Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $123.78

I didn't feel like shopping this week, but since hubby was paid last Thursday(15th) I knew I needed to get some food into the house to last us until the end of the month. I also had to make my monthly Sam's run! I ended up doing my shopping on two different days and I struck gold in the meat markdown department!!   Speaking of meat markdowns, I found a beef top round roast at Meijer on markdown along with getting a pork loin that was on sale and when I was figuring out my savings total for the week I realized that the savings for getting those two meats was not in the savings total at the top of my receipt!  Yes, I was anal and figured out how they came up with my "non-coupon savings" and found that $28.33 that I saved with my meat was not in that total! So I have to remember that when I get meat from Meijer to write down the meat savings and add it to my savings total at the top of my receipt.  

Here is the breakdown of trips...

1st stop Save A Lot...
  • 1 bottle Worchestershire sauce 99¢
  • 8 cans cream of chicken soup $3.92
  • 2 cans beef broth 98¢
  • 1 head of lettuce 99¢
Total: $6.88
Savings Total: priceless! 

2nd stop Family Fare(I made two different trips to Family Fare this week!)

1st transaction:
  • 2 pkgs tortilla shells $2.00
  • 2.38lbs bananas $1.40
  • 10.79lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $21.46
  • 2.23lbs red grapes $2.21
  • 4 dozen eggs $3.96
  • 9.25lb turkey breast $9.16
  • 1.10lbs ground round $2.23
  • .64lbs eye of round breakfast steaks $1.99
  • 1.83lb Top sirloin roast $4.38
  • 1.24lbs beef strips $3.70
Total: $105.57
Total OOP: $52.49
Total Savings: $53.08

2nd transaction:
  • 4 dozen eggs $3.96
  • 2.75lbs pork loin chops $9.61
  • 9.47lbs ground chuck $19.82
Total: $48.01
Total OOP: $33.39
Total Savings: $14.62

3rd Stop Meijer...
  • 5.41lbs whole porkloin $9.68
  • 3.78lbs boneless top round roast $11.30
  • 20lbs potatoes $5.98
  • 2 canisters oatmeal $1.80 (90¢ each)
  • 2 gallons milk $5.00
  • 2 pkgs smoky links $5.00
  • 1 pkg. Johnsonville links $1.95
  • 2 boxes instant oatmeal $3.15 ($1.58 each)
  • 1 box high fiber instant oatmeal $1.25
  • 2 boxes Life cereal $3.00
  • 2 boxes Cap 'n Crunch $3.00
  • 4 boxes 12ct poptarts $7.00 ($1.75 each)
Total: $117.19
Total OOP: $61.11
Total Savings: $56.08(Meijer promotions $2.00; non-coupon savings $27.65; coupon savings $8.10; meat savings $18.33)

GRAND TOTAL: $227.65
GRAND TOTAL OOP(out of pocket): $153.87

As you can see I saved alot without relying heavily on coupons for the savings but rather markdowns and sales.  I will be working out my menus for the next couple of weeks to use what I have on hand now from the shopping so my "need list" for shopping will be very short!  I should just need milk and hopefully that will be something that hubby can handle on his way home from work one day next week. 

For more savings stories head over to MoneySavingMom's Super Saturday Savings.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Friday--Winter Savings Tips

Yesterday on the 10pm news, the weather man said that at midnight we had reached the midpoint of winter!  So what does that mean exactly!??!  Ohhhh....we probably have at least another 8 weeks to go, at least here in the Midwest USA.  For those of us that don't like the cold and snow sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  For those of you that like the cold and snow, you have about 8 weeks left to enjoy it!

Anyway, I was reading the Winter edition of my homeowner's insurance newsletter and there was an article about a "Season of Savings".  It talked about the winter prep routine that many of us go through each winter to get our homes ready for winter. The removing of screens to prevent snow buildup, changing the furnace filter, closing the blinds or curtains at night to keep the heat in the house. Did you know that even in the winter time when the sun is shining it is good to open your blinds or curtains to let the sun come in the house because it will produce some heat in the house?  But you have to remember to close the blinds or curtains as soon as the sun sets so that the heat stays in the house!    

They go on to list seven easy things that you can do that could net you savings of hundreds of dollars.  Most of these I am sure are "no-brainers" for most of us but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of them. 

Here is the list: 

  1. Seal leaks.   All hidden air leaks have the same effect as an open window.  Use insulation, chalk, or weather stripping especially in the basement, attic, around ducts, doors and windows. My hubby and I just put some rope chalk around a couple of our basement windows that were leaking and it made a difference of 2 degrees warmer in the room!

  2. Install a programmable thermostat.  We did this several years ago and we have it programmed at one temp during the day and another one at night.   In the summer time, when we know that we are going away on vacation we set it for a temp where we know the a/c will not run all the time but still keep the house from being too muggy when we get home. 

  3. Don't waste wattage. Did you know that unplugging appliances or even cell phone chargers that are not in use you could save yourself some money??  Those things still "leak" energy out even if they are not in use. 

  4. Change bulbs.  Replace your most frequently used incandescant light bulbs with compact fluorscents.  Just remember if you use the compact fluorscent bulbs and they break or burn out do not put them in your trash, find a hazardous waste disposal as there is mercury in the bulbs. 

  5. Get fan-atic.  Ceiling fans are great to have because they improve comfort and save energy. Just remember to switch it to reverse instead of forward because that will help to circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling.  We have a ceiling fan with a light in each of the bedrooms in our house and it has helped a lot in making the room have more constant temperature. 

  6. Buy energy-smart. If you have to replace appliances, choose Energy Star models.  They are the same as the other versions but have met strict efficiency guidelines. 

  7. Maintain heat and water systems.  Make sure you tune up your furnace at the change of seasons. Also insulating/wrapping your water heater can save you up to 9% in water heating costs. 

Like I said simple, easy things to do that will help us save money during the cold winter months!

For other Frugal Friday posts, head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Monthly Sam's Run

I made it to Sam's this past week. This month there was several things that I needed that I only get every other month or every 3 months so grand total was a bit higher than what I have had in previous months. 

Here is the list of items for this month's run...
  • TurboTax deluxe(federal+state) $52.86 (with sales tax, cheapest place in town we have found it!)
  • Act II Popcorn 28 count $6.84
  • Heinz Ketchup 3pk/44oz $6.52
  • Hormel Real Bacon Bits 3lb bag $7.06
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bagels 2-6ct bags $4.36
  • Ore-Ida French Fries 30lbs $17.28
  • Swanson's Chicken Broth 12pk $7.77
  • Hershey's Chocolate Syrup 2pk/48oz $6.32
  • Nesquick Chocolate Powder 67oz $6.83
  • Frozen cut corn 5lbs $4.88
  • Ore-Ida shredded hashbrowns 6lbs $4.88
  • Long Grain white rice 25lbs $10.43
  • Mrs. Butterworth's syrup 2pk/60oz $6.34
  • Totinos Pizza Rolls 140ct  $9.32
  • Red Baron Individual Pizzas 10ct $10.76
  • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter 2pk/40oz $7.29
  • String Cheese individually wrapped 48 ct $7.59
  • Canadian Bacon 2lbs $7.88
  • Eggo Waffles 60ct $8.26
  • Mild Cheddar Cheese 5lbs $12.27
  • Part-Skim Mozzerella Cheese 5lbs $11.86
  • Kraft American Cheese Slices 72 ct $7.88
  • Country Crock Margarine 5lbs $4.42
TOTAL: $229.90

As a side note, I am always looking at Sam's prices on their fresh meat so that I can compare getting the meat in bulk vs. getting it from the grocery stores on sale. I found something VERY interesting in regards to Sam's selection of whole chickens!!  They carry whole chickens in a 2 pack and each pack averages around 11lbs of chicken. What is soooo interesting about these chickens is that the price per pound is only 78¢!!  Yes! You are reading that correctly--78¢ per pound!!  I just got a ONE whole chicken at the grocery store on sale for 89¢ per pound!  If I had known, I would have not bothered getting it at the grocery store. Every once in a while I like to get a whole chicken to put in my crockpot for a making up a quick meal of roasted chicken, rice & gravy and a veggie.  So this will be something that I keep in mind for the next time I go to Sam's! 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All about "H"

This week for my 13 Things Thursday, I am going to share some of the highlights of what my kindergartener and I have done for "H week". If you are new to my blog, I have been going through the alphabet with my daughter for kindergarten. We are doing a letter each week. Without further ado....

  1. We learned about Hearts. We listened to each other's heart. We drew and cut out hearts. We learned about being happy and how that helps our heart. 

  2. We learned about houses. We built a fort with blankets and pretended it was a house. We also learned that animals have homes too.  

  3. We learned about heat!  Heat is a good thing to have in a house when the temperature outside is below zero degrees!

  4. We learned about heaven.  Heaven is a place that we will be going to someday!  As my daughter said, "Heaven is Jesus' home right now but I'll live there someday."

  5. Our Bible lesson was about Hannah.

  6. We learned about staying healthy.  We did exercises to make our heart go faster.  We learned about healthy foods. 

  7. We learned about hiberation. This was a big word for a kindergartener so we talked about how it is what some animals do in the winter.  My daughter's first reaction when I told her the meaning of hiberation was...."Can we watch Over the Hedge? The bear on there was hiberating when RJ took his food!"

  8. We did lots of different things with our hands!  We did hand painting (fingerpainting). We did handprints. We talked about how God created everyone's hand prints different.  I found this handprint ice cream cone for one of our crafts this week. 

  9. We had fun playing with our hair!  How many hair accessories can we fit in our hair?!

  10. We watched hippos swim in the water at the National Geographic's Creature Feature!

  11. We ate hamburgers, hotdogs, and ham slices. We could have had honey this week but she doesn't like the taste!

  12. We read the story of The Little Red Hen.

  13. We sang the Hokey Pokey while wearing fancy hats!

Head over to Happy To Be at Home for more Thursday Thirteen lists!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday--Homeschooling

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a homeschooling friend of mine catching up and asking her about her year. As the conversation started she made the comment that they almost didn't homeschool this year because of financial reasons. However, they were able to continue with homeschooling because her parents provided them the means to get the books her son needed for this year. I thought that it was wonderful for the grandparents to step up and show that they backed the decision to homeschool!

I told my friend that had the grandparents not stepped up to pay for books that she still could have done homeschooling using the library and internet! There is so many free educational sites available to use for schooling that you don't need to have curriculum books!

Along with the scope and sequence charts , the internet and the library have worked for me to be able to homeschooling my children for nearly free these past eight years.  I have been able to find websites where others have made up lesson plansunit studies and even printable worksheets to help round out our schooling.

I know that some would rather have the curriculum books with teacher's books so that they feel confident that they are teaching their child the correct things. However, when money is tight following a scope and sequence chart and finding out your child's interests can make for a great school year at home!

Homeschooling for nearly free works for me! 

For other works for me, head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Enhancing Your Reading Program

Out of my five children, I have two children that love to read, and it is very difficult to keep good books in their hands. A couple of years ago it got to the point that going to the library was a long, drawn out process! Not that I don’t like going to the library with my children, but when you try to look for good books for one child but have a screaming infant or an impatient toddler disrupting your concentration — all while everyone around you is staring at you…well, it makes for a rough visit!

Can you identify??  

To read more and find out what resources I use to help cut down on that long drawn out process at the library, read my article, "How to Enhance Your Reading Program" over at Happy to be at Home

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Lowfat Quandry with Jello Cake

Hubby asked if I would make a jello cake for him to take to work tomorrow to go along with their Soup/Chili & Salad Potluck Lunch.  So this afternoon I decided to make it for him while I had the oven on for dinner. 

Anyway, the last few times I have made my jello cake it has seemed really oily and since my hubby has problems with high cholesterol I decided that I would try putting natural applesauce in the cake instead of veggie oil.  I have read of others using natural applesauce for an oil substitute in recipes so I thought why not!   

The recipe calls for 3/4 cup oil and that is how much natural applesauce I put in the cake. This is the only change I made to my tried & true recipe!  Once the cake was done, I turned it out the plate and this is the mess I ended up with!!     Basically part of the "crust" of the cake stayed in the pan while the rest of the cake was on the plate. The picture below shows my attempt at putting it back together. 

What could I have done differently??  Should I have added more applesauce to the mixture?  Did I make it too dry by using ALL applesauce for the oil?  I waited about 5 minutes before turning it out on the plate.   Is it not wise to use ALL applesauce for an oil substitute?  If not using applesauce for an oil substitute what else can I use to make things lower fat for hubby without taking away all of his sweets?

I decided to re-do the cake after the mess!  I had the ingredients on hand for another cake! So I did a "take two"  on the cake. This time I took my 3/4 cup measuring cup and filled it a little under 1/2 full with applesauce and the rest of the measuring cup was filled with veggie oil.   

Here is the end result!  The cake came out of the pan without one problem(well there is a little tear in it at the top of the pic but I think that is due to not a very well greased pan).  This one looks alot better!  It looks more like what the normal ones(as in following the recipe exactly) look like when I have done them in the past.  The second one, I will cut up for hubby to take with him to work!  I'll get the results of its taste and all when he comes home! 

If you are interested in the recipe...

Jello Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 3oz. pkg. DRY jello (I usually use a red, or orange or yellow)
3/4 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil

Beat first 4 ingredients together about 4 minutes. Add oil and beat one more minute. Grease lightly a bundt pan.Bake at 350° about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Notes: I make the color of the cake to match either a holiday or season. Like for Valentine's Day, I make a red one. For Fall, I make an orange one. You can even drizzle a powdered sugar and water or orange juice glaze on the cake but personally I think that it makes the cake too sweet and it also makes to difficult to slice and freeze. However, having a slice with a scoop of ice cream makes a very nice treat!

For more kitchen tips, ideas or recipes; head over to Tammy's Recipes OR head over to Blessed with Grace!

Also check out the weekly round-up of great posts over at Blissfully Domestic!

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