Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Like chicken tonight!  I picked up marked down chicken breasts at Target with a sell by date of tomorrow.  I'll definitely be cooking some up tonight and putting some in the freezer.  It took off a little under 40% off the ticket price.  Of course, I had to pick up some blackeye peas for tomorrow.  It seems like Christmas clearance at Walmart (non-food) is at 75% now, but candy is still 50%.  I still picked up a few more candy items because I love Butterfingers.  :)

What'd I pick up:

  • 38 oz (2 lb 6 oz) chicken breasts @ $3.19 or $0.08 cents an ounce ($1.34/lb), after store discount and gift card
  • can of blackeye peas, $0.09 after overage from another product
  • 3 bags of Nestle Butterfinger Jingles, $0.57 per bag after coupon
Rolling total to date: $37.76

So almost through week three and I think I have a pretty good amount of food to take me into week 4 with all the chicken.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Clearance

Ohhh, I can't tell you how difficult it's been to not stock up on candy during the Christmas clearance while on this $10 challenge.  I would normally buy about a half dozen bags to take me to Easter.  I held back and only purchased two bags:

  • Hershey's Kisses 8.5 oz 2 bags @ $0.75 each after discount, store and manufacturing coupons
Rolling total to date: $32.76

I guess I can make it work until Valentine's clearance.  :)  P.S. it's make-up clearance time at CVS!!!  Stock up on great items up to 75% off.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stocking up on Cereal

Yesterday I made a few last stops before heading out of town. Albertson's had another sale on Chex cereal.  There are several great coupons out for Chex since it makes a great party food over the holidays.  I'm a huge fan of Chex mix, and especially Muddy Buddies.  Then I went to Walmart to test out price matching.  I called ahead to check and my store said they accept any competitor ad.  Finally, I headed over to Tom Thumb for a great deal on eggs.  I can't wait to get cooking!

What'd I get?

  • 6 boxes of Chex @ $0.83 per box after store savings, coupons, and a discount for bring my own bag
  • 15 oranges @ $1 price matched to an El Rancho ad at Walmart
  • 2 dozen large AA eggs @ $0.88 each after store savings!!!
Rolling total to date: $31.26

I'm excited.  :)  I think they were all awesome deals.  Even though this puts me $1.26 into week four, I've gone through three sales cycles in two weeks.  I think I should be good on cereal for a loooong time.  I can't wait to see what the New Year sales will bring and what great deals are to be had on Christmas clearance.  

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Whew! Made the Week

I made it most of the week without buying anything!  Yay!  I just went today to pick up a pound of baby carrots.  They are probably my favorite veggie next to corn.  I might go pick up some more Chex, oranges and eggs tomorrow.

So how did I do?

  • 1 pound baby carrots @$1 after store savings
Rolling total to date: $23.51

Hopefully all the Christmas leftovers will help keep the budget down.  ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Gift Card Exclusion

In order to make it a bit further with the $100 challenge, I'm excluding the use of gift cards towards the total count.  I have a Starbucks GC I used to buy lunch today and I have a Target GC from a previous deal.

At Target, I bought a frozen turkey breast for @ 99 cents a pound for $5.55.  A great thing about Target is that they will price match other ads for local stores.  You have to bring in the current ad and the price has to be without the use of a loyalty card or other store coupon.  I price matched General Mills cereal from Albertson's for $1.88.  Really this was just so the cost wouldn't go towards my weekly total.  The best part of the trip was a Glade holiday scents deal that Target is running.  Target has a $1.50 off 3 store coupon and is offering a $5 gift card when you buy 5 participating Glade holiday scents.  One of the products is "Holiday Scents" twin oil refills for $2.50 which also happens to have a $2 printable coupon online.  Printable coupons are usually limited to two prints per computer.  I happen to have access to three computers so I was able to get 5 of the $2 coupons and the $1.50 coupon.  I paid $1 to take all those refills (with warmers!) and got a $5 gift card back, making it a $4 money maker for me.  I did have one issue where it didn't want to accept one of the coupons, but the lovely cashier put it through.

I also made a stop at Albertson's.  They have a 5 cent discount if you bring your own bag (which Target also has but I forgot to ask for it).  That's free money!  I've read their policy currently doesn't allow coupons to give you an overage, but that they may be changing that policy in the future.  I also thought they didn't allow printable coupons over 75% of the value of a product, but I will need to check that.  My area currently has new Ozarka sparkling 1 liter bottle printable coupons for $1 off.  Albertson's has them regularly for $1.19 with an in store coupon of $1 off (which I couldn't find).  Now if they did accept the printable coupon as well then that would provide an overage or at least make them free.  I might try it out later and see what happens.

I paid out of pocket for Albertson's, so what did I add?

  • General Mills Chex cereal 2 boxes (12-14 oz) @ $0.89 each after store savings and coupons
  • Dole cans of mixed fruit 2 @ $0.50 each after store savings and coupons
  • Blue Bell half gallon ice cream (I know it's another luxury but this rarely goes on sale) $2.77 after store savings and coupon (which you can get by joining the Blue Bell club!)
Rolling total to date: $22.51

I'm now $2.51 into my week three budget and technically haven't gotten out of week one.  Yikes!  I should be done shopping until the next cycle of circulars.  I think I'm always going to be a week ahead since I started on the last day of a cycle and did my purchases on that day.  I think I can still make it though, it's just an extra challenge.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions

Our grocery stores follow a Wednesday to Tuesday advertising week.  So even though it's only three days later, I'm already on my second week's store circular.  Most circulars here have special deals on weekends (Friday through Sunday) therefore I'm shopping on my second week's budget.  I'm hoping after I shop this weekend I won't go again until next weekend...or probably later considering it will be Christmas.  I'm afraid I might blow my budget on after-holiday sales.

But onto the point!  Don't be afraid to ask questions...just make sure you are polite and calm.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  I still remember a woman screaming at an employee that she couldn't find any pumpkin spice and couldn't believe they were out.  I don't know about you, but I've never found myself wanting to help someone when I'm being yelled at.

I took a trip to Tom Thumb tonight to catch a couple deals I thought were pretty good.  Oreos were advertised as $1.99 for today only.  Now for a $10 budget, those Oreos are a luxury and I really don't need them...but I love Oreos.  In reality, I know I can afford it so got them anyways.  I may regret it later because I have no milk to dunk them in.  When they rang up I saw the retail price of $4.79 (almost $5 can you believe it!?!) with a $1.79 discount.  That makes them $3 - which is not the advertised price.  So I stopped and asked, "Isn't it supposed to be $1.99?" and showed the cashier the ad.  She pointed out another discount after other items had rung up for -$1.01 making it $1.99.  She wasn't angry and didn't roll her eyes.  It's was a valid question and I had every right to stop the transaction and make sure it was correct.  I still feel anxiety about doing this.  There are people in line behind me and I don't want to look stupid.  I just have to work on getting past it.

Now the second part; Sister Shubert rolls.  The circular advertised a special coupon for them for $1.99, limit 4.  I only bought two and handed over two $0.50 coupons.  In my area, Tom Thumb doubles up to 50 cents, so my understanding is that both should double.  I saw one double and figured the other one would too.  I made it out to my car and checked the receipt.  I had a nagging feeling it was too high, but I needed a moment to figure out the different discounts applied.  There it coupon hadn't doubled.  Now normally I would let it go.  I was already in my car and it was just 50 cents, but on a $10 budget that is 5% of my budget.  If you normally have a $100 a week budget, you'd probably go back if you noticed an extra $5 charge.  You'd probably pick up a $5 bill off the street...maybe even the 50 cents.  It adds up. $5 a week for 52 weeks...that's $260 a year.  You could take a weekend trip for that!

So where am I at?  Add:

  • Nabisco Oreos $1.99 per package after store savings
  • Sister Shubert Parkerhouse rolls 2 @ $0.99 each after store savings and coupons
Rolling total to date: $17.01

That gives me just under $3 left for the rest of my week 2 shopping.  So what did I do about the missed discount?  I went to customer service and politely pointed out it hadn't doubled.  The representative was excellent; checked my receipt and refunded my 50 cents.  Thank you, Tom Thumb.  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

$100 Grocery Challenge

I've been an on-again off-again couponer for a while now.  I'm certainly not at the level of those on Extreme Couponing, but I still love getting a deal.  After watching a few episodes, I've come up with a new challenge for myself.  My goal is spend no more than $100 over a ten week period (so $10 a week) for groceries while growing my stockpile.  I feel like I cheated a little since I just went shopping and my fridge isn't completely empty.  ;)  I'm allowed to use my pantry/stockpile for meals.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it, because I have a few bad milk and fruit and chocolate.  I'll confess that at one point I was spending $100 a week (yes, a week!) just on groceries for myself from my favorite store, Central Market.  I'm not at that level any more, but I'm not excluding them from my stops because they do have some good deals, and (I think) better products.  I'm also allowed one lunch meal out a week with my coworkers.  It's a spoken rule that we must do this at least once a week or we are not good team members.

Start date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spending for the week starting 12/13/11:

  • Asian pear $0.99 for 1 at $1/lb (it's a pretty huge pear)
  • Lean Cuisine Market Creations $2 after Cartbuster savings and coupon
  • Starkist Tuna pouch $0.50 after savings and coupon
  • Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (17 oz) 2@1.59 each after savings and coupon
  • Bird's Eye Steamfresh veggies (small bags) 2 @  $0.50 each after savings and coupon
  • Lean Pockets 4 @ 1.39 each (with in store coupon)
Total to date: $13.04

Okay, I'm already over my goal.  :(  I think I should be good for the rest of the week unless some can't miss deal comes along.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apple Ipod Nano

Apple has sent out a recall for 1st gen Ipod nanos.  I love my nano because I can use it at work without having to download iTunes on my work computer and it keeps me sane in the gym when techno is blaring.  I'm a little anxious about the number of weeks I'll be without my little music box...and what exactly I'll be getting back.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Girl Gone Lawn

I have the Black & Decker NST2018 18-volt cordless electric "Grass Hog" trimmer/edger...and I love it!

I first bought this about four years ago and it's still going strong.  Growing up, my mom did most of the yard work and we would help out with the mowing.  Fast forward a few years (not too many!) and now I have my own home with a yard to maintain.

With no prior experience with any lawn equipment other than a mower and manual tools, I was pretty overwhelmed by the options.  I barely knew how to maintain a lawn mower so I wanted something easy to use.  The Grass Hog is definitely that!  Since it first came out, Black & Decker has come out with new and improved models, but mine still works like new.  I don't have much to compare it to since I've never owned anything else, but from what I've seen, it is a winner.

One friend of mine was pulling out his gas powered edger and started spilling gas all over the place.  I don't know about you, but with gas prices soaring, I'm glad I don't have another "mouth" to feed.  Another benefit it that this is two tools in one.  The handle rotates so you can use it to edge (which I mainly use it for) or to trim.  The batteries say it takes 6 - 8 hours to charge.  If it's been dormant a season though, the power will have completely drained and will take more like 24 hours.  My model came with two batteries so I could charge one while using the other.  With a full charge, I think the batteries last 30 to 45 minutes.  It's been a while since I've used it so much at one time though.  You'll know when it's losing power because the grass looks like it's getting a beat down rather than getting cut.  From what I recall, the batteries are supposed to be interchangeable with other products in the line.  It's really portable and lightweight which makes it easier to maneuver...and no power cords to trip on or accidentally cut!  The power is awesome as well.  It cuts through grass like butter and because it's so lightweight, I can easily get it into little cracks and crevices.  And I've yet to have to change the reel line!

If I could change anything (and maybe it's different on the newer models) I would make the handle fit into grooves on the shaft to make it more stable.  I'm too lazy to tighten it down each time I want to change the position.  Don't let that put you off though, this is worth the money.  I would buy it again in a heartbeat and suggest it to all my friends and family.  In fact, I'd love to expand into the rest of the electric line with the hedge trimmer.  I find the work less of a hassle now (actually kinda relaxing) than I did way back when elbow grease and spades were the way to go.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Target Trip - Saved a lot, but spent too much

It was actually a decent trip.  I didn't have too much on the list, but the store is very close to work so I don't mind the extra mile it tags on.

Tonight's list:

1. Neutrogena Natural Lip Balm $2.99

  • $1/1 coupon on Target's website and if you were lucky enough to snatch the beauty bag sample kit, it's in the coupon booklet
  • Also, supposed to be a $1/1 Neutrogena Lip or Eye Makeup in the 3/27 Smart Source insert, but I cannot find it in mine (although I did find a $3/1 Neutrogena makeup in there - hopefully it works)
2. Reynolds Slow Cook Liners
  • There's a $1/1 online printable
3. M&Ms Filled Egg
  • $2/2 M&M's in April's All You
4. Zyrtec (5 count)
  • $4 Target coupon
  • $2 Zyrtec online printable (also saw peelies on some products)
What really happened?  I couldn't find the Neutrogena Lip Balm, but got the other three items.  I also took my own bag so I got a 5 cent discount.  I might stop at another Target to find the Neutrogena and check out the Purex (snagged the $2 off Purex with Zout coupon) if it's on the way on my weekend shopping trip.

Final total?  Saved $9.24...actually $9.19 because I should have been given 5 cents but it was late and the cashiers were in a hurry so I ended up paying a nickel.  If you do the same trip without the bag then it would be a clear no money due.

If you're curious about where to find match-ups and coupons, I usually use and  They both do a great job getting the best deals out there.

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Work has been pretty hectic the last few months (as you can see by my lack of posts), but I plan on making a comeback!  There are just so many things I'd like to get accomplished: work on the house, spend time with friends and family, cook more at home, and the list goes on.  I'll do my best to get something new up this by this weekend.