Saturday, February 28, 2015

Today, we... (Saturday, February 28, 2015)



Today, we...

REFUSED:
  • to buy whiskey at the Winn Dixie liquor store since they only had 2 bottles of the brand that we usually buy (we get a 10% discount if we buy 4 bottles at a time).  I'll stop by again next week to see if they got some more.

REDUCED:
  • nothing

    REUSED:
    • nothing? I can't remember!

    RECYCLED:
    • a cardboard pasta box

    REBOUGHT:
    • nothing today.

    HARVESTED:
    • nothing today.

    WE REPAIRED/MENDED:
    • Greg took apart our leaking, ancient shower heard and replaced it with a new Moen model that we bought today... but that didn't take care of the leak.  We probably need to replace the faucets too but they're also very old and are screwed in much too tightly. He'll take care of it this summer when we're gone and might have to call in a plumber. So here's to 3-4 more months of collecting dripping water in a bucket and flushing the toilet with it!  Arrgh. At least the new showerhead is nice. Moen has a lifetime limited warranty so I made a copy of the receipt and kept the cardboard wrapping with the UPC in case we do need to get it replaced or fixed at some point.

    I COMPOSTED:
    • a banana peel

    I PRESERVED:
    • nothing today.

    I COOKED...
    • Creamy Mustard Chicken.  I was supposed to cook roasted acorn squash to go with it but I ran out of time.
    • Air-popped kettle corn to snack on during our Family Movie Night.

    WE ALSO SAVED MONEY BY:
    • letting the rain water our garden today (it rained all day!).
    • stopping by Winn Dixie on the way home from running our errands so we could pick up the SavingStar freebie (Domino's Brown Sugar) and an extra loaf of bread (I decided to get one after all since Greg is having toast in the mornings now).


    HOWEVER WE ALSO FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS and LESSONS LEARNED: 
    • I guess we could have not bought a new showerhead since it ended up not being the problem.

    OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
    • My daughter volunteered for a few hours this morning and then picked up the DVD of "The Wind Rises" that was waiting for me at the library. Greg wants to see the movie too so we'll have Family Movie Night tonight after all :)
    • Greg and I decided to have lunch at our favorite sushi place before we ran our errands (our son declined to join us).  I misunderstood the lunch special and was about to order the expensive sushi rolls when Greg noticed my mistake and insisted on us ordering the correct rolls so it would cost us less. My frugal hubby!  He also ordered water instead of his regular beer. I had hot tea (because it was raining outside and to avoid ordering sweet tea!).  We had a great time on our date and discussed where we would like to move once our house is paid off. I like making plans for the future.
    • We stopped by Home Depot and scheduled an appointment for someone to come measure our upstairs windows and give us an estimate to replace them.
    • We also priced different options to replace the old rotten ceiling tiles in our entry room. We'll get those from Lowe's since the Home Depot selection was very tiny and not impressive. I'll order a Lowe's gift card with the rest of our Mastercard Rewards and we'll order the ceiling tiles online to qualify for a SavingStar or Swagbucks rebate as well.

    Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    My Daily Freebies: Saturday, February 28, 2015


    Here is what I got/found for free today!

    • We did stop by Winn Dixie today and got the box of Domino's Brown Sugar that is the SavingStar freebie of the weekend.
    • The DVD of "The Wind Rises" from the library for our Family Movie Night.

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Today, we...


    Today, we...

    REFUSED:
    • to add "buy bread" to my list of errands for tomorrow.  I bought a loaf on Wednesday but we had sandwiches a couple of times already so the loaf is halfway gone with 5 days left before my next grocery shopping trip. However, I have 4 packages of hoagie rolls in the freezer so I just took one out and put it in the fridge.

    REDUCED:
    • our gas consumption by having my daughter drive herself to school this morning (saves 1 round trip per day as opposed to me dropping her off and picking her up).

      REUSED:
      • the water collected by the dehumidifier that I ran in the main bathroom to water some of my indoor seedlings.
      • the water collected in the shower to flush the toilet a couple of times.
      • the water left in a glass on the kitchen table to water some of my indoor seedlings.
      • a 16-oz yogurt container to store the Carrot Ginger Soup leftovers from last night.

      RECYCLED:
      • a cardboard egg carton
      • a cardboard box
      • a cereal box
      • 5 magazines that I had read and torn apart by clipping recipes

      REBOUGHT:
      • nothing. 

      HARVESTED:
      • nothing.

      WE REPAIRED/MENDED:
      • nothing.

      WE DONATED:
      • a magazine that I had already read. I added it to the donation box to take to the thrift store and library.

      I COMPOSTED:
      • the tops and leaves of some strawberries
      • a banana peel

      I PRESERVED:
      • nothing.

      I COOKED...
      • I had planned on cooking the Loaded Potato Quiche that I was supposed to cook last night, but the cabbage leaves that I had harvested are starting to turn yellow so I need to cook the Stuffed Cabbage Leaves that I had planned to make with them. Originally, I was going to then freeze them for us to eat in the coming months, but I have no room in my freezers so they'll need to be dinner tonight. I used some ground beef that I defrosted a couple of days ago along with a cup of rice that I had cooked early last week and frozen when we failed to eat it (thanks for the tip, Allison!) and I made them at 9:45 a.m. so if I continue not to feel good tonight, we won't be tempted to order in.  There was a little too much stuffing so I saved it in one of my new Snapware glass containers and I'll have it for lunch tomorrow with one of the homemade tortillas that I made earlier in the week.


      WE ALSO SAVED MONEY BY:
      • my son packing the sandwich that I had made for my own lunch yesterday as his school lunch today. I had used a reusable cloth sandwich wrapper so we saved on the cost of a plastic baggie as well.
      • Greg wanted to buy a new pair of dress shoes that we usually get once a year or so at JC Penney. I found a $10 off $25 coupon that we could use when we go to Clermont tomorrow, but he's just decided that he can probably wait a few more months before buying a new pair.
      • I almost panicked when I used up the last of the small bottle of garlic powder that I keep by my stove. Thankfully, I remembered to check the spice drawer where I keep my spare spice bottles that are of odd sizes and I had a huge 16 oz jar of Badia garlic powder that I had bought last year at... Save A Lot, maybe? All I know is it was wayyyy cheaper to get it in the large container (per oz) than to buy the smaller containers even when they're on sale somewhere and even if they're the generic kind. Crisis alerted and money saved!

      • exercising at home instead of joining a gym. I bought a recumbent bike in November 2013 and it's been really nice to be able to pedal at home, while watching a show.  Today I continued re-watching the 1 season of "The Americans" on Amazon Prime while flipping through free magazines from the donation pile and clipping new recipes. Free exercise, free entertainment and free ideas for future dinners! 
      • eating leftovers for lunch.
      • my daughter, the artist, wanted to buy some very good but very expensive brush tip art markers.  We checked out several websites and coupon codes but they remained at roughly $3.50 a marker.  On one of the sites that sells artistic supplies, I found a brand of markers that were on clearance (they're being discontinued) that had very good recommendations from other artists who use the same site to display their art as she does.  Those markers were $1.49 each.  She found 40 different colors that she wanted (she could order them individually instead of in a set). We had to pay for shipping but we still saved 60% compared to buying the brand that she had originally wanted (I told her she could buy that brand once she got her own paycheck). We haven't had to buy any school supplies this year due to my stock of school supplies from years past, so I paid for them.

      HOWEVER WE ALSO FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS and LESSONS LEARNED: 
      • My daughter didn't take a packed lunch today and when I inquired as to why, she texted me back that she had been "too tired".  The rule has always been to pack lunches right after dinner so I will remind her of that and probably won't add any money to her school lunch account so she's less tempted to buy unhealthy food there.  She'd been trying to be healthier and did a great job until last week or so and now she's in a slump... like me, actually.  Lesson learned: remind her to pack lunch after dinner and encourage her to get back on her healthy kick... as I model the same.

      OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
      • Greg didn't take a packed lunch today because he had scheduled a lunch out with a former colleague.
      • I haven't felt very good in a couple of days, I think I have a cold. So I'm gave myself the permission to not do much at all today.
      • I had planned to go to the dump to pick up free mulch yesterday but that got scrapped when I was asked to drive my daughter's FFA team to their competition.  I will see if Greg can work from home (at least) one day next week so I can borrow his truck to go get mulch.
      • I've been texting "DEALS" to Redbox every day this week and each time I get a Rent 1, Get 1 Free code.  However, there's really nothing we absolutely want to see so I'll probably end up giving away the codes on Slickdeals.
      • My digital library loan of "Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy" (the novel, not the movie) ended today but I wasn't able to read it during the lending period.  Since I don't connect my Kindle to the wi-fi until I need to download a new book, it will remain on my Kindle (while the license has been released back to the library system) until I finish my current thriller and then I will read it.
      • My middle son is thinking of getting an apartment with a roommate next fall. I texted him to offer his old twin-size bed and mattress since I'm thinking about getting a full-size bed to put in the older boys' former bedroom, in case we do get visitors. I need to remember to NOT donate items that he could use when he gets his own place, especially since I had told him that I would help furnish an apartment if he ever got one.
      • The library alerted me that they are holding "The Wind Rises" for me. This is a 2013 Miyazaki animated movie that I had put on hold several months ago.  My family are big Miyazaki fans.  The library closes at 3 p.m. today so at first I thought about walking there to pick it up (my daughter has my car and won't be back until 3 p.m. or so) but it's chilly and windy and I don't feel good so I will lend her my library card tomorrow so she can pick up the movie after her volunteering commitment.
      • Speaking of volunteering, I was thinking about having my 13-year-old son volunteer at our local library. My son has been invited to his middle school's Jr. NHS chapter on several occasions but in order to be accepted, he needs to have been volunteering somewhere.  I thought the library would be a perfect place for him, especially since he can walk there from our house. However, when I called them this morning they said that the policy has changed and all volunteers have to be 18 and up now because of "insurance problems.".  Sigh.  Back to the drawing board...

      Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      My Daily Freebies: Friday, February 27, 2015


      Here is what I got/found for free today!

      Food Waste Friday

      Inspired by The Frugal Girl blog who started it all...

      Here is what I had to throw away I threw away this week...
      Why the struck through text? Because the devil is in the planning... 99% if the time,  if I had planned better, I wouldn't have had to throw away food. 


      • 2 packages of Ramen noodles as they had become infested with maggots... which beget pantry moths.  Yuck!

      • A clementine that had started to rot.





      On the bright side, here is what I saved this week!



      • Several eggs that I had dropped in their container. I used the ones that broke and the ones that had cracked to make an omelet since it was lunchtime anyway!


        Thursday, February 26, 2015

        Today, we...


        Today, we...

        REFUSED:
        • nothing today... I should have refused the free pizza since I had packed a turkey sandwich, though.

        REDUCED:
        • nothing today that I can think of.

          REUSED:
          • the rinsing water from the French press to water some of my indoor seedlings.
          • the carrots and potato peelings from tonight's soup (to make stock at a later date)

          RECYCLED:
          • two cardboard boxes
          • a plastic bag
          • two plastic water bottles

          REBOUGHT:
          • nothing today

          HARVESTED:
          • nothing today

          WE REPAIRED/MENDED:
          • nothing today

          I COMPOSTED:
          • nothing today

          I PRESERVED:
          • the carrots and potato peelings from tonight's soup by freezing them to make stock at a later date.

          I COOKED...
          • My dinner plans got changed so I made Carrots Ginger Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  The recipe is from a cookbook called "The Soup Bible". I used plain yogurt instead of whipping cream, ginger paste instead of fresh ginger, and homemade vegetable broth powder mix (using nutritional yeast) and water instead of chicken broth.  I grilled the sandwiches in my waffle iron, which is faster than grilling them in a pan and that requires less supervision.

          WE ALSO SAVED MONEY BY:
          • Greg took a packed lunch to work and our son took a packed lunch to school. 
          • My daughter and I got free pizza at her FFA competition.
          • I received a few freebies today.
          • SavingStar credited $1.70 to my account for my Walmart.com purchase in January.

          • By letting the FFA team use my CVS Extracare card when buying their breakfast items, my "Winter 2015" expense total went up and since I will earn 2% back on it, this means a larger ExtraCare Bucks credit come April.
          • using our American Express.  They just sent us our statement and detailed which rewards we earned this past month,  I need to see if I earn more rewards on Discover or Amex for the groceries:

          • Using Swagbucks!  Today I reached the 2,200 Swagbucks needed to order my $25 Amazon gift card after March 2.  I will be using it to purchase the European pillow shams that my daughter will paint for my brother's wedding present.

          HOWEVER WE ALSO FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS and LESSONS LEARNED: 
          • I had breakfast at home before leaving for the FFA competition but my daughter didn't because the kids had decided to stop somewhere on the way to have breakfast since we were going to be arriving very early at our destination. However, we were in the bounties with nowhere to eat!  I drove them to a CVS and allowed the kids to use my CVS card to receive the Extracare member discounts.  My daughter also got a snack for after the competition so we spent $5.47. Lesson learned: always eat breakfast before leaving the house!


          OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
          • As I mentioned, I was volunteered today to be a driver for my daughter's high school FFA team's Land Judging Competition.  I wasn't feeling too good and wasn't looking forward to spending the morning in a field under a cloudy sky, surrounded by people I didn't know... but one of the other driver was another mom I know so we hung out together (I had brought my camping chairs) and chatted the whole time. We had a good time and I felt better afterward!
          • In the afternoon, my daughter went to interview for a job at a local restaurant opening up very soon.
          • I received a package from Schoola (my 2nd order).  It contained only 1 of the 2 items that I had ordered (even though the packing slip shows both) and the shirt that they did send, that was supposed to be a white buttoned-down men's Oxford shirt, was a lady's see-through white button down shirt.  They're batting 0 with me so far. I tried calling them but their help line is overwhelmed since they're having a big promotion that is advertised everywhere so I ended up sending them another email enquiring about the jeans that I ordered. That's it, I won't be ordering from them anymore.
          • I signed a petition today to ask UCF administrators to install security cameras in the parking lots and parking garages. My oldest son is a student there and I always worry about his on-campus safety at night and mine as well when I attend his performances.
          • Dunkin' Donuts notified me that they rectified the situation with the missing 50 DD Perks for buying the chocolate croissant last week. I'm now only 12 points away from my next free drink reward. Sweet!

          • I scheduled a credit card payment online and reconciled the expenses in Excel and You Need A Budget.

          Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

          Thanks for stopping by!

          My Daily Freebies: Thursday, February 26, 2015


          Here is what I got/found for free today!


          • 4 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts from my daughter's friends who bought them for breakfast but didn't want to finish them. 




            • A sample Meta Health Bar from Metamucil, with a $1 coupon too.


            • Free pizza lunch from the FFA District Competition administrators!

            Wednesday, February 25, 2015

            Today, we... (Wednesday, February 25, 2015)



            Today, we...

            REFUSED:
            • to buy any 50% off Valentine Day candy at CVS.
            • to spend $3.99 to rent "Big Hero 6" on Amazon since it wasn't available on Redbox yet.  I had told my daughter (who really wants to see it) that we might rent it from Amazon and use my $1 promotional credit to pay "only" $3.99 but then I thought about it and decided we could wait until Redbox had it because chances are I would be able to get it for free then.  It's a good lesson for both her and for me in frugality and delayed gratification.

            REDUCED:
            • nothing today.

              REUSED:
              • the last 4 slices of stale homemade bread to make French toast for the kids' breakfast this morning.
              • The crumbs from the very stale and crumbly pieces of homemade bread that had broken up to make bread crumbs!


              • the bubble mailer that Game of Thrones, Season 4 came in. I will reuse it when mailing a book sold on Half.com

              RECYCLED:
              • a cardboard box
              • all the plastic bags, paper bags and styrofoam items that I had been collecting for a month by taking them to the recycling bins at my Publix
              • 2 small cardboard/aluminum almond cans and their plastic lids

              REBOUGHT:
              • nothing today.  I was supposed to stop by the thrift store but since my errands took longer than I thought, I skipped it.

              WE ALSO SAVED MONEY BY:
              • Greg working from home, saving us money on gas and tolls.  Furthermore, I was able to use his truck for my errands (better mileage than my SUV) and my daughter drove herself to school, which saved us gas and me time!
              • letting the rain water my outdoor garden again :)
              • taking the survey on my Racetrac receipt in order to receive a code for a free bakery item.

              I HARVESTED:
              • 3 Supersweet 100 tomatoes (and a Roma tomato that had fallen off the plant) and 4 jalapeƱos.


              I COMPOSTED:
              • nothing today.

              I PRESERVED:
              • the breadcrumbs that I made out of the heels of homemade bread by storing them in an airtight container in my pantry. 
              • the extra milk, egg, and cinnamon mixture that I prepared for this morning's French toast by storing it in a plastic container in the fridge for tomorrow morning's breakfast

              I COOKED...
              • Hearty Lasagna Soup with Homemade Buttermilk Corn Bread. I used corn bread that I had frozen, mini peppers and onion that I had cut up and frozen, the rest of a box of Barilla lasagna noodles that had been in my pantry for well over 3 years, homemade Italian Seasoning and the beef broth and crushed tomatoes that I bought today.  The ground beef had been bought at Aldi in a 5-lb chub @ $2.60/lb.

              HOWEVER WE ALSO FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS and LESSONS LEARNED: 
              • I didn't buy enough bread and fruit to last the week so the kids had to buy lunch today.  I should have made fresh bread yesterday but I was lazy. Lesson learned: don't be lazy because it costs you money!
              • I spent money I shouldn't have spent at Kohl's. Lesson learned: don't get too excited about those Kohl's promotional gifts and only redeem them if you really need something.
              • My daughter forgot her FFA jacket at her dad's and she needs it for tomorrow's land judging competition so she had to drive 20 miles roundtrip to go get it. Lesson learned: I need to speak with her about looking at her calendar for the week ahead and making a checklist of the items she needs to transport from house to house. (she's much, much, MUCH better than her older brothers were, though)
              • Today was a frustrating day in many ways. One of them was the fact that I kept on misreading labels or forgetting to read small print.  At Publix, my brain interpreted this sign as saying "Snapware on BOGO sale for $2.99" so, in my mind, I was getting 2 containers for $2.99 and I had (2) $1.00 coupons. Of course, I was wrong and I ended up paying $2.00 per container instead of the $0.50 per container that I expected. $2 is still a good deal but honestly, if I had realized it was going to cost me $4, I probably wouldn't have bought them.  Lesson learned: use your brain, Nathalie!
              • The dish drainer that I bought at Aldi last week (after looking at it for a couple of weeks) for $6.99 was marked down today for $3.99.  Doh!  Lesson learned: I should have just gotten one at a thrift store!


              OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
              • I brought my own water and a snack along on my shopping trip today.
              • Our son attended the weekly teen program at our local library.
              • Since Greg didn't get a receipt from Racetrac yesterday morning, I gassed up his truck again this morning (it only cost $11 since he had filled up the tank) in order to get a receipt so I could take the survey and earn a code for a free bakery item to use next week!
              • SavingStar put a conditional $0.67 in my account for my Lowes.com purchase this week.
              • Dunkin Donuts Customer Service finally replied to my emails and credited my account with 100 DD Perks points.  I think this might be a few Perks more than I was entitled to but I'm not going to complain!

              Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

              Thanks for stopping by!

              My Daily Freebies: Wednesday, February 25, 2015


              Here is what I got/found for free today!


              • A non-fiction book from the library. (can't wait to see if I can improve our wasteful ways, hahaha!)


              • A jumbo chocolate chip muffin (free after survey reward code) and a giant oatmeal raisin cookie (free after Racetrac Insider February printable coupon) from Racetrac.


              • A bag of Gevalia coffee, free after coupon from Kelloggs Family Rewards, from Walgreens.


              • 2 cups of Voskos Greek yogurt, free after combination of BOGO digital manufacturer coupon and BOGO store coupon from Publix.


              • 2 containers of Yucatan Guacamole from Publix, free after redemption of manufacturer printable coupons.


              • (2) Spring Sensation Glade candles from Target, a $0.52 money maker  after combination of store coupon, manufacturer printable coupons and Checkout 51 rebate.


              • A coffee bowl from Kohl's, free after clearance and redemption of $5 promotional gift card.


              • The latest issue of Lighting & Sound America magazine (free subscription I got for my son but since he no longer reads it, I will be donating it to the library)

              • Also, the following were free to me after applying part of the $200 American Express sign-on statement credit we received:
                • (4) 4-ct packages of Publix Bakery Hoagie Rolls
                • (4) 8-oz canister of Kraft Parmesan cheese
                • (4) large cans of Hunt's crushed tomatoes
                • (1) package of fresh basil
                • (2) dozen eggs
                • (2) gallons milk
                • (2) 8-oz boxes Blue Diamond Whole Natural almonds
                • (1) can Campbell's chicken noodle soup


              My Other Great Buys This Week


              Here are some other (as in non-food) great deals that I made this week:

              Both CVS and Walgreens had the 30-load bottles of Xtra laundry detergent on sale for $1.50 each and there was a $1.00/2 manufacturer coupon for those on Coupons.com this weekend.  Weirdly, we could only print it once per computer so I had to fire up my son's computer to get a second print so I could get 4 bottles @ $1.00 each. Not bad!


              Publix had the Snapware glassware on 50% off through today.  The only size available at my store was the 2-cup size (full price was $5.99), but that's good for lunch boxes.  I had $1.00/1 coupons so I was able to get 2 containers for $2.00 each.


              When a promotional gift tricks you into spending money you didn't mean to spend



              I have a love/hate relationship with Kohl's Cash and Kohl's promotional gifts.

              On the one hand, I'm always really excited to get a free bonus.

              But on the other hand, those "free" bonuses have enticed me into spending extra money that I didn't mean (or need) to spend on several occasions.

              I don't have small children and we all have very full closets and dresser drawers so I rarely need to buy anything at Kohl's.

              Every time that I receive those promotional gifts, I roam the store for 30 minutes to an hour, agonizing about how to maximize the gift: of course I want to receive the full value but I also want to spend as little as possible to get (with not spending anything the ultimate goal). But the cards are stacked against the consumers: there is a minimum purchase requirement for the promotional gifts, the % off vouchers and codes are only applied to the remaining portion AFTER the redemption of the promotional gift, and good luck to find anything that will be close to the promotional gift value and that you will actually need. A mini rant: why the minimum purchase requirement? Because they don't actually want to give you anything!  They want you to be tempted into spending money there that you weren't planning on spending.

              So today I ventured into Kohl's with my $5 promotional gift coupon and my 15% off "Pick A Day" coupon.  I had surveyed the family to see if anyone needed anything from Kohl's but no one did.  My mission was to get in and out of the store in less than 10 minutes and no pay a dime over the $5 allowed.

              Middle-age has a way of screwing with your mind, though. You become very forgetful. By the time I reached the home clearance section, I had forgotten that there was a $5 minimum purchase requirement.  I looked at the Godiva Chocolate boxes on clearance for $5.99 and was pretty proud of myself when I decided to get a red ceramic coffee bowl, marked down to $3.59 because I pictured myself walking out with my FREE gift!



              Of course, when I got to the register (slightly over the 10 minute limit I had set for myself  but under 30 minutes!), the cashier rang up the bowl and then announced that I hadn't met the requirement... there was a line behind me, I didn't want to have to go back into the store or come back next Wednesday so I grabbed the very conveniently displayed right by the cash register single Godiva chocolate bars... and ended up having to pay $1.21.



              So in the end, my "free" gift cost me $1.21 and I ended up with an overpriced candy bar that I didn't want and a bowl that I really didn't need... plus the cost of the gas to get there (it's just a few hundred feet from Aldi but still...), and the aggravation and stress caused by the whole thing.

              Wouldn't it be great if you could just go into the store and get whatever you want UP to the amount of the promotional "gift"?  Then they really could call it a "gift"!

              I think I might force myself to NOT use the promotional gifts in the future unless there is something that I do NEED.

              What do you think?  Do you love the promotional gifts from Kohl's?  Or do you have a hard time finding something worthwhile to use them on?

              Grocery Shopping This Week


              Wednesday is my main shopping day. My 2015 weekly grocery budget is $100/wk for 3 to 4 people (2 adults, 1 of 2 teens depending on the weeks). 

              Since I stocked up on meat last months, I'm going to try to spend only $50 per week in February.

              Note: since we got a $200 sign-on statement credit from American Express, I decided to apply it to the groceries that I purchased with American Express, until I reach $200.  I applied some of it retroactively to the groceries purchased up til today with the Amex card, and I'm also deducting some credit from the groceries bought this week. After today, I still have about $50 in Amex credit to apply to future grocery expenses. This helped me come in under budget (after rebates) since I added some items to my cart that I hadn't planned on buying today!

              Let's see how I did!

              Budget for the week: $50
              Total OOP: $52.66
              Rebates expected: $3.25
              Total spent after rebates: $49.41
              Money left in budget: $0.59


              Baking Supplies: $0.00 OOP

              • None

              Beverages: $2.00 OOP and received 1,000 Balance Rewards

              1. Originally I said that I would wait until Publix had a BOGO sale on the Gevalia coffee since my coupon was for a FREE bag, up to $9.99, but I decided to redeem it this week at Walgreens and earn 1,000 BR.  It makes no sense but I was afraid I'd forget to use the coupon before it expired.
              2. Greg told me that the trick I shared with him of sipping on mint tea when he has an upset stomach really worked and asked me to get him more mint tea. Neither Aldi nor Save A Lot sold inexpensive mint tea so I stopped by Dollar Tree and found this herbal peppermint tea for $1.00 a box.  I hope they stock it regularly!
              • (1) bag of Gevalia coffee (Walgreens) @ 5.99, minus $5.99 manufacturer coupon from Kelloggs Family Rewards = FREE and received 1,000 Balance Rewards.
              • (2) 30-ct boxes of Herbal Peppermint Tea (Dollar Tree) @ $1.00 each = $2.00

              Breads/Baked Goods: $1.29 OOP
              1. The hoagie rolls were NOT on my list but Publix had store coupons for $1.00 off Publix Bakery bread wyb a Kraft Parmesan Cheese... and my hoagie rolls never come out right so I decided to "splurge" since they were on sale for $2.29 a package. I froze all of them when I got home. I'll use them to make meatball subs in the next few months.
              • (1) loaf of butterbread (Save A Lot) @ $1.29
              • (4) 4-ct packages of Publix Bakery hoagie rolls (Publix) on sale @ $2.29 each = $9.16, minus (4) $1.00 store coupons = $5.16 but FREE after American Express Statement Credit


               Cereals: $0.00 OOP
              • None

              Dairy: $7.74 OOP, got $2.00 Extracare Bucks and will get $1.60 back from Snap
              1. The milk continues to be cheaper (for me) at CVS with the $1.00 ECBs being issued on each gallon than if I buy it at Aldi.
              2. I succumbed to the Publix Viva Italia sale and got double the amount of parmesan cheese that I had planned on buying today. My kids looooove parmesan cheese on a variety of dishes so we can never have enough of it around the house.  This was a very good price too!
              • (2) gallons of T.G. Lee whole milk (CVS) on sale @ $3.69 each = $7.38 and received $2.00 ExtraCare Bucks but FREE after American Express Statement Credit
              • (4) 8-oz canisters of Kraft parmesan cheese (Publix), on BOGO sale @ $3.79, minus (4) $0.75/1 printable manufacturer coupons = $4.58  but FREE after American Express Statement Credit and will get $1.60 back from Snap
              • (3) cups of Fit & Active yogurt (Aldi) @ $0.39 each = $1.17
              • (2) cups of Voskos greek yogurt (Publix) on sale @ $1.00 each, minus BOGO store coupon, minus BOGO manufacturer digital coupon = FREE
              • (2) cups Yoplait Light yogurt (Target) on sale @ $0.50 each, minus $0.40/2 printable manufacturer coupon = $0.60
              • (1) 1-lb unsalted butter (Aldi) @ $2.89
              • (1) 16-oz light sour cream (Aldi) @ $1.29
              • (1) 8-oz block sharp cheddar (Aldi) @ $1.79

              Dry/Pantry/Freezer Goods: $1.19 OOP, got $0.50 in Extracare Bucks and will get $0.50 from Snap
              1. I had planned on getting 2 cans of crushed tomatoes at Aldi, but when I saw the Publix Viva Italia BOGO sale with the store coupon display, coupled with manufacturer coupon and Snap rebates, I couldn't resist getting 4 cans.
              2. It would have made much better financial sense to get 4 large cans of Hunts tomato sauce than the small 2 cans I got at Aldi, but I would have had to divide the cans and frozen the smaller portions and I have no room in the freezer so...
              3. Aldi used to carry the Fit & Active reduced sodium beef broth but all they had today was the regular kind :( This thing is loaded with sodium, which isn't great.
              • (1) can Campbell chicken noodle soup (CVS) @ $0.79 and got $0.50 in ExtraCare Bucks so $0.29  but FREE after American Express Statement Credit
              • (1) can beef broth (Aldi) @ $0.69
              • (2) 8-oz cans of tomato sauce (Aldi) @ $0.25 each = $0.50
              • (4) 29-oz cans Hunt's crushed tomatoes (Publix) on BOGO sale @ $2.19, minus $0.55/4 manufacturer digital coupon, minus $1.00/4 store coupon = $2.83  but FREE after American Express Statement Credit and will get $0.50 back from Snap

              Produce/Juice: $9.04 and will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51
              1. The Yucatan coupon was awesome but specified that I could only use 1 coupon per trip so I had to go to Publix twice. A small inconvenience to get 2 containers of it for free!
              2. The strawberries weren't on my list but at $1.39 a quart, I decided to get one and dehydrate it for Greg's Grape Nuts.
              3. I considered buying a potted basil plant so at least it would keep on growing and producing leaves but the ones I saw were $3.99 and anemic whereas this package was $1.99 and had more leaves than the plants. I'm growing my own so hopefully I won't have to buy fresh basil anymore pretty soon!
              • 2-lbs red grapes (Aldi) @ $1.39/lb = $2.78
              • 3 lbs Gala apples (Save A Lot) @ $2.99
              • 1 quart strawberries (Aldi) @ $1.39
              • 1 pint grape tomatoes (Aldi) @ $0.99
              • 2.06 lbs bananas (Aldi) @ $0.44/lb = $0.91 and will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51 so $0.66
              • 1 package of fresh basil (Publix) @ $1.99  but FREE after American Express Statement Credit
              • (2) 8-oz containers of Yucatan guacamole (Publix) @ $2.99 each, minus (2) $3.00/1 manufacturer printable coupons = $0.02 MONEY MAKER


              Proteins: $14.47 OOP and received 500 Balance Rewards
              1. Arrgh, I need to stop buying meat!  However, I had really good coupons for the drumsticks (and we'll eat them!) and I thought the $2.49/lb for the corned beef was good (I want to try to make corned beef for Reuben sandwiches). However, once at Aldi, the flyer for next week shows that they'll sell the corned beef for $1.99/lb.  Arrgh.
              • (2) dozens Nice! eggs (Walgreens) on sale @ $1.29 each = $2.58 and received 500 Balance Rewards but FREE after American Express Statement Credit
              • (1) 9-oz container Market Pantry oven roasted turkey (Target), on sale @ $3.00, minus $1.00/1 digital store coupon, minus 5% Cartwheel = $1.90
              • (2) 9-oz containers Buddig oven roasted turkey/black forest ham (Save A Lot) @ $2.49 = $4.98
              • (2) package JustBARE chicken drumsticks (Target) @ $2.99 each, minus (2) $1.50/1 manufacturer printable coupons = $2.98
              • (1) 1.75 lb Corned Beef (Target), on sale @ $2.49/lb = 4.61

              Snacks: $16.93 OOP and got $0.90 back from SavingStar

              1. I knew that Aldi would be selling the popcorn as a seasonal item this week so I stocked up! The price is better than Walmart's and ... I don't have to go to Walmart, always a plus.
              2. Greg likes Altoids when he drives (whereas I'm a gum gal). They're cheaper at Target and this week there was a $0.75/2 printable so I had to buy 2 packages.
              3. My son requested some peanut butter crackers as he likes to snack on them.  I thought Aldi would sell the malt peanut butter crackers but all they had was the cheese peanut butter kind. I hope he likes them.
              4. The Godiva bar was a big snafu on my part (which deserves its own post!)
              • (1) Almond Joy bar (Family Dollar), @ $0.90 + tax = $0.96 and I received $0.90 back from SavingStar so $0.06.
              • (1) bag white tortilla chips (Aldi) @ $1.19
              • (2) 2-ct packages of Altoids (Target) @ $2.89, minus $0.75/2 store coupon = $5.03
              • (4) 32-oz bags of popcorn (Aldi) @ $1.69 (seasonal sale) = $6.76
              • (2) 6-ct packages of cheese & peanut butter crackers (Aldi) @ $0.89 each = $1.78
              • (2) 8-oz boxes of Blue Diamond Whole Natural almonds (CVS) on sale @ 2/$5.00, minus $0.75/2 manufacturer insert coupon, minus $3.00 ECBs from previous trip = $1.25  but FREE after American Express Statement Credit
              • (1) Godiva chocolate peppermint truffle bar (Kohl's) @ $2.65, minus $1.44 in Kohl's Gift Coupon credit = $1.21