Friday, May 29, 2009

Crazy trip today.

My 3 year old USUALLY falls asleep in the cart on our Friday night shopping trip, but I couldn't even get her out the door this evening. She ended up falling asleep for a 3 hour nap, and we didn't get out of the house until almost 8. I had two trips planned for us, but there was NO WAY that was going to happen. I had to pick one store and run with it.

ALSO, after I paid, I noticed my total seemed kind of high. I ended up returning two items that I thought were on but weren't. Also, the Hormel dinners were buy one get one free, and I THOUGHT I paid for both of them. I had them double check, and they didn't see the discount either and credited me. Now that I'm looking at the receipt, I see it. Go figure. Bonus for me I guess. Which reminds me, I still owe them for a gallon of milk.

Sooo, my total after tax was $74.78. I got a refund of $16.00 something, which puts as at about $59.00 after tax. I also will get a UPromise credit for $2. 00 and change. Before tax, we managed to stay in the $50.00 range. This tax issue is really throwing me. I've gotten better at coupons, so it's messing me up to still spend tax on the pre-coupon amount!

BTW, coupon savings including UPromise coupons today was $20.50! That might be my highest coupon total ever. Sure wish I had a savings breakdown on sale prices too. I hate the Hy-Vee doesn't do that!

And, finally, I tried to take a picture because I like that best, but it was TOO MUCH STUFF!

Here we go...

2 dozen bakery cookies
1 box of Bagelfuls
2 tubs of Philadelphia whipped cream cheese
1 CA Pizza Kitchen flatbread
2 Digiorno flatbreads
6 8 oz cans of generic tomato sauce
1 big can of pinto beans
1 big can of kidney beans
1 big jar of McCormick chili powder
1 big tin of McCormick black pepper
1 small bag of Millstone coffee grounds
2 Musselman's Healthy whatever applesauces
2 Pillsbury muffin mixes
2 cans of Pringles
1 Ronzoni Smart taste pasta
1 Ronzoni Whole Wheat pasta
1 Smuckers caramel ice cream sauce
1 bag of Snyders honey mustard pretzels
2 Hormel meat entrees
4 Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches
1/2 gallon of generic chocolate milk
1 Electrasol Powerball tablets
4 8 oz bags of Hy Vee cheese (best deal in town -- these are totally comparable to Kraft)
1 jumbo cantaloupe
1.97 lbs of Fuji apples
1.87 lbs of peaches
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Vidalia Onion
about 1 lb of 80% lean ground beef
1 bag of steam in bag shrimp

A good trip for the $50.00 price range I think! I felt like I got lots of stuff for my money! I am really in need of some good deals on some of our staples though -- like pasta sauce, peanut butter and juice. Maybe next week.

Also -- a frugal tip -- I made our favorite pasta casserole this week, but I am LOW on spaghetti sauce. I used one jar (instead of two) of our spaghetti sauce and added an 8 oz can of store brand tomato sauce ($.19 a piece today on sale.) I didn't mention it to the family, and no one noticed. I'm hoping to come up with some more frugal little tricks up my sleeve. Just based on that one little switch, I can see how doing that more often could make a big difference!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


A much healthier trip...

It seems like Hy-Vee may have changed their receipt. looks like you pay tax pre-coupon adjusted price. Is that right??? Anyway, I think my total pre-tax wzs right around $27.00. It's hard to tell because I actually had a little credit I went back for as they over-charged me for something and they mis-keyed a coupon. But...$27.00 is close, and I'm sticking to it.

I think we're a little over again (still in the $50.00 range before tax,) but my husband's check was extra big this week. I will make up the small difference with that much appreciated extra blessing. I never have really explained, but from Dave Ramsey, I learned that in order to make the most of our income, we needed a zero based budget. In order to have a zero based budget (ie account for every last dime of our money) AND do all of the college, retirement and short term savings that we can possibly squeak out, we landed at a $50.00 grocery budget. Thus, the beginning of this project. So, when I say we've only got $50.00, it's on a week where paychecks are what they "usually" are. Occassionally they are a few hundred less (last pay period.) Occasionally they are a few hundreded more (this pay period.) We usually will bank the difference, but I'll take the few bucks to adjust the grocery budget in an attempt to help account for all of these crazy celebrations and stocking up for our trip.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not pictured - one Pace Three Cheese salsa and 2 half gallons of Breyers. (Yes, this is a summer supply of ice cream, but it was like $1.75 a gallon!)

Admittedly, this is a very strange collection of not so great food. However, this method of shopping great sales with coupons doesn't always look so hot as each trip stands alone. What matters is the sum of each part. In the end, we always have what we need. Also, in the summer, we're on the go SO MUCH. We're eating on the run. We eat different food, and I think we eat and definitely cook hot meals less.

I bought swim diapers on this trip, so my total is a little skewed. I spent $37.81 (before tax) and saved $45.25. A pretty darn good trip considering diapers. I will deduct the $5.50 I spent on swim diapers from my total and spend another $15.00 on a another trip to a second store.

Also, once again, we've got a family holiday and get together this weekend, so that contributes to the weirdness of this trip. I'm taking a cake and lemonade. And, I owe my husband a Boston Cream layer thing I make when he is in the mood.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

We hit just one grocery store this weekend. It was a pretty good trip. I found lots of coupons AT the store. They were kind of weird ones though like, "buy this, get such and such for such and such." I bought some stuff I wouldn't normally buy for that reason, but it's all good. We did stray just a little outside of the $50.00 range, but no big deal. If I haven't mentioned it before, I do all of my shopping with a 10 month old and a 3 year old. A calculator just ain't gonna happen. Besides, the best calculator I got is in my noggin. : ) But, one can only do SO well at keeping track given the circumstances.

Also, I am working on stocking up on some food for our summer vacation. We are going to Denver and Breckenridge for 8 or 9 days. By the time we have paid for hotel and gas, we ought to be about spent. So, I'm trying to think WAY ahead and start stocking up on stuff. We will be living on whatever I can conjure up ahead of time, $50.00 for the week and whatever extra we can squeeze out of the budget. (PS Send me your fast food coupons. Just kidding!) So, on top of trying to stretch this project to cover birthdays and holidays, I guess we're adding vacations too. We may be able to do some extra shopping at some point, but we'll have to wait and see how the $$$s pan out until then.

Here's what we've got...

4 jumbo Apple Cinnamon muffins from the bakery
2 Bertolli frozen meals
2 bottles of Hunt's Ketchup
1 Keebler Almond and Dark Chocolate Sandies
1 small bag of Millstone flavored coffee
2 Mussellman's 4 packs of unsweetened applesauce
4 BIG boxes of Pop Tarts
2 ginormous take and bake pizzas from the deli
2 packages of Oscar Meyer deli ham
1 big bag of Tyson popcorn chicken
1 gallon of chocolate milk
1/2 gallon of white milk
2 lbs of strawberries
2 lbs of Fuji apples
10 lbs of Russet potatos
12 oz of grated mozzarella

Out total was $61.58. We saved about $15.00 in coupons. This store does not total how much we saved on sale items. It was a lot though probably at least 50%.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

No real food today either. I picked up some cheap snack things and the ingredients I needed for my portion of the MD BBQ. I made a "Boston Cream" dessert, and I'm going to make veggie foil packs to steam on the grill. I thought the Boston Cream would be cheap, but I'm realizing it would have been cheaper (and quite possibly yummier) to pick up a Lemon Meringue pie. Oh well. I really enjoy putting in the extra love to take something homemade.

Here's what we got --

3 bags of 5 ct generic bagels ($.99 a piece)
1 BIG Cool Whip ($2.28)
3 Smart Ones (($1.66 a piece) I usually stock up on these at this price, but I couldn't today.)
1 Betty Crocker chocolate frosting ($1.27 after coupon)
1 Hunt's Ketchup ($.99)
2 generic "Gerber" toddler puffs (A luxurious necessity for keeping the 9 month old entertained)
4 instant Jello puddings ($.58 a piece)
1 green bell pepper ($.50)
1 Vidalia Onion ($.36)
4 boxes of various Kellogg's cereals (($.08 a piece after coupons) No that is not a typo!)
1 Philadelpha whipped cream cheese ($1.98)

My total was $23.44. I also walked out of the store with a gallon of milk I forgot to pay for. (I do this with SOMETHING ALMOST every time. So frustrating!) Incidentally, they let me use a coupon for it! LOL! I will try REALLY hard to remember to have them add it to my total next week.

We also went to the Wonder Bread outlet. We picked up 4 loaves of 100% Whole Wheat bread. Our total was just over $5.00, and we scored a free bag of blueberry mini muffins and a free Twinkie. Can't complain!

Sooooooooo, I'm still not EXCITED about anything we have to eat, but I suppose I'll get over it. We'll mostly be eating stockpiled stuff for meals. I'll probably make cavatini this week. We could have pancakes or whole wheat french toast with eggs and homemade hash browns. I have the stuff for tuna noodle salad. The girls and I would love to snack on beans and cheese over tortillas or chips. We have plenty of boxes of mac and cheese, ham, cheese and crackers out the ears, stuff for smoothies, and, of course, about 20 boxes of various cereals. Clearly, we're nowhere close to NEEDING groceries. I just am wishing for something different, but I don't even know what!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm not gonna lie. I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed by this project at the moment. I'm having a HARD time pairing sales and coupons (again,) finding reasonably priced entree type things AND here we are at another holiday! UGH!

I made a trip to Price Chopper tonight. This is what we got --

1 TIPPIN's Lemon Meringue Pie (Happy Mother's Day to me!) $4.99
5 2 litres of 7UP products (.99 a piece)
2 half gallons of OJ (.99 a piece)
1 Mango Whole Fruit sorbet ($2.50)
3 bags of 20% extra Doritos ($1.69 a piece)
3 Gatorades ($.69 a piece)
1 bag of lots of flour tortillas ($1.99)
2 boxes of Wheat Thins ($$1.25)
5 Kiwis ($1.00 total)
2 lbs of strawberries ($2.6something)
2 dozen eggs ($.67)

I saved $28.48 just by buying sale items. I spent $30.78 (before tax.) I also saved $3.00 in coupons, but they forgot to ring them up. Instead, I got the cash back. We will hit another store tomorrow. Buying what I need for our Mother's Day BBQ will do us in. I don't know how I will solve that problem yet. The only way TO solve might to just really rely on our stockpile this week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

So my computer broke, and my husband's computer doesn't seem to have any good picture software (or anything else other than video game garbage,) so figuring out this new picture business was a trip. UGH.

I didn't do very well at capturing everything in this picture anyway, so here is a list --

1 Pumpkin Spice cake
1 6 ct Lenders blueberry bagels
4 half gallons of OJ
1 Swiss Miss pudding
1 lb bag of frozen blueberries
1 box of Bagelfuls
1 Philadelphia whipped cream cheese
2 CA Pizza Kitchen Flatbreads (boy was my husband stoked to see these!)
2 Barilla boxes of pasta
4 Tuna Helpers
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 boxes of Oreo Stix
3 Old El Paso Heat and Eat Black Beans
2 Ragu spaghetti sauces
1 12 pack of Moutain Dew Code Red (not pictured because I'm hiding it)
1 Breyers Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 half gallon of skim milk
5 lbs of potatos
4 Mexican cheese blends
2.64 lbs of Anjou Pears
1 lb of baby carrots
1 package of celery
1 green bell pepper (Not pictured. I actually DIDN'T pay for this last time, so I asked them to charge me for it today.)
2 lbs of strawberries
Pampers baby wipe refill (Hello, budget breaker)

My total after tax was $42.65. So, our total out of pocket was VERY close to $50.00 this week. As close as I cold be without REALLY counting! I had $4.00 in coupons and a coupon for 10% off my entire purchase. I ALSO had a $20.00 gift card that I got for filling a prescription at the pharmacy. I debated on whether or not to use it, or save it for an emergency. I ended up deciding that it would best be put to use on top of our regular grocery budget with the 10% off our total purchase. So, it was a nice little bonus. Those prescription transfer deals are MONEY. With our low pre-tax co-pays, we really do make money on those deals. It almost makes me wish we had more prescriptions. : )

Another thing that I think is worth mentioning again is that shopping this way really makes eating healthfully affordable. This week, Hy Vee had movie theatre boxes of candy on sale for $1.00 a box (approx 4-6 oz of candy.) I know people say that empty calories are cheapest, but I beg to differ. This week at Hy Vee, you could get LOTS of healthy things for $1.00 or less/lb -- 1 lb of whole wheat pasta, organic apples, Disney oranges, baby carrots, Anjou pears, strawberries, generic cottage cheese, brand name pasta sauce, natural whole chicken, 100% OJ, Russett potatos. Still think sugar, carbs and fat are cheaper? Have you looked at the regular price of a bag of chips or box of kid's cereal lately??? Just sayin'...

AND, another thing I haven't done in awhile is meal ideas. Here's some ideas with what we've got already around the house and what we bought today --

Cavatini (pasta and cheese bake)
Bagels and cream cheese
Chicken noodle soup (with lots of leftovers for lunch!)
Pancakes with homemade hashbrowns
Nachos with black beans and cheese
Cheese pizzas on whole wheat bagels
Tuna noodle salad

That's all I can think of right now, but that will certainly carry us over for another 7 days!
I hit up Hen House really quick last night. There were only a few things on my list there, but we were at the same shopping center anyway. I figured we'd grab those few items.

I got --

1 bag of Grande Tortilla Chips ($1.88 - $.50 UPromise credit)
1 big thing of Dannon Vanilla yogurt ($1.99)
12 oz of blackberries ($3.00)

That's it folks. The total was $7.39 after tax, and I saved $7.17, not taking the Upromise credit in to account.

We'll go to another store tonight for the rest of our groceries. I know we're going to have a grocery budget crisis for the two weeks following this upcoming week, so I'm going to have to do GOOD on my next trip.