Saving on Saturday

I was really hoping to find some awesome after Christmas sale this year. I usually buy items for the gift drawer in addition to some new Christmas décor.   I will admit that I am disappointed, in fact the best sale I found were at Lowes and Harris Teeter.  We headed to Lowes the day after Christmas basically to have something to do. I was surprised to learn that all Christmas was at 75% off and even more surprised at how little was left out. I did find and purchase my favorite item.

It was the display so I was offered an additional 10% discount. I had to wait patiently for around 10 minutes to claim it but ended up paying $20 for this awesome light! Even better, I used a Lowes gift card earned from Swagbucks really it was a nice freebie!

My other find was a jingle bell wreath holder for $1.50 at Harris Teeter. I did buy some gift tags, a couple of table cloths and platters but that was it for sales.  I may try to go to Dollar General and Walmart again next Saturday (5th) to see if they have better deals I can not resist.

Food!

If you have been at our house or read a couple of blog posts you realize that food is our biggest expense except for the mortgage. It also requires the most time and effort. I honestly don’t mind cooking if and when I have the time. But here is the real confusion, I enjoy and prefer to eat out. Life and our budget tell me that this is not a reality so back to cooking I go.  The balance of having enough easy simple meals for school days and cooking ahead is hard to achieve.

During the recent snow, I cooked only two meals a day and we enjoyed left-overs the third meal and even had some for the next week. Last week, we enjoyed quick simple meals Monday- Thursday.  I decided on Friday two separate very different things, first- I wanted Seafood, specifically flounder and shrimp for dinner and second- I need to stretch and make a plan for food so we did not waste  any food over the Christmas break. The good news is that so far it has been working! I thought I would share a recap and part of the current plan.

Friday night- Flounder and shrimp. The local seafood place has a special for 24 pieces of flounder, 6 baked potatoes and cole slaw for $22.95, I also added 2 plates of popcorn shrimp to bring my total to $45.00.  This was ALOT of food especially for the cost and actually around the same as we spend for Chinese. I knew I wanted to save the baked potatoes for a second meal, so I split one for the kids that wanted it. On Saturday, I used the baked potatoes for twice baked potatoes, which became our Sunday lunch. We also had left-overs on Saturday at dinner as well. I know we have at least a fourth meal from this so I am very pleased to stretch $45 into four meals at around $10 each!

Saturday- For breakfast- I used some cinnamon raisin bread that Amanda had brought over to make French toast this was a HUGE hit with only 1 piece left.  Lunch was a special treat of McDonalds.  I used the app and we brought it home for drinks. Total spent was $15.  Dinner was left-overs see above.

Sunday-  I really try to make this as much of a day of rest as possible. This week to avoid going out after church, I placed the twice baked potatoes in the oven and they cooked while we were at church.  I actually planned ahead for dinner as well. Saturday night we cooked up 2 pounds of ground beef and chopped up the ingredients for Pasta Faggioli soup. Everything was placed in the crock pot in the fridge so we move it out and turned on before heading to church for our special breakfast. The soup ended up much better than anticipated, we made up 4 lunch containers and froze for January in addition to a small container of left-overs for this week.

Monday- I had left-over gravy in the fridge and decided to make breakfast bowls. We used a pound of sausage, 12 eggs, green peppers that were frozen from the garden and onions. I fried 6 hash browns to complete breakfast. The remaining egg mixture will be rolled into burritos and frozen for a quick breakfast during school. We should have an addition 6 breakfast burritos. Lunch is left-overs, I plan on a flounder-cheese sandwich. Dinner is BBQ at my mothers!

CVS Saving

This year has been a struggle on many fronts. I am also going to admit that I have fallen off the wagon and stop doing several things that help keep us on track. One of those is shopping at CVS regularly. I could not honestly tell you the last time I went to CVS or the last time I planned a CVS trip.  So now that I have admitted that, I am going to work on getting “back in the swing of things”   Luckily our stash has been a very positive thing and I have used a lot of items instead of buying. Matt did let me know that he was down to his last stick of deodorant and I actually opened our last bottle of shampoo this week. Although this does not put me in panic mode, I knew I need to start CVSing again.

I did not take any coupons with me to the store, only used the coupons that printed from the “red box”.  I was aware that shampoo was on sale but not deodorant. My first stop is always the “red box”  Let me tell you this trip was gold.  Lily was shopping for some make up so as I was wondering around I discovered the awesome deodorant deal.  I completed 3 transactions to make the most of my money. Lily did the first transaction and used a $6 coupon that had printed. She earned 5 ECB and I was able to use those.

My transaction #1 2 bottles of ELVIVE shampoo on sale 2 for $8, used 2 off 2 that printed and Lily’s 5 ECB Total $1.56 for 91% savings. Earned 4 ECB back

My transaction #2 2 sticks of Speed Stick Men’s deodorant and antiperspirant on sale for 2 for $5. Used $1 off any deodorant that printed and 4 ECB from first transaction. Paid twenty-eight cent for 100% savings.  Earned 2 ECB back

My transaction #3 4 full size piece of candy, used Buy 3 get one free and $0.75 off coupon that printed, 2 ECB from previous transaction paid $1.31

Total paid for 2 bottles of shampoo, 2 sticks of deodorant and 4 pieces of candy $3.41

Yeap this is a win!

Monday Menu Plan

This is most likely my last menu post for 2018. I will be home on school break from December 23rd until January 2nd. I am hoping for a lot of less stressful/ busy days. I also want to continue the word of the week LEFTOVERS!  I will adjust each day to maximize the food we have and also not overwhelm with the same food items each day.

Did I mention left-overs? We will have BBQ on Christmas Eve at my mother’s and a huge meal on December 30th.

Left-overs- During the snow last week, my compromise was that I would cook only two meals a day. This seemed to work well but also has left my refrigerator full. I ended up only cooking one meal a day on Saturday and Sunday but still we have left-overs.

The plan for this week is really simple and easy.

Breakfast- Saturday- Grits and Bacon Sunday-Sausage cresant casserole left-overs or bagels. Monday- Sausage and egg on bread (some had croissants, some biscuits) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday- Choice of any available left-overs, oatmeal, poptarts, grits, cereal, toast or eggos waffles.
Lunch-Saturday-Left-overs  Sunday-Left-overs. Lunches are packed for the week and included salad, soup and chicken nuggets.
Dinner – Saturday-Leftovers, Sunday- Chinese  , Monday-Sloppy Joes and French Fries Tuesday-  soft tacos and or nachos. Wednesday- Chicken Fried Rice, Thursday- Salisbury Steak, rice and vegetable.  Friday- Famous Left-overs.

Shutterfly Success

To be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with Shutterfly. I LOVE pictures and I LOVE products made out of pictures. Shipping cost is the problem with Shutterfly. I should not have to paid $7.99 shipping  for a book that cost me $15.99 to make.  I knew I wanted to get a couple of books made, a couple of calendars and of course some prints made from our family photo session last week.  So off to Shutterfly I go. I am so excited and pleased that I was able to get free shipping! The code is SHIP49.  I also had a “free” book code from Coke rewards that I had stored on the account.  Their current sale of half off books also made this a much better deal.  I was able to purchase a total of 3 books, 8×8 size, and 2 11×14 prints and 1 8×10 print for a total including shipping of $53! Two of the books were of this handsome guy!And the third was a book of the best pictures of our family session. Including this one

I am hopeful to be able to get a couple of calendars made in the next couple of weeks!

Stock Up Prices and Saving at Harris Teeter

Unfortunately, we do not have a Harris Teeter in Lexington. I LOVE the deal they offer but usually miss several due to the travel that is involved in getting to the store. So one of the adventures we had this week during our snow break was a trip to Harris Teeter. I was excited to see that several items they offered on sale this week were at or below my stock up price.

#1- Flour- Stock up price is $1 or less per 4 lb. bag. Gold Medal flour was on sale for $1.47 a bag with Ibotta coupon of 50 cent per bag. The Ibotta limit was two so that is what I purchased. This is also my stock up price for sugar. Sugar was also on sale but did not have a rebate.

#2 Yogurt- Stock up price is 25 cent per container. Yoplait yogurt was on sale for $0.37 a container with a coupon for fifty cent off 5 containers which doubled to $1 off 5 containers.  Finally price seventeen cent per container. We purchased 10 containers at this price since we only had enough coupons for 10.

#3 Canned Vegetables- Stock up price is thirty seven cents per can.  We can purchase at Aldi for forty cent a can on a regular bases. The limit was 18 cans so I purchased 18 cans and my mother purchased an additional 18 cans.  Soups are usually way more expensive.

#4 Canned milk- Stock up price seventy seven cent a can. I usually do not buy this but I have found several  recipes that we want to find that use this so I went ahead and purchased the limit of four.

#5 Frozen vegetables- Stock up prices is less than $1 a bag. Green giant were on sale for seventy-seven cent a box. I am estimating that it will take 2 boxes for us to use as a meal. I purchased my limit of 10 and 8 on Mom’s card because she wanted the other two.

#6 12 packs of Soda- Stock up prices is $2.50 a case for name brand meaning coke or Pepsi.

#7 2 liter soda bottles- Stock up price for name brand $1 or less a bottle and for store brands seventy-five cent a bottle.

#8 Cereal- Stock up price $1 or less a box.

#9 Soup- Stock up prices is seventy cent a can for Campbells Tomato soup and fifty cent or less a can for other varieties of tomato, chicken noodle or cream of soups. Stock up price for Progresso or Chunky soups are $1 a can. These cans will make a hearty meal with little trouble so the expense is worth it.

#10 Ketchup or Mustard- Stock up price is fifty cent a container. I usually purchase 10-12 of these at a time at this price.

 

This trip to Harris Teeter ended up with 50% saving which I am very happy with. I also found it very interesting that I have saved $1070.78 this year!

Not so Wordless Wednesday

This past Saturday prior to the huge, historical, massive snow storm we had family pictures done. I scheduled these several weeks ago. Here are some of the tips I have learned and a peek at some of the pictures.

#1 I have learned over the years that we need to have these done at home or someone’s house we know to save stress and headache. We had an awesome photographer who was as happy as we were to do pictures inside and outside the house.

#2 Prepare food that can be eaten the entire time, no one makes good pictures when you are hungry.#3 Coordinating outfits make awesome pictures. I was luck enough to find us all coordination outfits at Old Navy this year. Unfortunately, Zach decided he did not like the “feel” of his matching shirt but I also had matching ties for him and Braxton which he liked better.

#4 Some times you need causal pictures just to keep it real

#5 Christmas pajamas are a must

#6 Babies make awesome pictures when they are asleep

#7 Black and white pictures make me look better

And finally this is my absolute favorite picture so far

Monday Menu Planning 12/10/2018

From the weather forecast of last week, I knew that I need to plan on all of us being home this week, which means extra sweets and treats needed. Amanda is also staying with us during the snow. I made a trip to Walmart on Thursday night and purchased all the things I thought we would need. So far after 3 full days at home we are still doing really well. My best guess is that the kids will be out of school all week. I will have a workday on Friday or maybe both Thursday and Friday.  My goal is to make a  batch and have some left-overs to use again.  Soup is always a big hit on these cold snowy days.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes and Sausage balls   Sunday-Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuits, Monday- Gravy and biscuits,  Tuesday- Sausage crescent rolls and left-over pancakes, Wednesday- Waffles, Thursday- Muffins  and Friday- Choice of any available left-overs oatmeal, grits cereal, toast or eggos waffles.
Lunch-Saturday-Sausage dip, taco dip, Crock Pot wieness, with fruit and vegetable trays.   Sunday-Chicken and Rice .  Monday and Tuesday- Sandwich or choice of Left-overs. Wednesday- Mac and cheese or pasta, Thursday Sandwich or left-overs, Friday- Soup of choice 
Dinner – Saturday-Leftovers, kids had pizza at church. Sunday- Left-overs from Olive Garden,  Monday-Stuffed Green Pepper Soup Tuesday- Country Style steak, fried squash and green beans Wednesday-Instapot Potato Soup  , Thursday- Beef and Broccli in the crockpot Friday-Pizza.