Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday's Shopping Trip

First, I stopped at Ray's Apple Market to get my free Dawn. Can you believe that I almost forgot about this deal?

Total OOP = 11 cents (all tax)

Later on, I stopped at Walgreens to work some Register Rewards. I almost was not able to do the Skintimate deal more than once because the cashier told me it was "one offer per customer." ??? She said she would do it for me this time. After I got done with her, I just hit another register w/a different cashier - no problem.

Total OOP = $24.80 (including tax) + I still have $5 Register Rewards to spend.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

February City Bill vs March City Bill...

So you may remember this post where I talk about my electric and water savings. I shaved another $5.67 off of this month's bill. That's about $33 less than what I was paying two months ago. I guess that's not too shabby. I was just expecting a much bigger difference this month with all of the line drying and shortened wash cycles I've been doing. But hey...$33 is $33. Add that up over a year's time and it's $396. I'll take it!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

$26.09 left to spend in April

Yesterday, I spent a total of $43.91 of my $70.00 grocery budget for April. I had to get the shopping out of the way because I will be w/out my vehicle for a good part of the next two weeks as it will be in the shop for repairs. These repairs ($775) are a big part of why I have skimmed so much on the grocery spending for March and April. While I'm obvioulsy not happy about having to pay out $775, I'm stoked that I will not have to touch my savings to pay for it. I get so discouraged when I have to pull anything from savings. I've worked so hard to build an emergency fund, and each time I just get it up to $1000, life throws me a curve ball and I'm pulling from my emergency fund to cover it. Not this time, though!

Anyway, back to my Friday shopping trip. This is the loot (pic doesn't include the items I spent $1.44 on earlier in the day).

I shopped at Ray's Apple Market, Dillons, Walgreens, and Walmart. I utilized as many coupons that I could that would net me free items (Del Monte canned vegetables, Farmland Bologna) and free w/overage items (Glucerna cereal = $2 overage, Knox Gelatin = $5.36 overage, Diet Pepsi = $5 overage). I chose store or off brand where it made sense to do so (that loaf of wheat bread was 49 cents and the 15 lbs of Russet Potatoes were $2.48 at Ray's). And I could have done better. I didn't need two bottles of Snuggle or four bottles of Softsoap, but I have this compulsion to stockpile items I use when I get a great deal on them. It's something I just can't kick. I'm sure many of you can relate.

All in all, I'm very happy with what I got for the amount I spent. I have $26.09 left for the month of April, which doesn't sound like a lot. But considering what I already have stockpiled, all I really will need to buy are the basics like milk, bread, and I think it's doable.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Farmland coupons

You can sign up to receive Farmland product coupons by registering here. I did this a while back and received eight coupons (via snail mail).

Here's what I got:
2- $1 off coupons on any Farmland product
2- $.75 off coupons on any Farmland product
4- $.55 off coupons on any Farmland product

These don't expire until 12/31/09!

Cherry picking...

I've set my grocery budget at $70 for this month! I'm hoping to accomplish this by cherry picking the best of the deals!

Today I picked up two rolls of Farmland sausage for 19 cents each. They were on sale for $1.00 at Ray's and I had two $1.00 coupons from a Farmland home mailer.

I picked up a four pack of Yo-Plus from Dillons for 69 cents. It was $2.69, but has $1.00 off coupons (you can print this one right off of my sidebar if you wish) PLUS I had loaded another $1.00 off coupon from Shortcuts to my Dillon's card.

So, the total I spent today including tax was $1.44. That leaves me $68.56 for the remainder of the month. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New coupons from the P&G eSaver

It's time to reload those Dillons/Kroger cards with all of the new P&G eSaver e-coupons! The last batch expired yesterday and the new batch is ready to load. These new e-coupons expire on June 30, 2009.

Get your P&G eSaver e-coupons here!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grocery expenses - 1st Quarter

I decided to start tracking my expenditures this year...something I have never done before. I will break this down with the amounts that I actually spent on groceries (food, health/beauty, pet) per month:

January = $309.34
February = $170.11
March = $74.15
Total = $553.60

That figures out to an average of $46.13 per week, which is not bad for a family of two (plus one cat). A few things to consider, however...I am spending next to nothing on health/beauty products as I'm relying on my stockpile for those. I'm also getting my hamburger for free right now because my parents have some cattle and recently gifted us with a freezer full of hamburger. On the other hand, I'm still stockpiling the great deals that I find on groceries and health/beauty items with that $46.13 per week. So while I would love to cut my grocery expenses even more, I'm not sure if that is really realistic if I continue to stockpile. I know it can be done. I see a lot of you with families of four or more who do this all the time. I guess I just need to reevaluate everything and proceed from there. In the meantime, I'm curious to know how many of you consider health & beauty items to be grocery expenses. So feel free to comment on that as well as any tips you might have for cutting your grocery bill. I would love some input!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

3M Filtrete Filter free after rebate!

Jill has the scoop on how you can score a free 3M Filtrete filter. I personally love Filtrete filters, so I will definitely be taking advantage of this rebate! Go check it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Selling textbooks...

Valore Books is a great company to sell your textbooks to. I have done so on three separate occasions and each of those transactions was hassle free. They have earned my trust and so I feel comfortable recommending them to you. Sure there are a few other companies that may quote you a higher sell back price up front, but I read their reviews and they do not seem to be as reputable as Valore Books. The risk just wasn't worth it to me. I chose Valore and haven't regretted that decision yet. If you are considering selling your books, I would highly recommend that you check out Valore Books. On top of operating with integrity, they offer instant price quotes, free shipping to their warehouse, and more than 500,000 sellable titles.

Also, you can use the promotion code "Coupon5" and you'll get 5% off your order if you are making a purchase or they will give you an additional 5% if you are selling to them. I'm not sure when this offer expires, but how cool is that! Click here to check them out!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My efforts are paying off!

I got my City bill today (electricity, water, and trash are all wrapped up into this one bill). I've been trying to cut back on EVERYTHING in order to save money, so I was very happy to see that my electric is down $21.73 from last month and my water is down $4.71. That's a difference of $26.40. Add in the sales tax and the water surcharge, and the total savings on my City bill equals $27.03. I know that changing out many of my lightbulbs and replacing them with CFL bulbs can account for some of the savings, but not much since we replaced them at the tail end of that billing cycle. I think most of the savings on this bill can be attributed to the fact that I've been so conservative with the electricity. I should see an even bigger difference over the next few months since the CFL's will now be running full billing cycles and also due to the fact that I've decided to start air drying my laundry. I put a "Wanted" ad on Freecycle for a folding laundry rack and someone replied today with an offer. I will pick that up tomorrow. That will work for indoor drying and will have to suffice until I can get a clothesline put up outside. I'm betting I can save myself a small fortune just by cutting out most of my dryer usage. And you can bet that I'll be tucking that savings away in an interest bearing account. Furloughs are on the horizon, and I'm doing everything I can to prepare myself financially. If only I had started this 19 years ago...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The silver lining...

My place of employment is considering furloughs (mandatory leave w/out pay) to help with the budget crunch. They haven't made a formal decision, but we've been told that furloughs are very likely. We will be given 30 days notice and are being advised that we can file for unemployment due to the cut in hours. I don't know anything about unemployment, but I'm guessing you have to take a substantial cut in hours before you can file for unemployment. So I'm getting a little nervous.

I have been working diligently for over a year trying to build an emergency fund while paying down my debt. However, it's a slow process as I am the only source of income for my daughter and me and the pay is far from great. I've also been stockpiling any items that we use whenever I can find them at rock bottom prices. I feel like I have a great stockpile going, especially on toiletries. We definitely have enough toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, deodorant, and hair product to last us a year. We have a good amount of shaving cream and razors, as well. I try not to go overboard w/the food, because the last thing I want to do is have it spoil. I try to only buy what I know we will use within a reasonable amount of time (hopefully until the next sale, since I'm trying to avoid paying full price).

I'm constantly looking for ways to cut costs and am reluctant to spend anything if I don't have to. Last week, I didn't spend even $20 on groceries and I anticipate this week's bill will be even less. In addition to cutting costs, I'm hoping I can bring some extra cash in by selling things utilizing and a few other "trade and sell" websites. I've put the word out that I'm available for odd jobs (painting, cleaning, etc...) and I'm hoping that will pay off, as well.

Although I'm worried, I know this is something that we will survive. And I'm extremely thankful that even with a cut in hours, there will be no change to my health benefits and that there is no risk (at this time) of losing my job altogether, like so many others already have.

All of this has really opened my eyes to the reality of just how financially irresponsible I've been. It's the wake up call that I needed and it has changed me for the better...permanently.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Organic Grocery Deals, Green Forum, Green on a Budget

If you're interested in organic grocery deals or any aspect of green living on a budget, you should check out Organic Grocery Deals!

There is a ton of valuable information provided in the forums, including: gardening, eating in season, organic and natural product information, coupon trading, green living tips, book recommendations, organic news, deals, and more. Get help and ideas for going green in a relaxing and non-judgmental environment.

Go check it out!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dillons Coupons!

I got these in the mail, yesterday.

There were fourteen total and this is what they included:
Free: 1 Tony's Frozen Pizza and 1 Pepsi 2 liter
$2 coupons for Maybelline, Neutrogena, and John Frieda products
$1.50 coupon for Playtex Tampons
$1 coupons for Johnson's, Tide, Charmin,Sargento, Quaker, Barilla Pasta/Sauce, and Pledge
55cent coupon for Snack Pack

I love the Dillons home mailer coupons!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We eat a lot of Mexican food here at my house. I can't keep up w/the demand for flour tortillas! Have you priced those, lately? Yikes! I got lucky a few months ago and found them on sale 10/$10 at Dillons. I should have bought out the store, because the ten that I bought didn't last long. I then found them at the bread store for 99 cents. However, they haven't gotten any in on their delivery truck for the last three weeks!

I found some flour tortilla mix at Walmart a few weeks ago and decided to give it a whirl. I believe it was $2.79 for a 4lb bag. I finally got around to making some, tonight. The tortillas turned out pretty good, much to my surprise. And I thoroughly enjoyed making them.

Tortilla dough!

On the griddle:

This was much easier than I thought it would be!

January 21st shopping trip

My first stop of the day was Target.

$2.75 - $2.00 coupon = .75 + .19 tax = 94 cents

I still have three more coupons, but I'd never tried these Kashi bars before, so wanted to try a box to make sure I like them before buying anymore.

My second stop was Aldi's.

2 Tortilla Chips @ .99 = $1.98
2 Cookies @ 1.39 = $2.78
Total w/tax = $5.10

My next stop was the bread store. I LOVE this place!

Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain (Buy 2 @ .90 get 1 free) = $1.80
4 Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce @ .99 = $3.96

Total w/10% discount (not sure why I got a discount) + tax = $5.59

Those are the medium sized cans of Enchilada Sauce. The smaller cans are like $1.13 at Wal-Mart, so I feel like that's a pretty good deal.

My final stop was Dillons. This stuff was purchased in two transactions, but for time's sake, I'm not going to list them separately.

15 2% Kraft Mexican Style Cheese @ .49 = $7.35 (LOOK FOR .75 BLINKIES - I found them right in front of the 2% cheese)
14 Kraft Mexican Style Cheese @ $1.49 = $20.86
6 Cottonelle 4pks (99 cent - 50 cent doubled coupons) = free
3 Cap'N Crunch ($2.09 - 2 $1.00 coupons) @ 1.09 = $3.27
2 Chex Mix (2 @ $1.69 - 2 $1.00 coupons and -.60 Shortcuts) = .78
1 Miracle Whip ($2.49 - $1.00 home mailer coupon) = $1.49
1/2 gallon milk = $1.50
4 Green Giant V.F. Steamers ($1.00 - 50 cent doubled coupons) = free
12pk Diet Pepsi ($2.99 - $1.00 home mailer coupon) = $1.99
1 K.C. Star Newspaper (Sunday Edition) = $1.87
2 Powerade ($1.39 - 40 cent doubled coupons) 2 @ .80 = $1.60

Total w/tax = $46.98

We go through A LOT of cheese. That's probably not quite a year's supply, but it's close. It's a good thing cheese freezes well! And no I did not clear the shelves...not even close! I'm glad I got there early, though, because I bet that 2% will go fast w/those blinkie coupons!

Total spent OOP today was $58.61. Not too shabby!