Thursday, October 29, 2009

Referrals

Did you know you can get the Grocery Game for free?

For starters when you sign up you get the first 4 weeks free just to try it out!

After that you're charged per store every 8 weeks - $10 for the first store and $5 for each additional one. Clearly the benefits outweight the cost but if you could get it free wouldn't that be better?

You can earn 12 weeks free for every 3 friends that sign up. Now it can't just be the trial off - they have to actually sign up but once your friends start saving money they're going to want to sign up too.

All you need to do to get credit is be sure your friends put your e-mail in the referral section on the site. It can be added at any time. In fact if you have signed up because of the blog I'd be thrilled if you used my name as a referral. My e-mail address is: dorindanelson@comcast.net - thanks!

Remember, the Grocery Game is so easy! I sent my husband back to pick up some more juice for me on Monday. Here's what he got:



He spent: $14.99
And saved: $36.32

Not bad! My husband's smart but he's not as into this coupon thing as I am but he too enjoyed saving so much money :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Planning Monday


Do you love menu planning? I actually do! For the most part anyway :) Some weeks I have an idea of what I want and then it's fun to find recipes. I enjoy making new things and plenty of old favorites.

I was asked recently about weekly menu planning by a friend who never does. She asked me "what if you're not in the mood for what you've planned that night?" It's totally understandable and pretty much why I don't monthly plan because I can bet by the end of the month we'll be eating all my least favorite meals that sounded good at the beginning of the month!

So, instead I plan by the week and even though I post here what we're having which night it doesn't always work out that way. If I don't feel like something one night I can shuffle it to another night - no big deal. And since I only plan by the week there's less chance of the meals I don't like.

My meal plan for the week:

Monday - Enchilada Bake with Rice

Tuesday - VELVEETA Cheesy Pasta Casserole

Wednesday - Slow Cooker Cheesy Ravioli Casserole with Garlic Bread

Thursday - Slow Cooker North Woods Wild Rice Soupwith Beer Bread from Tastefully Simple (yum!)

Friday - Gram's Chicken Pot Pie Updated

Saturday - Crustless Bacon and Cheese Quiche - this will be more brunch then dinner - for the rest of the weekend we'll be eating leftovers - after all there will be plenty!

If you haven't tried meal planning yet give it a shot! It sure makes the weeks easier to know in advance what you're going to have. All the above recipes have links to the actual recipes if you want to try a few for yourself.

Also, I've added the link to www.orgjunkie.com on the side of the blog so you can find hundreds more recipes every week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Full Cart For Cheap

I love the weeks when I fill my cart up and still don't spend a lot. To walk out of the grocery store with all the groceries my family will need for the week (and often beyond) - including breakfast, lunch and dinner and not exceed $100.

Here's what I got:



I spent: $94.92
And saved: $159.52

Best Deals:

Welch's Grape Juice
- regular price: 2/$5.00
- sale price: 2/$4.00
- used 5 $0.75 off 1 coupons from S 9/13
- final price each: $0.50

Hot Pockets Breakfast Sandwiches
- regular price: $3.00 each (3/$9.00)
- sale price: $2.00 each (5/$10.00)
- used 5 $0.75 off 1 coupons from RP 9/27
- final price each: $0.50

For more great deals check out: The Grocery Game

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CVS Tips


(Not pictured: Three 12-packs of coke)

Late night, last minute trip to CVS :) Couldn't pass up on a few of this week's deals. I won't bore you with them since the deals are now over. Instead I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned from playing CVS.

I spent: $26.76
And saved: $28.60 (used $7 ECB's from last week's trip)
And earned: $15 in ECB's

- use the Grocery Game for a rundown on all the CVS deals

- but be sure to double check the deals - sometimes there are great deals with ECB's (Extra Care Bucks) that she doesn't list as "blue deals" - like tonight I bought Advil and Robittussin - 2 of each for $6.00 after coupons on ECB's which is a really great deal

- I used the Coupon Mom on Saturday nights to find my deals early though I have yet to shop early on Saturday - I find it fun and someday maybe I'll get there :)

- if it's a really good deal go ahead and get it even if you don't use it - donate it, give it away - something but don't pass it up!

- don't waste your ECB's - use them to purchase other items that will earn you more ECB's

- begin earning ECB's by picking up items that are free, really close to free or are good deals on items you use regularly

Thanks for those of you who shared your great consignment sale deals! If you have CVS tips feel free to leave those too :) I'm always learning!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Consignment Time Again

I have been working hard for the past two weeks - tagging items for other people and now this week working at the consignment sale. I have been out every night! So busy :) I even had to run to Harris Teeter and spend a whole $75 without coupons - for the record I spent $79.77 and saved $61.55 - eek - haven't spent more than I saved in a long time but I'm trying to earn the gift cards at the end of the year. Good news is I stocked up on juice :)

Here's what I got this time at the sale:



I spent: $147.53

I bought a lot of PJ's, a number of games, some Petshops and puppets - my kids are now covered for their winter clothes! And the big kids are thrilled to have footed pajamas.

A few thoughts on consignment sales:

- go as early as you can which means volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! The selection is so much better then when it's been picked through by hundreds of people.

- shop again later (I spent another $42 today and got a great find for Caleb's b-day for just $6) - shop again after all the items have been gone through to see what treasures may remain uncovered - racks can sometimes be so full that it's hard to see things

- look for brand names - they hold up better

- examine the items before purchase - they should have been examined by the staff but you never know what can be missed and you don't want to get it home later and find out something was stained.

- think about the price - sometimes it's a good deal and sometimes it just isn't - I can get Gymboree cheap on sale so I don't want to spend more than that on a used item!

- make a list but be realistic - it's rare you'll find a Wii game at a consignment sale :) And sometimes the items you saw on receiving night (if you worked before the sale) won't be there so you should have a plan B too.

- it's not the end of the world! Yes, you're saving money but sometimes there are reasons we just stop at real stores instead :) You know for the fact that they have more than 1 of the same item so you don't have to wrestle with the lady next to you.

- have fun - sometimes you'll get a good deal and sometimes you'll be disappointed - the fun is in the hunt and the stories you have behind your favorite finds.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in the Game


I've been a real slacker with the grocery game lately. Here's my "loot" for tonight. It was a great way to get back into the swing of couponing. I was totally thrilled to have gotten a deal on diapers, and especially thrilled to run into a fellow Grocery Gamer at my local Harris Teeter. How cool is that?
Total Value of Groceries (before coupons): $162.36
Actual Amount Paid $96.84
(Not Pictured: 3 packages of chicken breasts)


Saturday, October 17, 2009

And The Winners Are...

Thanks to all who entered our Swanson Chicken giveaway - I hope you try the recipes whether you've won or not - I know I will be!

And the winners as determined by random.org are:

#1 Cyndy
#7 Carrie

If you both could e-mail me (dorindanelson@comcast.net) and give me your addresses I will get your free chicken coupons out to you right away!

Congratulations to you both!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ECB's + Sales + Coupons = Free Halloween Candy at CVS



Yep, that's right! I got all of the above for $0.34 - okay, not completely free but I didn't want to lose another ECB for the $0.34 so I paid that out-of-pocket.

The Fun-Size Milky Way and Twix (and others) were on sale buy 1 get 1 free
- regular price: $3.50 each
- sale price: $1.75 each
- used 3 $1.00 off 2 coupons from RP 9/27 and RP 10/11
- final price for each: $1.25

M&M's were on sale 2/$3.00
- used 3 $1.00 off 2 coupons from RP 9/27 and RP 10/11
- final price for each: $1.00

By spending $20.00 on candy I earned $5.00 back in ECB's - so, ultimately I made money on the deal :) I spent $0.34 and made $5.00!

In order to make this deal so cheap I did use $15.00 in ECB's that I earned from last week. But I tell you to get candy so cheap is the way to go. After all, I'm just going to give it away free to the little monsters that come to my door in a few weeks. And you know I mean monsters in the nicest way possible :)

If you haven't started shopping at CVS I urge you to give it a try - it always pays off in a big way!

And don't forget to enter our giveaway HERE. If you are having trouble leaving a comment please e-mail me at dorindanelson@comcast.net and I will add your name to the list. Please enter by noon on Saturday in order to have your name included!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 10/12


Sunday: Banana Pancakes
Monday: Chipotle (lost a bet - had to take Kirk!)
Tuesday: Chicken Nachos with broccoli on the side
Wednesday: Cream Cheese Chicken with Broccoli
Thursday: Girl's Night Out
Friday: Spaghetti with Garlic Bread
Saturday: Slow-Cooked Family Favorite Beef Stew with biscuits

Wondering if you've seen some of the ingredients for these meals? You haven't. I did head back to HT tonight.



I spent: $48.40
And saved: $77.03

Another reason I went back - they were out of garlic bread and I reached my doubling limit yesterday.

New York Brand Frozen Texas Toast
- regular price: $3.19/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 3 $0.50 off coupons from S 8/23
- final price: $0.60/each

Archway Cookies (like I needed more cookies!)
- regular price: $2.99
- sale price: 2/$5.00
- used 4 $0.55 off coupons from S 8/16
- final price: $1.40/each

Spot Shot Stain Remover
- regular price: $5.49
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 1 $1.00 off coupon from S 9/13
- final price: $1.75

Even better deal? Go to www.spotshot.com after you purchase 1 Spot Shot product and you will get a free movie ticket via e-mail! Feels good to pay $1.75 for a movie ticket :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Harris Teeter Trip 10/11

At this point everyone knows me at Harris Teeter. Sad when you get to the register and the cashiers are asking if you're out for your weekly trip :) Yes, that's my life! Clipping coupons and visiting Harris Teeter. At least I was able to impress them with my savings this week.



I spent: $40.25
And saved: $117.16 - plus I earned $4.00 off my next order from Pillsbury.

Best deals:

More free Tuna! Hee hee, got to love free :) Helps that Kirk actually likes it and it makes a really easy lunch for him at work or me at home.

Starkist Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad Pouch
- original price $1.59/each
- sale price: 2/$3.00
- used 4 $0.75 coupons from RP 9/20
- final price: FREE

Nestle Cookies
- original price $2.99/each
- sale price - buy 1 get 1 free
- used 6 $1.00 off coupons from RP 9/13
- final price: $0.50/each

Eggo Waffles (and you all know I go through like a box of these a day unless the kids eat cereal!)
- original price $2.19/each
- sale price: 2/$3.00
- used 4 $0.55 off coupons from RP 10/4
- final price: $0.40/each

Egg-Land's Best Eggs
- original price $2.99/each
- sale price buy 1 get 1 free
- used 3 $0.55 off coupons from S 9/13
- final price: $0.40/each

With that and the E-VIC item being eggs for $0.39 as well I have more than enough eggs to last me a month! Seriously, I got 4 dozen eggs tonight for $1.60 - crazy cheap! Now, who has a good recipe for omelets or quiches?

Don't forget to enter the Swanson Giveaway HERE!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swanson Chicken Giveaway!


The Quick and Easy Tailgate Plan for a Cowboys Fan
Brought to you by Swanson Chicken Traveling Tailgate



It's football season! And if you're anything like me it's much more fun to watch the game with some great food and friends. In an effort to help make your food cheaper and more enjoyable we are giving away coupons for free Swanson chicken. Two winners will receive three coupons each for a free can of Swanson chicken - enough chicken to make the recipes below. Winners will also receive $1.00 off coupons for Frank's Redhot sauce. What a great way to get your football menu going for cheap!

To enter up to 3 times:

- leave a comment on this post
- become a follower of the blog (or comment that you already are)
- advertise the contest on your blog with a link back to this blog

Winners will be drawn at random (random.org) next Saturday, October 17th.

Check out this collection of quick, easy and delicious recipes for your Cowboys' tailgating and football parties! Whether you are cooking for the whole team or just the defensive line, these dishes are guarenteed to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. Go Cowboys! (Yes, I know I live in Redskins country but I've been a Cowboys fan for longer than I've lived here!)

Starters:

Frank's RedHot Buffalo Chicken Dip:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 cans (9.75 ox each) Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken Breast, drained
1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Assorted fresh vegetables and/or crackers

1. Stir cream cheese in 9" deep dish pie plate until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. until hot and bubbling. Stir. Serve with vegetables and crackers.

Tips:
- Substitute ranch dressing for blue cheese dressing and shredded cheddar cheese for blue cheese crumbles.
- Make it tailgate friendly - prepare ahead of time and transport in a disposable heavy foil pan. When you get to the tailgate heat it on a grill and serve nice and hot!
- Make this in the microwave by heating it on high for 5 minutes instead of baking
- Keep it warm in a crockpot or slow cooker


Monterey Jack Chicken Quesadillas:
1 can (4.5 ou.) Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green chilies
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
4 flour tortillas (8-inch), warmed
Pace Thick & Chunky Salsa
Sour cream

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir the chicken, 1/4 cup cheese, chilies and chili powder in a medium bowl.
2. Place the tortillas onto 2 baking sheets. Spread 1/4 cup chicken mixture onto half of each tortilla to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Brush the edges of the tortillas with water. Fold the tortillas over the filling and press the edges to seal.
3. Bake for 5 minutes or until filling is hot. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve with the salsa and sour cream.

Tips:
- These are great cooked on the grill! Follow the same directions but put them on aluminum foil on the grill

The Main Event:


Seven Ingredient Chili:
2 lb. ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 1/2 cups V8 100% Vegetable Juice (regular or low sodium)
1 small green pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cans (about 15 ou. each) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Cook the turkey, onion, chili powder and cumin in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until the turkey is well browned, stirring often.
2. Add the vegetable juice, pepper and beans to the saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.


Spicy Onion Burgers:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup Pace Picante Sauce
1 pouch Campbell's Dry Onion Soup and Recipe Mix
6 Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Premium White Rolls with Sesame Seeds
Lettuce leaves
Tomato slices
Avocado slices

1. Thoroughly mix beef, picante sauce and soup mix. Shape firmly into 6 burgers, 1/2-inch thick each.
2. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the burgers for 10 minutes or until desired doneness, turning the burgers over halfway through cooking.
3. Serve in rolls with lettuce, tomato, avocado and additional picante sauce.

The Game Winner


Football Cake:
2 Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Fudge 3 Layer Cake
Assorted decorating gel (black, white)
1 package (4.9 oz.) Pepperidge Farm Mini Milano Cakes

1. Remove cakes from freezer. Trim 1 edge of styrofoam plate even with cake, using scissors. Repeat with other cake. Place these two sides together. Carefully trim corners of cake to form a "football". Set corners aside. Let stand 15 min. or until frosting softens.
2. Smooth frosting where cakes are joined, using a metal spatula dipped in water. Smooth frosting on sides of cake. If needed, use additional frosting from corners pieces.
3. Make an outline of a football on top of cake and laces down center, using white piping gel.
4. Decorate sides of cake with Mini Milano cookies, pressing gently to adhere. Make football laces on cookies using black piping gell. Makes 1 cake.

For more easy and delicious recipes check out: www.Campbellskitchen.com and www.Swansonchicken.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My CVS Trips

Cherie did great at CVS didn't she? I went the same week and picked up:



I spent: $39.13
And saved: $27.94 (used $8.00 ECB's from previous week)
And earned: $22.00 in extra care bucks

This week I returned to CVS and bought:



I spent: $8.44
And saved: $36.22 (used $22.00 ECB's from previous week)
And earned: $17.00 in extra care bucks (plus an extra $1.00 for previous spending)

Best deals:

Colgate Toothpaste:
- regular price: $3.89
- sale price: $2.99
- earns: $2.00 ECB's
- used $1.00 off coupon from S 9/27
- final price: FREE

Tylenol - spend $20.00 get $10.00 ECB's
- I purchased: extra strength Tylenol, kid's motrin and Sudafed PE
- spent $20.50
- used $1.00 off Tylenol coupon RP 10/4
- used $2.00 off Sudafed PE coupon RP 10/4
- (brought $1.00 off coupon for kid's Tylenol but they were out - should've brought $1.00 off coupon for Motrin)
- so I spent $17.50 and earned $10.00 ECB's

I was asked what RP and S stand for:

RP is Red Plum
S is Smartsource
PG is Proctor and Gamble

- these are all the coupon inserts in your Sunday/weekly newspaper. In a future post I will go over couponing 101 with the Grocery Game again!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 10/5



Sunday - French Toast (cooked by dad - so yummy!)
Monday - Out to dinner - sorry, just felt like it - sometimes you just go!
Tuesday - Leftover Pot Roast from Saturday
Wednesday - Baked Ziti (see, I'm cooking!)
Thursday - Sandra's Salisbury Steaks (I have no idea who Sandra is)
Friday - MOPS yard sale - volunteering - dad and kids to fend for themselves
Saturday - Chicken Enchiladas (the creamy, good kind)

Seem like I'm being lazy this week? I am! We seem to have a lot of evening activities this week which makes it harder to cook but instead of going out every night I am making a plan to save money and eat leftovers at home or cook early. This is what happens during t-ball season!

Flexibility is the key to everything...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Harris Teeter Trip 10/4

I guess if I would wager I'd say that the beginning of the month is the lowest for sales :) Not that I've really compared but this week seemed to be low on sales. Fortunately I had a few rain checks and plenty of coupons so I still did okay but clearly I have had better weeks!



(Not pictured: 4 gallons of milk)

I spent: $63.77
And saved: $89.29

Best deals:

Famous Amos cookies - regular price $4.19
- sale price buy 1 get 1 free
- used 4 $0.55 off coupons from RP 8/30
- final price: $1.00 each

Froot Loops/Apple Jacks - regular price $3.89/each
- sale price 2/$5.00
- used 2 $2.00/2 coupons from RP 8/30
- final price: $1.50 each

For more deals check out The Grocery Game - and good news! The list will now be updated on Fridays and then again on Sunday's with any new coupons. This is perfect for all the weekend/Saturday shoppers :) I'm finding I don't get to the store any earlier than Sunday so I'm not sure it will help me but if I get a free Saturday I know what I'll be doing :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

$10 Dinners - White Bean Chicken Chili



2 Tablespoons oil ($0.15)
1 onion, chopped ($0.85)
2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.35)
1 lb. cooked chicken, diced ($2.50)
2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes ($1.50/both cans)
16 oz can Great northern beans, drained and rinsed ($0.67)
10 oz can tomatoes with chilies ($1.00)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cubes chicken bullion ($0.50)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt/pepper to taste
Garnish: sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, diced avocado, tortilla chips.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until soft. Place in slow cooker with remaining ingredients except garnish. Cover and cook on low setting for about 4 hours. Garnish portions as desired. Makes 8 - 10 servings.

Recipe comes from Cracker Barrel Slow-Cooker recipes.

Total cost for this meal - about $7.50 plus garnish - under $10! And for this meal I only had to purchase 1 can of Great Northern beans and chicken bullion because I already had everything else on hand - just another example of how stocking up really works!

Stay tuned for a great giveaway from Swanson chicken! We have much to share. Stick around and see if you can enjoy this meal using a free can of Swanson chicken :)