eating well and looking good for less

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30. $13.46 of foooooooood


It's been raining all day long, and as a result I was stuck indoors with a bored, tired three year old who couldn't manage to take a nap alllllllllll day long (until 5 PM, which means he is awake right now. augh). When my husband got home, I was like, "We have to go out! Now! Let's go!"

First we went to Acme, because I have a little over half a bottle of coffee creamer left.

Yogurt! Homemade yogurt! Free homemade yogurt!

I was talking to my sister on the phone yesterday, telling her about my Acme shopping trip. I perhaps mentioned that I didn't need any more cereal, as I had I think 26 boxes before I bought six more, but that I wanted the two gallons of free milk. I also perhaps may have mentioned that I don't drink milk. She laughed at me. You have 31 boxes of cereal and don't drink milk. Oh, well, when you put it that way it is true that I sound just a little crazy.

However! There was a plan! Mr 3 would, if allowed, happily live on a diet of breakfast cereal and yogurt. We go through so much yogurt around here! I bought thirty 6 oz containers of yogurt ten days ago, and they are all gone, and that is with me limiting the amount of yogurt he eats daily. Even with some good sales and coupons, I think those 30 cups of yogurt cost me $9. For six boxes of cereal and two gallons of milk, I paid $3.38, and the milk itself was free with the purchase of the cereal. With two gallons of milk I could make 16 lbs of yogurt, or the equivalent of 42 containers ($12.60 worth on sale, $34-$40 worth if you're paying retail) of yogurt, for free. So I wanted to try making my own. If it didn't work, I figured I could freeze the milk and use it for baking.

Well, I started up a batch of yogurt last night, and it worked! We have homemade yogurt! And it was so easy, too.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28. $33.69 worth of stuff


Today I spent $33.69 worth of money from my bank account, and saved $157.69 using coupons, sales, rebates, and gift cards, for a total savings of 82%. I truly had no need for fresh produce today, because I still have broccoli, kale, spinach, potatoes, garlic, onions, grapes, celery, lemons, limes, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, scallions, cilantro, mushrooms, green and red peppers, and pears from last week's huge produce trip.

First store, Walgreens. My first trip to Walgreens. I've never shopped there and don't know the system, but I think I did pretty good anyway. Two transactions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 22. $30.49 worth of groceries and HBA

Once again, no pictures, because I was miserably tired and passing out hungry by the time we got home, at which point I thought it was a great idea to rearrange the cabinets. I... don't even know what I was thinking, seriously. But my cabinets do look nice.

First store, ShopRite. Did not go the way I wanted it to go. Why do I continue to go there? Frustration. Nothing that went wrong was their fault,but other local stores run the same sales, are less crowded, and have better coupon policies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yard sale season has started!

Yes! The recent warm weather has triggered the urge in people to clean out their garages and basements and offload all their old stuff. I love yard sale season. You never can tell what you're going to find.

I have been prowling the thrift stores for cast iron cookware for a few months now. I already had a 12" Lodge skillet and a 12" grill pan, and my last piece of Teflon-coated cookware became irredeemably scratched. I thought, why keep spending money on Teflon, which flakes off into your food and may be dangerous to your health, and becomes useless trash in a few years, when cast iron is absolutely safe, may boost the iron content of your food, and becomes better with age and use?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21. $10.50 (or $0) worth of CVS stuff.

DSC_0210Or $0 worth of stuff, however you want to look at it. Total savings: $81.07.

We got a $25 gift card for filling a [free] prescription at CVS, so my husband and I have decided upon a challenge. How long can we keep on spending CVS' own money at CVS, without actually spending any of our own? Today we spent $10.50 of that gift card balance, and are up $2 in ECB from the start of the day. Honestly, the OOP is a little higher than it could have been, because I had two $3/$15 and a $4/20 that were all set to expire, and I wanted to use them. So:

March 19, 2010. One massive grocery shopping trip

On Friday I took Mr 3, who is a very forgiving shopping buddy, and went on a huge grocery shopping trip. I didn't take any pictures when I got home, because it was late, he was passed out in his car seat, and I had too much stuff. I spent twice as much as I had allotted for my rather arbitrary weekly budget, but I spent way under for the past two weeks, so I don't suppose it matters much.

This one is for all the people out there who say that it's not possible to save money using coupons and sales and still buy healthy food. Ready? Set... Blog!

First we went to the farm market. In the summer it has really amazing deals, and I get out of there with six or eight bags of fresh produce for $25. In the winter the selection is not great and the prices are pretty much equivalent with the supermarkets (which is to say: EXTORTIONATE!). As springtime rolls around, I find it's getting better, but still not great.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010. $1.67 worth of groceries.

No picture today. The Man wanted a celebratory dinner of pizza, and I have all the ingredients except for cheese, so I headed out to the supermarket for some mozzarella.

Pathmark: $1.67
Saved: either $5.10 or around $14.50

one lb mozzarella: $2.99
two packages of marked down green peppers: $1.50 each

The regular price on the green peppers was an extortionate $3.49 a lb (seriously, what?!?), and I bought just under 3.5 lbs, so the regular price on those would have been somewhere around $12. For eight peppers. Yeeeeeeeeah. So my receipt says that I saved $5.10, but I think the cost of the peppers should be in there too, because I could have bought the same amount of peppers for $9 more.

Therefore I figure I saved 90% today. Take that, whoever it is who would be pocketing the profit from my shopping trips!

Weirdness on my receipt. Unless they have changed the laws very recently, PA does not charge sales tax on food. In addition, unlike in many states, coupon savings are not taxable. So if the shelf price for a razor is $10 and we have 8% sales tax, I would normally have to pay 80c on that. If, with coupons, I get it for free, I don't owe any sales tax. When I handed over my $4 catalina, either the computer system or the cashier deducted 32c worth of tax, that as far as I can tell, I did not pay in the first place. I am uncertain if this was supposed to happen or if she made a mistake. If it was a mistake, I guess I'll check in with customer service next time I go there -- I like my pennies as much as anyway, but I am not into ripping off the store!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm sorry, I'm plum out of good titles today.

Since there's a popular conception out there that it's impossible to buy/cook/eat healthy and delicious foods when you use coupons (because they're all for junk food, you know!), and since I loooooooooove cooking (and food blogs), I thought it would be fun to create a series that shows some of the meals I create.

I made a delicious black bean and sweet potato stew/burrito filling the other night, but unfortunately the photo I took of it makes it look like a giant pot of sick. It didn't taste like hot vomit, but you'd never know that from the photo. It doesn't help that my flash is broken and the lighting in my house is wholly inadequate. Oh well.

Instead, let me share with you a loaf of bread.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010. 33c worth of beauty supplies

I stopped off CVS this morning to pick up a few items that I'd chosen not to buy earlier in the week. I really wanted mascara and eyeliner, since I have absolutely none, and I had a couple of b1 pore strip g1 facial cleanser free coupons, and CVS emailed me a $5 off $30+ purchase coupon that expires tomorrow. But I don't like to use ECB on items that won't give me any more ECB in return, and my face is horribly sensitive to almost everything that I put on it. On the other hand, next week's CVS circular doesn't have anything of interest to me in it, and the one after that isn't looking too hot either. If a free cleanser doesn't work for me, it's no big loss. And it's probably better to spend the ECB on a couple of things I wanted, than to hold onto them and use them on stuff I don't really want, or to risk them expiring.

I pondered the question and decided that I could buy a few things at CVS, as long as I kept my out-of-pocket costs very very low. I would say I succeeded!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stew with greens and pineapple and peanut butter

It's a yucky looking mess of stew, but it tastes really good!

My recipe was more or less my own creation, but it's actually a lot like this one, only I add less peanut butter, probably more hot sauce, and I generally use any greens I have around. I went with collards this time. I also add in water, to thin the peanut butter, cook it longer, and add a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar just seems to bring everything together perfectly.

Mr 3 asked for brown rice to go with it. So yummy and filling!

(Although I am definitely craving some chocolate now!)

March 12, 2010. $39.27

It is apparently cereal week around here. Every single store has cereal on sale for a good price! (For me this is under $1.25 per box, after coupons and discounts, or preferably $1 or less per box). I took the opportunity to restock our cereal supply.

March 9, 2010. $33.51 worth of groceries.

I was not even planning on going to the supermarket today, but my husband fell asleep on the train and missed his stop, so I had to go pick him up. He was waiting in the parking lot of one store, and the other store I wanted to visit some time during the week was further south on the same road, so I figured it made sense.

Two stores. $33.51.

Introducing my blog!

Well! Hello! My name is Laurie, and I am a stay at home mom with a three year old son, a hungry husband, three dogs, and a heap of cats. I have recently discovered the wonders of coupon shopping, and I feel the need to blather on and on and on about it, even though I suspect everyone around me is really, really sick of hearing about it. Well, I have some consideration for others, so here I am. I figure if you are here, it is probably because you actually want to be, right?

So, welcome!

Enough talking. Time for bargains!