Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Money Recap

I can't believe it's already the end of 2009. Seems like just yesterday I started this blog to see how much I could save every month. Now the year has ended and I'm looking back over how I did money wise.

Some good - some not-so-good.

My resolutions for 2009 were:

1. Spend $100 or less on food each week - including going out. I did on groceries but didn't include going out.

For the year (at least what I recorded):

I spent: $3902.11
And saved: $5709.37

- that's a huge chunk of savings! I just read in Real Simple magazine that the average family spends $3700 a year on groceries. Since our family is 3 people above the average family I feel pretty good about our totals. However, for 2010 I'd like to do even better. I also plan to record better since I know my totals are a little off because I didn't include small trips to the store. It does include Harris Teeter, CVS and all other stores I remembered to record.

2. Pay $10 or less for dinner - this I did probably 90% of the time. This was an easy resolution to keep :)

3. Pay down debt - this we did but not as much as I would like (see #5).

4. Continue to buy brand name clothes but with cash - for the most part I did do this. Though again at the end of the year things got a little screwy (see #5).

5. No more credit cards - cash system only. Well, I tried! For 10 months I did great - really, really well. But the last two months have been hard and while I do have a plan to pay it all off in the next month I'm still not happy that I put any on to begin with. Clearly I need to plan and budget better at the beginning of the year to avoid the downfall at the end.

I do notice every year that I need to be more and more specific with my resolutions. I make vague ones that I try to keep but by not being specific I have trouble keeping them.

But, I'm not giving up. Just like gaining weight back after you've dieted, I've fallen off the bandwagon and I have to get back on. If I give up it will ultimately be worse. So, check in tomorrow for my more specific resolutions :)

Have a very Happy New Years and may God bless your endeavors in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End CVS Trip

I spent most of the day totaling up my yearly spending at the grocery store which I will share with you tomorrow - interesting stuff!

Today to round out my CVS shopping for the year I headed in to pick up a few more things:



I spent: $27.56
And saved: $51.44
And earned: $12.00 in ECB's

Best Deals:

Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner
- original price: $3.99 each
- sale price: 2/$7.00
- earns $2.00 ECB's
- used 1 $3.00/2 coupon from PG 12/27
- final price: $1.00/each

Gilette Fusion Razor
- original price: $11.49
- sale price: $8.99
- earns $4.00 ECB's
- used 1 $4.00/1 coupon from PG 11/29
- final price: $0.99

And thanks to Southern Savers you can go HERE to get $5.00/$25.00 at CVS. You just need to take a short (and easy) quiz.

Do be sure and check your coupons - a lot of them are set to expire tomorrow! Enjoy your last day of 2009 :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No List This Week

Due to the holiday there was no list this week so I didn't go grocery shopping. Just as well I had to go last week before Christmas to buy all the items for our meal and spent my weekly budget anyway.

I'm going to spend the rest of the week tallying up my savings for the year and making some new resolutions for 2010. Should be fun.

Sure, resolving to not spend money is always fun right?

Um, no...

But I'm going to find ways to enjoy it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!



From our family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers At CVS

This week was a good one for free or cheap items at CVS. I use all kinds of grocery items as stocking gifts - make-up (for me really - I'm just helping Kirk); toothbrushes; shaving needs so CVS is a great place to pick these items up.



I spent: $12.32
And saved: $34.92 (I believe that includes my ECB's though)
And used: $18 ECB's from last week
And earned: $18 new ECB's

Best deals:

Listerine
- regular price: $4.19
- sale price: $3.99
- earns $3.00 ECB's
- used 1 $1.00 off 1 coupon from R 12/6
- final price: FREE

Oral-B Satinfloss
- regular price: $3.99
- sale price: $2.88
- earns $2.00 ECB's
- used 1 $1.00 off 1 coupon from PG 11/29
- final price: better than FREE

Nivea Body Wash for Women
- regular price: $5.99
- earns $5.00 ECB's
- used 1 $2.00 off coupon from coupons.com
- final price: better than FREE

Revlon Moon Drop or Super Lustrous Lipstick
- regular price: $8.99
- sale price: $6.99
- earns $5.00 ECB's
- used 1 $2.00 off coupon from S 12/13
- final price: FREE

For more great deals check out the Grocery Game.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shopping After The Snow

Well, Kirk managed to dig us out of the snow enough that we were able to actually leave the house for the first time in a few days! Not sure what the final total was but it had to be close to two feet. Incredible - it was beautiful. Now it's just piled up everywhere which isn't nearly as pretty but at least we'll still have some come Christmas.

Here's what I got when I went to HT today:



Not pictured: a lot - I left a bag at the store (Kirk went back for it) - Velveeta cheese, Pop Tarts, pack of cookies, 2 boxes of mac n cheese, Crystal Light and 3 gallons of milk (the milk I didn't leave but it's still not in the picture)

I spent: $76.01
And saved: $94.75

Seems like there are a lot of deals on crackers and cheese this week!

Best deals:

Breakstone Sour Cream
- regular price: $1.99 each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 2 $1.00/2 coupons from RP 11/15
- final price: $0.50 each

Kraft Shredded Cheese
- regular price: $3.29 each
- sale price: 3 for $5.00
- used 2 $1.00/2 coupons from S 11/22
- final price: $1.17 each

Hellmann's Mayonaise
- regular price: $3.49 each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 1 $1.00/2 coupons from RP 11/15
- final price: $1.25 each

Sunshine Cheez-It Crackers
- regular price: $4.29 each (seriously expensive!)
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 2 $1.00/2 coupons from RP 12/13
- final price: $1.65 each

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
- regular price: $1.99 each
- sale price: 3/$5.00
- used 3 $0.40 off from G 12/13 and G 11/15
- final price: $0.87 each

For more great deals head to the Grocery Game.

And if you're noticing that I have yet more cereal - so help me I do :) We go through a few boxes of cereal a week so the stockpile I have will last a while but still I buy another box or two a week even when I don't need it! I think my addiction to couponing has gone too far...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kraft Foods $10 Cracker Rebate

******Rebate Check Received 1/26/10*********

We are completely snowed in here in Virginia so I am doubting that I will have the ability to shop tomorrow. This isn't so bad for us since I have so much stockpiled and because I swung by Harris Teeter on Thursday. I grabbed a ham on sale and a little more milk but what I really went in for was some Nabisco crackers.

Why? Well, they were on sale, I had coupons AND Kraft Foods is offering a $10 rebate when you buy 10 boxes of crackers. If you really like Wheat Thins and have a lot of coupons there is a way to make money on the deal. I decided against it and instead spent $14 on 10 boxes of crackers after coupons.

Here's what I got:



Retail price at HT this week:

Wheat Thins are buy 1 get 1 free ($2.79 for 2 during the sale)
Honey Maid Graham Crackers are $2.99
Ritz crackers are $2.99

Coupons for crackers can be found:

S 11/8 $1.00 off 1 box
S 12/13 $1.00 off of 2 boxes

If you have 2 $1.00/1 coupons then your Wheat Thins will be $0.40 each! If you had enough coupons you would be able to get 10 boxes for $4.00 making you $6.00 on this deal!

I decided I just didn't want that many Wheat Thins and wanted to pick up more of a variety especially some of the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Ritz crackers so I used the $1.00 off 1 box on the Ritz and Honey Maid crackers and the $1.00/2 coupons on the Wheat Thins. Still, 10 boxes of crackers for $4.00 is a steal!

After you've shopped check out Kraft foods HERE for the rebate form. Or go to Kraft Foods "Put a Jingle in Your Holidays" for more information.

And thanks to Robin for giving me a heads up on a sale this week at CVS. I got my CVS ad yesterday but haven't had a chance to even look at it - mostly because I knew I'd be snowed in today anyway so I won't get a jump on this deal. Maybe there will be a few left after I've dug my way out :)

Check out the lotion deal HERE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Shopping At CVS

Hey, why not? What a great way to pick up some stocking stuffers and some extra care bucks! I'd use coupons for everything if I could :)

Here's what I got:



I spent: $50.39
And saved: $40.83
And earned: $18.00 Extra Care Bucks

Best deals:

Listerine Total Care Mouthwash
- retail price $4.49
- used 1 $2.00 off coupon from S 3/15 or R 4/26 (yes, I still had the coupon!)
- earned $2.00 in extra care bucks
- final price $0.49

Suave Body Wash
- retail price: $2.79/each
- sale price: 3/$6.00
- used 1 $1.00/3 coupon from R 10/25
- earned $2.00 in extra care bucks
- final price: $1.00/each

Bic Soleil or Comfort 3 Shavers
- retail price: $6.69
- sale price: $4.99
- no coupon
- earned $4.00 in extra care bucks
- final price: $0.99

Check out the Grocery Game for more great deals at CVS.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Planning Monday 12/14

This is what an easy menu plan looks like - nothing fancy this week!

Sunday - Spaghetti

Monday - Fajitas (meat was in my freezer - just throwing it together)

Tuesday - White Bean Chicken Chili - slightly elaborate but I'm bringing someone a meal and they need a healthy one so this is it.

Wednesday - Sausage Pasta dish

Thursday - Kid's Christmas program - leftovers

Friday - Another date night thanks to the kid's school (we're supposed to be Christmas shopping...)

Saturday - I don't know - I'll figure it out when we get there :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Harris Teeter Trip 12/13

And it was my list week to qualify for gift cards and I did. Very excited! I got a $25 gift card to Regal cinemas and a $25 gift card to Best Buy. All free - well, after spending $75/week for 16 weeks at the grocery store. But still a bonus gift for buying groceries!

This week I got:


(Not pictured: 3 gallons of milk)

I spent: $88.32
And saved: $118.36

- still a bit over what I'd like especially since I went earlier this week for a few things and spent $16 (saved $9 I think) - the good news is that with the promotion at HT over I no longer have to spend $75/week and can use the rest of the month to spend less and make up for my overage.

Best Deals:

Chex Cereal
- retail price: $3.59/each
- sale price: $2.50/each
- HT promotion - $3.00 off purchase of 3 boxes
- used 1 $1.00/2 coupon from G 12/13; G 11/15
- final price: $1.17/each (65% off)

Sister Schubert's Dinner Rolls
- retail price: $3.99/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 4 $0.50/1 coupons from S 11/15
- final price: $1.00/each (75% off)

Daisy Sour cream
- retail price: $2.19/each
- sale price: 3/$5.00 or $1.67/each
- used 3 $0.60 off 1 coupons from S 11/15
- final price: $0.47/each (80% off)

Newman's Own Organic Salsa (see there is organic stuff on the list!)
- retail price: $3.49/each
- sale price: $1.94/each
- used 4 $0.50 off 1 coupons from RP 10/25
- final price: $0.94/each (73% off)

For more great deals check out the Grocery Game.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday Coupon Preview

Thanks to $5 Dollar Dinners I've found a link for getting a preview of the Sunday coupons. If you're at all like me you hate to wait. Every Wednesday I get excited to see what the sales are at Harris Teeter even if I don't shop for days. So why not find out early what Sunday's coupons are?

Sunday Coupon Preview

Such a great idea! A list of what's coming so you know what to expect and whether or not you should buy extra copies of this Sunday's paper.

Want something even better?

Subscribe to the Washington Post and you will have the coupon insert delivered on Saturday! Sometimes I even receive it on Friday. So I don't have to read the list because I already have the coupons in hand and can go shopping with them a day ahead of everyone else. I highly recommend a subscription - very much worth the smalll price you pay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Pantry

Curious what my pantry looks like? After all I've been stock piling all year. Of course, I do eat so I do use what I buy otherwise why would I buy it? And I do donate excess whenever I can.

However, my pantry generally stays pretty full especially after a big shopping week like this Sunday.

Unfortunately I do not have a walk-in pantry - bummer right? But, I do have a two-sided pantry with sliding doors and I use two cabinets under my island for food as well.

Left side: cereal and snacks



Right side: spices and baking needs



Under the island cabinets:

Left side: dressings, potatos, rice, coffee - this is more of a catch all



Right side: soups, can goods and pasta sauce



Sorry if you only read half of this post to begin with - I think one of my girls published it for me when I wasn't looking :)

And if you're wondering I'm not always this organized! The rest of my home is overrun with toys. What I have control over is generally organized to a tee but if the kids comes any where near it then my methods are destroyed so until I live in a kid-free city I'll be a wreck in every other area :) But I've decided not to worry about it too much till next year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 12/7



Monday - Chicken Pot Pie (a family staple)

Tuesday - Potato Soup with Beer Bread from Tastefully Simple

Wednesday - Moms of multiples Christmas Party - pizza for dinner :)

Thursday - Chicken Broccoli Braid (Pampered Chef recipe)

Friday - Date night - yea!

Saturday - Grilled chicken with broccoli and rice

You may notice a LOT of chicken recipes this week and you'd be right! While I don't normally plan my meals around the meat that is on sale I did this week because I've used up all the meat I had in the freezer and clearly chicken was on sale (buy 1 pack of chicken breasts get 2 free!!). So for this week I went ahead and planned meals that use the chicken. By utilizing what I already had in the pantry I had to purchase very few items besides the chicken to make my meals and since more than one meal uses the same meat I have already made and chopped the chicken I will need for Thursday which takes out one prep step then. All good reasons for menu planning.

On a side note this is my 200th post! I've had a lot to say this year and look forward to making some changes and adding some things in the new year so look for that soon. Thanks for reading and following my journey into couponing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Couponing Again

It feels good to get out to the store with coupons again! I did shop last week but because it was the holiday weekend there weren't many sales. I spend around $80 but only saved $40 - not a great week for me but what do you expect when you have to spend $75/week for the gift cards AND we just came back from two weeks gone AND the store has no sales :)

Oh well, this week was much better.

This is what I got:



Not pictured: 5 gallons of milk and I believe the hot chocolate I bought didn't get in the photo :)

I spent: $105.83
And saved: $129.92

Best Deals:

White House Apple Sauce
- retail price: $2.00/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 4 $1.00/2 coupons from S 11/15
- final price: $0.50 each

Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats Cereal
- retail price: $3.39/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 2 $1.00/3 coupons from RP 11/8
- final price: $1.31 each

Sunkist Orange Soda (mom points!)
- retail price: $1.99/each
- sale price: 2/$2.00
- used 4 $1.00/2 coupons from S 11/15
- final price: $0.50 each

Sargento Natural Shredded Cheese
- retail price: $2.79/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used $1.00/2 coupon from S 11/15
- final price: $0.90 each

For more great deals check out the Grocery Game.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cheap Weekend Fun


While I can't say I was very frugal while on vacation the one thing we did do cheaply was go to the movies. With all my free movie tickets Kirk and I were able to take Kaitlyn and Caleb to the movies and only pay for the popcorn. This was a huge treat for us since I normally bypass the popcorn due to cost but since we got in free we were able to splurge a little at the concession stand.

How did I do it?

The easiest way was by buying and eating cereal! And since I don't pay much for cereal it was even cheaper - I think the most I paid for a box was $2.50 and that was because I didn't have all my coupons in Florida.

Head over to www.generalmills.com/moviecash for more details and be sure to check your cereal aisle for specially marked boxes of cereal - you need 2 boxes to redeem for one ticket valued up to $12.00.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Giveaways



There are still a few days left for you to hope over to 5 Minutes for Moms and you can enter a huge number of contests. You need to comment on any of the items you actually wish to win. There are a few other things you need to do to enter as well as ways to enter more than once - the website has all the details. I hope someone here wins something!! You can enter until Friday Dec. 4th at 12 PM EST.



Also, Dave Ramsey is doing a giveaway every day and you can head to his site to enter every day till Christmas. You can only enter once-a-day and there's a new prize every day.

Maybe a few giveaways will brighten your holiday season as we enter the last month of the year!

Happy December :)