Sunday, January 31, 2010

Budget Challenge - January

My big goal for 2010 is to better track our spending on groceries.
I'm using this great spreadsheet that someone else made (My apologies, I forget who).
My other big goal is, with the help of the stockpile pantry, to reduce our Grocery/Supply expense from $500 to $300.

In an attempt to be accountable, I've decided to post how we are doing each month.

Budget: $300
Actual OOP: $327.18
Retail Price: $816.78
Coupon Savings: $260.88
Sales Savings: $228.72

I saved 59.94%.
Yes, I went over my new budget by ~$28, but I pretty proud of my first attempt.
I think I may have a few rebates to send in - I need to get caught up on that.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Wedding Stuff

I began the wedding planning a few days ago.

There were so many "unknowns" that I felt like I was running in circles!
I thought I had the budget set, but I'm finding some things cheaper, some not-so-much.
I started looking at locations, debating dates and strapping down my head so that it wouldn't spin away.

Then today, I may have reattached my head correctly.
I flipped off a few emails.
I touched base with MBB.

I'm hoping to firm up some items in the next week so that I can start enjoying this planning process!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Mega Savings!

I love the Kroger Mega Savings Sale!
I bought so much that there is no way I could take a picture of it. . .
As it is, my stockpile pantry is starting to get very full.

Total Cost: $243.08
Kroger Plus Savings: $108.25
Coupons/Bonus Coupons: $65.47
OOP: $69.36

That's a savings of 71%!!!
My % would have been a bit better if it wasn't for that "I Really Didn't Want To" item.

My cashier stopped part way through scanning all of my coupons and asked me to write down the sites that I print coupons from. Here are the main ones for those of you who still need them:
Also, don't forget the e-coupons:

For those interested in what made up that $65.47:
Here are just a few of the things that I got (I'm adding this part later, so it is from memory):
Hormel Turkey Pepperoni
Buy 10 - Get $5 off (I know I'm forgetting something. . .)
9 - Kleenex (individual boxes)
4 - I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray (no calories!!)
4 - 2% American Kraft Cheese Slices
6 - Shredded Kraft Cheese
Sargento (not sure how to spell) Munster Cheese Slices (we're trying new cheeses!)
Low-fat Ritz Cracker
2 - Low-fat Wheat-thins Crackers
Chicken in a Biscuit Crackers
4(?) - Toaster Strudel's 2 boxes Texas Toast
4(?) - Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
6(?) - Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
4(?) - Fiber One Granola Bars Mustard Dipping Sauce - Honey Mustard Flavor
2 - Kraft Dressing
3 - Finish dishwashing soap
3 - Johnsonville Turkey - Cheddar Sausage
2 - Oscar Meyer Deli Meat
2 - Oscar Meyer Deli Creations
2 - White Chili cans
Free Coupons
Always Infinity Pads
Yoplait Frozen Smoothie Mix (got to love signing up for free samples)
Milk (if bought $100 before coupons)
Bananas (were free with the Kraft Dressing)
I Really Didn't Want To, But We Needed
Pizza Crust Mix (MBB is cooking Tuesday evening :D )


Friday, January 22, 2010


Compliments are good things.
Compliments are even better when someone thanks you for them.
Compliments rock when the thanks is a coupon.

I saw a post on another blog and decided that I would start contacting companies who had products we liked.
I figure it couldn't hurt and if the company wanted to send some coupons (especially for products that we really like and never have coupons for) - bonus!
If they don't wanna, then I was still honest and gave them positive feedback, so all was well too.

I sent out some emails yesterday and already got one response from Smart Ones. They thanked me for the feedback and are mailing me some coupons in appreciation.
Looking forward to seeing what they are for!!! :)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Sale - Pretty Flowers

Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale on their flowers last week.
I found some really pretty ones, so I did some shopping.
I have a feeling that these are going to be arranged into some great creations!
My favorite flower is a star-gazer lily.
These aren't exactly star-gazers, but I think they are pretty!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blog Roll

I updated the Blog Roll to include all of the blogs that I frequent daily.

If any of the links do not work, please let me know. . .
I am in the process of deciding which blogs work best for me, so some may disappear shortly. :(


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Some call me cheap.
MBB calls me smart.
I call myself frugal.

I have always tried to live my adult life cutting where I can so that I can spend where I want.

When Egypt and I went to England/Scotland/Ireland way back when, we stayed in Hostels every other night and bought lunch fixings in Ireland at a grocery store.
It allowed us to enjoy supper out without breaking our vacation budget.
I also have some nice things in my curio cabinet from those two weeks that I wouldn't have been able to afford if we didn't do that things.
Another reason?
We have some great photos that we took while having "picnics". Places that we may not have gone had we ate lunch in a restaurant.

When I first got my condo, it was furnished with garage sale and freebie furniture.
That allowed for a big down-payment at closing and paying off my student loans in ~3-4 years.
I'm not real sure the dollar value that can be put on "reduced stress" from having my debt reduced quickly, but it is one that I would sign up for every time.

Lately, I have been on a huge frugal kick in the grocery area.
For the first year and a half that I was buying for four, our budget was $500 / month for groceries (which never seemed to include cleaning / hygiene supplies). I couponed (when I got them) and looked for sales, but I bought what we needed. I even attempted the one trip every other week with menus planned out - only buying what we would use those two weeks. Yep, still at $500 / month.

Then. . .
I started buying the Sunday newspaper again (for some reason, they won't seem to let me subscribe).
I discovered the art of stacking coupons and now have two containers of coupons that usually are always with me.
I started shopping the sales.
I made a price book (though I am still not good about using it).

MBB created a stock pile pantry for me and I am attempting to use only once a week (I could easily see my family surviving on Chex Mix every night because it is there and well, they like it).
Grocery store visits now seem to be a normal part of my evening routine (I'm working on consolidating those to only a few nights each week), luckily everything is on my way home from work so this is not a big impact.
The number of blogs that I follow has exploded - I'll work on updating my blog roll once I determine the keepers.

I set a goal to reduce our budget by $200 for January for groceries AND supplies.
As of the 15th, I had spent $115. . .
Not sure if I'll make the $300, but I am giving it a go.
Once the stock pile pantry is completely stocked, I may try to reduce it by another $100.
There is a blogger out there that spends $45 / month for a family of 5 (maybe 4?).
I can only dream. :)

There are a few things that I still have to **GULP** pay full price for, but they are few and far between (If anyone happens to stumble upon coupons for Hormel Chili, no beans - LET ME KNOW!!!). I have coupons for milk and produce that are like gold! Those will be disappearing here shortly.

So, why am I focusing on saving so much with coupons?
OB likes karate.
MaBell likes club volleyball.
MBB would like to have his garage soon and I have a season ticket bill due in the next few months.
MBB and I have a wedding that we need to start planning that we will not go in debt to have.
And to be honest - I am a fan of date nights and would like to start having them again.

So, we are cutting one place in order to enjoy others. :)
Works for me.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Funk. . .

I've been a funk lately.
Can't pinpoint an exact reason.
It's actually starting to get on my nerves...
Literally - the anxiety and panic attacks are starting to visit again.

Maybe I need to take some time for myself.
Not sure to do what though...My wallet is still recovering from Christmas.

Maybe I just need to sleep.
OK, table that one until we get a new mattress.

Maybe I...
I'm open for suggestions.

Maybe I need a big hug.


Monday, January 11, 2010


Rockstar appears to have gotten into a fight. . .
The vet thinks that it was against three dogs.
Since he only has three big wounds, I think he held his own pretty well.

The tub connecting two of the wounds on back/shoulders is there to drain fluids and prevent infection. MaBell is cleaning and medicating him daily (with a muzzle, of course).
These pictures were taken about a week after the fight, so it is looking much better now!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Stockpile!

I love my stockpile!!!
I've been finding deals at the grocery so good (many times free!) that I get lots and lots.
This has been saving us some money, but I had bags piling up on the dining room floor for "future".

This weekend, MBB put some shelves into a hall closet that we no longer use.
Isn't it kewl?
With the great sales at Meijer and Kroger this week, it will be full very soon.
A few things that I learned.
I must have found some awesome deals on icing - we have enough to last us a lifetime (or a few years at least).
My kids drink hot cocoa like it is going out of style (and have been raiding my stockpile). I bought a lot. . .But there is only one box on the shelf!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Great Deal!

I have not been a big "Walgreen-er" in the past.
I tend to stay with Kroger (double coupon / e-coupon) and Meijer (double coupon / Mealbox).
Then, I realized that Walgreens will stack their coupons with a manufacturer's coupon also.

I got a really good deal there the week between Christmas and New Year (I'll try to get the details up later), so I decided to give it another go this week.

Pictured below:
The female stuff ended up being $.25/each.

The air fresheners were free.
The toothpaste cost me the most, but was way cheaper than I could have found elsewhere.
Total cost: $48.58
Total OOP: $11.97


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Great Start

Once upon a time, there was an athlete who was known for getting sick during skill clinics. She was not sick, she just pushed her body so hard.

This particular clinic, everyone was glad that her body was okay with the exercise and all was well.

About half way home, the athlete yelled "Stop the car".
Luckily, it was a false alarm and nothing happened.

With a window down, the car proceeded to the gas station.
It was cold, so the window was rolled up.

Then the false alarm became reality.
Unfortunately, the window only made it half down and the car wasn't completely stopped.

The gas station became the cleaning station.
BUT, it was so cold that there were lots of "frozen" things on the car that didn't want to come off.

And so started 2010.

Friday, January 01, 2010


WOW - 2010!
Where has the time gone?

I try not to make New Year's Resolutions as they just get broke.
I tend to make resolutions through out the year at the start of other months.

This year, I think I'm going to make some goals for this year.
Not resolutions.

To build our garage!!!
To have a beautiful wedding that doesn't make us go into debt - If it does. . .we'll elope!
To remember to change my name everywhere, quickly without hassle.
To finish remodeling every room on the main floor of the house.

To get into a good gym routine.
To find preservative free sauce recipes that the family likes.