Friday, October 30, 2009

menu 10/30

Menu for the Week:

I have lots of fresh/canned/frozen fruits and veggies to round out the meals.

Also, I only have 3 meals for the week because we are going to watch my nieces and nephew for a few days at their house and I'll make whatever they have there. Oh yeah, and we're planning on heading up to Chipotle tomorrow and getting our free burrito and/or stopping by Taco Bell for a free Black Jack Taco. details here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

buy low

I went to Buy Low to use my last WIC coupons for the month. I got tons of produce that would have cost $13 with their sales but would have been WAY more regular priced. I love it.

I got 15 lbs gala apples ($5), a bunch of cilantro ($.50), a few serrano peppers ($.12), 2 lbs grapes ($2.02), 3 lbs bananas ($1.44), 1 lb tomatillos ($.22), 4 garlic cloves ($1.34), 8 kiwis ($.77), 3 avocados ($1)

a gallon of milk ($2), a dozen eggs ($.50), box of Life cereal ($3.49)

Retails (without sales): about $30
Total Spent: Free
thanks WIC!

While there I couldn't resist getting another package of lunch meat- 1 1/2 lbs for $3! Sweet. Matt is going through the package I bought last week so fast.

Retails: about $9
Total Spent: $4.11

Money Left for the Month: $12.43

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

nut clusters at smiths

Check this one out:

Retails: $15.96
Total Spent: $.30
Percent Off: 100%

How did I do it?
  • coupons: $6
  • sales: $9.96
  • this deal ended tonight, so I won't tell you the details, but if you really want to know, check out utahdealdiva.
  • Beautiful.
Money Left for the Month: $16.54


I needed candy for our church Trunk or Treat and Halloween at the house so I ran out to Walmart today where I figured I would be able to find it for the best price at this point.

Retails: $23.27
Total Spent: $7.64
Percent Off: 66%

How did I do it?
  • candy: butterfingers were on sale for $3.73 but wasn't marked. (reg. $4.75) Had 2 $2 coupons. Sweetarts were $5 and I had a $2 off coupon
  • floss: were $1.12 (I thought they were $1- they must have been on the wrong hanger.) Had 3 $1 coupons
  • razors: were $1.97, had 2 $2 coupons
Matt's really busy right now so I'm hoping he doesn't read my blog and see we have chocolate or I may have to buy more...

Money Left for the Month: $16.84


Retails: $13.92
Total Spent: $0

How did I do it?
  • batteries were BOGO (buy one, get one free)
  • used $7 in Register Rewards I got 2 weeks ago that were going to expire
  • paid $2.05 on my Walgreens gift card I've had from when they used to do those as part of promotions (I have $.15 left. boo.)
  • I was going to buy Halloween candy with the RR, but the deal that Hip2save reported must be regional because it wasn't going here.

rite aid diapers

Retails: $12.80
Total Spent: $0

How did I do it?
  • diapers on sale for $9.99
  • used a $2 coupon
  • paid with a gift card I got from a rebate a few months back
  • applied for a $3 rebate online through Rite Aid
  • will apply for $.75 Care Givers Rebate


Retails: about $6.50
Total Spent: Free
thanks WIC!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baking Day 2

I'm embarrassed to even name this one Baking Day. It will be a very pathetic attempt, as I have a meeting later today that I have to still prepare for, so this list will be very short.

To do today:
  • crockpot the black beans, bag 'em, freeze 'em
  • slice up all the carrots I bought at Buy Low the other day for SO CHEAP, blanch, freeze
  • freeze the tomatoes that have ripened that I picked green from my garden before it got cold
  • make a batch of waffles, freeze
  • pull out the frozen rotisserie chicken to thaw
  • grind more wheat into flour
  • make a loaf of bread (Hey! This is baking! Good job Joy!)
The picture above is of the apples I put in the dehydrator last night. We'll rotate the trays today and have some dried apples to put in the next batch of lazy granola.

My First WIC Trip!

It was so easy to do WIC (see post below). I just put the stuff in my cart the little check told me to get and went through the checkout. The cashier was so nice and I walked out paying nothing! Wonderful!

Retails: $11.00
Total Spent: FREE
thanks WIC!

WIC: my new best friend

With Matt going back to school to get his Masters and working part time, our monthly income has definitely shrunk. In looking into options, we discovered a great government program called WIC (women, infants, and children) that provides FREE FOOD for those that qualify. Lovely. Qualifying basically means you don't make a ton of money. I was surprised at that amount; they base it off of how many people are in your home (including unborn children) and how much money you bring in every month.

Let's just say we more than qualified yesterday.

We get little vouchers that kind of look like checks that I just hand over to the cashier when I check out and pay absolutely nothing.

We will get so much free milk, eggs, tortillas/rice/bread, beans, cereal, peanut butter, juice, and fresh produce.

After I have the baby we will also get cheese and eventually baby food. They also provide formula for those that don't nurse.

This was a difficult decision to go on WIC and receive help, but that's what it is for. I would encourage any of you that are struggling to make ends meet to look into this program and see if it would work for you. If you're in Utah, here's the link to their site.

Ok, so what does this mean for this blog? It means that starting in November I will be reducing my monthly total to $150. Just in time for all of the holiday baking sales. We'll see how that goes. I will still post everything I get at the store, coupon/super sale bought and WIC bought. We'll give this all a whirl and see how it goes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

menu 10/22

See full size image
this is paella, not my paella, but paella nonetheless. mmmm
Main Dish:
  • Paella (I swear, we're going to eat it this week. It is so darn delicious!)
  • rotisserie chicken
  • chicken salad sandwiches with leftover chicken, homemade bread
  • beef tacos with homemade shells
  • pepperoni calzones with frozen pizza dough from last week
  • chili and cornbread

canned/frozen/fresh fruits and veggies (including yams and glazed carrots. Yum), mashed potatoes, homemade fries, green salad, rice, whatever else we want.

Need for the Menu:
  • grapes for the chicken salad.
I love that I don't have to spend a bunch of money, buying things at full price to feed my family every week, but that I have a big stockpile of things we actually eat that I can draw from to create our menus. The one item above doesn't mean that I will not be grocery shopping at all this week but that I will only be buying things that are on a really great price, stocking up for when I need them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

buy low

Man, I love this store. It is so fun to shop here and snag up their great deals. Without coupons. Beautiful.

Retails: about $25.00
Total Spent: $8.26
Percent Off: 67%

I got 10 lbs of potatoes ($1), 5 3/4lb jonathan apples ($1.44), 5 lbs carrots ($1.04), 1 1/2lbs onions ($.21), 1 3/4lb yams ($.35), 1 1/2lb lunch meat ($3), corn chips ($.50), 2 liter Dr. Pepper ($.50)

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from ad on pinching your pennies
  • only bought what was on sale

Money Left for the Month: $24.48

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Walmart: the Dream Trip

I had an awesome trip to Walmart today. (no, there is no sarcasm in that at all, it really was a good trip.)

They had almost everything I wanted and I was able to find it pretty easily. The only problem I had was at checkout. I have never seen a cashier be so attentive to coupons before, ever. He really read the fine print of every single coupon I gave him. Twice. He was very nice and I do appreciate him doing his job, but it was a bit extreme. He wouldn't let me use a Buy One Get One Free and a $1.50 off coupon for the 2 Steamfresh meals I was buying, so I had him take them off. No biggie.

Retails: about $75
Total Spent: $ 12.10
(and that includes the $1 corn dog I bought Sam. I might have had a bite...)
Percent Off: 84%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from hip2save
  • free items: Air Fresheners (on rollback from $12 to $6, had a $6 coupon), Candles (on rollback to $3, had a $3.50 coupon), Buddie Bar soap ($.97, had $1 coupon), Cat treats ($1.86, had a free coupon) my neighbor will love these. or her cat will.
  • cheap items: Brita filter ($7.25, had a $5 coupon), McCormick spices (had $1 coupon)

Money Left for the Month: $32.74

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smiths and Reams

I ran to both of these stores on Saturday but haven't had a chance to post them until now. Sorry! Both of the deals will be good through Tuesday night.

Retails: $7.32
Total Spent: $4.34
Percent Off: 41%
How did I do it?
  • compiled list from pinchingyourpennies
  • both the sour cream and the dip were on sale for $1 each and I had a Smiths coupon for $.45 off when I bought both. I was buying the sour cream so I figured I would surprise my hubby with a little treat for the football game and splurge the $.55 for the dip. Can you believe that it's regular price is $2.29?!! For flavored sour cream? Wow.

this is from the tiny, really old reams by the freeway entrance off center in provo. I don't know if any of the other reams have butter on sale. It's always an adventure going into that store.

Retails: $7.97
Total Spent: $5.33
Percent Off: 31%

Money Left for the Month: $44.84

Friday, October 16, 2009

weekly menu 10/16

sloppy joe pizza pockets
Main Dish:
  • Paella (we didn't get to it last week, thanks to dinner at friends' houses. Hooray!)
  • cheeseburgers with homemade buns, homemade fries
  • sloppy joe pizza pockets with hamburger instead of ground turkey
  • vegetable soup with homemade french bread
  • pasta bake with homemade french bread
  • crispy chicken breasts (america's test kitchen, p.350)
Sides: canned/fresh/frozen fruits and veggies, spinach salad, whatever floats our boat

Need to buy from store for menu:
  • nothing.
Of course there are things that I'm wanting/needing to get, but I purposefully plan my meals around what we have and what is on sale. That way I hardly ever have to pay full price for anything. Instead, I stock up on items when they are on sale and/or I have a coupon. It's wonderful being cheap.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Buy Low and Maceys

Buy Low
Retails: $32.48
Total Spent: $9.28
Percent Off: 74%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from ad listed on pinchingyourpennies (is not rated by how good of a deal it is or matched with coupons at all)
  • the 4 pack of mac & cheese is $.88 (have to buy in 2s), pepsi 2 liters are $.69, the cream cheese is $.88 (have to buy in 2s), and the cottage cheese and pop rock stuff are on clearance: cottage cheese expires on the 16th is $.50 and pop rocks are 5/$1. The whole milk was full price at $2


Retails: $12ish
(I forgot to look but they're about $3 a bag)
Total Spent: $2.08
Percent Off: 83%

How did I do it?
  • The cheese is on sale for $1 each (when you buy 2 with in ad coupon) I used the Kraft $1/2 coupon here to get these bad boys for $.50 each. Nice. Remember when printing coupons to either use IE or Firefox - other browsers won't print them. Also, you can print each coupon 2 times, just push the back button!
  • You are supposed to only get 2 bags at that price, but I had 2 coupons and talked to a manager to see if I could get 2 more. They are so nice at Maceys!

Money Left for the Month: $54.51

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

lazy granola

So I did make that lazy granola last night and it lived up to its name. It was so, so easy! It is a really good basic granola recipe. Matt says it is "delicious" and gives it "2 enthusiastic thumbs up." I don't know how it would hold up to be eaten with milk, but it is a great snack and tastes good over yogurt. I will totally make it again, but next time I would love to throw in slivered almonds and/or dried fruit. I'm kicking myself for not drying apples last week.

homemade playdough

Sam and I made playdough this afternoon. (yes, that is what is in that bag.) It is so easy! I loved making it with my mom growing up. The best part is choosing the color. Speaking of which, this recipe doesn't mention food coloring, but I add it in step 2. Sam insisted on making the playdough yellow today, but I probably didn't add enough coloring. Oh well. It didn't stop him from squishing the playdough all around/on top of/through the cookie cutters. It is hot as you knead it, so that is probably a "Mom job."

By the way, I love the note at the bottom of this recipe. Beware! A dog got sick.

recipe thanks to Creative Kids at Home

Cooked Playdough

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
6 tsp cream of tarter
3 Tbsp oil
3 cups water
Dissolve salt in the water.Pour all ingredients into a large pot.Stir constantly over medium heat until a ball forms by pulling away from the sides.Knead the dough mixture until the texture matches playdough (1-2 minutes).

Store in plastic container. Should last for at least 3 months.

NOTE: This recipe is made from edible ingredients and not toxic in small amounts for children. However, a dog got sick after eating a batch of playdough. It is not intended as a food item. Please be sure to put it away after your children have finished playing.

Sorry that the font is crazy on this entry. I've tried like 10 times to fix it, but it's smarter than me. Oh well.


I meant to link to this entry on Utah Deal Diva when I made the applesauce last week, but forgot. This has some great ideas of things to do with apples, along with pictures and how-tos.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baking Day Results

I had a pretty productive day today. I made:
  • 2 batches of strawberry freezer jam
  • a ton of pinto beans
  • ground a bunch of wheat for flour
  • a loaf of whole wheat bread
  • shredded a bunch of chicken
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (I forgot that the chicken I was using was bone-in so I threw in some seasonings, onion, and garlic after I pulled out the chicken)
  • rice, that I need to figure out what to do with (was left over from the Mexican Lasagna)
  • a recipe of Chicken Tetrazinni
  • 2 dishes of Mexican Lasagna
I didn't get to the pita bread and I will put in the granola tonight.

I learned a few things today.
  1. Set the timer when letting bread rise when you're doing lots of other things. Otherwise you may end up with shriveled, over-risen bread.
  2. Mexican Lasagna makes a TON of food. I filled up 2 9x13 dishes to the brim. We had one for dinner tonight and barely even dented it. I think our sweet grandma next door might get some for lunch tomorrow. Ashley, do you want some too?
  3. I did like the wheat bread I made today (minus the over-rising). I will definitely make it again.
  4. I need to make a complete game plan the day before, gather all my recipes, and pull out whatever I need out of the freezer. I ended up not being able to start until 10 this morning which was not good.
  5. Sam did so great today. I was very surprised. We did take breaks, but he did so much better than I thought he would.
I want to start doing this regularly. If I can get a few meals in the freezer every time I do it then when the baby comes, I will be set.

Baking Day

I thought I would do a little food prep today. I probably shouldn't have labeled this post as "Baking Day" since I am not so much planning on much baking. Oh well.

Here's the plan and we'll see what I get done.
  • cook and shred 5 lbs chicken, freeze in 1 lb increments to use in future recipes
  • cook couple pounds (dried) pinto beans, freeze in 2 cup increments
  • grind wheat flour
  • make a loaf of bread, freeze
  • Make pita pockets, freeze
  • make strawberry jam from the frozen strawberries I bought back in April at $.89/lb.
  • make chicken tetrazinni, freeze
  • make Mexican Lasagna for dinner
  • make lazy granola before I go to bed to be ready in the morning
Just typing this makes me feel tired, especially since Sam woke up on the grumpy side of the crib this morning, and an hour early at that!

All of the linked recipes are new to me. We love that darn variety here at this house. I'll let you know what I think of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

walgreens? walgreens.

After months and months of being Walgreens-less, I returned today. I'm really on the lookout for good diaper sales. It seems like I just can't keep all that far ahead these days. Have there been a lack of stock-up sales lately? It sure seems like it.

Anyways, since I was there for the diapers, I grabbed a few other things too and took yet another chunk out of the budget. Darn it. Shopping is seriously compulsive for me. Good thing I'm not a jewelry shopper (unless you count Claires).

Retails: $69.40
Total Spent: $24.99
Percent Off: 64%
Plus, I have $7 to spend on anything at Walgreens in the next 2 weeks.

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from hip2save
  • sales: $20.62
  • coupons/Register Rewards: $20.75
  • The diapers were 2/$18. I used 2 coupons with them making them 2/$14.50. They also print out a $4 Register Reward (like a gift card you can use on anything)
  • The lotion was $7 and spit out a $7 RR, the chapstick was $3 and spit out a $3 RR
  • Ragu/Skippy is on sale for $1.66 each. When you buy 8, an $8 RR spits out. I also had $.75/2 coupons for the Skippy.
  • the wrapping paper was on clearance for a $1 each. I needed to have some filler items.
  • Walgreens is SO expensive to just walk in and buy stuff but I have gotten so much free shampoo/deodorant/shaving cream/toothpaste/etc from there using RR.
Money Left for the Month: $65.87

Friday, October 9, 2009

15 pounds of apples

I bought 15 pounds of apples at Buy Low on Wednesday. 15 pounds is a lot of apples, way more then we could ever eat before they went bad. I diced 4 of the apples and froze them to use later in pancakes and muffins. The rest I made into apple sauce and canned in 13 pints. I wish I had bought more!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

buy low

I left Albertsons and headed over to Buy Low and waited there until they opened at 7am. I was pretty excited because the manager told me very sneakily about some unadvertised specials they were going to have today while supplies lasted.

I got 2 5 lb rotisserie chickens, 10 yoplait yogurts, 5 lbs of ground beef, 3 limes, 15 lbs granny smith apples, and a bunch of spinach.

Retails (approximate): $51.00
Total Spent: $15.00
Percent Off: 71%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from ad listed on pinchingyourpennies
  • only bought what was on sale
  • They only thing I was interested of the unadvertised specials was the whole chicken, cleaned, seasoned, tied and ready to cook for $.39/lb. It is normally $1.59/lb. A 5 lb bird was only $2! Sweet!
  • Plus I found some 93% ground beef on clearance for $.99/lb, regularly $3.69/lb.
  • The yogurt was 3/$1 and then I had 2 $.75/4 yogurts coupons from
  • The apples are 5 lbs/$1 today only. I got 15 pounds and it cost $3. That is a lot of apples. All in all, a good trip.
Money Left for the Month: $90.86
And THIS is why I have a monthly budget. Otherwise I would just spend and spend and spend and spend and spend. And spend. Speaking of which, I need to slow it down a bit. It is only the 7th. Yikes.


I was SO excited for this sale today. Besides the granola bars, the rest of this is good stuff, not the junk food that is normally so cheap. I was standing outside the store at 5:56am, waiting for the doors to open. Dorky.

Retails: $98.11
Total Spent: $23.64
Percent Off: 76%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from pinchingyourpennies
  • sales/promotions: $59.41
  • manufacturer coupons: $ 10.30
  • I was sad because the disposable gloves that were going to be free with coupon weren't there. I went to 2 Albertsons and asked employees about them and they said that with the upcoming switchover to whatever the new store will be called, they haven't gotten in all the stuff they regularly do. Too bad.

Money Left for Month: $105.86

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Retails: $37.96
Total Spent: $13.41
Percent Off: 65%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from pinchingyourpennies
  • Manufacturer coupons: $6.19, Store coupons: $2.39
  • Everything I bought had a coupon. With sales and coupon, the yogurt was $1.13, the milk was $.67, the cheese was $2.99 for a 2 pound loaf, the bread was free, the candy was like $.15.
  • This week a calendar came in the mail that has the best coupons. There are coupons in it for $1 off milk and free bread at Maceys. Don't throw this calendar away! If you don't want it, I would love to take it off your hands.
Money Left for the Month: $129.50

menu 10/6

Yes, that heading is correct. I am posting a menu. I guess I'm so good I only need a weekly menu like once every other month. Ha. Ha. Ha. Pathetic.

Anyways, here it is.

Main Dish:
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Paella (de-li-cious.)
  • Cream of broccoli soup with homemade bread sticks
  • Mexican Lasagna, (thanks Pioneer Woman. If you've never been to her site, check it out but only if you are NOT on a diet as everything calls for 2 sticks of butter, a cup of cream, or a tub of sour cream. Mmmm.)
  • Calzones with peppers, sausage, salami, ham (basically, I'm working on cleaning out the freezer)
  • Chicken enchiladas
Sides- fresh/canned/frozen fruit &/or veggies, rice, black beans, whatever else I feel like...

Need to buy for the menu:
  • fresh fruits and veggies- Buy Low tomorrow
  • cheese- Maceys today
I love that I don't have to buy a whole bunch of stuff to make any meal. Because I'm a bargain shopper, I buy when things are really cheap, at my price point, and buy multiples of them when I can. Then I plan my meals around what we already have stockpiled. This works good too because I'm constantly building up a food storage and actually using it!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Retails: $48.85
Total Spent:$22.53
Percent Off: 54%

How did I do it?
  • compiled list from Hip2save
  • hardly bought anything on list- they were out or didn't carry them. Instead, I got some good clearance deals and used coupons on top of them.
  • there's a Mott's promotion right now- buy 5 at $1.75, get a $5 gift card, making them $.75 each for the 64 oz juice or 6 count apple sauce cups, no coupons required.
  • coupons: $10, sales: $4.36, clearance: $5.12, gift card from Motts: $5 (did 2 transactions and used it on the 2nd)
  • I got the elmo bowl in the dollar section in the front of the store. Sam is obsessed with Elmo and LOVES the bowl. He told me all about it as he ate from it for lunch.
  • FYI: we accidentally ended up with an extra True Delights box a few months ago (I decided against buying it after the cashier rang it up and he forgot to take it out of the bag and I didn't catch it until we were already home) It sat and sat and sat on the shelf, ready to take back but I don't go to Target very often and every time I did I would forget about it. Then it got opened. I will not name any names but it wasn't me and it wasn't the baby. Today I actually bought 2 boxes but left one there in the store to replace the one that we accidentally stole.
Money Left for the Month: $142.91

print those coupons

Save $5.00

There are a few coupons on that look pretty good. If you are in Utah or Idaho, print off those $1 off 2 lbs of cheese coupons and $.75 off any yogurt coupons. (they reset at the beginning of the month) Also, there are high value Hasbro coupons for things like a sit n spin, My Little Pony, Potato Head guys and more and they don't expire until January 15! Talk on the town is print them now, use them for Black Friday or after Christmas clearance. Nice.

Oh, and to print on you have to be using Internet Explorer or Firefox. You do have to install a coupon printer that takes a grand total of 2 seconds. Also, don't forget that you can print each coupon twice, so after you print, go back and do it again. All of the coupons you printed will be moved to the last page for the second print.

Friday, October 2, 2009

buy low

Savvyshopperdeals is no longer rating Buy Low's deals. I am so sad. I had to compile my own list from my own mind, darn it, using their ad here. I talked to the store manager and I guess savvyshopper stopped because it is sponsored by the Herald and Buy Low has stopped putting their ad in the paper. Too bad.

Retails: $39.97
Total Spent: $16.40
Percent Off: 59%

Money Left for the Month: $165.26


I have no idea how these blog ladies post so frequently. I'm lucky that I get anything up at all. I hit Maceys the other day but haven't had a chance to post it.

Retails: $43.39
Total Spent: $18.34
Percent Off: 58%

How did I do it?
Money Left for the Month: $181.66

September Budget Review

This month I was able to stock up on a lot of basics that tend to not have a whole lot of coupons.

Retails: $415.87
Total Spent: $198.80
Percent Off: 52%

In addition to fresh stuff, I was able to get diapers, wipes, bubbles (essential stuff, eh?), saltines, jello, Ritz, fruit snacks, tortilla chips, pasta, tomato sauce, olives, juice, vinegar, diced chilies, yeast, butter, canning supplies, suckers, seasonings, lemon juice, cheese, bacon, chicken broth, mandarin oranges, flour, pinto beans, bottled water.