Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Favorites- Hotwire

Last week I went on a trip with my husband to Orlando. We've used Hotwire the last two times we've gone a trip, and I got to say I love it.

Hotwire is an interesting site because you can get some really awesome deals if you are willing to "gamble" a little bit. The way Hotwire works is they give you options for flights, cars, hotels, etc., but don't tell you what company it is when you see the price. (Makes sense from a business standpoint. If the hotel/airline was published with the price and everyone knew they could get it for that price they would not pay full price and business would suffer. But the hotel/airline wants to sell rooms/tickets and sometimes the only way to do that is through super steep discounts. Enter Hotwire.)

For example, this last trip we knew we wanted a Hotel near Universal/ International Dr. We narrowed down the options to that. We then knew we wanted a 3 star or higher hotel, so we narrowed it down more. We found a hotel in the area that was $59 and was 4 1/2 stars, which is a great deal. The reviews seemed favorable, so we went for it. You then input your payment info, and voila you get to see the hotel. Our hotel was the Rosen Centre Hotel. We looked around at other travel sites and the hotel's site and found that the room normally runs for $249! That's a savings of 76%! The hotel was also really nice with great amenities. 

If you are willing to be brave, and not know exactly which hotel you will be in when you pay, then try Hotwire. I have to say though, I haven't been disappointed yet.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Publx Trip 10/28/10

I spent $17.28 for $116.55 worth of groceries, saving $99.27 or 85%.

See my original list here.


(2)Bags Purina Puppy Chow because they only had one left, but I got a rain check!
Boxed Stuffing because I could get it cheaper elsewhere
Excedrin because the coupon I had didn't match any of the ones on sale
Nivea because I'll hold out a little longer

Coupons, Coupon Changes, Prices, and Price Changes:
Ronzoni Pasta BOGO $1.71 not $1.79
Muir Glen Pasta Sauce 4/$5
Deli Swiss Cheese- $1.21

It was a great trip! I especially love the savings because there was a lot of healthy/organic foods and pet stuff, as well as free/MM stuff! Here's a list of the freebies/MM:
(6)Muir Glenn Pasta Sauce
(8)Ronzoni Pasta
(2)Cascadian Farms Granola

My favorite cashier even turned her light off while I was in her line. Apparently they almost had a fight at that store recently over someone being impatient with the person using coupons. That's just crazy! I cannot believe  the way some adults act. Sometimes lines move slow, if it bothers you move to another line or just wait patiently. And we as couponers should never be anything, but polite to a rude person behind us. Thankfully the manager at this store is very coupon friendly, and now they turn the light off, which means one less hassle while I'm at the store! But seriously, I still think it is crazy.

Frugality- Saving Time and Money on Thanksgiving

I know it is hard to believe, but we are less than a month away from Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be pretty expensive with the food, decorating, and everything else involved, but it doesn't have to be that way!
  • Shop the Sales- This may seem obvious, but don't forget about it. If you start now, you should be able to find most of the food on your list on sale in the next month. And definitely don't underestimate the week of Thanksgiving for sales.
  • Consider a Potluck- It can be a lot of work cooking for a large gathering of people, so why not consider sharing all the work. You can either assign each person/family a food or have a sign-up (this way you don't end up with everyone bringing mashed potatoes). 
  • Make it Homemade- Many homemade dishes taste better and cost lest. Stuffing is a big one here. You can buy one loaf of bread for $1 or some boxed stuffing for a few dollars. Rolls and pies are also simple to make and taste soooo good.
  • Plan ahead- Many foods can be made ahead and warmed on the day of, so figure out what those might be now. Breads, desserts, and many side dishes can be made a day or even a week ahead. For example, a homemade pie can often be made and then frozen.
  • Use Nature- Don't go buying expensive decorations. If you are fortunate enough to have fall foliage, use it to you advantage. You can make centerpieces, napkin rings, and tons of other decorations using things found outside.
  • Or Use Things You Can Use Later- Pie pumpkins, squash, cinnamon sticks, etc. can make great decorations
  • Or Buy Things You Can Use Every Year- Maybe you love a fall wreath on the door, or a wonderful centerpiece. Find a good sturdy one (or make your own) and use it every year. Remember, check after season clearance sales to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Keep it Simple- Really the best way to save time and money is to not go overboard. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shopping List for 10/27/10

Blue= Manufacturer's Coupon
Green= Publix Coupon
Red= Competitor's Coupon

(2)Bumble Bee Chunk Chicken BOGO $3.49
   -(2)75¢/1 Blinkie
(2)Cascadian Farms Granola Bar BOGO $3.99
   -(2)$1/1 HERE
   -(2)$1/1 from Harvest of Savings Booklet
(4)Ronzoni Healthy Harvest BOGO $1.79
   -(4)$1/1 HERE
(4)Ronzoni Garden Delight BOGO $1.79
   -(4)$1/1 Blinkies
(2) Purina Beggin Strips BOGO $10.99
   -(2)$2/1 Peelie
   -(2)$1/1 Target Printable (no longer available)
(2)Purina Friskies BOGO $3.99
   -(1)$1/1 from 9/12/2010
(2)Irish Spring BOGO $3.99
(3)Lipton Onion Soup 99¢
   -(1)$2/3 Peelie
(1) Excedrin $1.99
   -$1/1 HERE
(3)Purina Puppy Chow $9.99
   -(2)$2/1 HERE
(1)Broccoli 2/$3
(1)Cauliflower 2/$3
(6)Muir Glen Products
   -(4)75¢/1 HERE
   -(2)75¢/1 HERE
   -(3)$1/2 Harvest of Savings Booklet
(4)El Monterey Burritos 2/$6
   -(2)BOGO HERE
Deli Swiss Cheese
   -$1 off Deli Purchase Baby Club Coupon
Box Stuffing
Nivea for Men (maybe)
   $3/1 from 10/17/10 RP

-$5/$50 Purchase GFS Coupon
-(2)$5 Publix G/C from Kellogg's MIR promotion

How Do I Use it? Beans Part II: Types and Uses

There are a ton of beans out there in the world, so this is only a very brief sampling of the kinds that are most popular.

  • Black Turtle- Your typical black beans, a staple of Latin American cooking. Great for beans and rice, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, soups (black bean soup, yum), salads, etc.
  • Black-eyed Peas- Traditionally served with rice and pork (known as the Hoppin' John)
  • Garbanzo- aka chickpeas- Most known for it's use in humus, but you can add cooked chickpeas to salads, soups, and pasta dishes.
  • Great Northern- Great in Italian soups and pasta dishes. Also great with cooked lamb or sausage dishes.
  • Green Split Peas- most used in soups
  • Lima Bean- Combine with corn and green beans for succotash, eat alone as a veggie side dish, or add to soups such as minestrone.
  • Navy Bean- Mainly used in soups and chili and for baked beans.
  • Pinto- used in chilis, or in Mexican cooking. Can be used to make refried beans
  • Red Kidney- used in chilis, marinated salads, and soups. Can also be used to make refried beans or baked beans.
  • Soy Beans- Can be used in many ways, as a meat substitute
  • Cannelini Beans- great for salads and ragouts
The great things about beans is that there are many different kinds with varying flavor, and many, if not all of them, come in a dried variety that is great for food storage.
Join me next week for more on beans!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clever Tricks-Kitchen Substitutions

There's 2 things I hate when I am in the kitchen. 1) Going to make something and realizing I am out of one of the ingredients and 2)Planning to make something and realizing I need to buy something that I am not going to use in anything else. Enter kitchen substitutions, which you may be surprised at things you can substitute. Check out these substitutions, which are only the tip of the iceberg:
  • Oil in Baking- Substitute equal amount of applesauce
  • 1 tsp Baking powder- substitute 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 c. Broth (chicken or beef)- substitute 1 boullion cube dissolved in 1 c water.
  • 1 c. Buttermilk- substitute 1 c yogurt or 1 c milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar (let stand 5 min)
  • 1 c. Cake Flour- 1 c sifted all-purpose flour less 2 tbsp.
  • 1 oz Unsweetened Chocolate- substitute 3 tbsp cocoa plus 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch- substitute 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Sour Cream- substitute equal amount of plain (or greek) yogurt (this works in reverse too)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice- substitute 1/2 tsp vinegar (this works in reverse as well)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste- substitute 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Allspice- substitute 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp ground cloves and pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Instant Coffee (in baking)- substitute 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 c Confectioner's Sugar- substitute 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar plus 3/4 cornstarch finely ground in a blender or food processor
Seriously, I could list tons more of these, but some of it depends on what you are trying to make.

I found a book at the library that would make a wonderful reference to have on hand called The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 6,500 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques. It's a pretty handy book. I actually think I might use some of the Amazon gift cards I have from Swagbucks on it. It has tons of substitutions for all kinds of foods and for kitchen equipment. It also shows you healthier substitutions for foods as well.

If you have an awesome substitution, I'd love to hear it. Please share in the comments below!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has the new ad up, you can find it HERE.

It's looking good so far, can't wait to see the rest of it.

Meal Plan Monday

Monday- Baked Mac and Cheese, Broccoli
Tuesday- Salad
Wednesday- Leftovers/DIY
Thursday- Chicken and Stuffing Bake, Green Beans
Friday-Hamburgers, Tater Tots, and Baked Beans
Saturday- Chili Cook-off at Church
Sunday- Pork Chops, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Apple Sauce, and Peas

Don't forget to link-up!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Publix Trip

(Not Pictured: 1 jar baby food and one Tide Stain Release)
I spent $35.67 for $139.22 worth of groceries, saving $103.55 or 74%!

See my original list here.

(2)Earth's Best Baby Food BOGO 99¢
(2)Uncle Ben's Rice 2/$3
   -(2)$1/1 Blinkie
(2)Tide Stain Release Clearanced $3.49 (Regular price $6.99)
   -$3/1 9/23/10 P&G
   -$3/1 Homemailer

(1) Daisy Sour Cream- I somehow missed it on my list when I was there...

Prices, Price Changes, and Coupon Changes: 
Juicy Juice BOGO $3.59 not $3.29
Fresh Express BOGO $3.69 not $3.99
Cheez-it BOGO $3.99 not $3.29
Playtex Tampons $3.49
Cotonelle Wipes $2.69 (free with coupon)
Advil $4.29 (free with coupon)
Pamper's Wipes $6.99 (free with coupon)
And I changed my Glade $1/2 MFQ to a $3/3 Holiday Scents tearpad MFQ.

My trip was great. I went early Thursday morning and it was nice and empty in the store. Normally, I can't go that early because my daughter is actually a late sleeper, but with my mom here I could go early and without a child. The only down side was they didn't have any of the Glade Holiday scents. I had gone to a different Publix the night before (my mom wanted to get something from the store, and I saw the tearpad there), so I decided to run by that store really quick to get them. I went to check-out at customer service since I knew I had coupon overage, and they didn't want to let me use all the coupons because it would mean they would give me money back (which I knew might be a problem, but figured they would just adjust the one coupon down). I asked they CS person to just adjust the coupon down, so she went into a room to ask a manager who came out and told me I couldn't. I asked again saying that's what they do at other Publix, and she still wasn't budging so I said "this is why I don't shop at this Publix," which was true I had been there in the past and they had been very annoying about coupons. She then explained that she couldn't adjust it down because I had to pay tax and they couldn't tell how much was tax. I said, "it says right here on the screen that the tax is 36¢." Apparently the screen the cashiers see doesn't break down what is tax and what isn't. She finally adjusted the coupon down, and then apologized several times. But I still stand by the fact that this is why I don't shop at that Publix (that and it is crowded and laid out very oddly). It's weird how different Publix can be in the same city.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Favorites- Site Redesign and a Poll!

By now you've probably noticed that the site looks a little different. I'm actually really excited by the new look. Here's what's new:

  • New Page Design- Hopefully, this is much easier on the eyes.
  • Updated the Feed- Now you can subscribe to the feed or through email.
  • Facebook Page- I sure hope you'll come over and "like" us on Facebook!
  • Page Button- I hope you'll grab my button for your page!
  • New Links Set-up- I divided the links into "Frugal Resources" and "Provident Resources" so that you can find things better.
Please feel free to comment on anything you like or don't like! 

Poll: Do you use Twitter?
I'm curious to your feelings on Twitter, as I don't personally have one, but wonder if it is worth it? I'd love to know if you use it or not and why you do or don't.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Frugality- When Will the Savings Show?

It's common for people to get into couponing after seeing someone's super couponing trip, but then after a month of trying hard they barely show 50% savings, and are still saving a ton of money. Well there is a reason for that (several in fact), and I'm going to share what those reasons might be.

  • Build up a coupon stockpile. If you've only been couponing for a month, you won't have the months of inserts, blinkies, tearpads, etc. that come over time. 
  • Build a food stockpile. A food stockpile is buying a lot of an item at it's lowest point, so that you will only need to buy it at it's lowest point. The best example for this is pasta. If you buy several boxes of pasta when it is 10¢ or less, you probably won't need to buy pasta when it is $1 a box. However, if you buy two boxes of pasta when it is 10¢, you may find yourself out of pasta when you need/want it, and will have to break down and buy it regular price. The best time to stockpile is when an item is at it's lowest point, and to maintain that stockpile from then on out.
  • Learn to buy only what is on sale or you have a great coupon for (but preferably both!). The key to great savings is to adapt your needs to the sale circular. Until you have a great stockpile going, you may need to create meal plans around the sales, otherwise your savings won't be huge until your stockpile has grown. Over time you won't want to buy things at their peak because you know they will be cheaper.
  • Learn to wait. Just because a coupon looks great at that moment, doesn't mean it is the best time to use it. Sometimes that great coupon actually makes for a free or MM item later.
  • Remember to compare to where you've been, not where others are. Sure 90% savings looks great, but it doesn't happen every week. If you really want to know how well you are doing, compare how much you are saving to how much you used to spend on groceries. 
  • Buy things free or money maker things (but don't go overboard). It's ok to buy items that are free or money makers if you don't use them. These items are great to donate to charities! But, I caution you to not go overboard as there are people who may actually need those items.
  • Patience. It takes time. It takes deciding what is a need and what is a want. It takes deciding to switch brands. It takes time learning when a price is a "good price." It just takes time.
  • Don't get discouraged! Remember, most of the people's show and tell posts (mine included!), have been doing this several months or longer, if you follow us long enough you will see us have bad weeks too! 
The best advice I have is any money you save is more than you used to! Happy Couponing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shopping List for ...?

Blue= Manufacturer's Coupon
Green= Publix Coupon
Red= Competitor's Coupon

(2)Juicy Juice BOGO $3.29
   -(1)$1/2 HERE

(2)Fresh Express BOGO $3.99
    -(2)55¢/1 HERE
(2)Cheez-it BOGO $3.29
   -$1/2 Walgreen's Coupon 
   -$1/2 Peelie (possibly. They were on them last week and said "Not valid unless removed by cashier")
(2)Thomas English Muffins BOGO $3.49
(2)Keebler Coconut Dreams BOGO $3.49
   -(2)$1/1 HERE
   -(1)$1/2 Walgreen's
(2)Nestle Candy BOGO $8.49
   -(2)$2/1 HERE
   -(2)$1.50/1 Target (no longer available)
(1) Daisy Sour Cream 2/$4
(3)Campbell's Condensed soup 10/$10
   -(1)$1.50/3 HERE
(1)Crest Toothpaste $2.19
   -$1/1 P&G 9/26/10
(1)Playtex Tampons
   -$2/1 HERE
(4)Glade Candles 2/$4
   -(1)B1G1 from 9/26/10 RP
   -(1)$1/2 HERE
   -(2)$2/2 Walgreen's Coupon
(1)Bounty Napkin $2.99
   -(1)$1/1 from P&G MIR
   -50¢/1 upromise ecoupon (doesn't deduct from total, but goes into your account)
(1)Pamper's Diapers $19.99
   -$2/1 from coupon book found inside box.
   -Free wyb Diapers in-ad coupon
   -$1/1 found inside product
   -$2 off wyb diapers and wipes Target coupon from 10/17/10 RP
(1)Cotonelle Wipes Tub 
   -Free Product Coupon
   -Free Product Coupon

-$5/$25 Dollar General Coupon

I hope to get to the store tomorrow, but we'll see. I may not post until Saturday either way.

How Do I Use it? Beans Part I: Background

Beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat.... Actually beans are quite healthy for you! Let's look at some of the facts.
  • They are one of the world's oldest cultivated crops.
  • May also be referred to as peas, legumes, and lentils
  • Black, pinto, and kidney beans are the most commonly used beans, but there are many varieties.
  • Great source of Protein
  • Some beans actually contain toxins, but thorough cooking destroys it.
  • Tons of fiber.
  • Beans contain oligosaccharides, which is why they cause flatulence.
  • Brazil is the top producer of beans.
  • China is the top producer of green beans.
Why Should it be in Your Food Storage?
  • Inexpensive
  • Tons of Uses
  • Flavorful
  • High Fiber aids in digestion
  • Protein and complex carbs are great as a meat alternative.
  • Nutritionally Dense
Join me next week for Part II on beans.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Uses for CDs

Does anyone else feel like CD's are becoming a thing of the past, especially with itunes, ipods, and all forms of digital media? Or maybe you still have CD's around that you just don't need (I'm talking about you AOL start-up CD!). Well, here is a list of clever things you can use those CD's for.

  • Dividers for receipts, statements, or mail. You could use them inside a bigger file, or get handy with some glue, wood, etc. and make your own organizer
  • Use them to trail behind a car for special events like weddings.
  • Glue one to a ruler for a impromptu fly swatter (I wonder if this would really work...)
  • Use them for wheels for a car craft (would be great for a monster tuck especially)
  • Make a shelving unit. Would take some handiwork, but definitely do-able.
  • Make a mobile for a baby. (Remember mobiles should be removed once a baby can push up on hands and knees)
  • Drink coasters
  • Use them to make desk tags for a classroom
  • Use them to make decorations for a technology class.
  • Use them to make door tags for a college dorm.
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Modern Art
  • "Retro" Curtains
  • A light-switch cover
  • Use them to catch wax under a burning candle
I'm sure there's tons more ideas, and I would love for you to share any you know! Just leave a comment below and I will add it to the list!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has the new ad up, you can find it HERE.

I see a few things I like, but I'm still waiting on the rest of the ad.

Meal Plan Monday

I'm really excited about the first week!  My mother is coming into town so my husband and I can have a little break, so I'm short two meals this week.
Monday- Stuffed Shells, Green Beans, and Garlic Bread
Tuesday- Homemade Pizza
Wednesday- Grilled Italian Chicken, Rice, and Peas
Thursday- Out of Town
Friday- Out of Town
Saturday- Breakfast
Sunday- Cheeseburger Loaves, pasta side, corn on the cob

Make sure to link-up below. Whether it's an entire meal plan, a store specific meal plan, or even just a single recipe I'd love for you to share it! If you don't have a webpage, feel free to share in the comments!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Favorites- Recipe

This weeks recipe is a recipe for either Beef or Chicken with Broccoli. It's sooooooo simple, and I make it all the time. It's not a very exact recipe, so forgive me for that.

Beef/Chicken and Broccoli
2 Chicken Breasts Cubed or 1 lb Stir-fry Beef
1-2 Cups Frozen Broccoli
Kraft Asian Sesame dressing(or Publix brand)
Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Sesame Seeds
2 Tbsp. Oil
2 cups Cooked Rice

1. Marinate meat in a mixture of about 1/4 cup dressing, 2 tbsp soy sauce, a tbsp sesame seeds, and salt and pepper to your liking for at least 30 min.
2. Heat a wok or large frying pan with oil over medium heat.
3. Cook meat until brown, drain off any excess liquid.
4. Add frozen broccoli and cook about 3-5 min.
5. Add enough dressing and a bit of soy sauce for your desired level of "sauce."
6. Cook an additional 3-5 min.
7. Serve over rice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Publix Trip 10/14/10

I spent $32.65 for $93.94 worth of groceries, saving $61.29 or 65%.

(4)Cheerios BOGO $4.29
  -(1)$1/3 from 10/3/10 GM
(12) Yoplait Yogurt 20/$10
  -(4) 3 free wyb one box of original Cheerios peelie
(4)El Monterey Burritos 2/$6
  -(2)BOGO from their facebook HERE
(1) Mushrooms 2/$3
(1)Potatoes $2.69
(2)Avocado 10/$10
   -(2)$1 off Produce Target HERE
(1)Pace Salsa $2.79
(1)Publix Salsa $1.99
   -Free with Buy Theirs Get Ours Promotion
(2)Nestle Assorted BOGO $5.99
   -(2)$2/1 HERE
(1)Planters Peanuts $3.19
   -(1)$1/1 Printable (No longer available)
(1)Publix Peanuts $2.89
   -Free with Buy Theirs Get Ours Promotion
(2)Mott's Medley's 3/$5
   -(2)$1/1 Target HERE
(2)Gallons Milk $3.29
(1)Tostitos $3.99
(1)Publix Tortilla Chips $3.19
   -Free with Buy Theirs Get Ours Promotion
(2)Publix Soda 2/$1

-$5/$50 Publix Coupon, Redplum Homemailer

I know I only said I was going for candy, but  there I liked the buy theirs get ours and some of the produce. Then my husband told me while I was shopping that we needed more Cheerios, which of course I didn't have the better coupons for those, but since they had the yogurt peelies on them I figured I'd deal with paying a little more, and now I'll have enough Cheerios until they are on sale again. I also saw last night the sale on the burritos, and the BOGO coupon, and decided to get them since I hardly ever see them on sale or with a coupon and never both. So for what I got, I am pleased with the savings, especially since I did so well last week.

Frugality- Warehouse Clubs

Recently on iheartpublix, Michelle mentioned that she doesn't use warehouse stores because she doesn't see how you could save money there. She used an example of buying Ritz Crackers there, but added 1/12 of club membership price to the price of the Ritz crackers, which at first I thought "maybe warehouse clubs aren't that great," but then I got to thinking, and decided actually it is worth it! Here's why:

  • Gas- Gas is consistently 10¢ or more cheaper than any other gas station in the area. If I filled a 10 gallon tank 4 times each month, I cover the cost of the membership and more. Most people have bigger tanks and fill-up more often, so easily shows as savings. My Estimated Savings- $5-$10/month
  • Milk and Eggs- I feel a bit of jealousy when I see prices for milk and eggs in other parts of the country. At my Publix (and most other stores in the area), milk costs $3.29 a gallon and eggs cost about $1.30 (or more) for a dozen large. At BJ's (my warehouse club of choice) milk is about 70¢ cheaper a gallon (depends on whether you get skim/whole/etc.). Eggs were $1.79 for 2 dozen x-large eggs. My Estimated Savings- $4-$8/month
  • Baking Goods- White flour, wheat flour, bread flour, sugar, spices, extracts, yeast, etc. While occasionally you can score a good deal on these foods at the supermarket, it's rare. For example, you can get 25 lbs of flour for about $8, that's 32¢ a pound! Another example is pure vanilla extract, for a store brand 4 oz bottle at Publix it is $10.99 (which was the cheapest on the shelf), for a 16 oz bottle at BJ's it is $6.99. You get 4 times more for $4 less!  Even if vanilla was BOGO it would still be 8 oz for $10.99. My estimated savings: $10/month.
  • Formula- Thankfully, my daughter is no longer on formula (and wish that she never was, but that's a long story...), but formula is way cheaper by the bulk, especially if you get the club brand. At BJ's you can get a can that makes 382 fl oz for around $16.99. For comparison, a regular container of say Enfamil makes about 120 fl oz and costs about $20. My estimated savings: none currenlty, but previously $50/month.
  • Diapers/Wipes/Ointments- Now this one is debatable, while it is possible to get diapers cheap on regular basis regularly, it is possible to get them really cheap at a warehouse club too. At BJ's you can get a giant box of Luv's Diapers (not sold at Publix) for around $20 with the right coupons (see below for more about coupons and warehouse clubs). Club brand can be even cheaper. We don't see the best diaper deals in my parts, so BJ's is a great back-up. My estimated savings: $10-$20/month
  • Meat- It's hard to get meat cheap. While the best way to work with meats is to use less of them, and plan your meals by what is on sale that week, I feel like I would be eating beef all the time. On the other hand, we go to BJ's once every 3-4 months and buy a bunch of meat. Usually we spend about $100-$200 and walk out with 3-4 months of meat, and a variety of it. I of course buy meat when I see it really cheap or have a coupon at Publix, but for a really great price on good quality meat, it's usually the warehouse club for me. My estimated savings: $50/month
  • Seasonal- Warehouse clubs can be a great source for seasonal items. Decorations, gifts, etc. are usually much cheaper there, and their after holiday clearance is even better. My estimated savings: $50/year
  • Clothing- You'd be surprised at the quality of clothing there, especially kids clothing. You can get Carter and Gerber baby clothes way cheap. You can find department store jeans for $10. Holiday dresses, pajamas, school uniforms, etc. are all there and pretty well priced. My estimated savings: $50/year
  • Housewares- Warehouse clubs often sell furniture, mattresses, and even appliances, and their often cheaper than specialty or department stores. My estimated savings: $50/year
  • Propane- My store has the cheapest propane in the area by about $5. We grill year round here, so this is definitely a plus here. My estimated savings: $20/year
  • Electronics- Bundle packages, discounts, and other incentives sometimes make it a great idea to buy electronics from the warehouse club. My estimated savings: $20/year
  • Misc.- Jewelry, tires, medication, travel, cell phones, vision, home repairs, and many more things are sold inside warehouse clubs, and often much cheaper than other places. My estimated savings: hard to say since these aren't typical purchases for me.
Total yearly savings: $1688- $1796/year minus $45 annual membership fee equals $1643-$1751/year!

A Note About Coupons
Much of the argument at iheartpublix was that you couldn't use coupons at warehouse clubs, but could at Publix. In her Ritz example, she used coupons to make the Publix cheaper (but remember she included the membership fee in the price of the Ritz, which I just showed is covered in savings by the many other types of purchases there), but at BJ's you can use coupons, in fact you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon, and sometimes even multiple manufacturer's depending on the way the item is packaged. Costco has store coupons, but does not allow manufacturer's coupons, but does allow formula checks. Sam's does not accept coupons. I've had memberships to all three, and BJ's is by far the best. 

Basically, you can pull out great deals at a warehouse club, and I think it is worth the money. Most clubs also have a trial membership and/or will refund money on a membership if you do not like it. So it may be worth a try!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shopping List for 10/14/10

To be honest, there is not much I am seeing that I want and/or need still. I may just run in to get Halloween Candy. If I change my mind, I'll come back and edit, or share the match-ups on the trip post...

Happy Couponing!

How Do I Use it? Rice Part IV: Special Concerns

We've learned a lot about rice, but now we need to talk about some special concerns.

Brown vs White Rice- Nutritionally brown is hands down the winner, but from a food storage perspective it actually isn't so. The main reason is the essential oils in the brown rice actually can cause the rice to go rancid. While it is possible to store brown rice for several years, it takes a little bit of know how and is kind of an advance food storage technique. For a year supply of food brown rice last about 6 months, and if refrigerated, even longer. On the other hand, white rice can easily be stored for 30+ years.

Cost- This adds another dimension to the brown vs white concern. Brown rice is most often more expensive than white rice. White rice is actually a fairly cheap food.

Water- You need water (or liquid) to cook rice. So in an actual emergency, you would not want rice to be the only grain you have because you don't want to waste all of your water on rice.

Cooking Source- Most rice needs to be heated to cook. This means one needs to have a cooking source of some kind to heat the pot. Just a consideration when storing it.

That's just a little food for thought for ya!

Previous Parts:
Rice Part I, II, III

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Clever Tricks for Washing Your Jeans

How many times have you bought this great pair of jeans, they have the perfect fit, and you just love how they make you look, only for them to lose that greatness a month later. It could all be in the way you wash and care for them! Here is a list of tricks to make your jeans stay looking great.

  • Wear them multiple times before washing. Unless they are really dirty or you spilled something on them, jeans really shouldn't be washed every time you wear them. Actually you are supposed to wear them many, many times before washing. If between washing they get a little stretched out as the denim relaxes, just pop them in the dryer for 5 min.
  • Wash them in cold water. Jeans should not be washed in anything, but cold water. Remember denim is mostly cotton, so warm or hot water means that there will be shrinkage. Cold with the gentle cycle is the most ideal.
  • Wash them inside out. This protects against fading and protects any detailing on the jeans themselves.
  • Hang them to Dry. If at all possible, hang them out to dry. Same concept as not using hot water.
  • But if you need to use a dryer... use a low heat setting and remove them while they are still damp.
  • Read the tag. While the instructions above are true most of the time, there are jeans out there that do have special care requirements and some even are dry-clean only.
I hope these tips are helpful for you! Please let me know if you have any tips for washing jeans that I might have overlooked.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has the new ad up, you can find it HERE.

Not seeing a lot so far, but you never know what might pop-up between now and then!

What Do You Think?

I've decided to make "Monday Money Sense" into a "Monthly Money Sense."

In it's place I want to do "Meal Plan Monday." I'm thinking of adding a link-up to it, so other people can share their meal plans.

The goal: people are less likely to eat out or get take out when they already have a meal plan in place. On the other hand, people are likely to fore-go their original plan when they feel like they are always eating the same thing. With everyone sharing their meal plans it will help you save money by planning ahead, and help spark your imagination on meals to eat!

So, what do you think?

I'll officially start this segment next week!

*I wrote this post in advance, and noticed Southern Savers has started doing just this, but you know what, that's ok I'm still doing it!*

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Favorites- School Music Programs

I'll admit it, I'm a music nerd. In fact, I hold a degree in music from Florida State University. I also love school music programs because I was a pretty shy, dorky kid, and music gave me a place to have friends and assume leadership roles. I took several music class in high school, band, chorus, music theory, and of course did marching band!

So why am I writing about this? Well unfortunately school music (and arts) programs are getting cut at alarming rates. These classes are being cut altogether or being placed in the hands of someone who has no training in that field. Elementary arts are usually first cut, then middle school, then high school. With each cut students lose one more class in making them a well-rounded individual. Math and reading are important, but there is a lot to be learned in arts classes, such as creativity, higher-level thinking, time management, personal responsibility, and leadership. 

The take home point here is to support your school arts programs. You'd be surprised at some of the talent there is for a little bit of money (or free)! Support the schools fundraisers, and when you hear about the arts being cut in your area, stand up for them. Demand that the arts be apart of children's education.

*steps off soap box*

Here's one of my favorite pictures from my college marching band days of a plane flyover during the National Anthem. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Publix Trip 10/7/10

I spent $10.28 for $114.55 worth of groceries saving $104.16 or 91%!

See my original list HERE.

(2) Additional Hidden Valley
   -(2)$2/1 HERE
Bananas 75¢

(1) Crest Toothpaste- Coupon didn't match the one on sale
(1)Organic Valley Milk- Again, coupon didn't match
(1)Huggies wipes tub- They were completely out, as is the warehouse!

Prices, Price Changes, Coupons, and Coupon Changes
-Hidden Valley BOGO $3.69 not $3.45 (but still a MM with coupons!)
-Breadcrumbs BOGO $1.95 not $1.93 (seriously 2¢?)
-Athenos BOGO $2.49 not $2.69 (wow, it's rare when we are lower here)
-Martha Stewart Cleaners BOGO $3.99, but I also found (2) $1/1 Hangtags (there were unfortunately only 2), which meant I paid $2 for 6 bottles of cleaner!
-I deleted my $1 off produce wyb 2 Hidden Valley because it was only for the original ranch not the Farmhouse variety.
-I added a $3.50 wyb both huggies diaper and wipes Target Printable HERE because my store triple stacks (I know, rare!).

It was definitely a great trip! The only downside is it seems the winter migration of the snow birds has begun here in South Florida. For those of you who don't know we have what we call "season" here. Every year from about Oct/Nov to around Easter people from up north, out west, and from other countries descend upon warm, sunny Florida. While it's great for our tourist driven economy it means everything is much more constipated. For example, normally at the store I go to there are maybe 15-20 people in the store Thursday around 10-11, but today it was much more crowded. Season also means harder to drive around, harder to find somewhere to eat out that isn't packed, you get the idea. These people spend money (and a lot of it!), so in some ways it's great, but it makes everything much more of a headache. But at least I had my favorite cashier, and I was her last person before break so no worries of annoying anyone!

Don't Pay Money For Help You Can Get For Free!

Upon watching my local news this week, there was a teaser for "learning how to coupon." I was intrigued and continued watching. They had this lady on (I won't divulge names) who discussed couponing, rather poorly I might add. I mean really all she said is "there isn't an item I have hear that I didn't have a coupon for" (might I add there was no produce that I saw...), and then she shared her OOP, nothing about using coupons, coupon policies or anything. Then she talked about a seminar she is having at Sweetbay. Upon further research, I feel a little angered about what she is doing, which inspired this post. Here is a list of traps to avoid when looking for coupon help.

  • Don't pay money for access to a website that does match-ups for you. There are a ton of websites that do this for just about every store, so there should be no reason to pay for this information. (This lady was charging for access to her website!)
  • Be wary of coupon seminars and workshops. Luckily this lady wasn't charging for her workshop, but I'm fairly certain Sweetbay was paying her to get people to come into their store. Some people charge a lot of money for access to a coupon workshop, sometimes upwards of $50. While I can understand going to a seminar because someone can explain things you don't understand, there is no reason to spend a ton of money to do so. I know Southern Savers charges $10, which is fairly reasonable considering travel and time to do the seminar, but I have seen some people reporting $50 seminars where the person shares incorrect information and even gives them copied coupons. Yikes! Which leads to...
  • Be aware that not everything works at every store. People are human, and sometimes they share something that isn't completely correct, or isn't correct at every store. 
  • Scrutinize what you learn. Similar to the previous statement, you should be diligent about scrutinizing what you hear/read. While many couponers are honest, nice people, there are people out there who are just trying to gain a profit from someone trying to learn to save money. They may show you a shopping trip where they spent only $1, but neglect to tell you they have a stockpile or that they only bought what would be free or MM. You get excited and pay money for their workshop/book/website, but then quickly get discouraged because you can't recreate their totals.
Plain and simple, the goal of couponing is to save money, so spending money to save money just doesn't make sense.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shopping List for 10/7/10

Blue=Manufacturer's Coupon

Green=Publix Coupon
Red= Competitor's Coupon
(2)Ball Park Hotdogs BOGO $2.99   -$0.75/1 HERE 
   -(There was still the free buns wyb 2 at my store last time, so if it is there and still good I'll use that)
(2)Hidden Valley  BOGO $3.45   -$2/1 HERE
 (10)Powerade BOGO $1.25
B4G1 Target Printable HERE
(2)Progresso Bread Crumbs BOGO $1.93
-$0.50/1 HERE
(2) Athenos  Feta Cheese BOGO $2.69
   -(1)B1G1 Facebook 
(6)Martha Stewart Cleaner BOGO Surprisingly Low Price
   -(2)B2G1 Martha Stewart Products Publix Family Favorites Booklet

(1)Organic Valley Organic Milk half gallon, 2/$7
   -$1.50/1 Publix Baby Club
   -$1/1 Mambo Sprouts Home Mailer
(2)Nivea Lip Care 2/$3

   -$1/1 Nivea Lip Care All You Oct 2010
   -$1/1 Nivea Lip Care All You Sep 2010 

(1)John Frieda Hair Products $3.69
 -$3/1 John Frieda Root Awakening 8/22/2010 SS Insert
(1)Crest Toothpaste 8.2 oz tube or OralB indicator or Advantage Toothbrush 1 ct, 3/$5
-$1/1 Crest Toothpaste 9/26/2010 P&G Insert
(1)Huggies Baby Wipes, 320 or 360 ct, $7.99
-$2.50/1 Here 
   -$1.50/1 Huggies Baby Wipes Refill Publix Family Favorites Booklet
(1)Huggies Wipe Tub
   -B1G1 Huggies Wipes WYB DiapersPublix Family Favorites Booklet
Green Beans
   -$1 off Produce wyb (2) Hidden Valley Ranch
   -$1 off Produce Target HERE
(1)Huggies Diapers
-$3/1 In-Ad Coupon
-$2.50/1 HERE

-$5/$50 GFS Coupon
-$10 GC from MIR

How Do I Use it? Rice Part III: Cooking

Rice seems like such a simple thing to cook, but plenty of people have trouble with it. These are the basic steps to cooking rice, but remember there are a ton of varieties, meaning cooking can vary slightly between them.

  • To rinse or not to rinse. This is a pretty big debate for rice, but let me break it down for you. Rinse and your rice will be less sticky, don't rinse and it will keep more nutrients. From a food storage stand point, I would say don't rinse because A)you need all the nutrients in it, and B)you would waste water rinsing.
  • Measuring. Measuring is probably the most important part of cooking rice. The general ratio is 1 cup rice to 1.5 to 2 cups liquid. You can season the rice as well with spices and salt. You place it all in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Boil/Simmer. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour (this is one of those things that may vary depending on the rice).
  • Don't Peek! This is very important. Lifting the lid interrupts cooking and can make the end result dry and undercooked rice.
  • Let It Stand Before Serving. When the time is up, let the pot stand, covered for 10 minutes before you serve it.
Basmati, jasmine, and white texmati  rice have cooking times around 15-18 minutes. Brown and white rice are about 45 minutes and wild rice about an hour. Wild rice also generally needs a higher ratio of water, about 3 cups to every cup of rice. When you go to can your rice, make sure you label the container with whatever the instructions are for your variety of rice. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Uses for Video Tapes

Most people do not use a VCR anymore, and some don't even own a VCR. So what do you do with all those VHS tapes? They're quite bulky and take up a lot of space. Hopefully this list will help you re-purpose those tapes.

  • Building Blocks for Kids
  • Use the tape from the inside to dress yourself as a mummy for Halloween.
  • Build a house of video tapes (kind of like a house of cards).
  • Use it for a "safe." Kind of like the hollowed out book approach. You'd need some tools, but you could easily store valuables in there, and well I don't think many thieves will be looking at the VHS collection.
  • Use the tape to tie plants in the garden
  • Pass them on. Give them to Goodwill, Freecycle them, etc. there are actually people out there who still use only VHS.
  • You can use the hard plastic boxes as storage containers, and recycle the cardboard ones.
  • Tape them together to make a platform for a computer monitor.
  • You can use the tape to crochet
  • Use the hardshell case for a paper back novel case. Great for when you want to keep a book nice in a beach bag or purse.
  • Sell them, hey you never know if you have a rare one, and some people will buy a lot of VHS on ebay.
  • There is the possibility of recycling, but not all facilities accept them. 
  • Make placemats Thanks to Steph at the Coexist Cafe
Do you have an idea? Share below and I will add it to the list.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Awesome Mail Day

I just wanted to share my awesome mail day today!

  • (2) $3 MIR checks for Iverhart (dog heartworm meds)
  • (1)$2.99 MIR check for Kellogg's Cinnabon
  • (1) $10 Publix MIR Gift Card from Kellogg's Promotion
  • (1) Sample Box Containing (1) Full Size Box of Hamburger Helper, (1)sample size box of Fiber One Cereal, and (1) Coupon for $1/2 Pizza Rolls
  • (1)Sample Box of Kleenex Tissues
I love all the fun mail that comes my way from coupons, MIR, and promotions!

Publix Ad

I Heart Publix

Michelle over at iheartpublix has the new ad up, you can find it HERE. I see a few good things so far, but I haven't even finished looking at it yet.

Also, don't forget to print your free Nabisco cookies wyb 1 pack of cookies and 1 gallon of milk. You can find that HERE.


I'm trying to decide whether I want to continue this segment. I was thinking of making it a monthly segment, and instead replacing this segment with something else.

What do you think? I'd love your opinion.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another Publix Trip

I ran out to another Publix to see if they had the Pledge, and they did, plus I got a few other things. I spent $8.44 for $23.65 worth of groceries, saving $15.21 or 64%, but I will submit for a MIR brings it up to 79%.

Here's the match-ups:
(2)Pledge BOGO $3.99
  -$2/2 from 9/26/2010 SS
  -$2/2 from Publix "Family Favorites" Booklet
(1)Downy $6.99
  -$2.50/1 Vocalpoint Mailer
  -$1/1 Publix "Be Aware. Be Empowered. Be Well." Booklet
(2) Scotties Tissues 99¢
  -(2)50¢/1 printable (no longer available)
  -50¢/2 Publix "Family Favorites" Booklet
(1) Dishwasher Magic $3.49
  -Try Me Free MIR


I'm in the midst of updating the site, so somethings may move around! In the end, things should be much easier to find and work with.

Friday Favorites- Pets!

I love my pets, so I thought for today's Friday Favorites I would share them with you!

Miss Kitty came to us via my husband's family. She was originally a shelter cat that his family adopted. My father-in-law works overseas and none of my husband's siblings lived someplace that allowed cats, so voila we now have a cat! And honestly she's a nice cat. (She claimed this box as her bed! I think I'm going to decorate or paint it or something).

This is Peanut! She came to me when I wasn't married when someone gave her to me because they couldn't give her the love she deserves. She's a beagle with an attitude. She also has canine-epilepsy, which comes with it's own sets of challenges, but she is a great dog. (That's my wonderful SIL making the thumbs up)

And our newest addition, Lucky! I always avoid going to the animal shelter because I know I will want to walk out with every. single. animal. So, this dog can only be described as a heavenly gift. One day while my husband was walking Peanut he noticed something in the bushes a few streets over (where I live not much blocks the view), we were headed out anyway so we stopped over to see what it was. It was this darling little puppy. County ordinance dictated that we had to surrender it to animal services, but we became the first name on the adoption list. So here we are, and she is the most loyal and sweet dog you will ever know!

So that's my little zoo!