Tuesday, March 31, 2009

busy, busy, busy...

Well, I haven't been doing much blogging lately. I have been reading...just not much writing. It is just so busy around here. My job has gotten pretty hectic after I was told that I would have to meet a certain amount of hours to keep the job due to cutbacks. So...I am just trying to make up hours so I can keep working. Because of that it's a little crazy around here! Busy, busy, busy... I have a pretty well stocked freezer right now so I am planning on staying out of the grocery store for a while and just living on what we've got. Shouldn't be too hard...should also save me some money. Except for milk and fresh fruit we should need NOTHING around here for at least two weeks. So...that is the goal I am setting for myself...no big shopping trips for two weeks! I may have to send my husband into Kroger for Milk and veggie/fruit runs since it's so hard for me to not spend money on all of the good deals that I can usually find!! It's kind of hard for my husband too so maybe I should come up with a better plan. I am hoping that the sales papers aren't too good this week so I won't be tempted to do more stock piling!!! I know...It's become an addiction for me! I can't help it...I just love getting good deals! Anyone out there find any really good deals on Easter Candy? I will also be doing that shopping this week. My husband and I got our income tax money back and we are now officially DEBT FREE!!! Yeah!! Now we are just working on getting our Emergency Fund fully funded...hence the need to keep my part time job! It's very exciting to be on such a good financial path! It all seems to be falling into place for us...Now, if I can just stay out of Kroger for the next two weeks...Argghh...so hard!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My frugal friends

Thank you to my frugal girlfriends (you know who you are!) for making today fun! We had our first monthly meeting of the...OH SHOOT! I CAN'T remember our name! Well, it was great anyways...It was fun sharing tips about how we save money and just sharing our excitement for being frugal mommas. I had no idea a "support group" could be so much fun!
If you are out there and you haven't tried forming a little group yet...you should definitely try it! This really works for me!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just one of those weeks!

You know what I am talking about right? Have you ever had "just one of those weeks!" Sometimes it's just one of those days. But this week for me...it's been "just one of those weeks!" You know the week I am talking about. The one where you feel like you are chasing your tail. The one where you just can't get ahead. The one where you clean the kitchen and you have a total of TWO milk spills in one meal. You know the one right? It's been one of those weeks for me! Just a little story to summarize what I mean. I finally had the chance in between services this week to clean out my bible. Yes, I said clean out my bible! Included in it were about 3 months of weekly bulletins, notes and agenda from last month's MOPS, meeting, MOPS budget, paper hand outs from Wednesday night class...etc. Every time I open the bible they spill out and I promptly pick them up and stuff them back in. Well, this time I am going to look at the mess and throw them out. I proceed to hand my husband an arm's full of papers to throw out which he lovingly does for me! Great!! Something accomplished. The class goes well, we leave and get all kids buckled into the car and start to driving!! My sweet boy who is learning to read starts reading something for me. How intellegent I think to myself. I look in the rear view mirror and ask my boy what he's reading (it's the words of Jesus from the bible class on Wedneday nights isn't it?) SURE ENOUGH! My little garbage picker decided to take all of that previously mentioned garbage out of the can and take along with him!! I yell, "WHY?? Why did you take that garbage out of the can???" He has no idea Daddy was the one who put it there and says "I want to draw on it. Plus, did you know mom that my name is all over one of these papers?!" Yep, I know! Ugghhhhh...It's just one of those weeks in summary!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frugal Friday Recipe Swap

I found a recipe this week that EVERYONE in my family loved...Yes, I said everyone. Even my pickiest little eater (some of you may know who I am talking about!) ate this meal. I was so excited about that. The best thing about it was that is was cheap, super easy, and the meat wasn't dry (not that I am admitting that I may have a dry meat issue with my cooking :)!) So, I had to share it! I purchased the pork loin at Kroger a couple of weeks ago that was on sale for $1.87/lb. It was the family sized one and I had them cut it into 4-3lb roasts. I have a crock pot that I love but for some reason it refuses to cook SLOW so the first time I used the pork roast (for barbecue pork sandwiches) it did come out a little dry! Bummer. So this time I wanted to try something different. I am definitely not much of a recipe follower so I decided to just try using what I had in the pantry. I wish I had a picture of the meal but it got eaten so fast there was just no time. So instead I will just give you the recipe that I used. Crock Pot Pork Roast


3lb pork loin roast 1lb bag of baby carrots

5 med-small potatos

1 can mushroom soup

1 can full of water

1 packet onion soup mix


garlic powder

DIRECTIONS Place carrots in bottom of crock pot. Season pork roast. We like lots of garlic around here. Place pork roast on top of carrots. Add can of cream soup and can of water. Sprinkle onion soup mix on top of all. Cook for 4 hours on low. After 4 hours add potatoes and cook for two more hours. I know this is a simple and basic recipe. But this really worked for us. I fed my family of five and my Mom and Dad who were visiting. Plus, my husband took the leftovers for lunch. My picky eater ate every last bite and even said to me, "Mom, I actually really like this!" Ahh....music to a Mama's ears! Please check out the Grocery Cart Recipe Challenge for some more awesome recipe ideas. Also check out Ann Kroeker's blog HERE for Food on Friday fun! Since this meal cost me less than $7 to make and we got 8 meals out of it that makes this a SUPER FRUGAL recipe. Go to Frugal Fridays hosted by Life as a Mom for more frugal ideas!

Kroger Deals!

I did my Kroger shopping this week and OH BOY did I score on this trip! The Mega Event this week at Kroger is absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe what I brought home! I am so excited about this shopping trip that I will be able to pretty much stay out of the grocery stores for the next two weeks (I have my meals planned till the end of March now!) except for milk and fresh veggies/fruit trips! Since you are only allowed three $5 savings per transactions the Kroger Cashier was super nice and rang up my groceries in two separate sales. Unfortunately I got a little mixed up with the coupons and what was going with which transaction and a couple of coupons got missed. But, I can use those next time. That is definitely something I am working on is trying to stay more organized at the grocery store and being able to manage all of the coupons and sale prices in my brain! I am definitely a work in progress! So with my six mega sale savings I saved $30. Can you believe that?! Awesome...You gotta love Kroger! That doesn't even include the massive coupon savings I added up. Here is a picture of my loot. I combined both transactions for the picture because there was so much stuff that it was just easier. It's just a little hard to see everything. So here is all that I got!

I saved 63% on one transaction and 65% on the other! I was especially excited about the laundrey detergent that I stocked up on for $1.80 a piece! Pluse, not sure if you can see it in the picture but I got enough toothpaste and tooth brushes to last us a year (for .25 cents each!) I saved a total of $67.75 in coupons alone. I used to spend that much in ONE shopping trip a week (and I always had to make several more after that!) You can't see it in this picture but I also stocked up on chicken breast since my hubby just bought me a brand new (well...new to ME!) FREEZER. What a sweet man! Mommy is in stockpiling, money saving heaven this week! So here is the most exciting number...drum roll please...my total dollar savings this week...$195.59!!!!! WHAT????? Woooo, hooooooo!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eating out for Cheap!

Hey everybody! I thought I would pass along a great deal that I have found and been using for the last month or so. Go check out restaurant.com for awesome deals on cheap gift certificates for eating out! Chris and I have used them for our last two date nights and really saved a bundle!

There's an 80% off promo going on right now where you can get a $25 gift certificate for only $2-$3! You do have to spend up to a certain amount at the time so make sure you read all of the qualifiers before you make your purchase. The discount code for the 80% off is MENU!! You can pay with paypal so it's super easy! Check it out!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Frugal Friday! Beans and Rice

It's that time of week again...It's Frugal Friday! Check it out at Biblical Womanhood for some more Frugal Friday fun.
So I was talking with a friend this week about my bean cooking post from a couple of weeks ago. What have I done with those beans? What do you do with that many beans? I have to admit that I am not much of a recipe kind of girl! I do a lot of things by the seat of my pants in the kitchen. This can be good and this can be bad. Especially when someone asks you to pass along a recipe...not so easy! We have all heard about going on a beans and rice diet to save some money but what exactly has that looked like for us. I thought I would share something that I have made this past month with those "Oh so cheap" beans I cooked up. I will admit that I am a soup fanatic! As a matter of fact my sweet 4 year old asked me today "Mommy can we have something else besides soup for lunch today!?" I love it! I love everything about soup really. It's comfort food (not as fattening as chocolate), it's cheap, you can make pretty big batches of it AND it freezes well! Gotta love that right? I found a recipe for Chicken tortilla soup. But of course I couldn't follow the recipe because I had to make due with what I had in the house. Not to mention I like to "create" yummy soup...it's like an art really! It was delicious of course and the best part is that my husband loved it! YEAH! Can't beat that! So I am going to try to document this recipe here and hope that I get it all just right!
Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup
2cups precooked and chopped chicken 1 can rotel (I have also used 1 can of diced tomato and a can of green chili 1 cup salsa verde (I actually have this in my fridge!) 1 cup frozen corn 3 carrots 3 celery stalks 6 corn tortillas chopped into small pieces 2 cups of water 2 chicken boullion 2 cups of frozen black beans 2 cups frozen garbanzo beans 2 Tablespoons of chili mix (If you don't have this add a T-chili powder and a T-Cumin) Mix it all together and cook for an hour... Top with cheese and sour cream
It's really that easy! And the best part about soup is that you can make due with what you have or what you prefer. I really recommend the corn tortillas...You can get them for super cheap if you have an Aldis close to you. They gave the soup a really nice flavor and thickened up the soup. They will just dissolve as they cook.
What else can you do with beans? Thankfully my husband is a big fan of Mexican. You can add them to just about any mexican recipe. I have also started a "no meat" meal once a week in our house (just to save a little more money) and beans are an excellent replacement. My next meal to cook with them will be enchiladas. The possiblities are endless on a "beans and rice" diet! I could go on forever but...I must POST!
You may also want to check out the Grocery Cart Challenge. Lots of great ideas there too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My new way of thinking!

It's amazing how much my "way of thinking" has changed in the past two months! Has it only been two months? I was really made aware of it today as I walked out of Kroger. Let me explain...
Unfortunately I wasn't able to do my usual coupon clipping/sorting/organizing this week so I feel a little behind with that. But, the bright spot was that it's ok because I am planning on only buying the basics this week (you know...milk, fresh fruit.) YEAH for stockpiling, menu planning and shopping the sales. I have so much right now that I don't need anything really.
Well, tonight is our Blue and Gold (Cub Scouts) Banquet and we are responsible for bringing a dessert and a salad. That shouldn't cost too much right? Well, I was wrong. It was the first time I went into Kroger for two months without a coupon to use for what I needed and without a sure and exact plan. And guess what? It just felt..."wrong."
I ended up spending $35.41!! Yes, I know it to the exact penny. I never would have remember that previous to the start of my frugal journey. I would have spent that money and not really even thought twice about it! So as I watched the numbers going up I started feeling sick~! Thirty five dollars????!!
This was just a great reminder of how important what I am doing is for my family, for our budget, for our life style. Also a good reminder that I need to stockpile on some cake mixes!! But, this was also a good reminder to myself that I am really doing a great job with our budget lately! I really am. So I didn't save like I would have liked to this week...that's ok because in the past I would have had to spend the rest of my budget on groceries so we could eat this week. Did I mention I did find some good managers mark downs? Found some verde enchilada sauce marked down because the cans were bent! You gotta love that. I guess we will be eating enchiladas and some of those awesome BLACK BEANS I cooked up from scratch and put in the freezer a few weeks ago!
I guess the whole point of my writing today is to say...it's ok if you have a week where you have to buy some things that you aren't getting for a "steal!" Especially when you have done so well the whole month before. It all adds up!
Have I mentioned how much money I have saved since mid January?
Drum roll please....
I saved $420 in CASH in an envelope
and I paid $452 on a credit card in FEBRUARY!
Can I hear a whoot whoot!
Not to mention all of the savings on coupons and sales and the fact that my fridge and freezer are stocked FULL of food!
I love my new "way of thinking!"