September 29, 2010

Walgreens Run

This Walgreens trip was exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. See, I like to take my time and make sure that all my coupons are in order before I got to the cashier.

I took the time to try to do a $5 Walgreens trip, basing all my information on Coupon STL $5 trip to Walgreens. It's alot of work and patience, especially when there is a line forming behind you.

I really wanted to get the deal with the FREE Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner, because I was running out of conditioner.

The Walgreens Halloween stickers were fillers when I needed an extra item to fill the coupon gap.

Total spent for the items above: $7.09, and I have $5 Register Rewards for next week.

Grocery shopping this week = $38.60

Meijer is having a Catalina deal with the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (15 oz. tubs). If you buy 6 @ $1.33 each, you will get $6 in Catalina coupons to use on your next order. Print this Meijer Mealbox coupon twice and use it to get the butter for free! (just click on shopping list in the Meijer mealbox and search for it under the coupons).

Thanks, Coupon Lady Online for this tip!

If you're interested in more Meijer deals, click here.

Here are the rest of the items I bought at Meijer this week. Total spent: $24.03.

Here is what we got this week through our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). I usually forget to add this into my weekly groceries, but I have to remember that this is food too!

Pictured below is what I picked up from Target. Total spent: $8.57.

Once again, more cheese for $5!!! Click here for Kraft Coupon. Also Target has hershey kisses for 2/$5, and stacked with these Target coupons, I got 2 bags for $3. A girl's gotta have some chocolate in the house!

Total spent this week was $38.60. How'd you do?

September 28, 2010

Laundry Day - Simple Things

Today is laundry day. I LOVE laundry day, because it makes me stay home (and not spend any money). Laundry day is great because all summer I've been hanging our clothes out to dry on the laundry line. I hope that we're saving a little bit of money by not running the dryer, and it makes me get outside for a few minutes at a time.

My eldest son, Z-man, has this thing now with playing the Nintendo DS. He got Mario Kart for his birthday and is actually pretty good at it. The only thing is that we only let him play the DS after he's helped with chores. Today, his chore was to help mom hang up one load of laundry. He did great! And I think he actually enjoyed it!

I also love laundry day, because the time that I'm outside hanging clothes, I have a chance to remember all the ways that we're being frugal.

First of all, we aren't using the electricity to dry our clothes.

We also use an energy efficient front loading laundry machine.

We use clothe napkins instead of paper towels. I just bought a huge tablecloth from Goodwill and cut it down to size for clothe napkins.

We buy our clothes from second-hand stores, or have close friends who give us their kids hand-me-downs.

We drive a hybrid.

We either run or use workout videos at home, thus saving money by going to the gym.

We keep our heat below 68 degrees. And open the windows when it's hot out.

Okay, so these are the things that I've thought of while outside hanging clothes. I'd love to hear how you try to save money in different areas of your lifestyle!

September 24, 2010

Saturday = Free Museum Day

Tomorrow, Sept. 25th, is Museum Day! That means you can print out a ticket to get into one of your local museums for free! Click on the link to see if there's a participating museum near you!

CVS Trip

I went to CVS this week as well, because I heard about the CVS Price Scanner was printing off coupons for 2/$2 Xtra Laundry Detergent. And they were on sale this week for 2/$4 = thus making them $1/bottle. Not too bad for laundry detergent!

The oatmeal technically falls under our grocery budget, and they were $0.50/box (when you figure in coupons and Extra Care Bucks gotten back).

Total spent on the above purchases was $12.03, and I got $2 ECB back to use on my next trip.

If you're wanting to figure out how to use ECB and get more for your money, check out Coupon STL's blog. She has $5 scenarios for you.

Walgreens Run

Went to Walgreens today to pick up some free Carmex and Trident gum:

Spent $3.44 and got back $2 in Register Rewards. I used the M&Ms for a filler, because Walgreens only lets you use one coupon per item.

Here's the link for the Carmex coupon. And here's the link for the Trident gum.

Grocery shopping this week = $39.25

I only shopped at one store this week, because I was tired and it was just easier for me to purchase everything at one store. This week it was Walmart, because I was looking for the 'supposedly' on rollback, Oreos. Boo...I didn't find them on rollback.

There's a new item out called Cremette's Quick Cooking Pasta. It was only $1.23, and on all the boxes, there was a coupon for $0.50 off the box. Making each box only $0.73! I hope those noodles are good.

The homemade bread was on clearance, and if you know my family, we'll go through that bread in a couple days. YUM!

I spent a total of $39.25 this week. Yea!

September 23, 2010

4 Movie Tickets for $15!

Here's another great deal on movie tickets that I wanted to share with you. The website is called Tippr and when you sign up, you'll get a $5 credit towards your account. The website is designed to have major cities cut you the best deal, and the deal for the movie tickets is under Seattle.

It doesn't matter where you're from, you can use these movie tickets through Fandango or to reserve seats for your movie. Here's what you need to do in order to score 4 tickets for $15 ($20 if you are already a Tippr member):

  • Login or sign up at Tippr
  • Click on Seattle Deals (if you aren’t already there)
  • Click on Weekly Cinema
  • Click “Buy Now” & complete transaction
  • Redeem your certificate at Weekly Cinema by 12/26/2010
  • Use at Fandango or within 90 days of being claimed
  • Enjoy your cheap movie!
My husband and I have been craving a night out at the movies, but they are SO expensive. Here's our chance to live it up, frugally!

Caribou coffee coupon

I thought this would be a fun coupon to post to you all. Caribou coffee has a coupon out for this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 25 & 26th). It is for a buy one, get one free coupon. They are encouraging you to bring a friend to coffee and catch up face to face. I think it's a great idea, even if they are trying to get you to buy their coffee. But what better excuse to get together with a friend.

Thanks to The Budget Mommy for this heads up!

September 22, 2010

Rain, Rain...

Today was the first day in about a month that it has rained. And not actually sprinkling, it poured!!! I love when that happens, because not only do my plants get watered, but all my rain barrels get full.

One of our frugal activities that my husband and I love to do is have friends over to play board games after our kids go to bed. It's great company, and we don't have to pay money to have them over! (luckily, our friends don't have kids yet, and they can come over when ours are in bed!)

Anyway, we had one of our favorite couples over last night, and we were learning how to play a new board game, when I asked if they had ever heard of Champaign getting less rain then the surrounding towns. I had heard this from a previous source, and I had never actually confirmed whether it was true or not.

So, luckily, our friends know how to keep us up to date on the topics we talk about late into the night, and here's what they researched about the rain levels in Champaign. This is the average rainfall in a year:

Champaign = 41 inches
Indianapolis = 40
South Bend = 40
Chicago = 38
Joliet = 37
Rockford = 37
Grand Rapids = 37
Springfield = 36
Peoria = 36
Milwaukee = 34

Now, whenever I'm complaining that my rain barrels have been empty for quite awhile, I will remember these facts about rainfall in our town.

Thanks to Razor Family Farms for letting me share their photos with you.

September 20, 2010

My little brother

I'm so proud of my little brother for completing and graduating from the Marine's Boot Camp in San Diego, CA.

He completed 12 weeks of training out there and came home this past weekend. Pictured above is my oldest sister, with my youngest brother.

I thought this picture was so cute, because my mom and brother have the same facial expression on their faces. Excited to be done and proud of his accomplishments.

My grandma from Chicago got to go to his graduation as well as my mom and sister. This is a great photo!

Way to go David! We're so proud of you!

September 18, 2010

One of my favorite places

Do you want to know where one of my favorite places to go is? I know, it's weird, but it's the Urbana's Landscape Recycling Center. I love to go there because they hardly charge me anything to get rich compost and mulch for my multiple projects I have going on around our home. And it's recycling!

Today, I had two helpers who used their shovels and loaded up some buckets for my flower garden. (Okay, really, they just played with their shovels in the HUGE compost piles).

But I think they had a lot of fun trying to help me!

For only $4 we got:
7 - 5 gallon buckets full of garden compost
2 - 5 gallon buckets of fine mulch
2 garbage bags of mulch.

All for $4!!! There's no way you could get this great of deal at any garden store.

It feels so good to know that the garden beds around our home will be full of good nutrients and will grow so much more due to that. So, now you know what one of my favorite places are in Champaign-Urbana.

September 17, 2010

Book I'm Reading

I just wanted to share with you all a book that I've been totally engrossed in the past couple of days. It's titled, Somewhere Inside, One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home, written by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling.

I first heard about this biography on Oprah. (I admit that every once a month, I actually get a chance to sit down and watch Oprah.) The day I turned it on, Oprah was interviewing these sisters and they mentioned that they had recently written a book on their experience.

So, as I always do when I hear there's a good book out there, I checked it out from our library.
It has totally been a great read, and I'm already halfway through the book. (I started it a week ago).

It's a story about Laura who becomes captured by North Korea, alongside her co-worker, Euna Lee. I'm not going to go into detail about the book, Amazon does it better than I can read more in detail about the book here on Amazon.

I think that it hit home with me because I have 4 other sisters who would probably do the same for me if we were in their situation.

I'm not big into keeping up with then news, so most of you probably already knew about this story before me, but I just wanted to share with you how much I am enjoying reading this nonfiction book.

If you have time, and are looking for a good read, check it out.

Here is a link to the next book to come out from Euna Lee and her stories on her captivity in North Korea.

September 16, 2010

Crock Pot Recipe for Chili

We made chili for our son's birthday party, and it was a hit! I added a couple of ingredients (that I've put in italics) that wasn't in the original recipe. I had a couple people ask for the recipe, so here it is.

Favorite Chili
2 16-oz. cans red kidney beans, drained
2 14 1/2-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 can chopped tomatoes and green chilies
2 cans black beans
2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker in order listed. Stir once.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 10-12 hours, or High 5-6 hours.

This recipe came from Berenice M. Wagner from Dodge City, KS.
Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook.

September 15, 2010

Grocery shopping this week = $40.97

This week I went a little crazy going to lots of different stores for groceries. It was fun though because I took a couple weeks off of grocery shopping, so it feels good to get back into the swing of things.

Target = $9.61

Meijer = $21.43

The cheese was on sale 3/$6, and I had two coupons for $5 off 5 cheese, from Kraft. Great coupon!!

Walmart = $1.38

Schnucks = $2.25

I grabbed these out of the discount cart.

Walgreens =$1.30 (for the Ragu)

Other items are not grocery-budgeted.

Total spent = $40.97

I went $0.97 over our estimated budget. I will remember that for next week and factor that in. Did you score any deals this week?

September 14, 2010

My first born is 4!

It seems hard to believe that Z-man is 4 years old today. He is our first born, and it growing up so fast.

It is hard to catch him smiling at the camera when asked, so here's a little smile as he's taking photos at church. He really loves helping out wherever he can, and loves to follow daddy around church, imitating what he does.

Here's Z-man when he turned 3 years old. (Last year):

Here's trouble at 2 years old:

And here's sweet little cheeks at 1 years old:

I couldn't find a picture of him when he was a day old, but as soon as I find one, I'll post it.


September 12, 2010

Carrot Cake for Z-man's Birthday

I decided instead of a super sugary cake bought from the store, that I'd make a carrot cake!! I got the recipe from Trisha Yearwood's cookbook. I don't know if it's illegal to post the recipe, but here it goes. So many of you have asked for the recipe, and it's SO good!


3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. corn oil
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1.2 c. walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. coconut
1 1/2 c. pureed carrots (about 6 medium, boiled)
3/4 c. crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat the oven to 350'F. Grease the bottom of 3 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with circles of parchment paper, and grease the paper with cooking spray.

With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the walnuts, coconut, carrot puree, and pineapple, and beat until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the layers in the pans for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool the layers completely before frosting.*

*After the layers have cooled, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. They are easier to handle and cut in half the next day. Also, to handle as little as possible, put the first layer of cake on the plate you intend to store it on, slice it in half, ease a piece of parchment between the layers, and lift the top portion off. Frost the bottom slice, and then add the next layer. Continue until the entire cake is frosted.*

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 c. confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. walnuts, finely chopped

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until fully combined. Add the vanilla.

Slice each layer horizontally in half using an electric knife. Frost each layer, the sides, and the top of the cake. Press the chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

September 11, 2010

30 Day Shred Challenge

I've jumped on board to start up the 30 Day Shred workout challenge. It will include working out every day for 20 minutes with Jillian. This challenge starts MONDAY!

I got this DVD for Christmas from my sister, and I was going strong for the winter, but once the weather started warming up, I was not motivated anymore to do it. So, here's where the motivation begins. If I know that there are other bloggers out there who are working out out as well, that will definitely help me out.

So, are you with me? I know for a fact that you can pick up this DVD for under $10 at any large retail store. :)

Here are some other bloggers who are joining me in this challenge:

September 10, 2010

We froze our credit cards!

Well, we finally did it! We literally froze our credit cards this morning. My husband and I went over our budget and finances and decided we've give it a try. It kinda makes me nervous in a way because we are so dependent on our plastic cards, that carrying cash could be even harder for me. For one thing if I see the cash in my wallet, I'm most likely to spend it. But then again, if I use our credit card, it's hard to know where our money is going and how much we are spending together....until the bill comes in the mail.

So, here goes nothing! I went to CVS this morning with Pudge, and forgot to go to the bank beforehand. I opened my wallet to pay, and I had no credit card to pay with!! I almost had the cashier put everything back, but then I remembered I could use my debit card if necessary.

It was kinda embarrassing, but at the same time helped me remember to be careful about where I'm spending our money. Granted it was only $1.50, but everything counts.

I'm curious, do you live without credit cards, and use cash only? Or have you even frozen your credit cards and how did that work out for you?

September 1, 2010

Today Only (Sept. 1) at Monical's

This is a special deal at Monical's for today, September 1st, only. $7 for a 14 in. pizza's at Monicals! This is a great deal on Monical's pizza's. Click on this link to find out more information and to see if your Monical's is participating.