Monday, April 4

Another Great Shopping Trip!

Well gang, I did it again! Saved TONS of money at the grocery store. I even took a picture of all of the goodies I got! Yes, I know, I'm turning into one of THOSE women.

I picked up $134.39 in groceries for $57.65. That's a 57% savings. I also got $10 in coupons on future purchases AND mom gave me $7 more for purchasing a few items for her. So, I really only spent $50.65.

We hit Acme and Shoprite this week.

We went to Acme first - I wanted to see what kind of meat deals I could find. WOW! I totally cashed in on some great deals...

- TWO Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters - BOTH had $2 off coupons on. So, I got each chicken for under $4!
- TWO Hatfield Ham Steaks...are you ready for this? They were on sale for 2 for $5. (Regularly $3.69 each). I had a $1.50 coupon AND one of them had a $1 off coupon! YES. I got them for $2.50! I was so glad I talked myself out of using my Hatfield coupon last week at Shoprite!
- Oscar Mayer Weiners - Normally $4.49 each. They were on sale for 2 for $5 AND I had $1 off coupons for EACH of them! That's like a $3 savings on EACH!
- 3 boxes of Kellogs cereal for $5. The deal at Acme is that you get a free gallon of milk if you buy 3 boxes of cereal. AND if you buy 2 boxes of cereal, you get a free reusable shopping bag. AND two of the boxes had $1 off coupons on fruit if you bought 2 boxes of cereal. Did you follow all of that?
- 1.73lbs of bananas for 19 cents after I used my $1 off coupon from my cereal box
- FREE gallon of milk (value $4.25)
- FREE reusable shopping bag
- 10 Yoplait Yogurt - on sale for 20 for $10 AND I had a $1 off 10 coupon.
- 1 can diced tomatos on sale for $1.
- 1 bag of carrots
- shredded cheese - on sale for $2.49 plus I had a $1 coupon
- FREE loaf of store-baked bread (thanks mom - she had lots of coupons for taking surveys)

So, I spent $26.85 on all of that! Not too bad. The meat alone would have been $28.32 and I got bananas, carrots, a gallon of milk, 10 yogurt cups, a package of shredded cheese, a loaf of bread, a reusable shopping bag, and 3 boxes of cereal on top of that!!!

Then we went to Shoprite. There weren't many items left on my list. Even our favorite check-out girl commented! Here's what I got:

- A HUGE package (4-ish lbs) of chicken drumsticks (on sale 50% off)
- TWO packages of boneless chicken thighs (on sale 50% off)
- Two tomatoes (I've learned that I should have free tomatoes for my husband)
- Two Ziploc Boxes (on sale 2 for $5 and I had a $1.50 coupon)
- Two Ziploc Bags (on sale 2 for $5 and I had 2 $1. coupons)
- Two Fantastic Cleaners (on sale 2 for $4 and I had 2 $1. coupons)
- One Windex (on sale and I had a $1 coupon)
- Two packages of Philadelphia Cooking Creme (2.99 each and I had 2 $1.50 coupons)
- Tortilla Shells
- Colgate toothpaste (on sale for $1.66 and I had a $1.50 coupon)

I found STACKS of the Philadelphia Cooking Creme coupons around both Acme and Shoprite. I love that stuff!

I also had an experiment. I have a stack of $1.50 off coupons for Colgate. Some varieties of Colgate are on sale for $1.66 this week - but not the same variety as the coupon. So, I picked up one. Guess what? It worked!!! I will go back and get more now!

And, when you spend $20 on cleaning products, you get $10 off of future orders. I qualified! I also used a $5 off coupon on Kraft products. And, I got 20 cents off for reusable bags.

SO, I spent $23.80 and got back $10 coupons! I'm pleased!

Monday, March 28

"Pretty Good" Shopping Trip

So, I did pretty good this week at Shoprite. I still stayed well under our budget, but I spent more than $5! I knew that I wouldn't be breaking any records this week and accepted that before I walked in the door of the store.

Here's what's on the menu this week:
Monday - Not cooking because of Weight Watchers and I have a workshop.
Tuesday - Pan-Seared Chicken with Garlic Sauce
Wednesday - Baked Penne (using some of the new Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cooking Creme)
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Not cooking because I have a workshop.
Saturday - Chicken Pockets
Sunday - Fish Tacos (Mike really wants to try making our own. And, yes, he suggested putting tacos on the menu twice this week. No complaints here!)

The only meat that I don't have is fish for the fish tacos. But, I'm picking that up on Wednesday when it goes on sale. But, here's what I picked up:

Store Brand Dishwasher Detergent - $3.69 (not on sale but we were just about out)
6 packs of Hunts Pudding - On Sale for 4 for $5. I've gotten it cheaper, but it was still 44 cents off per pack. And, I LOVE the stuff!
2 bottles of Ken's Salad dressing - On Sale for $1.88 each and I had a $1 coupon off of 2
2 packs of Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix - Not on Sale but it's only 2 for $.89!
10 Cans of Chef Boyardee Raviolli - 10 for $10 PLUS you get a free can with every 5 cans. That's over a $10 savings on all 12 cans!
1 Green Pepper (not on sale but going into the Penne)
1 Red Onion (not on sale)
2 Cucumbers (not on sale)
1 3-pack of Romaine Hearts - only $1.79 with the store coupon!
3 heads of garlic for my chicken dish
3+ lbs of bananas - on sale for $1.60!!!
2 Packs of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (not on sale but had a $1. off 2 coupon)
Tortilla Shells for the Fish Tacos (not on sale)
1 lb butter on sale for $2.99
1 Pack of Philly Cream Cheese (not on sale but I had a $1 off coupon)
1 Pack of Mozzarella Cheese (not on sale but I had a $1 off coupon)
1 dozen eggs (on sale for $1.77 and I had a $.70 coupon)
1/2 Gallon Milk
2 packs of frozen twice baked potatoes (on sale for $1 each and I had a $1 off 2 coupon)

I used 6 reusable bags saving me 30 cents.

Total Savings = $57.42
Total Spent = $25.14

I'm really going to miss the $29 in coupons I have gotten off of each order in the past four weeks. I think this was the last week for them. I have $5 off coupon next week, but my bills will probably go up! But, that's okay! I only spent 1/3 of our grocery budget this week!

Monday, March 21

Another Week of Groceries Under $5!

Well, I'm SO glad I shop with my mom. My brain was so exhausted from this weekend, that I forgot how some of my coupons work! She reminded me that $5 of my coupons needed to be used on Kraft, Nabisco, and Coke products - none of which were on my list. Thank goodness I take along my coupon binder because I was quickly able to pull out additional coupons to combine with the items I needed to "buy" for free.

Again, there was really nothing we really needed at the grocery store this week - except for tissues since I blew through (pun intended) all of the boxes we had on hand. I was not impressed with any of the sales at Shoprite and nothing really paired well with the coupons I had. Another item on my nice-to-have list was a ham steak. I planned the menu this week and I'm craving Mac & Cheese. And, the protein that seemed to pair well with that was ham!

Here's what I got...
1 Package of Puffs 3-Pack - On Sale for $4.99 (regularly $6.39)
2 Packages of 4-Pack Charmin Toilet Paper - $3.99 each ($1 off two coupon)
2 Loaves Shoprite White Bread (one was for mom) - $.50 each! (regularly $1.52)
2 Packages of Kraft Homestyle Mac & Cheese - $2.99 each ($.55 off 2 coupon)
2 Ham Steaks - $2.09 each (marked down 30% because it expires in 2 days - yes, it's already in the freezer)
1 Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster - $5.42 - (on sale for $.99/lb - savings of $3.83)
2 Packs of Classic Romaine Salad Mix - $2 each - (on sale 2 for $4) - I also asked the restocker if there was more because none was on the shelf. He brought some out for me AND it's expiration date is over a week away!
1 Garlic - $.44
1 Cucumber - $1.00
1 Red Onion - $1.01
1/2 Gallon Skim Milk

Here are the coupons I used:
$24 Off My Order (8 - $3 Dollar Days Catalinas)
$5 Off My Order (Munch Mania Catalina)
$2 Off My Order (Purex Catalina from last week)
$1 Off Charmin Coupon
$.55 (doubled to $1) Off of 2 Kraft Products
$.20 Off because I used 4 canvas bags

Total Savings Today as Printed on Receipt = $40.83
Mom Gave Me $.50 for the bread
Total Spent Today = $3.66

What are Mike & I eating this week? Here's our menu:
Monday Night - Turkey Hamburger Helper
Tuesday Night - Pork Chops
Wednesday Night - Tilapia
Thursday Night - Ham w/ Mac & Cheese
Friday Night - probably a microwave dinner because I have a couple of workshops
Saturday Night - probably a microwave dinner because I'm going to a friend's for Bunco
Sunday Night - Mike's cooking something because I have an afternoon workshop

Monday, March 14

Best Grocery Shopping Trip EVER!
So, today was my best trip EVER! My goal - spend as little as possible. I had tons of coupons:
- $5 off Order of Coke/Nabisco Products (earned during last week's Munch Mania deal)
- $24 off of my Total Order (earned during Shoprite Dollar Days earlier this month)
- $1 off my Total Order (because I bought 2 Jello Puddings last week)
- $2 off my Total Order (Shoprite Family $$ discount)

So, here's what I purchased:
- 2 lemons (80 cents)
- 1/2 Gallon of Milk
- 2 Bottles Purex Laundry Detergent (On sale for $1.99 and you get a $2 off your next order coupon if you buy 2)
- 2 Boxes Graham Crackers (On sale for 2 for $5. I had $1 off 1 coupons for each making them $3 for both)
- 4 Bottles Cherry Coke Zero (On sale for 4 for $4)
- 2 Packages Chex Mix (On sale for 2 for $5 and I had a $1 off coupon making them $4)
- 12 Smart Ones Entrees (On sale for $1.66 and I had a $5 off of 12 coupon making them CHEAP)
- 2 packages of Idahoan Mashed Potatoes ('cause we love them, they were $1, and I was afraid I hadn't spent enough $$ to use all of my coupons)
- 4 reusable shopping bags for a savings of 20 cents

I really didn't need any groceries this week. We're well stocked. BUT, I couldn't let my $32 in coupons go to waste! They had to be used this week. And why on earth was I going to throw away $32!?!?!?! I only really needed milk and lemons for the chicken I'm roasting on Wednesday. We certainly didn't need Smart Ones - but who can turn down 12 for $14.92 - that's getting them for $1.24 each!?!?

I figured I'd be spending around $3 when I got to the register. I was pretty scared when the total was well over $50 before she scanned my Price Plus Card or my coupons. Seriously...I only wanted to spend $3!!!

She started scanning and my total came down to $6.38. The cashier recognized us from previous trips and asked why I wasn't doing my happy dance. WHY??? Because my total was TWICE what I was expecting it to be. Okay, it was still only $6.38 and I shouldn't complain but I couldn't figure out where I went wrong. So, I checked out my receipt. Turns out two of my $3 off coupons got stuck together. Because we shop at 8am on a Monday morning, there is no line (trust me, you do not want to get behind me at a grocery store checkout these days). I had time to quickly scan everything before I walked away. She was wonderful (that's why I choose her line). She realized the mistake, gave me my coupon, and sent me over to customer service where they handed me $3 in cash!!! Bringing my total back to $3.38 - right about where I was expecting it to be!!! (I knew there would be tax but didn't figure it into my calculations since I knew it would be minimal - my tax was 52 cents).

SO, my total bill ended up being:
Total Savings Today is: $73.19
Total Spent: $3.38

AND, remember how I bought those two Purex Laundry detergents? It spit out a $2 off coupon towards my order for next week! I get $31 off of my total shopping bill next week - and we still probably won't need much! Go me!!! And, I'm teaching mom along the way, too! She actually had $15 in coupons off of Coke/Nabisco products and she's the one that pointed out the Purex deal to me - I'd completely overlooked it since we have 8 bottles of laundry detergent in the basement. BUT, I had to do some last-minute replanning. See, I was going to use most of my coupons on 1 item and pick up a 20lb bag of rice which was $1 off. But, do you know how big a 20lb bag of rice really is?!?!? What do you do with the thing after it's open? How do you keep it fresh? How do you keep bugs out? How do you store it? Mom and I stared at the thing in my cart before realizing that I didn't need 20lbs of rice. So, I had to quickly figure out how else to spend $8. That's when I picked up the Purex, Chex Mix, and 2 packs of potatoes.

Monday, March 7

Another Victory at the Grocery Store

Wow! Oh what fun my shopping trip with mom was today!

Let's see....we hit up Acme first. But, let me tell you about the trip to Acme on Saturday! I STOCKED up on meat that was marked down! I found EIGHT packages of ground turkey on sale for 2 for $5.00 WITH a $1.00 off coupon on each of them! WHOO HOO! I won't be buying ground turkey for awhile. I also picked up two packages of pork chops - each with $1.00 off coupons! I love discount meat. After today, I won't need meat for awhile.

So, let's chat about today. Acme has a great deal on Coke and Tombstone Pizza. Mike and I tried some Tombstone Pizza yesterday (it's currently 4 for $10 at Acme - it's usually $5.79 each). It was quite tasty for a $2.50 pizza! So, I bought four more. OH, and I had a $1.50 coupon. So, my pizza was $2.12. That's a cheap dinner! We enjoyed ours with a bottle of wine from the Kortonick Cellar and some salad (yuck) last night. And, I'm lovin' the 5 for $4 Coke deal. I grab a circular each time I walk in. I now have 15 bottles of Diet Coke in the house. Pathetic, but that's a 2-week supply!

At Acme, I picked up our Roast for the Pot Roast I want to make on Wednesday. It was $4.19/lb - more expensive than the Shoprite deal, BUT, it had a $3.00 off coupon making it $12.29.

I picked up 7 bottles of Coke - the first 5 were $4.00 and the second 2 were $1.00.

I hit the clearance freezer for some single-serve Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Fro-Yo for $.50 each - a savings of $.75 each!

I picked up 2 cans of Cooking Spray. Its originally $3.99 each. It was on sale 2 for $5.00 and I had a coupon that was expiring for $1.00 off of 2. So, I got mine for 1/2 price!

And, the deal of the week is a SUPER buy at Acme - Quaker Chewy Granola bars are 3 for $5.00 (a $2.32 savings EACH). I picked up 3 boxes Saturday and 3 more today.

SO, I bought:
7 Bottles of Coke
4 Tombstone Pizzas
4lb Beef Round Roast (or something)
2 Ben & Jerrys Single-Serve Fro-Yo
3 Boxes Quaker Granola Bars
2 Cans Pam Cooking Spray

My total bill? $37.21 It's not the biggest savings of all. But, I keep reminding myself that I had a $3.00 off coupon, that $12+ hunk of beef really tipped the scale.

My total savings at Acme today was $38.13 - or 51%! I aim to save at least 50% on each trip. Success!!!

Now, onto Shoprite!!! That's where the big savings were gonna be found. I had $24 in coupons plus 8 free re-usable shopping bag coupons from the previous 2 weeks trips. So, here's what I did. I had to split my order into 2 because you can only use 4 of the same coupon per order - and I wanted to keep my Munch Mania stuff separate because it's a business expense!

Trip #1:
2 cans of Tomato Paste for $.59 each (not on sale, but I needed it for my Pot Roast and picked up an extra just to have on hand because it's the second time this week I've needed tomato paste since I'm cooking more)

3 cans of Olives for Mike (yuck) but last night he told me he likes them in his salads and he realized they were on sale for 3 for $4. So I picked up 3 cans.

4 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix - hello comfort food! It's $.89 for 2. Always a good deal, and with Pillsbury not on sale, we like our bread with dinner. And, I think corn bread muffins will go great with my Pot Roast!

3 pound bag of Yellow Onions for $2.49 ($.50 savings) - again, we usually buy our onions individually - but this seemed like a better deal than buying them one by one. And, mom tells me onions keep for awhile!

Carrots f0r $1.49 - not on sale but need them for Pot Roast

Fresh Thyme $1.99 - not on sale but splurged for the Pot Roast - I really want to grow my own herbs and saw potted ones at Shoprite. Maybe I'll buy some with next week's coupons.

Garlic for $.60 - not on sale but needed it for the Pot Roast and it's always good to have Garlic!

Beef Broth - $2.49 (saved $.50) - I was REALLY torn. I had a $1.00 off coupon off of another brand but I'd need to spend close to $10 to save that $1. I don't use broth that much - but I did just use Chicken Broth last week. I chose to buy just the one that was on sale - and with it being $.50 cents off, I guess it was better than using 1/3 of a $1 coupon!

Stroehmans' Bread - $1.99

Rice - $1.49 (not on sale). Maybe I'll stock up on a larger bag in the next couple of weeks with my next big savings

Back to my sale stuff.....
Kens Vidalia Onion Dressing $2.99 ($.70 off) - LOVE THIS STUFF. I was thrilled it was marked down a little. Mike keeps making me eat salad but I didn't have a coupon.

Pork Chops - $2.63. Wasn't happy that I had to buy them. I forgot to defrost some last night, but it was on sale for $.44 off.

Polly-O Jalapeno String Cheese - YUM-O! $3.89 (plus there were $1.00 off coupons sitting next to them)

Egglands Best Eggs - 1 Dozen - On Sale for 2.49 plus I had a $.70 coupon

Box of Gorton's Shrimp Scampi (1/2 price) and a box of Fish Fillet (1/2 price) plus $1.00 off coupon

Box of Chicken Cordon Bleu (1/2 price)

3 containers of Skinny Cows for $1.99 - not on sale (they're usually close to $4 but mom shared her rain checks with me)

4 re-usable bags ($3.96 but cost me $0)

Are you keeping up? That's $71.38 in groceries. Are you ready to hear what I paid??? $21.82!!! That's right! I saved $49.56!!!

Okay...just one for the second Shoprite order. This one was a business expense - well, most of it is. AND, it's all stuff that will earn me a $5 coupon for each of the next 4 weeks.

4 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese - on sale for $.89 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off
2 boxes of Triscuits - on sale for 3 for $10 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off
4 pouches of York Peppermint Patty Pieces - on sale for 2 for $5.00 and I had $4.00 in coupons!
3 bags of Hershey Kisses - on sale for $2.99 and I had a $1.00 coupon
2 boxes of Jello Temptations - on sale for $2.79 and I had $2.00 in coupons.
4 re-usable bags - would have been $3.96 but mine were free

Did you do the math? That's $48.62 in groceries that I spent $27.29 on. OH, but I received $21 in coupons on future purchases!!! Um, that's like spending $6.29!!! I don't like to think that it cost me $6.29 - because next week I'll be celebrating when I actually save!

BUT, the Triscuits, Hershey Kisses, and York Peppermint Patty Pieces are all business expenses because I'll use them for my May Open House and for door prizes!

But wait, there's more!!! We found SO many coupons around the store today! I got a mini cookbook for free from Pillsbury, $1.00 off coupons for Polly-O, $1.00 off Philadelphia Cooking Creme - I really want to try this stuff but I'm hoping it goes on sale, $1.00 off 3-Musketeers coupons, $1.00 off M&Ms coupons, and $1.00 off crackers/soup coupons!!!

Monday, February 21

Shopping Success and Frugal Hawaii

I wanted to take a moment to let you know how my life in frugality is progressing! As you know, we just got back from Hawaii and we were definitely budget conscious. SO, I have a confession to make. In the past couple of years, I bought A LOT of things that I did not need. Luckily, my practice is to leave price tags on until I'm absolutely positive I'm keeping it. BUT, I'm not real good at returning things that have been sitting around. And, with Hawaii quickly approaching and absolutely ZERO pennies in our vacation budget, I started digging around. First up, I knew I had some bathing suits sitting around that I'd bought back in 2008 when I thought I'd lose a lot of weight for my honeymoon. Surprise, surprise, I didn't lose the weight and ended up buying the bathing suits AGAIN in a larger size. I also found a half dozen pair of shoes that I'd picked up at Nordstrom and a few other items. Before Hawaii, I returned around $2000 in stuff. Guess how much we spent in Hawaii? Right around $2000 - that's food, rental car, baggage fees, souvenirs, etc. Not bad! We hit grocery stores for PopTarts, Granola Bars, milk, bananas, and soda instead of hitting the $50 breakfast buffet (although we did go on our last day). I don't think either of us felt like we sacrificed anything on the trip! BUT, it gets better....when we returned from Hawaii, I returned an additional $800 or so in merchandise. The grand total (before and after Hawaii) was $2975!!! I'd like to think that Hawaii was free. Go us!!!

I am really getting into a routine of grocery shopping on Monday mornings. I get the sales circulars on Thursdays and start to plan the next week's menu. But, on Sunday I go and by the Sunday papers that seal the deal! I was bummed that there were hardly any coupons in the paper. Mental note - President's Day Weekend = no coupons! The sales in the stores were NOT impressing me. My shopping list was short. And then I started to understand Dollar Days at Shoprite. So, let me tell you about my shopping trip with mom today (she was impressed)!

Acme: We stopped there first to hunt for good deals on meat. There were none. BUT, on the way back to the meat department, I picked up several Tostitos $1 off coupons along with a few for free Sour Cream and Nuts.

Now....Acme had a deal that if you bought 3 12-packs of canned Coke products, you got an 8-pack of cans for free. WELL, because of my Coke Rewards certificates (which I got for 80% off points), I had FOUR coupons for free 12-packs. I was curious, if I was getting the 3 packs free, could I still get the 8-pack for free??? YES!!!! I was a bit bummed that I still had to pay sales tax. I bought nothing else in the store....but I walked away with 56 cans of soda for $1.05!!!! That's less than 2 cents per can!!! AND, I also have more coupons in my pocket for products I know we use!

Next we headed to Shoprite....

There wasn't much that I needed, but I had coupons for a lot of things that were on sale that also gave you coupons back. Here's what I got:
- 1/2 gallon of milk
- Loaf of Bread
- Bag of Lettuce (on sale)
- 1 lb Hamburger
- 1 can of Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (REALLY hard to find for my Chipotle Beef Chili)
- Oregano (we were out - no coupons, not on sale)
- 5 boxes of cereal (the bigger boxes)
- 4 cans of soup (on sale for $1 each AND I had a coupon for $1 off of 4)
- 6 packs of Chex Mix (on sale, I had 3 coupons so I got $3 off)
- 6 packs of Dole Fruit (on sale, I had coupons)
- Cream Cheese ($1 off coupon)

I also FINALLY remembered to bring reusable bags and saved 30 cents.
I spent $47.84 and saved $35.32. Now, that alone is not all that awesome. It's only 43% off.

What printed out at the register was SHOCKING!
- FOUR coupons for $3 off my next shopping trip
- 75 cents off of my next shopping trip
- FREE gallon of milk
- $2 off of cereal I actually eat!
- FREE Shoprite Reusable Shopping Bag that will save me 5 cents on every future transaction
- TWO coupons for 75 cents off of fruit that will probably be doubled!

Did you do the math? Um, that's another $23 in coupons that I will DEFINITELY use! WOW!

My total savings for the day was $63.60. I spent $48.89. And, I walked away with FUTURE savings that wasn't previously in my pocket of $37 in coupons for future purchases. Oh, and added enough points to my Shoprite card to turn into a 50 cent off coupon once I accrue more points.

BUT....I just realized that I screwed up!!! I bought 2 Libbys fruit things NOT Dole!!! AND, I could have gotten another $12 in coupons!!!!!!! ACK! OH NO!!! But, I still think I did well. Maybe I'll head back to the store and get some more! This could become an addiction. How much fruit and cereal do 2 people need?

Oh...and then I went and got my hair cut....with my $3 off coupon!!!