulk cooking day" to my week last week and we ended up with a pot of vegetable soup, cabbage rolls, a pan of rolls, loaf of bread, and 3 pounds of homemade meatballs. It was definitely a lot of work but sooo worth it!

I follow several cooking blogs but have found the 5 dollar dinner mom to be most helpful with this experiment. I thought I'd forward some of the recipes we've been enjoying on to you!
-Cabbage Rolls ( Used ground beef from the freezer and cabbage from the Rosauer's sale .49/lb.
-Vegetable Soup ( Used the rest of the cabbage from the Rosauers sale and the rest of the veggies I had in the fridge. This is a super yummy soup, perfect for snacks and lunch.
-Homemade "Hot Pockets" or as we've been calling them "Dinosaur Breads"-Make ww bread dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Fill 2 pieces with homemade chicken mixture (I put cooked chicken, cream cheese, fresh spinach and some Longaberger seasoning from Sandy in the food processor). Bake @ 350 degrees till lightly brown. The girls love 'em!

-Orange Sesame Chicken with roasted asparagus ( (Chicken and asparagus were from the freezer. We thought this was good, but a bit sweet. I'd probably add less sugar and some vinegar next time to make it more of a sweet & sour sauce, and some thickener).
-Baked Pasta -pasta & sauce from my pantry stash, ground beef & cheese from the freezer. I had a lot of leftovers I didn't want to throw out so I added a bowl of split pea soup and some kidney beans. I was a bit apprehensive that the fam wouldn't like it but they LOVED it! ;)
-And of course, the ultimate healthy, low-cost, super yummy comfort food: a pot of pinto beans! I know, l know, the #1 complaint about beans is the uh, GI upset they can cause. I find that if I soak them overnight then cook them slowly all day in the Crock-Pot that effect is greatly diminished. We eat a LOT of beans around here. I think it's a good way to cut down on meat consumption, therefore keeping cost and fat in check. And they're a great way to get fiber!
We had bean/rice/chicken/salsa/guacamole/cheese burritos yesterday. SO good! Although we do have a continuing discussion going on around here about "Chipotle"-style burritos (J's fave) vs. "Real New Mexico" burritos (once you've grown up on New Mexican food there's no comparison). Opinions?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Well friends.....

...I'm back. At least for today.
I've had a couple of you mention to me lately that you'd like to see the posts re-appear so I'm giving it another go. Of course I'm dealing with all the feelings of perfectionism and procrastination that usually follow me around...but I'm not going to give them much thought. I'm reminded of what our pastor said in church on Sunday about how to follow a daily Bible-reading plan. What do you do if you skip a day? Just jump right back in. Okay, I can do that. And I'm not going to hold myself to any kind of standard for this blog. Ok, let's jump back in!
So as you probably know I'm frugal, and I like couponing. Nothing too crazy, just like matching coupons with sales and keeping a small stockpile.
During a long road trip last month we were listening to a financial podcast and I had a brainstorm. Background info: Our good neighbors PCS'd (moved away) last month, leaving us with the abundance of all the groceries they couldn't take with them! Also my mom got us lots of groceries when they were here for Thanksgiving. Back to the brainstorm: "Hey! Wouldn't it be fun to try to use what we have and keep the January grocery budget to $100?!?!" So that's what I'm doing.
Today was my first day of grocery shopping for the month, and I gotta say, I'm not sure that I'm going to meet my goal. We just so happened to run out of several staples so far so (assuming the family is not willing to give up certain things for a month) I replaced the old stand-bys of Half & Half (cream for coffee!), coffee, peanut butter, and milk. All these things are considerably less expensive per unit at Costco so I just replaced them. Anyway, here is what I got. My total for the month so far: $46.74. I said, I'm not sure I'm going to meet my goal!

This is minus the 4 gallons of milk.