Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip---Savings $87.76

This week, I was back in the mode of using coupons!  However, I still had some problems with my Meijer store taking some of my coupons! I had the right number of coupons for the right number of items but the system was not allowing me to use some of my coupons, and it just wasn't the printable internet coupons!  I left the store dumbfounded that I wasn't able to use some of my coupons for my savings this week.  I have contacted Meijer and I am working towards a resolution, hopefully I'll be able to get to the bottom of this problem. 

Aside from not being able to use all my coupons it was a pretty decent week in the savings department for me!  This week, I shopped at three stores and mainly purchased items to finish off meals and also to add to my stockpile. 

Here is the breakdown of what I did this week...

  • 1 bag shredded hashbrowns $1.29
  • 2 boxes taco shells $1.98
  • 1 box breaded fish fillets $2.79
  • 1 box breaded fish sticks $2.79
  • 2 boxes onion soup mix $1.38
  • 3 bags baby carrots $2.07
  • 2 containers Tastes like Butter $1.98
  • 1 container sour cream 99¢
Total $15.27
Total Savings: Amazing!! I wished that my family loved more of their products!

Family Fare: 
  • 4 dozen eggs $3.96
  • 2.11 lbs bananas $1.24
  • 1.42lbs Thin cut Top Round Steak $4.42
  • 1.65lbs London Broil $4.11
  • 2.29lbs ground beef $3.67
  • 3lbs boneless chuck steak $7.80
  • 4lbs bacon $7.12
Total: $54.42
Total OOP: $32.20
Total Savings: $22.12

  • 5.08lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $10.01
  • 1 loaf bread $1.29
  • 1 pkg string cheese $2.09
  • 1-40oz. box Bisquick 99¢
  • 4 Warm Delights $5.45(would have been less if the cpns would have worked!)
  • 4 pkg smoky links $6.00
  • 1 gallon orange juice $3.99
  • 2 Yo Plus Yogurt $1.00
  • 2 Yoplait Kids Yogurt $3.00
  • 3 pouches Cookie Mix $4.10
  • 2 boxes cake mix $2.00
  • 2 boxes brownie mix $2.84
  • 3 tubs frosting $1.40
  • 1 tub Parkay $1.25
  • 5lbs red potatoes $2.50
  • 4 boxes Chex Mix bars $6.00
  • 2 boxes Toaster Strudel $3.00
  • 2 bottles Suave hair gel $2.84
  • 2 bonus bottles Suave lotion $1.98
  • 1 bonus bottle Vaseline lotion 49¢
  • 3 bottles Suave body wash $3.87
Total: $134.22
Total OOP: $70.71
Total Savings: $63.51

2nd Meijer transaction: (somewhere along the line my oldest son has ended up in men's socks and the last pack of socks I got him have all been shredded so he was using his Dad's socks!  Dad found out and wasn't too happy, so I got oldest son some more socks!)
  • 10pk Mens socks $8.47(with tax!)
  • 2 Warm Delights $1.95
Total: $12.45
Total OOP: $10.42
Total Savings: $2.03

Grand Total: $201.09(includes socks!)
Grand Total OOP: $113.33(includes socks!)
Grand Total Savings: $87.76 plus whatever savings I received from shopping at Aldis!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frugal Friday---Repurposing

I love being able to use something for other than its intended purpose and it work! Our house has 3 bedrooms and in each bedroom there is a small closet(the master bedroom has the smallest one!!!--no walk in closets here!). In an effort to use the closet space effectively, I have repurposed a few things rather than getting rid of the items.

Instead of doing some built in shelves at the kids level, we bought a 2 shelf bookcase to stick in their closets for them to keep their books on rather than on the floor or where little hands could get to them. I did some decluttering recently of these bookshelves and found that the shelves were bare. So I decided that instead of keeping them bare I would put the kids' sweatshirts and sweaters on a shelf so that they could reach them and wear them. While they are still able to keep books on another shelf. The top shelf is where they keep their Bibles and their baseball gloves. Using the bookshelves has really helped to organize the closet!

The other repurposed item in my kids' closets are file crates or milk crates. These crates fit just perfectly in the little corner of their closets and has become their dirty clothes hamper. Using these has helped the issues of having clothes all over the floor either in their closet or in their room. It also has helped the ones that have the responsibility of collecting the dirty laundry know what is dirty and what is clean clothes!

Repurposing the bookshelves and the file crates have made my life easier! What is something that you have repurposed to make life easier for you and your family?

For other frugal Friday tips, recipes, and resources; head over to Biblical Womanhood! Crystal has some ideas for a frugal Valentines' Day!

Thursday Thirteen

Do you ever get tired of saying the same things over and over?  Some days I wished that I just tape recorded all my sayings so that I just had to push a button and save my voice.  Don't get me wrong I love my children dearly and I never tire of telling them everyday! I also love training them up in the Lord!  BUT still sometimes saying those same things over and over and over again gets a little nerve-wracking.

So here is a list of 13 sayings that are seemingly spoken from my lips everyday:

  1. "What are you to be doing right now?"

  2. "Stay focused!"

  3. "Worry about yourself!"

  4. "You are not the parent!"

  5. "Clean your plate!"

  6. "Get dressed!"

  7. "No climbing up on the counter!" (tell tale sign of having a 2 yo in the house!)

  8. "Finish your work!"

  9. "Keep your hands to yourself!" (sometimes all that wrestling can drive a mother batty!)

  10. "Pay attention to what you are doing!"

  11. "Stop tapping your fingers!"

  12. "Be quiet! You don't have to continously talk/jabber!"

  13. "Go outside or find something to do!"

As you can imagine with having five children, this is just the tip of the iceberg for me! 

So do you have phrases that you would just like to record rather than have to say every day?

For more lists, head over to Happy to be at Home!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Do I Love Homeschooling??

Can you feel it???  Can you feel the love that is in the air?  This is the week of the year where everyone is thinking about love!  The love they have for their sweetheart, the love they have for God, the love they have for their family, the love they have for their children(if they have any) and the love they have for homeschooling!  Well okay, maybe not everyone loves homeschooling but you can love it!! 

Go over to Happy To Be at Home and read my article where I have taken the words “Love Homeschooling” to create an acrostic of the positives to homeschooling and why you can love homeschooling

Works for Me Wednesday--Shopping Methods

With posting about my year end averages, I have had several people ask me about how I shop so I thought today I would take the time to explain and share how I keep my family fed and not break the bank!  

Last September, Kristin over at BeCentable contacted me asking if I would share my shopping "story" because according to her "your monthly process would be a good counter to the typical weekly shoppers most of us are!" I chuckled when I read that and felt honored to share my story. I had the privilege to share my "story" in how I do the shopping for my family over at BeCentable's Centsable Savings Stories & Struggles. Here is my story...

Background: I have been married for 12 ½ years and for 11 ½ years I have been a stay at home mom. I also home school my 5 children—ages 12yo-22 months. So far in our marriage, my hubby has had 7 different jobs along with four different times of unemployment (two times of unemployment were over 6 months). Usually the unemployment would come as a surprise to us, he would go into work one day and the manager calls him to tell him he can pack his belongings and go home. When those "surprises" have come we might not have much in our bank savings account BUT we have food on our shelves to last us at least a week (basically long enough to get our last paycheck and get filed for unemployment). Knowing that a "surprise" could come upon us again, I work at having a consistent stockpile.

Struggles: Hubby grew up eating lots of pre-packaged foods and I grew up eating from scratch and garden fresh cooking. Once we were married, I fell more into the pre-packaged food route along with very little from scratch foods to please hubby's way of eating. However, about 3 years ago, my hubby was diagnosed with high cholesterol with extremely high triglycerides along with high blood pressure. He has gotten his numbers down tremendously through medicines and me changing cooking and shopping habits. I am slowly (read ever so slowly!!) changing how I cook to more from scratch cooking rather than pre-packaged foods. However, I have to be careful as to how much I change and how many new things I cook or bake at once because I live with a bunch of picky eaters! Yes, I have picky eaters who only like certain veggies and not much in the way of fruit. I also have a bunch that doesn't like to eat beans or meatless meals! They like their protein in the form of meat! Aside from hubby's health problems and picky eaters, the other thing I have struggled with is not getting every deal I see "advertised". This struggle started about two years ago when I started reading other blogs, I started thinking that maybe changing my method of grocery shopping and following other's ways would start saving me even more money. Well after 3 months of trying a "new way", I found that I didn't have any more room to put anything and I had spent way more than I had in the past! I had more items (shampoo, vitamins, toothpaste to name a few) than what we would be able to use in 6 months! My pantry was full! My linen closet was full! My freezers were full! One would think that would be a good thing—having a huge stockpile but when that stockpile is using money that you might have been able to use elsewhere or your marriage is suffering it is not a good thing! Once my hubby talked to me about our stockpile, I realized that I needed to stop getting every deal that I saw on the blogs or in the ads. I needed to get back to a method that worked well for my family not someone else's!

Monthly Method: Each week, I clip coupons for only the things I know we will use and keep them in a coupon organizer. I shop the weekly sales at 2 different stores and stock up on good deals using coupons. I also go to Aldi's or Save-A-Lot to pick up any other things that I might need that were not in the sales. Then the following day after updating my "food inventory", I make weekly menus for 3 meals and 2 snacks from what I have on hand in the pantry and freezer along with doing my version of once a month cooking. I have tried making a menu before I shop and it just doesn't work!! I usually will find some markdown meat or something else on sale rather than what I had planned. So I shop this week for what I am going to use next week or the following week for meals. Shopping this way has helped me during those weeks where the good deals are slim or just not there. I also do a monthly shopping trip to Sam's club. My hubby only gets paid twice a month so recently I started trying to a major shopping trip twice a month and then the other two weeks getting stockpile items and essentials to finish up meals for the week. The two major shopping trips have been working okay!  Old habits(weekly shopping) are hard to break!

Budget: If someone were to ask me what is my monthly grocery budget, I would have to say that I do not have one at least one that is set in stone. Some months I only spend around $300 for food, paper products, toiletries, and cleaners while other months it can be close to $900. However, when I do year end averages, I find that my grocery/non-grocery category averages around $550/month for the year for our family of seven, which according to the USDA Food Plans is still below the U.S. averages.

This is what works for me! To find out what works for others, head over to Rocks in My Dryer.

originally posted September, 2008

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oatmeal Muffins


This is a quadruple batch, should make about 40 muffins, depending on size. I got this recipe from a friend a while ago.  I love making these muffins up because I can have a variety of muffins in very little time. Paula asked me if these freeze well...the answer is yes they do!!  I allow them to cool completely and then stick them in a ziploc gallon size freezer bag and stash away in the freezer. Something else that I have done is take the time to individually wrap the muffins and then stick in the ziploc freezer bag so it is just an easy pull for sticking in a "on-the-go lunch". 

3 C whole wheat flour
2 1/3 flour
3 C oats (quick or whole)
8 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
3 C milk (I sub water often)
1 C oil
1 1/3 white or brown sugar

Add-in options:

Chopped apple
Chocolate chips
Dried fruit
Chunk of cream cheese in each
Dollop of jelly in the middle

Bake at 400 for 20 min or until golden.

For other tempting tummy recipes and more; head over to Blessed with Grace!
For other kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes! This post is also linked at Blissfully Domestic