Monday, June 30, 2008

June Freebies

Here is everything I got FREE during the month of June (I explain each category in a previous post. Click here to read about it.)

Publix Mystery Coupons:
12-oz pkg American cheese singles
two 4-roll pkgs TP
2 bags ginger snaps
apple juice
Duncan Hines brownie mix
tortilla chips
CVS Extracare Bucks with Sales & Coupons:
8 Oral B Crossaction toothbrushes
Colgate toothpaste
Crest toothpaste
2 bottles Listerine Smart Rinse
3 boxes bandages
2 tubes Lypsyl lip balm (raincheck)
2 4"x6" custom photo books
2 bottles Dove shampoo
2 bottles Dove body wash
Schick Quattro Titanium razor
Right Guard deodorant
Off insect repellent
Swiffer sweeper
Swiffer dry sweeping cloths
Atkins bar
drawstring kitchen trash bags
a ream of copy paper
Wite-Out pen with bonus Bic pen
2-pk black gel pens
another folding camp chair ("Quad" chair)
Playtex sippy cup

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:
Target microwave popcorn
2 bags Werther's candies
Honey Bunches of Oats
Vlassic relish
travel size baby shampoo
travel size Tylenol
small pkg Kotex
2 bottles travel size All Small & Mighty
Jergens lotion
2-oz bottle Purell hand sanitizer
1 box Bandaids
7 cans Muir Glen tomato paste
6 boxes Barilla pasta (moneymaker)
Edge shave gel
metallic gold scrapbook pen

Full Rebates:

Theragran M vitamins

92 4x6 photos
1 5x7 print
reusable shopping bag
grill spray
Quaker's granola bar sample
Country Home magazine
Dove shampoo and conditioner samples
Playtex Sport sample
Nivea body creme sample
Aveeno sample

Given to Me:
chili peppers
Colgate toothbrush
Crest toothpaste sample
A LOT of split firewood from neighbor's tree

Monday, June 23, 2008

Publix Deals

I was happy to see that the Publix BOGO deals this week matched up well with coupons in my organizer. I stopped at two different stores and here are my deals:
apple juice, mystery coupon item, 1 cent (charity)
Brownie mix, mystery coupon item, 1 cent
4 boxes Barilla pasta, BOGO, 50 cent/2 coupons doubled, net 25 cents a box
2 boxes whole grain Barilla pasta, BOGO, 50 cent coupons doubled, net: earned 40 cents per box
14 Pure Protein bars, sale 99 cents, $1.50/2 coupons, net 25 cents each
2 Starkist tuna 4-packs, BOGO, no coupons, net 74 cents per can
4 French's Worcestershire sauce, $1.29, 35 cent coupons doubled, net: 59 cents
2 Zatarain's rice, BOGO, 75 cent coupons, net: 47 cents each (charity)
Hunt's ketchup, BOGO, 40 cent coupon, net: 48 cents
Buitoni tortellini, $2.99, $1 coupon
Publix cottage cheese, $2.50
fresh fruits and veggies, $8.78
2 beef tip roasts, $14.42
2 $5 off $35 coupons
total before coupons: about $73
total after coupons: $37

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Friday Garage Sales

Garage sale day on Friday: Not many signs were out (too hot?), but three of my four stops were productive. First, just down the street I found two upholstered club chairs, identical in style, but different upholstery. Price? One was free, the other was $5. Yep. 2/$5. But...the upholstery on both is shredded and stained. So the Professor insisted we go look for new fabric at Jo-Ann's yesterday. We ordered some at 50% off. (Photo coming soon)

My second garage sale stop yielded two packages of note cards. We had just run out of thank you cards, and these white ones are NIP. And I'm sure my two daughters will fight over the Flower Fairy note cards. Last stop: a double size quilt and two shams, like new, for $5. The sailboat design caught my eye. As I stood at the table trying to open it out to check the size, another customer stepped over and asked if she could pay me "like, a million dollars" if I would let her buy it. It matched her son's bedroom perfectly, apparently. Notice I didn't bite; the quilt is in my house.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

100 Things You Can Make

Crystal at Money Saving Mom found an interesting blog site listing 100 things we could make ourselves. Crystal asked us to make a list of the things we have made, so here is mine. My parents are great do-it-yourselfers, and I caught the bug early on for trying my hand at assorted odd projects. Many of these homemade things we would never dream of buying already made!

Things I Have Made: 56 of the 100
Barbecue sauce
Ice cream
Maple syrup
Pancake mix
Peanut butter
Potato chips
Pudding pops
Spaghetti sauce
Wedding cake
All purpose household cleaner
Laundry detergent
Rubber stamps
Crossword puzzles
I have also made these: (which are not on the original list)
Alfalfa sprouts
Beef jerky
Italian ice
Jams and fruit butters
Mixes: cake, cookie, seasoning, etc
Whole wheat flour
Tailored man's suit
Smocked clothing
Swim suits
Crib sheets (fitted)
Tote bags
Reflector oven for camp baking
Gift boxes
Board games
Homeschool curriculum
Doll clothes
Stuffed animals
Laundry stain remover

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On the Menu

Extended family stopped by yesterday for an overnight visit. On the menu for our buffet breakfast this morning:
Pumpkin Muffins
Baked Oatmeal
Fruit Salad
Juice and Tea

Monday, June 16, 2008

Publix' Conagra Deal

This evening I did the Conagra deal at Publix. I want to get the $25 Home Depot gift card, so I needed to spend $20 on select Conagra products. I got my total very close: $20.04. And then they took off my coupons which totaled $5. So, spending $15.04 out of pocket, I'll get a $25 gift card to Home Depot. Here's what I bought:
4 cans Chef Boyardee ravioli at $1.33 each, $1/4 coupon
Hunt's ketchup, $1.39
large Peter Pan peanut butter, $3.99, $1 coupon
Gulden's mustard, $1.19
4 cans Van Camp beans at 85 cents each, $1/4 coupon
Heb. National franks, $2.25 (BOGO), $1 coupon
Reddi-Wip, $2.50, $1 coupon

I also took advantage of another deal at Publix. This one is called, "Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free". This week we can buy the national brand grill spray (I hope it works on kitchen pans too because we don't have a grill), mustard, and pickles. Then we get the Publix house brand free on each of those items. It's a great deal for me especially since I needed pickles and mustard anyway.

One more great deal at Publix: I have a stack of $1 off coupons for Muir Glen products. I tried their diced tomatoes at Walmart, but I don't like them. So I tried the tomato paste. It's 99 cents at Publix; with the $1 coupon, I earned 1 cent on each can. I plan to donate them to the food bank.

No photo today because the camera is camping out in the school locker.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kroger Closeouts

Today was a difficult day to shop at Kroger because they are rearranging the store. A million people were running around scraping shelves bare, piling boxes in the aisles, tossing packages in carts, and generally making a huge mess. Paper signs were haphazardly taped up to label the contents of most aisles. But then I discovered the carts. Rows of them lined some aisles, filled with closeout items. European cookies for 50 cents and less. Ice cream for $1.99. Buns and bread. Misc battered packages. Passover supplies (I don't need those, but if you do, run on over to Kroger). Lots of goodies to discover!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Menu Planning

I have a confession: I don't plan my menus. There. The cat is out of the bag. But I have learned that I don't need to plan menus. Why? Because I keep a well stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. All I need is just one inspiration sometime during the day to decide what to make for dinner. The rest of the dinner menu falls into place after that, depending on what we have or what needs to be used, or what "goes with" the main course planned.

Now, my children would argue that the refrigerator is never well stocked, because they usually can't simply reach in and grab some exciting food item, ready to pop in the mouth. They accuse me of buying ingredients, not food. And they are mostly right. But, I tell them, the possibilities are there. Be creative.

Their argument aside, I really do keep a lot of food on hand. I stock up when groceries we use are on sale. I buy in bulk. I refresh the supplies before we are fully out. And, using what we have on hand, I make varied and nutritious meals every day. When I say varied, I mean varied in the outcome, not necessarily varied in the ingredients. For example, I don't buy a big variety of proteins; ground beef and ground turkey, chicken, eggs, beans, and sometimes pork (roast or chops) about covers it here. But there are hundreds of main dishes I can make using one of these proteins as the starting point.

In the pantry, I keep: various flours and sugars, oats, whole wheat berries, pastas of many kinds, rice, taco shells, powdered milk, dry beans, barley, canned tomato products of all kinds, canned beans, corn, and mushrooms, canned tuna, chicken, and roast beef, canned fruits of several kinds, juice sometimes, dried fruit, jams, broths, mushroom soup, tomato soup, canned milk, honey, molasses, nuts, popcorn, graham cracker crumbs, cake mixes, jello and pudding mixes, chocolate for baking, shortening, sprinkles, and a wide variety of condiments, vinegars, oils, and seasonings. Now and then I buy cereal, crackers, chips or granola bars, but only when they are dirt-cheap.

My u-shaped pantry is only 3 ft deep and 5.5 ft wide, but it holds A LOT (the top three shelves don't show in the pictures):In the freezer, I keep: meats (listed above), vegetables without sauce, whole berries, sliced peaches, bread on sale, coconut, nuts, and yeast. Sometimes we also have casseroles, sausage, bagels or English muffins, ice cream, and butter.

The refrigerator usually holds: leftovers, milk, fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, meat to use this week, lemon juice, margarine, corn meal, sourdough starter, ice water, and condiments and dressings.

With such a stock of food on hand, rarely have I had trouble deciding what to make for dinner. So I see no reason to plan menus every week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Frugally Eating Cherries

The other day I bought a special treat for our family: fresh cherries at $3.49 a pound. Ouch! I knew from past experience that some members of the family can inhale the entire bag single-handedly, leaving others in the family with nary a taste of the treat. So I set out to solve the problem, and here is what I came up with:I divided up the bag into four containers, one for each family member. Each lid has one person's name on it. That's their box of cherries, and they are free to eat it as quickly or as slowly as they choose. When their's is gone, it's gone. No raiding of other's allowed.

I didn't think to take a picture at the time I divided them up, but each box was full to the brim. And when I divided the fruit up, I did it exactly equally. I counted out the cherries by ten's until I had just a few left, then I counted them out by one's. It came out with no remainders. Notice the eating pattern seen here; some eat faster and some slower.