Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Total spend for April

So, today is April 30th.  I have gone to three stores (mentioned Big Y in an earlier post) as well as Stop and Shop and Target today (all food)    But all the meats and groceries purchased in the last three days is actually for next week (which is May, so I'm going to add these three purchases (minus the ground beef and lettuce tomatoes and cheese bought today which will be used for Tacos this week) to May's totals.

So, total spent for groceries (food stuffs only) 547.32.  47.32 over goal.  But, considering that just 5 short months ago I was spending close to 2000 dollars (Oh My), I feel accomplished.  Average is $18.25 per day, times 12 meals a day. $1.50 a meal.  I feel like Wonder Woman!
our change jug, an antique Coca-Cola syrup jug

Why so much before?  I would buy two or three of things in defense of Gpa P over eating.

What did I do differently?  I did not over buy.  Only if on sale and with a coupon.  If I could add an Ibotta, Saving Star of Checkout 51 deal on top of it, so much the better.  Currently I have earned $41.97 combined in these three apps.  Goal is to eventually have my entire budget from these three apps covered in a month.  We also are expecting our BJ's cash back refund which should be $52.00.

We did have a few stressful moments.  DH twice knew I had purchased something to find that Gpa had eaten it all (White Cheddar Cheezits AND the new Cheezit Grooves)  I got upset one day when I had enough for DH and I to have one last piece of crusty bread, (after I took the hardened outside slice) and found Gpa taking one of the two slices (he shouldn't be eating any of these things)  Confronting him about his lack of control and food choices just makes him defensive.  Hiding things bothers me on other levels, and doesn't always work.  Marking things annoys me too (we aren't in college) but sometimes I do it if it's a planned item for a meal.........or for one of us to take to work with us.

The entire change in lifestyle has opened up my DH enjoying the adventure of the deals, and helping me be creative with meal planning.

Let's see how I do in May!

Meal plans for April 28 - May 3

Monday the family (DH, Gpa and DD) had Saugy hotdogs from RI, BM Baked beans, cole slaw (hubby bought at grocery store on his own) and tossed salad.  I had $2.99 bag of Tiliapia bought earlier during Lent.  Along with some organic butternut squash gotten at Whole Foods with a gift certificate (I spent a whole $1.49 there out of pocket for a bottle of water, as I was thirsty!) I also got mushrooms, spring mix and one cucumber.  Total 11.49.  I know, bizarre huh? Put the word organic in there and everything is more.  But the cucumber did taste different, and fresher.

Tuesday pork chops from the freezer, frozen mixed veggies.

Wednesday Taco Night.  Ground Beef, Iceburg lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese.  Will also probably cook chicken wings for DH lunch (have to figure out how to do that)

Thursday Premio Chicken Sausage from the freezer with onions and peppers (also from freezer and cost .25 when purchased)

Friday Chicken breasts marinated with frozen veggies and roasted potatoes.

Saturday unsure.......

Lunches are assorted leftovers and odds/ends from fridge.  No lunch out.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Adventure and Garden prep.

DH and I try to plan Sunday adventures that give us the joy of finding a deal without spending a lot of money.  We believe in buying quality, and will save and skimp where we can to have money to spend on other things.



We believe in good furniture.  Antiques.  We have gotten previous amazing deals (Dining Room table that was appraised for over 4000, but we paid just 250)  Clocks (a passion of his that I am starting to enjoy as well)  books, (clocks, watches, historical documents for him, cooking, gardening and 'woman guides' for me)

I collect Donkeys and violin figurines.   I also look for deals for items in our Bach's Bucks case.  Students earn play money to use in a special case of items that they can only purchase.

Today we went to a town wide tag sale in Haddam, 20 dealers at one location and then a map that brought us to 60 more if we wanted to visit them.   We went to the one location with 20 and then went to 6 more on the map of 60.  We then stopped at a few antique shops in Old Saybrook, Essex and Chester.

I spent $2.00 on a multicultural music book/recipes/activities including an audio tape.  Brand new.  I also got 25 things brand new for the case that probably retailed for over $50.  She wanted 28, she accepted 20 as she didn't want to make change for two 20's.  I also got a beanie baby donkey for $1.

At one antique shop I found some very unusual violin figurines from Occupied China.  Colors I had never seen before on a violin figurine.  $18.00 for both.  I also bought 2 large ragu jars filled with buttons for $10.00.  I have been kicking myself for years that I forgot a hat box full of buttons that were my grandmothers when we moved once.  I have been wanting to replace these vintage buttons but normally the prices are ridiculous.  I'm happy with this (though will transfer them to prettier jars.

We brought snacks and water with us (we left early) and by 230 we were hungry, so we stopped in Flanders and had a nice seafood dinner.  A treat.  $45.00 with tip.   DH had clam chowder and southwestern spiced shrimp with fries.  I had a crab cake and a side caesar salad.  We shared some fried calamari.  He had a soda (free refills) and I had water.

We then drove into Rhode Island.  DH loves a particular brand of hotdogs...only available in Rhode Island.  Saugys is the brand name.  When we are that close I always suggest we stop and get the 3 pound box.  $15.00 for the box.  Again, a splurge/treat.  We bought a few other things there too that we can only find in Rhode Island. Some Portuguese staples. B&M Baked beans for a great price for the large cans. Then we headed back home.

Once home, I strained the stock that I had on high in a Crock Pot since last night, put it into a new pot, along with a pound of frozen Kidney Beans (FREE! with coupon last week in Shop-Rite) chopped celery, onion, carrots, green peppers and diced ham (left over from last ham deal).



DH went into work to do the drivers tallies for their last run, and I ran to Home Depot coupon in hand to get the Black Mulch we have been needing as well as some annuals.  The pansies looked awful, and were marked down .88 each.  But they were pitiful, probably weren't covered in the last two frosts.  I purchased marigolds and petunias.  Total spent with coupon was $70.00.  Some of the supplies will be used at the studio, so I can write off part of it as maintenance.

I had prepped two large pots as well as my donkey/wagon planter.  Put five plants in each, and then started pulling out my pots and wooden chair planters from the garage.  I filled all those, and then started clearing out all the raised beds and flower beds, as DH and I plan to go out early and pick up all this mess I created, bringing it into the woods.


  I am happy to report that i DO have asparagus coming up.  I was so afraid that the roots had been destroyed in the awful winter we had.  I anticipate harvesting at least 2 pounds, maybe 3 this year.  I will have to get more plants to add to the bed.  I love asparagus, but it's so expensive.  Since it's a perennial, it comes back each year, offering more spears as it matures.  An investment for the dinner table. This is my third year of being able to harvest, so I feel that my initial investment for the 4 plants we have has been returned.

I have sweet onions to plant tomorrow too. DH requested them.  This is the time of year that I am happiest!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Big Y .88 a lb roasting chickens, be aware

Today I went to Big Y in North Haven to purchase roasting chickens advertised on the front page of their current flyer for .88 a pound.  They had a sign posted between Big Y Roasters and Big Y chickens.  Both sides of the sign said .88 a pound.  All the chickens were marked 1.39 a pound.  Since the ad stated Roasting Chickens, and all the chickens were the same price I chose two Big Y Roasters.

They rang up 1.39 a pound.

Head cashier came over, said they were for the smaller ones.  I explained that the sign was on both sides of each pile of chickens and these were marked Roasters.  She still insisted was for the smaller ones.  Said she would go back and get me the right ones.  I asked for the biggest she could find.   She returned and let me know that the sign was on only one side for .88 cents a pound (I am an educated person and I did have my glasses on, and I know what was there when I was there.  Besides this....these....

rang up 1.39 a pound as well......

Now she's tried to tell me they were for the smaller chickens in a different area (marked fowl, not chicken) but she would give me these for the .88 a pound.    She would be notifying the meat department manager of the sign problem.

I plan on going back again before this sale is over to see which chickens are the REAL .88 DEAL.

I really wanted the oversized roasters, and never would have bought the small soup chickens (fowl).  Not for .88 a pound.  Maybe .38 cents a pound.

Let me know what chickens in your store were .88 a pound please!

UPDATE:  I went back to the same store this evening (same day) as I forgot cat food.  Now all of the .88 cents a pound chicken signs are gone (empty metal stands) and the chickens that are there are the same that were there earlier, 1.39 a pound.  No other chicken that is on the front page of the flier could be found.  There should be whole roasting chickens, thighs, drumsticks or combo packs for .88 a lb.  Frustrating. 


Monday, April 21, 2014

This week's meat choices (from the freezer!) and menu planning. Zaycon plug too!

Please note this post does contain a referral link.  Thank you. 

One pound of 16/20 count shrimp.  DH made it with a bag of frozen oriental vegetables and rice, seasoned with srirachi.

I have taken out the last two packages of boneless breasts from our Zaycon purchase (will definitely be doing a forty pound box for my family alone next time they come in our area)  This will be for 4 dinner servings and hopefully 3 or 4 more lunch servings.

I can get referral points if you click on the referral points link, register and purchase at Zaycon yourself. Referal points mean some day I can get FREE FOOD.   Zaycon Foods, How Smart Families Buy Big and Save Big.  They do truckload sales around the country, you preorder/prepay and be at the designated drop off point.  Check them out at Zaycon Foods.

Two packages of Pork Premio Italian Sausages (purchased at Shop Rite on markdown for $2.29 a package).  This is my families favorite brand. 4 dinner servings and 2 lunch servings.  Peppers and Onions.

Target .98 a pound turkey breast.  4 dinner servings, 2 lunch servings and then soup stock!  Marked down stuffing mushrooms.  Frozen corn.

That stock will become a vegetable soup that will be dinner and lunch for Gpa P and DD and myself on another day.

Ground Beef (large over 2 lb package) will be burgers one night, with the balance saved.

Ground Pork added to the balance of the ground beef and made into meatballs to go along with pasta and jarred sauce.

All will be rounded out with fresh or frozen veggies and I will make bread on Wednesday.  Herbed and banana.

I went to the produce market and purchased three pounds of bananas for .90 cents (just starting to get spots.  Eating and Bread making)  Two pounds of stuffing mushrooms marked down to 1.49 a pound.  Bagged green/red peppers three pounds for 2.59.  Two cucumbers at .69 each (got .25 back with checkout 51 already) and a pound of baby carrots 1.99 (not a great price, but the only way DH will eat carrots in his lunch) do have to get a few vegetables to round out the week, but I think that i WILL make my food budget goal this month!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cooking this past week.

We were away for a family destination wedding on Saturday/Sunday so no cooking at home.  I did make a pot of Swiss Chard/Canellini Beans/homemade turkey stock for my Dad in the crockpot before we left.  He also had leftover chicken cutlets to go with it.

Monday burgers (DH cooked 6 beef patties and two chicken/spinach patties) Three dinners and two lunch plates on Tuesday.

Tuesday I also used the balance of the ground beef and a pound of ground pork to make a meatloaf for my Dad (Gpa P).  He ate this for dinner Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday along with last of Swiss Chard.

Tuesday evening was DD's 21st birthday.  She had requested Margarita's and Mexican, and I did budget this in for the month.  We invited my Mom, Sister, Brother, DH, DD and her boyfriend and myself.  We took some leftovers home.

Wednesday I roasted a chicken, immediately took the meat off the bone and threw in veggie peelings and carcass into crock pot to simmer until I got home this evening at 8 p.m.  Half of the white meat was hidden away with the leg quarters, other half of white meat and wings left for DD and Gpa P's dinner.  Salad, and pasta/broccoli/cheese sauce frozen steam bag rounded out the meal.  I had the leftovers from Mexican birthday and DH had a Lodge meeting where he would eat dinner.

Thursday Strained broth with added carrots/celery/onion/escarole and chicken that was saved will go back into the crock pot with some herbs/seasonings for a nice soup.   Broccoli Rabe (one bunch) with garlic, olive oil and crushed red pepper with the balance of the chicken breast (my lunch) and the rest of the Rabe not mixed with chicken cooked with chicken sausage for Gpa P's lunch (half left for him for tomorrow)

DH doesn't care for clear soups, so we also had some boneless pork chops that he will probably bread crumb and bake in the oven.  Roasting potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli will round it out.

Friday meatless sauce with pasta and Ricotta cheese.  First try at homemade bread in a while.

Saturday will be leftovers whatever we feel like having.  Might make a pizza in our pizza oven (from scratch of course!)

Easter Sunday we do not have any plans.  If I can get a Ham at BJ's warehouse for a good price we may have that with fresh vegetables.  If not, we will wing it.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Filling in needed items at Stop and Shop





Completely out of full size carrots.  I have found the best price for five pound bags is Stop and Shop.  Just $3.49.  .70 a pound.

We also were out of the rest of the families choices for salad dressing/dipping sauces.  I got Kraft creamy Italian, French and Thousand Island.  Not a great price, 2.99 a bottle, but sometimes wants are more important than the best deal.  They were requested more than once.

Russet potatoes at .89 a pound.  Bought a little over three pounds.  Will get 20 percent back from Saving Star.

Swanson Mexican Broth.  Bought 4 cartons totaling 8 dollars.  This was a sale price.  Had no more coupons left, but do like the flavor of this, and will add one box to my own stock when I want 'Tortilla Soup'.

I found Aero bars.  A Nestle product mainly found in Canada.  DH loves these.  I hid them away for a special treat for him.  Not on special, $1.89 each.

Lea and Perrin Worcestershire we were completely out.  Again no coupon or sale, but couldn't be helped, DH likes to cook with it alot.  4.49.

Total spent was 36.00.  Not an impressive amount for just two grocery bags.  I don't anticipate needing any more meats this month, as we will eat from the freezer.  I have $60 left for the month (if I stay on budget, and I think I can this month!) for produce/dairy/bread.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Target $10 off of $50 coupon




I love Target.  I have to be very diligent though, and make sure that I 1) Stick to my list unless I find a truly amazing deal and 2) watch the coupons as they are scanned.

Though Target is very coupon friendly, I find that hearing a beep doesn't always mean the coupon was deducted.  Have to watch closely.

This weeks flyer had $10 off of $50 on groceries.  I made out like a bandit!  I also used manufacturers coupons as well as a Target Texted to me coupon     (text THANKS TO 827-438) . Here's what I got:

2 dozen Market Pantry eggs at .99 each (1.98) less a 50 cent text coupon now a 1.48

Two frozen turkey breasts at .99 a pound   totaling 13.48

a pork butt roast priced at 6.72 - 3.00 buy it today coupon (dated today) and $1.00 text coupon on fresh meat.  I paid 2.72!

Half a pound of fresh strawberries on sale $1.50 - $1.00 text coupon total spent .50!

Half a pound of baby carrots on sale $1.50 - $1.00 text coupon total spent .50!

Two bags of Starbucks coffee that I found on clearance for 3.68 each.  7.36-2.00 coupon 5.36 spent.  Then I submitted the UPC codes as well as a picture of my receipt and will be getting a $5.00 starbucks giftcard back!  .36 for 24 ounces of coffee.  I can't beat that!

Heinz jarred gravy both beef and turkey 6 jars for 5.94
Heinz twin pack of large ketchup (warehouse size) 5.99
Grey Poupon mustard after coupon 1.54
Swanson boxed broth 3.78 - coupon 1.00 2.78
simply potato hash browns shredded potato after coupons .48
cheezit crackers 2.69 and 2.69
assorted pantry staples.   Total spent 67.13 after all of my manufacturers, text and $10.00 off coupon.

I saved $28.50!

Shoprite Shopping



This weeks flyer did not have ANY shoprite deal coupons.  I assume it's due to it being the week of Passover starting and Easter.

I did still manage to get some deals using manufacturer's coupons.

Hellmann's Light Mayo was on sale for $2.99 and I had a coupon.  $1.99 spent.

4 cans of Green Giant Green Beans, 4 cans of Green Giant Corn, 4 cans of Green Giant Creamed Corn.  Total per can .69, total spent 8.28   No coupons.

Broccoli Rabe on sale .99 a pound.  UNHEARD OF PRICE!   Usually 2.99 a pound, I get excited for 1.99 a pound.  I purchased 2.37 pounds.  $2.36 spent.

Escarole on sale .89 a pound.  LOWEST PRICE I HAVE EVER PAID.  I paid .91 cents for a bit over a pound.

YoPlait Yocrunch yogurts 10 for $6.00

4 Bagels and  2 Donuts (treat for DH and DD) $4.14

Cream cheese, block and whipped, Sour cream, 4 minute maid lemonades, 1/2 gallon milk   No coupons but some on sale.

Frozen Birdseye veggies (recipe ready and chef steamfresh) on sale and with coupons.

Two frozen bags of meatballs on sale for 2.49 a bag with $1.00 coupon.  Total spent $3.00 for these meatballs.

Total spent 43.15

I think I might actually stay under $500.00 this month.  I really think I will.  That is so exciting.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Meat choices for this week coming to a close as well as garden exploration

On Sunday's I take out meat from the freezer for the entire week.  This week my husband cooked sausage links with peppers and potatoes (grilled)  chicken breasts and two small NY strip steaks (also grilled).  This has fed 4 people from Monday through today.  There are two chicken 'cutlets' left, and I am now roasting our last .98 cents a pound turkey breast.  I also have the neck with vegetable peelings going in the crock-pot on high.

I plan on freezing that stock for another day.  Once the meat is pulled from the bone I will make ANOTHER stock from the bones with more peelings.  I have already prepped veggies (chopped onion, celery, carrots) for the soup that will be for Sunday/Monday.

I cannot imagine life without my crock-pots.

I know that our meats in the freezer are almost depleted.  That's ok.  Now that it's warming up, I have the garage freezer to store all the frozen vegetable deals I've been getting.  I can see what's left this Sunday for proteins and make plans for the future.

My shopping is now based on what is on sale/coupon/what i know we will use.  I mainly do loss leaders at the three main shops (Big Y, Stop and Shop and Shop rite)

I'm hoping to get some Ham deals at BJ's like the deal I got after Christmas.  .88 cents a pound for Smithfield Hams!  I am really hoping for that to happen again.  I did notice they had a lot less stock for Easter there compared to the amount they had at Christmas.  Since they are offering a deal (12.00 off a ham if you purchase 4 separate items from the list) I anticipate they might get more in.

Bulbs are starting to come up!

I also started going through the raised beds today (I came home between classes) I was dismayed to find that my asparagus plants that were 6 years old did not make it through this past winter.  I only had two seasons of asparagus, and anticipated that this year I would get several pounds.  What a disappointment.

I do have strawberry plants that spread in another raised bed.  At least we will have some backyard strawberries (if the rabbits and deer stay away).

I look forward to posting pictures of the gardens too.  I have already purchased lettuce seeds (some of which I will plant in the wagon of my donkey yard decoration) as well as swiss chard, peas and two types of green beans.  Here's hoping!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Eggplant Meatball Slow Cooker meal

When we had out of town guests I had made some purchases we normally don't make at the local BJ's warehouse.  One was a double pack of chicken and caramelized onion meatballs.  The price was 9.99 and probably had a total of 30 meatballs.  

I this week got three eggplants in reduced produce (they were all fine, I really wonder why they mark this stuff down, but am grateful that they do)  .59 cents a pound again, total spent $2.53.

One can of Tuttoroso tomatoes from the can can sale (.69) and one can of Contadina tomato paste (.25) a tablespoon of chopped garlic and basil from the freezer (last years harvest).  So far we have gotten 8 servings out of it, and I'm thinking there might be 2 or 3 more left, so we will say 10 servings.  $1.34 a serving for protein and vegetable.   Not bad.

Monday, April 7, 2014

This and That..............

I was able to use my $5.00 gift cards that i earned at Target from the Starbucks deal to spend only 71 cents out of pocket.  I got a bottle of popcorn kernels, an 8 ounce bag of scallions, a mango, half a pound of ground pork, a dozen eggs, a pint of half and half and a cornbread mix, plus four of their dollar bin items!  I used $15.00 in giftcards, $1.00 off of fruit, $1.00 off of vegetable and $1.00 off of fresh meat, plus .50 off of eggs.  Not bad!

Today at Big Y I went in just to get two bags of shrimp (B1G1Free).  I got the uncooked Extra Colossal size.  16-24 per pound.  I also got two packages of turkey italian sausage marked down and 3 packages of premio pork sausage also marked down.  4 cans of cat food too.  $47.00 total, enough meat for 5 - 8 meals (depending on who we are cooking for).

All meat went into the freezer for future meals.  Today we cooked some defrosted hotdogs, and 2 chicken/spinach patties.

Future meals this week that are defrosting are boneless/skinless chicken breast (1.69 a pound from Aldi this past Wednesday), Italian pork sausage, two NY strip steaks (previous marked down purchase) and my last .89 cents a pound turkey breast.  Now that I know this also contains the neck, I will be making stock while the turkey cooks.

What are your plans for meals this week?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quick Big Y Trip, and plans for the crockpot tomorrow





Today was a busy day at the studio, had fun planning April Fools lessons (piano students got a bowed instrument lesson, piano students got trombone lessons), with siblings who come on different days disappointed that it only happens on April Fools Day.  Told them all it will happen to you someday too!

Stopped at Big Y on the way home, just to pick up the loss leader butters (1.98 a pound limited to 3), Two Fiora Paper towels 8 pk (2.99-1.00 coupon each) and cat food.  

Came home and browned 4 vegetarian grillers patties as well as 4 black bean patties (pulled from the freezer)    Chopped an onion, a few carrots and celery.  Ready to go into the crockpot in the morning with some Morrocon Spiced Stew slow cooker sauce, one carton of organic low sodium chicken broth, some left over brown rice, rinsed can of Chick peas and voila!  Dinner.