Thursday, May 21

Lowe's Foods Trip

Lowe's Foods 5/21:
+ 10 Kraft shredded cheese (8 oz. bags -- various flavors) -- on sale Buy 2, Get 3 FREE
+ 1 Banderita whole wheat tortillas -- on sale for $1.79
+ 1 Lowe's Foods frozen blackberries -- on sale 2/$4
+ 5 Kraft BBQ sauce (variety of flavors) -- on sale Buy 2, Get 3 FREE
+ 2 AI Marinade sauces (variety of flavors) -- on sale BOGO
+ 1 Ritz Crackers -- on sale 2/$5
+ 2 Wheat Thins whole wheat -- on sale BOGO
+ 3 Jello mixes (variety of flavors) -- on sale for $0.85/ea
+ 3 Valley Fresh white meat canned chicken -- on sale BOGO
+1 Hormel white meat canned chicken
- Coupons ($8.80)
+ Tax
=$32.33 out of pocket, $50.05 saved, 61% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.11
*Plus I earned back a $2.50 OYNO catalina for buying 5 Kraft BBQ sauces.

...but I goofed and somehow bought a Hormel canned chicken instead of a 4th Valley Fresh canned chicken....so when I exchange that for the Valley Fresh, my new totals should be:

=$30.91 out of pocket, $51.88 saved, 63% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.07

...and they were also out of some Carolina Pride sausages that I was going to get a good deal on. I thought about getting a rain check, but since today was just day 1 of the sale, I think I'll just check back later this week when I return the can of Hormel chicken. :)

A couple of the good deals I got were (after all savings calculated in):
  • Kraft shredded cheese 8 oz. bags: $1.26/ea
  • A1 Marinades: $0.57/ea
  • Wheat Thins: $0.74/ea
  • Jello: $0.52/ea
And the best deal was...
  • Kraft BBQ sauce: I actually earned 20 cents towards my other items for buying the 5 bottles, plus I earned $2.50 off of my next order! So, in essence, I was paid $2.70 to buy 5 bottles of Kraft BBQ sauce!!!

Over a month with no post...

...and I must say I haven't been as good without posting here to hold me accountable. I am definitely better than I used to be about spending, but still--the accountability really keeps me in check!

Hope to be getting back on track now! :)

Tuesday, March 31

If you should have a catalina issue or question...

you can contact Catalina Marketing at:

http://www.catalinamarketing.com/contact/

or

(888) 322-3814

Harris Teeter Triples Summary

Here's a breakdown of our trips to HT during triples week!

# of trips: 7
# of items bought: 144
# of items returned due to coupons not working right: 9
$ spent OOP (minus a return of $9.61): $103.84
$ saved: $250.77
% savings: 71%
earnings:
So far we have earned 5 x $10 mail-in rebate catalinas and 15 FREE milk catalinas (well, 14 since we missed out on one, but I hope to get it by calling the catalina company!)

I don't like to count my chickens before they hatch, but if you included the $50 in rebate cards we will earn as soon as I send them in, and if you assumed we would buy the milk anyway at $3/gallon (a total of $45), then you could pretty much say that everything we bought during triples was free since our OOP spending was about $100 and these earnings would add up to about $95!

Crazy, huh?

The Last of the Harris Teeter Triples!

Trip #5:
+ 2 Gerber teething biscuits (marked down to $1.05/ea)
+ 4 Lysol toilet bowl cleaners
+ 1 Nestle butterscotch morsels
+ 3 Quaker old fashioned oats canisters
+ 8 Frosted Mini Wheats (various kinds/flavors)
+ 2 Quaker instant oatmeal multi-pack boxes
+ 3 Wet Ones antibacterial wipes
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$19.41 out of pocket, $50.12 saved, 72% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.84
*Plus I earned another $10 mail-in rebate for buying 8 Kellogg's products and earned 3 free milk coupons for buying 7 Kellogg's products!


Trip #6:
+ 4 Lysol toilet bowl cleaners
+ 1 Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats canisters
+ 8 Kellogg's Mini Wheats (various kinds/flavors)
+ 6 Lipton Tea Bags boxes (16 bags ea)
+ 1 Harris Teeter bleach (needed it)
+ 1 Smucker's Uncrustables
+ 2 bags frozen Veg-All vegetables
+ 1 Tyson's pre-cooked chicken strips
+ 2 Blistik lip balms
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$20.11 out of pocket, $44.02 saved, 69% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.77
*Plus we earned another $10 mail-in rebate and 2 free milk coupons (should have been 3, but DH only was handed two of them). :( I plan to call the catalina number to see if we can still get the third one.

Trip #7:
+ 8 Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats (various kinds/flavors)
+ 1 Texas croutons
+ 1 Wishbone dressing
+ 1 Mission tortillas
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$12.36 out of pocket, $23.05 saved, 65% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.12
*Plus I earned another $10 mail-in rebate for buying 8 Kellogg's products and earned 3 free milk coupons for buying 7 Kellogg's products!

Sunday, March 29

Another Triples Trip

DH made this Harris Teeter run.

Harris Teeter:
+ 2 Betty Crocker cookie mix pouches
+ 1 Betty Crocker frosting
+ 2 Mahatma rice mixes
+ 2 Mahatma brown rice bags
+ 6 Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats (BOGO)
+ 2 Kellogg's Mini Wheats Little Bites (BOGO)
+ 1 can Sweet Sue chicken
+ 2 5-lb. bags Domino sugar
+ 2 Sargento shredded cheese
+ 1 HT skim milk
+ 2 Mueller's spaghetti
- Coupons ($23.94: FREE milk catalina, 2 x $0.40/1 BC cookie pouch tripled, 1 x $0.50/1 BC frosting tripled, 1 x $0.75/2 Mahatma rice mix which took off the extra $x.xx to make the rice mixes free, 4 x $1.00/1 Kellogg's cereal blinkies, $0.50/2 Domino sugar tripled, 2 x $0.50/1 Mahatma rice tripled, 2 x $0.40/1 Sargento shredded cheese tripled, $0.75/1 Sweet Sue chicken tripled, $0.55/2 Mueller's spaghetti tripled)
+ Tax
=$17.36 on rebate card, $5.00 out of pocket, $42.02 saved, 68% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.97
*Plus we earned another $10 mail-in rewards card catalina and 3 more FREE milk tickets--so if you factor this in, our OOP spending was $10.36, $42.02 saved, 80% savings, average cost per item $0.45 and we still earned the 3 FREE milks!

Free cereal and milk at HT!

Harris Teeter has some amazing catalina deals running right now! Deal #1 and Deal #2 can be combined for awesome results!

Deal #1: (3/20 - 4/12)
Buy Kellogg's cereal 12 oz. +
...buy 3, get 1 free milk
...buy 5, get 2 free milks
...buy 7, get 3 free milks

The free milks print as catalina coupons good for one free gallon of milk up to $4.69, any brand, any flavor. If you get multiple milk coupons, the expiration dates are staggered by one week apart so you don't have to buy it all at once.

Deal #2: (3/18 - 4/14)
Get a $10 rewards card wyb ANY 8 Kellogg's, Sunshine, Keebler, or Eggo products.

This prints as a catalina that you fill out and mail in. Your receipt is *not* needed for this rebate. There is *not* a household limit to this offer.

Deal #3: (3/27 - 4/19)
Buy Post Cereal...
...buy 3, and get $2 on your next order.
...buy 4, get $3 oyno.
...buy 5 or more, get $5 oyno.

This prints as a $ off catalina for you to use on a future HT purchase.
_______________________________________

This was my first attempt at trying out Deal #1 and Deal #2 in combo. This week, my HT is also doing triple coupons and Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats are BOGO.

Harris Teeter 3/27:
+ 7 boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats
+ 1 box of Frosted Mini Wheats "Little Bites"
- Coupons ($5.10: 3 x $1.00/1 Kellogg's cereal blinkie Qs found right in front of the boxes of cereal and 1 x $0.70/1 Kellogg's Little Bites coupon tripled to $2.10)
+ Tax
=$8.70 out of pocket, $18.66 saved, 68% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.08
*Plus I earned the catalina for a $10 mail-in rewards card and 3 FREE milk catalinas--so in reality, after I receive the rewards card, I will have been *paid* $1.30 to buy 8 boxes of cereal and 3 gallons of milk!!!

Friday, March 27

Harris Teeter Triples Again!

...and I make a royal mess of it! This time they only triple up to 20 coupons (isn't it normally 25?!?!?)...and of course I used 25 my first trip, so I missed out on $9.75 in savings because those coupons didn't triple. I may return those items; I can't decide. My second trip went much better, except that the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner is BOGO and I only bought one thinking it would be marked 1/2 price--but you actually have to buy 2 to get the sale price I guess because I didn't get it for 1/2 off. So that may be going back also. :(

Harris Teeter Trip #1:
+ 4 Betty Crocker cookie mixes
+ 8 Mahatma rice mixes
+ 2 Lysol toilet bowl cleaners
+ 2 Mr. Clean eraser packs
+ 8 Lipton tea bags
+ 1 Sweet Sue Chicken & Dumplings
+ 1 Sweet Sue canned chicken
+ 1 French's onions
+ 1 large Pace Salsa
+ 2 5-lb. Domino sugars
+ 4 Suave body wash
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$22.67 out of pocket, $45.41 saved, 67% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.66
*If I hadn't goofed, the total OOP *would* have been $12.92, $55.16 saved, 81% savings, $0.38 avg. cost per item.

Harris Teeter Trip #2:
+ 4 Betty Crocker cookie mixes
+ 4 Mahatma rice mixes
+ 1 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
+ 4 Lipton tea bags
+ 4 Suave body wash
+ 2 Mr. Clean spray
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$7.84 out of pocket, $27.49 saved, 78% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.41
*If I hadn't goofed, the total OOP *would* have been $7.84, $30.28 saved, 79% savings, $0.39 avg. cost per item.

Wednesday, March 25

Quick Trips

We ran out to pick up a Craigslist item tonight (2 really cool Pottery Barn clear-view book shelves), so we ran a few errands, too.

I finally found the Cascade Crystal Clear Rinse Agent (for dishwashers) at Target. They had a bunch, so DH and I unloaded our FREE coupons. We got 6 bottles and all we had to pay was the tax! Yipee!


Target #1 (my checkout):
+ 3 - 8.45 oz Cascade Crystal Clear Rinse Agent ($3.14/ea)
- Coupons (3 FREE Cascade q's)
+ Tax
=$0.64 out of pocket, $9.42 saved, 94% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.21

Target #2 (DH's checkout):
+ 3 - 8.45 oz Cascade Crystal Clear Rinse Agent ($3.14/ea)
+ 1 4-lb. bag Market Pantry sugar ($1.97)
+ 1 Archer Farms Artisan Petite Harvest Grain loaf ($0.99)
- Coupons (3 FREE Cascade q's + $1.00 off Archer Farms Artisan bread Target Q printed from gift registry kiosk)
+ Tax
=$2.64 on rebate card, $0.00 out of pocket, $9.42 saved, 78% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.53
(The rebate card is a prepaid American Express card that we got for buying a pressure cooker at JC Penney's on Black Friday.)

CVS:
+ 1 toddler fleece clogs (like crocs) marked down 90%
+ 2 Campbell's cream of mushroom soup (BOGO)
+ 2 Campbell's Tomato soup (BOGO)
+ 1 Maola whole milk
- Coupons (2 x $1.00/2 Campbell's cooking soups printable q)
- ECBs ($5.50)
+ Tax
=$0.10 on gift card, $0.00 out of pocket, $19.68 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.00

Where can I buy Cascade?

...specifically 8.45 oz Cascade Crystal Clear Rinse Agent???

I have several FREE coupons to try it, but I can't find it anywhere!!!

Where have you found it?

BzzReport: My review of Afrin PureSea

I am a BzzAgent. Check out the website here to find out more about becoming an agent. It is a marketing network that relies on word of mouth referrals. That means, as an agent, you get samples of products or coupons for products to try out in hopes that you will like them and spread the word. See more of my BzzReports here.

I posted yesterday about receiving my 3rd BzzKit (and don't forget, there are still giveaways left!). I have to admit that even though I was excited about it, I was a little apprehensive, too. I have never tried a nasal rinse before. It is different than a nasal spray--which I have tried-- in that you hold your head tilted over a sink, press the applicator on the Afrin PureSea bottle, and let the fluid flow through the upper nostril and out the lower. Then repeat with the other side.

I will admit it did make me cough for a second and I could taste the salty water in my throat, but after the intial shock of it, I have to say that I really liked it. My nose feels fresh and clean. This is something I think I will really like because during winter and pregnancy, my nose gets SO dry and it bleeds all the time because of it. I think this rinse is just what I need because it is hydrating! I love that it is just natural sea water, too, so I don't have to worry about harming my unborn baby with chemicals or drugs when I use it.

Have YOU tried Afrin PureSea yet? What was your experience?

Tuesday, March 24

New BzzCampaign: Afrin PureSea!

I am a BzzAgent. Check out the website here to find out more about becoming an agent. It is a marketing network that relies on word of mouth referrals. That means, as an agent, you get samples of products or coupons for products to try out in hopes that you will like them and spread the word. See more of my BzzReports here.

I received my 3rd BzzCampaign materials in my mailbox yesterday. This one is for Afrin PureSea hydrating nasal rinse. I'm excited to try it because it is completely natural--made from 100% purified sea water and nothing else.
Stay posted for my upcoming review of the product!

In the meantime, I have some $3.00/1 coupons to give away for you to try this product. I also have 3 Palmolive Pure + Clear samples + $1.00/1 coupons left to give away.

If you are interested in either or both, just post a comment along with your email address. I'll send you my address so you can send me a SASE (or you can paypal me $$0.74--the cost of a stamp plus pp fees). As soon as I receive your envelope or your pp, your sample and coupon will be on their way to you!

Updating March Totals

Luckily I made lots of extra money this month with my 2 days of unexpected babysitting and all of my DS and CL sales. Unfortunately, I don't count that money in my budget so I am going to have to look at this ugly red number until the end of the month! :(

Eating Out:

+ $14.49 K&W Cafeteria 3/1
+ $15.62 Schlotzsky's Deli 3/1
+ $22.87 Cracker Barrel 3/4
+ $7.84 Wendy's 3/4
+ $5.66 Bojangles 3/4
+ $8.84 ColdStone Creamery 3/5
+ $14.64 Little Caesar's Pizza 3/5
+ $12.52 Salsa Fresh 3/9
+ $18.31 Bojangles 3/10
+ $3.65 Burger King 3/12
+ $4.73 McDonald's 3/14
+ $13.73 Cosmic Cantina 3/16
+ $4.69 Cook Out 3/17
+ $14.48 Salsa Fresh 3/18
+ $7.53 Baja Burrito 3/19
+ $24.08 Red Robin 3/20
+ $7.94 Bruegger's Bagels 3/23
Total as of 3/23: $201.62

Services:
+ $1.17 USPS 3/3
+ $5.72 USPS 3/4
+ $7.07 USPS 3/7
+ $28.56 USPS 3/10
Total as of 3/23: $42.52 (shipping costs for things sold on DS)

Groceries:
+ $5.70 Harris Teeter 3/2, saved $5.59, 50% savings
+ $5.75 Food Lion 3/3
+ $10.49 Great Harvest Bread Company 3/9
+ $48.06 Kroger 3/10, saved $15.36, 24% savings
+ $17.42 Food Lion 3/11
+ $1.01 Harris Teeter 3/11, saved $4.00, 80% savings
+ $12.24 Harris Teeter 3/11, saved $12.60, 51% savings
+ $0.00 Rite Aid 3/11, earned a $25 gift card
+ $40.40 Kroger 3/15, saved $17.31, 30% savings
+ $0.00 Rite Aid 3/16, saved $6.02, 100% savings
+ $0.00 CVS 3/16, saved $12.84, 100% savings
+ $1.16 Harris Teeter 3/17
+ $23.45 Papa Spud's Organics 3/20 (home delivery)
+ $13.33 Harris Teeter 3/20
+ $10.31 Kroger 3/21, saved $7.80, 43% savings
+ $12.17 Kroger 3/21, saved $20.80, 63% savings
+ $0.00 CVS 3/21, saved $45.40, 100% savings
+ $26.84 Food Lion 3/22, saved $1.58, 6% savings
+ $24.90 Earth Fare 3/23, saved $0.85, 3% savings
Total as of 3/23: $253.23, saved $150.15, 37% savings

Merchandise:
+ $32.00 Target 3/1 (wedding shower gift + 2 $1.00 dog collars)
+ $5.33 Ollie's Bargain Outlet 3/5 (Super Hero straw cup for DS)
+ $57.09 Gap Credit Card 3/10
+ $124.76 Michaels 3/22 (photo frames for all our new photos of DS), saved $12.99 with 10% coupon + sale savings of $109.87 for total savings of $122.86
- $21.34 Michaels 3/22 (they charged us for one too many frames)
Total as of 3/24: $197.84, saved $122.86, 38% savings

Grand Total as of 3/24: $695.21
Saved as of 3/24: $273.01
(28% savings)

Total left for March: $-195.21 (ouch!)

Earth Fare shopping trip

A few weeks ago, I posted about a super healthy breakfast you can make for your infant or toddler from the Super Baby Food Book. We needed some more grains and legumes for variety, so we headed to the bulk bins at Earth Fare last night.

Earth Fare 3/23:
+ 1 bottle .5-oz. Sweet Orange essential oil
+ 0.67 lb. organic pearled Barley
+ 0.77 lb organic Adzuki beans
+ 0.62 lb. organic raw Buckwheat
+ 0.23 lb. organic dark chocolate chips (okay, okay...these were for me!)
+ 0.54 lb. organic whole wheat French couscous
+ 1.05 lb. Supernatural granola (this was, too!)
+ 0.49 lb. organic Peruvian Quinoa
+ 0.84 lb. organic whole rye berries
+ 0.30 lb. nutritional yeast flakes
+ 1 large container whole milk plain yogurt (for DS and for starter)
+ 0.09 lb. organic kelp powder
+ 1.75 lb. organic Red Delicious apples (quantity: 4)
+ Tax
=$24.90 out of pocket, $0.85 saved, 0% savings

Recent Craigslist Buys/Sells

Here are some recent buys/sells I've done on Craigslist. This money is not included in my monthly totals, but rather used to buy things we want/need.

Buys:
+ lot of 300+ Duplo/Legos $15
+ blue bilibo toy $13
+ 2 clear-view Pottery Barn book shelves $50
Total: $78

Sells:
+ 55 Euro premium prefolds + 18 Toddler prefolds $180
+ women's clothes lot $56
+ doghouse $15.25
Total: $251.25

Trades (mine FOR theirs):
+ 2 ring slings FOR 3 Fisher Price Little People Nativity Sets
+ pair of crankypants FOR a lot of maternity clothes + $50
Total: $50

Grand Total: $223.25
(updated 3/25)

DIY Diaper Pail Powder

I am so excited! Of late, our cloth diaper pail has not been the freshest smelling thing to say the least. We use a dry pail and although we dunk, swish, and flush away all solids, the pail still smells a little, well...poopy. I had been using some tea tree essential oil on the cloth attached to the pail liner, but it just wasn't enough. I know you can buy pail powders online, but I really wanted something thrifty.

So I posted on Diaperswappers a few days ago about finding a do-it-yourself recipe for diaper pail powder and some mamas hooked me up with tons of good ideas.

Here's one I tried last night:
*8 oz. box of baking soda
*25-30 drops of essential oil of your choice

I had a small box of baking soda that I had gotten for free or nearly free with coupons awhile back and I picked up a .5-oz bottle of Sweet Orange EO at Earth Fare last night for only $3.14. I just went down their price list and picked the cheapest one that smelled good to me. You can use whatever scent you want though. After making this once, you can't even tell I used any of the EO, so it will really last a LONG time!

Directions:
  • Dump the baking soda into a bowl.
  • Add 25-30 drops of EO.
  • Mash with a fork.
  • Let sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Sift.
  • Let sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Sift again.
  • Put into a shaker container. (I had a restaurant-style glass parmesean shaker, but a recycled plastic one would work fine, too!)
  • Sprinkle into diaper pail as needed!
I have only begun using this today, so I don't know how it's going to work for us, but I will definitely post an update soon.

And just as a note, you can also just use plain baking soda to do the same trick. It will be even more thrifty, it just won't smell as fresh and nice without the EO added! :)

Wednesday, March 18

Prince Lionheart ROCKS!!!

We received a Prince Lionheart wipes warmer as a baby shower gift from my sister before my son was born. Let me just say we loved that thing! It really was awesome! We used it for cloth wipes since we cloth diaper and it helped us save so much money since I also make my own wipes solution, while at the same time it gave us the comfort of warm wipes (which is not a thing to underestimate in the winter especially).
Well, sadly, our Prince Lionheart died one week before my son's first birthday. My husband looked at it, but it was unfixable--something about the electrical connection. So, we sucked it up and had cold wipes for awhile. My son and I were both miserable. And with a newborn on the way soon, I just wanted to go ahead and get a new one.

This past week we were near a Babies R Us, so DH ran in and bought a new one with a gift card. It cost $32.xx after tax. I was shocked because our old one was $19.99 when it was new, but this new one was specifically for cloth wipes, yada, yada, yada.
I opened it up, and while really nice, I just really liked the lid on our old one.

So, I got up some courage and emailed the company just for kicks. I told them how much we loved the wipes warmer, but that it had died. I told them I didn't have the box anymore and I didn't have a receipt because it had been a shower gift. To make a long story short, they requested photos of the wipes warmer and told me they'd be happy to replace mine!!! I nearly fell out!

I emailed the requested photos on Friday afternoon, and guess what showed up at my door this morning via Fed-Ex???? You guessed it! A brand-spanking new wipes warmer, just like my old one! I couldn't be happier!

So, I just want to say, if you are considering buying a wipes warmer or other baby product, and Prince Lionheart is one of the brands you're considering, do not hesitate to buy it! They have great products and absolutely amazing customer service!!! I can't say enough about them! And in this day and age, what they offer is truly rare! You will not find many companies that stand behind their product and respect their customers as much as Prince Lionheart!

Prince Lionheart ROCKS!!!

(And, on a thrifty note, I just saved us $32.xx because now we can return the unused wipes warmer we just bought! Yay!)

Earning Extra Money: Babysitting

This wasn't a planned way to earn some extra money, but my neighbor (who is a very good friend of mine) called me the other night because her babysitter's daughter was sick and so she needed someone to watch HER daughter for 2 days while she was at work.

I agreed to watch her; my son got a playmate for 2 days, and I got $70 in unexpected cash--can't beat that!!!!

I <3 Baking Soda

I do. It's great stuff and you can use it for so many things! Not to mention, you can save money by using it to replace some products you would normally buy.

Some of my personal favorite uses for it include:
*adding it to my infant son's bath -- it takes care of any diaper area redness like a charm
*using it in the fridge and freezer to eat up yucky odors
*sprinkling it on the carpet, then vacumming to help with pet odors
*mixing it with essential oils and then adding it to the diaper pail as needed

I was just flipping through a recent issue of All You magazine and clipping coupons when I can across this little article, "20 Uses for Baking Soda." So, I thought I'd share a few more uses that I found interesting!

1. Make a fluffier omelet by adding 1/2 tsp baking soda for every three eggs.
2. Fight dandruff by tabling the shampoo for a few weeks and massaging your wet scalp with a handful of baking soda instead.
3. Gargle with baking soda, or use it as mouthwash.
4. Use baking soda to brush your pet's teeth.
5. To clean a toilet, add 1/4 cup baking soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.

How do YOU use baking soda???

Thursday, March 12

4 Giveaways Left!

I still have Palmolive Pure + Clear samples & $1.00 off coupons to give away! Hurry! Only 4 spots left!

Read the post here!

Diaperswappers!

I don't know how I've made it thus far without mentioning Diaperswappers. It is an online cloth diaper and parenting community where I have spent many, many hours over the last year and a half. There are so many members that there is such a wealth of diapering and parenting knowledge! My favorite forums are the FSOT (for sale or trade...for cloth diapers, clothing, etc.), the Diaper Q & A, the Thrifty forum, and the Parenting forum. If you are the least bit interested in cloth diapering, I highly, highly, highly recommend this site to you! You can learn so much from reading what others have posted and you can ask questions that get quick answers. You should definitely check it out!

I just thought that since I posted my Craigslist buys and sells, that I should also post my DS ones. This is all done through paypal. Shipping is included in my buy/sell prices and my sell prices do get charged pp fees. Again, any money I make or spend on DS does not count in my monthly budget, but is rather "recycled" in a way. I have to sell to be able to have money to spend.

Here are totals from the last 30 days:

Buys:
+ 1 embellished GMD orange newborn prefold $6
+ 1 lot maternity clothes $26
+ 1 maternity dress $6
+ 1 small lot maternity clothes $15.10
Total: $53.10

Sells:
+ 1 fitted $35
+ 1 pair crankypants + 1 matching T $86
+ 3 maternity items $48
+ 2 diaper covers $38
+ 2 wool covers $64.60
+ 1 diaper cover $6.90
Total: $278.50 (minus pp fees & shipping costs)

Trades (mine for theirs):
+ my "lot" of large maternity clothes for "thier" lot of XL maternity clothes + 2 PB&E small preflats w/doublers
+ my new Goodmama fitted for "their" $17pp and a new Monkey Doodlez AIO
Total: +$17 (minus pp fees & shipping costs)

Grand Total: $242.40 (minus pp fees & shipping costs)

Recent Craigslist Buys/Sells

Here are some recent buys/sells I've done on Craigslist. This money is not included in my monthly totals, but rather used to buy things we want/need.

Buys:
+ "lot" of maternity clothes $115
+ Tot Tutors lego table $35
Total: $150

Sells:
+ 1 dozen toddler prefolds $28
+ 1 pair maternity capris $6
+ 4 nursing bras $19 (including shipping)
+ 3 wool diaper covers $45 (including shipping)
+ Gerber baby food lot $7
+ 7 fitted diapers $35
+ 1 diaper stacker $4
+ 2 nursing bras $24
Total: $168

Grand Total: $18.00 (minus shipping costs & pp fees for 2 items)

Updating March Totals

Eating Out:
+ $14.49 K&W Cafeteria 3/1
+ $15.62 Schlotzsky's Deli 3/1
+ $22.87 Cracker Barrel 3/4
+ $7.84 Wendy's 3/4
+ $5.66 Bojangles 3/4
+ $8.84 ColdStone Creamery 3/5
+ $14.64 Little Caesar's Pizza 3/5
+ $12.52 Salsa Fresh 3/9
+ $18.31 Bojangles 3/10
Total as of 3/10: $120.79

Services:
+ $1.17 USPS 3/3
+ $5.72 USPS 3/4
+ $7.07 USPS 3/7
Total as of 3/10: $13.96

Groceries:
+ $5.70 Harris Teeter 3/2
+ $5.75 Food Lion 3/3
+ $10.49 Great Harvest Bread Company 3/9
+ $48.06 Kroger 3/10
Total as of 3/10: $70.00

Merchandise:
+ $32.00 Target 3/1 (wedding shower gift + 2 $1.00 dog collars)
+ $5.33 Ollie's Bargain Outlet 3/5 (Super Hero straw cup for DS)
+ $57.09 Gap Credit Card 3/10
Total as of 3/10: $94.42

Grand Total as of 3/10: $299.17
Total left for March: $200.83

your February total is...

BUDGET:
$500


GRAND TOTAL:

*Total OOP = $707.56
*Total savings = $470.78
*Percent savings = 40%

REMAINING:

-$207.56

Yikes! We went over by a lot in this short month. The main reason for this was DS's one-year photos. Althogether, we spent $176.12 on his photos. I do not regret buying these beautiful portraits one bit, but perhaps I should have planned for them to come out of our personal savings (designed for spending on items such as this) instead of our monthly budget. If you discount the pictures from this budget, we only went over by $31.44, which is a much nicer number to have to deal with!

Finally Finalizing February

Say that 3 times fast! lol

Eating Out:
+ $6.53 Salsaritas 2/18
+ $8.16 Wendy's 2/20
+ $18.93 El Rodeo 2/23
+ $9.84 Chick-fil-A 2/26
+ $5.51 El Cerro Grande 2/27
+ $3.21 McDonalds 2/28
(obviously DH has not been packing his lunch to take to work very much lately....)


Services:
+ $26.69 Sear's Photo 2/28 (DH bought the extra photos offered when picking up our package)

Groceries:
+ $34.60 Kroger 2/22 (saved, $7.90, 19% savings)

Merchandise:
+ $7.47 Walmart 2/22 (an outfit for DS)
+ $19.18 Kid-to-Kid 2/28 (2nd hand maternity clothes)

High OOP Kroger Trip!

We needed (and wanted) some things the other night, so DH ran out to Kroger armed only with a $3/3 Johnson's baby soaps coupon, a $3 OYNO catalina, a Kroger store coupon for $0.50/$2 of cheese, and 2 x $1/2 Tropicana OJ coupons. Here's the damage:

Kroger 3/10:
+ 4 64-oz. Tropicana Orange Juice cartons (on sale for $2.39/ea, $1.89/ea after coupons)
+ 1 gal. Kroger skim milk
+ 1 gal. Kroger whole milk
+ 1 1.5-qt. Breyers Rocky Road ice cream (for me, on sale for $2.99)
+ 1 box of 24-ct. Super Heroes popsicles (for DH)
+ 1 shaker of Kraft shredded parmesan cheese (this is the fancy kind!)
+ 1 large container Dannon yogurt (for DS)
+ 2 1-lb. Kroger sirloin (hamburger)
+ 1 dz. Kroger large eggs
+ 1 dz. Private Selection organic large eggs (for DS)
+ 3 Golden Delicious apples
+ 2 Cameo apples
+ 3 Kiwis
+ 1 bunch seedless white grapes
+ 1 bunch bananas
+ 3 cantaloupes
+ 2 Bosc pears
+ 3 Johnson's buddies soap bars
- Coupons ($8.50)
+ Tax
=$48.06 out of pocket, $15.36 saved, 24% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.50
*Plus we earned yet another $3/3 Johnson's soap catalina!

Super cheap & healthy breakfast for babies/toddlers/anyone!

If you haven't heard of the Super Baby Food book by Ruth Yaron, you need to check it out! There are lots of great ideas and recipes in there for feeding your baby from first foods on to toddler years and beyond. The author's philosophy is vegetarian, but it is certainly a useful book for everyone (we're not vegetarian).

The one recipe we use ALL THE TIME is the one for Super Porridge, which is a mix of grains and legumes (which create a complete protein by the way) that makes a superb breakfast cereal (or other meal of the day). DS has been eating it for breakfast every morning for months now and he loves it! The cool thing is, you make it differently every time by choosing different grains, legumes, or different combinations of grains and legumes. For example, this batch of Super Porridge DS is eating now is a mix of organic whole grain brown rice, organic millet, organic black turtle beans, and organic green lentils. Next time it might be pearled barley and split peas! The possibilities are endless.

I typically make a double-batch of it, which lasts us for 6 days, making roughly 6 1/2-cup servings. Depending on the age and appetite of your child, this may last you for a longer or shorter amount of time.

I just bought a 3-lb. bag of whole grain brown rice (not organic this time), a 1-lb. bag of organic french green lentils, and a 1-lb. bag of organic black eye peas at Harris Teeter last night, so I thought I would calculate the cost of a typical morning's breakfast.

The 3-lb. bag of whole grain brown rice = $3.39
The 1-lb. bag of organic french green lentils = $1.99 (VIC special $0.50 off)
The 1-lb. bag of organic black eye peas = $1.99 (VIC special $0.50 off)

For a double-batch of Super Porridge, it takes 2/3 cup grains and 4 tablespoons of legumes. So if I was making next week's Super Porridge with the above ingredients, here's the breakdown:

2/3 cup of whole grain brown rice = $0.38
2 tablespoons of organic french green lentils = $0.12
2 tablespoons of organic black eye peas = $0.12
TOTAL = $0.62 for 6 day's worth of super healthy breakfast or roughly $0.10 per day!

And, you may be able to get better prices for your grains and legumes depending on where you buy. Once you get a good variety of grains/legumes built up, you hardly ever have to buy more because they last forever and you use very little each week! And the only extra cost for this cereal is for 2 minutes of blender action, 10 minutes of stovetop heating, and 4 cups of water once every 6 days.

If you combine this breakfast with your child's vitamin/iron drops and some fruit or fruit juice, you will also boost your child's iron absorption (just don't serve with milk/dairy as that inhibits iron absorption).

For the recipes and more directions on when your child can begin certain grains/legumes, etc. please snag yourself a copy of this book! I can't say enough about it!

There are really cool DIY yogurt meals, too!

Wednesday, March 11

Harris Teeter

We were out of grains and needed some more legumes to make DS's Super Porridge (recipe from the Super Baby Food Book) which he eats every morning for breakfast, so we made a quick run to HT tonight.

While there, we saw signs posted that HT milk was on sale for $2.47/gallon until March 17th and I picked up some $1.00/1 blinkie coupons for Bertolli pasta sauce pouches which are currently BOGO with a price tag of $3.29/ea (making them $1.29 for 2 after BOGO and 2 coupons). For comparison, each pouch is 13.5oz, so 2 pouches have one ounce more than one regular sized Ragu jar (1 lb. 10 oz.).


Harris Teeter 3/11:
+ 1 1-lb. bag of organic black eye peas
+ 1 1-lb. bag of organic french green lentils
+ 1 3-lb. bag of Mahatma whole grain brown rice
+ 4 Bertolli pasta sauce pouches
+ 1 gal. HT skim milk
- Coupons ($4.00 worth of $1.00/1 Bertolli blinkies)
+ Tax
=$12.24 out of pocket, $12.60 saved, 51% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.58

On the way to the car with our purchases, I studied the receipt (as always!) to see how we did--over 50% savings after walking into the store with NO COUPONS...not bad!--when I notice this offer at the bottom:

EVIC present your VIC card and receive $3 off HT Organic Ice Cream 1 Qt, thru 3/17/09. Limit 1 per household.

Though DH didn't really want to, I persuaded him that 1 qt. of ice cream couldn't cost *that much* and that this would probably be a good deal, so he reentered the store for a quick price check.

Here was his trip:

Harris Teeter "Run-In":
+ 1 qt. HT Organic chocolate ice cream ($4.99 VIC special marked to $3.99)
- Coupons (EVIC $3.00)
+ Tax
=$1.01 out of pocket, saved $4.00, 80% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.01

You can't beat $1.01 for a quart of ORGANIC ice cream!

Overall, I was pretty impressed with how we did considering this wasn't a planned trip and we left the house with 0 coupons! Oh, and I am definitely going back for more milk! I need to clean out some freezer space so I can actually freeze some for that price!

Gift Cards for Prescription Drugs :)

A few weeks ago, I got a coupon from CVS for a $25 gift card with a new or transferred prescription. I got a new prescription for prenatal vitamins and had it filled at CVS. It should have been free with my insurance, but I had to pay $9. Not sure why, but hopefully we can still file it ourselves and get the $9 back. Regardless, I got the $25 gift card for the new prescription.

Tonight, I needed more vitamins because I was out and I had a few coupons from one of the recent Rite Aid flyers for a $25 gift card with a transferred prescription. So, I went in to Rite Aid, had them transfer my prescription from the CVS across the street, got my free prenatals and a $25 gift card.

So, in total, I got two months worth of prenatal vitamins for $9 (which might even get refunded) and I got $50 in free gift cards!

That's what I call SWEET!

Bzz Report: Palmolive Pure + Clear

A while back, I posted about being a Bzz Agent and what that means. To read about it, check out this post I wrote on CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain.

Just today I got my 2nd Bzz Kit in the mail! This one is awesome! I got a full-size bottle of the New Ultra Palmolive Pure + Clear to try out, along with several 0.51 fl. oz. samples to give out to friends and family, a stack of $1.00 off coupons, and info about a cool ChatThreads promotion to share with you! I am so excited!

While I obviously haven't had a chance yet to try out this product myself (but rest assured I will give you my honest opinions about it as soon as I do!), these are some of the reasons I'm so excited to try it:
1. It's free of unnecessary chemicals, heavy fragrances, and phosphates
2. It's biodegradable
3. It uses non-irritating dyes and is hypoallergenic
4. It comes in two scents -- Spring Fresh and Sparkling Fresh (my bottle and my samples are all Spring Fresh)
5. The cool looking bottle is made from 25-75% post-consumer recycled plastic
6. It's made here in America.
7. It's certified kosher.
8. It's concentrated.

So, here's some cool stuff for you!
1. If you are interested in trying a sample of Palmolive Pure + Clear and receiving a $1.00 coupon, just post a comment along with your email address. I'll send my address to the first 5 people so you can send me a SASE (or you can paypal me $$0.74--the cost of a stamp plus pp fees). As soon as I receive your envelope or your pp, your sample and coupon will be on their way to you!
2. For a chance to donate up to $5 to charity or to enter online to instantly win $100 gift certificates to Amazon.com and a grand prize drawing for a $1,000 gift certificate, visit ChatThreads and enter this Conversation ID: 01-256-439000

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post or comments about this product if you've already tried it, so comment away! Thanks!

More Happy Mail!

I have been getting tons of happy mail the past few weeks/days.

Here are a few things I've gotten:
*My other 4 Charlie Brown DVDs came that I got by sending in Voila UPCs back in December.
*A GMD orange prefold (newborn diaper) embellished with The Very Hungry Catepillar fabric (purchased from diaperswappers)
*A lot of maternity clothes I have been buying/trading for on diaperswappers
*My Palmolive Pure + Clear Bzz Kit (more about that in another post in just a sec!)
*Coupons from a coupon swap on diaperswappers
*and probably more stuff, but this is all I can think of right now!

What have you gotten in the mail lately???

Going Green & Saving Money: Light bulbs!

While strolling through Lowe's the other day (the Home & Garden, not the grocery store), I came across a clearance table of 60 watt replacement compact fluorescent twist light bulbs! These are the kind that are spiral shaped and fit into regular light bulb sockets. While these are normally fairly expensive ($1+ per bulb), these were marked down to $5.00 for a 6/pack and one pack was missing one bulb, so it was marked to $3.00. I snatched up a $5 pack and the $3 pack, so I got 11 fluorescent bulbs for $8! Yipee!

The reasons these bulbs are great, you ask?
1. The fluorescent bulbs last up to 7 years (8,000 hours), or about 10 times as long as a standard 750-hour bulb. If it takes as long as your house as it does at mine to get a burned-out light bulb changed (especially with high ceilings), you will appreciate how long these last!
2. On average, you can save $45 per bulb in energy costs (based on 12 cents per KWH). This is because though the bulbs replace the light output of a 60W bulb, they are using only 13W themselves.
3. If you are using less energy by using these bulbs and also replacing them less often, then you are conserving fossil fuels, and making less waste for landfills!

Thursday, February 26

Happy Mail Day!

Hip, hip, hooray! Guess what finally came in the mail today!?!? My Charlie Brown DVDs that I sent off for back in December courtesy of Bird's Eye Voila! I really thought I wouldn't get them since it had been so long.
Four came today, and hopefully 4 more are on their way. I got 2 You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown and 2 A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I think the other ones that I sent off for are the Halloween Great Pumpkin one and the Christmas one. I really hope they come because those are my two favorites!!!
I also got some Huggies coupons (we don't use disposable diapers, but these will be great for coupon swaps/trains that I'm apart of), a free Gerber Oneida stainless educator's spoon that I forgot I even signed up for (this is awesome because I was thinking of buying one!), a 20% off Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon, and 4 weeks worth of coupons for BOGO Papa John's pizzas.
I love happy mail days! :)

Kroger: Pillsbury Biscuits Catalina

I decided to try out the Pillsbury catalina deal I had read about at Kroger, and it worked. For the details of the deal, see The Thrifty Mama's post here.

Kroger 2/26:
+ 5 cans Pillsbury buscuits (on sale for 10/$10)
+ 3 Johnson's Buddies soap bars
+ 1 box Pillsbury Strudels (on sale for $2/ea)
+ 3 packs Starkist Tuna (on sale 10/$10)
+ 1 bunch seedless grapes (on sale 10 lbs./$10)
+ 1 head lettuce
+ 1 bunch organic bananas
+ 1 Roma tomato
+ 1 cucumber
+ 1 cantaloupe (on sale for $1.50/ea)
- Coupons ($7.50: Cellfire Grands biscuit $0.50, Cellfire Pillsbury Strudels $0.50, $3/3 Johnson's soaps, Buy 2 Get 1 Free Tuna--saved $1, 2 x $0.25/1 Pillsbury biscuits doubled, $0.40/3 Pillsbury biscuits doubled, $0.35/1 Pillsbury Strudels doubled)
+ Tax
=$13.63 out of pocket, $14.92 saved, 53% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.76
*Plus I earned another $3/3 Johnson's soaps catalina (which means 3 more free Buddy bars), a $3 OYNO for buying 5 Pillsbury biscuits, and a $0.50 on one 2.5 or 3 oz Bumble Bee Premium Ligh Tuna Pouch catalina which was triggered by buying the Starkist Tuna.

My plan is to go back and buy more biscuits and use the $3 OYNO to cover the OOP cost. When I buy 5 more, I should get another $3 OYNO catalina also, so I can keep buying biscuits and rolling the catalinas. With coupons, too, the biscuits should be free or nearly free. I read on the DS Thrifty Forum that you can freeze these, so I'm going to try it!

Total left for this month: -$67.44

Tuesday, February 24

Drew loves CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain, too!

I posted a Bzz Report here about the cool new lipstain from CoverGirl that you need to try!

So, how cool is it that Drew Barrymore talked about how much she loved the new lipstain, too, today in an interview on Shine from Yahoo??? Click here to see for yourself!

Monday, February 23

Like to rent movies, but hate to spend big $$$

Then RedBox just might be the thrifty answer for you! You can find a RedBox in many grocery stores and sometimes even in Wal-Marts. They look like big, red vending machines for movies! The best part is that rentals are only $1/day.

You can check for a RedBox near you by visiting their website: http://www.redbox.com. You can browse what movies are available at the box or you can check online from home. You can even reserve a movie so that it is ready for pickup when you get to the box!

We rent movies from RedBox all the time. We'll never pay $5 to rent a movie again!

Sometimes RedBox sends out codes for a free movie rental. We've tried these a couple of times and they've never worked for us, but maybe you'll have better luck! Either way, $1 or free, this is the best way to rent movies!

Sunday, February 22

Ugh!

There are 6 days left in the month and we are already over budget by over $50. I know this doesn't include our eating out for lunch today yet either! Ugh!

The thing that really hurt us was the nearly $150 Sears Photo purchase of photos and a photo CD for DS's first birthday. I really hadn't planned to spend that much; I was planning to get the $9.99 photo package, but all the photos had turned out really well and we had only had professional photos done one other time in DS's whole first year (and it was a small $9.99 photo package). So, while it did put us over budget, I have to admit I don't regret it one bit. I will have these gorgeous photos of my baby on his first birthday for the rest of my life and I will really treasure them.

We will just have to live a little tighter for the next 6 days so we don't go over much more. So far we have been over budget for both months of 2009! Hopefully we will be able to stay within our $500 budget for March, after all, third time's the charm, right?!?!?

Updating Totals

Eating Out:
+ $14.93 Char-Grill 2/12
+ $10.78 Subway 2/12

Services:
+ $10.00 Admission to Kid's Museum for DS's birthday 2/12
+ $149.43 Sears Photo 2/12 (DS's 1-year photos)
+ $1.07 Redbox DVD 2/16
+ $5.20 USPS 2/18

Groceries:
+ $35.18 Harris Teeter 2/13 (Food for DS's birthday party)
+ $22.42 Kroger 2/13
+ $22.64 Kroger 2/13
+ $9.36 Kroger 2/14

Total left for this month: -$53.81

Kroger Necessities

We needed a lot of stuff tonight that we were out of and most of these things are not ones we have coupons for sadly. I am looking into buying a few things like sugar and flour in bulk (once we have our garage storage area set up) so hopefully that will save a little money in the long run.

I also plan to use this container of yogurt to make my own yogurt from now on. I've done it once before and it worked great. I just wasn't wild about the starter yogurt that I used. It was much too tart for my taste, so hopefully this one will be better!
Here's a link to show you how to make your own yogurt in your crock pot! It really does work!

Kroger 2/22:
+ 2 1/2-gallons Silk Soy Milk
+ 1 gallon Kroger skim milk
+ 1 gallon Kroger whole milk
+ 1 large container Yogurt
+ 2 bags Private Selection frozen berries (raspberries + strawberries)
+ 1 bunch bananas
+ 3 kiwis
+ 2 pears
+ 3 Fuji apples
+ 3 red grapefruit
+ 5 Johnson's buddies soap bars
+ 1 Kroger Value sugar
+ 1 dozen Kroger eggs
- Coupons ($5.50: $1/2 Silk soy milk, $2.50/3 Johnson's products, $2/2 Johnson's products, Double points)
+ Tax
=$34.60 out of pocket, $7.90 saved, 19% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.33
*Plus I earned another Johnson's coupon ($3/3) that works on the Buddies bars, so we can get 3 more for free!


Total left for this month: $227.20

Saturday, February 21

CVS

CVS 2/21:
+ Gillette Shampoo $4.99
+ Natural Dentist Fluoride $9.99
- Coupons ($4: $1/1 CVS any shampoo, $1/1 Gillette shampoo, $2/1 Natural Dentist)
- ECBs ($10.50)
+ Tax
=$0.71 on gift card, $0.00 out of pocket, $15.50 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.00
*Plus I earned back $7 in ECBs and I can send in for a $10 rebate for the 2 Natural Dentist Fluorides!

Also, I got back $3.xx in cash from a return on CVS cotton rounds that I had bought. (I bought the wrong ones.)

Total left for this month: $261.80

Bzz Report: CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain

This is my first Bzz Report as a Buzz Agent. Check out the website here to find out more about becoming an agent. It is a marketing agency that relies on word of mouth referrals. That means, as an agent, you often get samples of products or coupons for products to try out in hopes that you will like them and spread the word. The CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain was my first product sample I received.

My review:
The CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain is a really unique product. I do not like regular lipstick, feeling it is too heavy for me, but this is quite different. To me, it is very comparable to a marker. You simply use the pen to draw the color onto your lips, and instead of a heavy matte finish, you end up with a stain of color that won't come off and is super lightweight. The pen-like tip makes application really easy, too. My only complaint is the color I chose to receive really wasn't right for me; it was much too orange. I'm sure that I would have been able to pick a better color for myself if I had purchased this in the store at the display instead of judging by colors from my monitor screen. I recommend this product to anyone looking for a little more color than lipgloss offers while avoiding the heavy feel of lipstick. This is also great for a more casual look than traditional lipstick!

Friday, February 20

CVS: Good News, Bad News

Ok, let's start with the bad news. I let an $18 ECB expire by accident. It expired yesterday but I thought the date on it was the 20th. Okay, mourn with me here...... :(

Now, on to the good news. I got some really good deals today. Thanks Thrifty Mama for the heads up on most of these!

CVS 2/20:
+ 1 Gillette 2 in 1 shampoo $4.99
+ 2 CVS cotton rounds $0.99/ea
+ 2 Neutrogena soaps $2.99/ea
+ 4 Stayfree pads 16 ct/ea $3.99/ea
+ 1 Natural Dentist Fluoride $9.99
- Coupons: $2/1 Gillette shampoo, 2 x $1/1 Stayfree pads, 2 x BOGO Stayfree pads, $2/1 Natural Dentist Fluoride
- ECBs ($21.98)
=$1.95 on gift card, $0.00 out of pocket, $38.96 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.00
*Plus I earned back $27 in ECBs and a coupon for $1/1 any shampoo, conditioner, or hair styling product!


The really great deals were these:
*The Gillette shampoo was completely free after coupon and ECBs (1 cent overage).
*The Neutrogena soaps cost me $5.98 but earned back a $10 ECB ($4.02 overage).
*The CVS cotton rounds were $0.99 each and earned back a $2 ECB (2 cents overage).
*The Stayfree pads cost me $5.98 total after coupons but earned back $8 in ECBs. ($2.02 overage)
*The Natural Dentist Fluoride cost me $7.99 after my coupon, but I earned back $4 in ECBs. I am going back tomorrow and will buy another one for the same deal. Then I am going to send in for the $10 rebate for buying 2. That means I will have earned $2.02 for buying the fluoride after I receive the rebate.

Tuesday, February 17

Freecycle

I had heard of Freecycle before, but I just recently signed up to be in the group. So far, I have offered up a few things and had a few takers. I have not received anything yet, but it is fun to check my email to see what things are being offered.

What a cool way to keep things out of landfills: don't throw it away--give it away!

You can find a group near you by clicking here!

More Craigslist Buys/Sells

Buys:
*Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair $80 (can you believe I have purchased two matching Tripp Trapps off of Craigslist in the last 3 months that look brand new and cost me much less than the price of 1 new one?!?!?!)

Sells:
*1 can Similac formula $4
*1 Gerber bottle lot $8
*huge lot of ribbon $20


I don't normally count these transactions in the monthly
budget totals because I try to use my money earned from selling things as my money for buying things.

Friday, February 13

Craigslist Buys/Sells

Buys:
*Britax Roundabout carseat $50 (looks almost brand new--was used in 2nd car--and is only 2 years old)

Sells:
*3 canisters Enfamil formula $21


I don't normally count these transactions in the monthly
budget totals because I try to use my money earned from selling things as my money for buying things.

Wednesday, February 11

Amazing Savings: Gap, CVS, Stride Rite, Maola, Walmart!

We went out for about 2 hours tonight, and boy, did we rack up!

In total, we got 2 gallons of milk, a King size Snickers candy bar, 5 Gerber onesies, an infant shirt, infant Gap overalls and matching hat, and a pair of Stride Rite tennis shoes, all for $25.90 out of pocket!!! We saved $50.54 for a total savings of 66%!


Our first stop was Baby Gap at the mall. DS turns 1 tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY!!!!) and we had to grab him a birthday/picture outfit since we are taking him to have his portraits made at Sears in the morning. I had picked out an outfit that I loved a few days ago from Gap, but DH vetoed it. Well, he reconsidered and we went back to get it tonight, and guess what?!?!?! It was on sale!!!

Gap 2/11:
+ Gap Striped overalls $26.50 (marked down to $14.99)
+ matching bucket hat $12.50 (marked down to $8.99)
- coupons ($20 Gap Card reward)
= $4.25 out of pocket, $34.75 saved, 89% savings
Avg. cost per item: $2.13


Our next stop was Walmart to find a onesie to wear with the cute Gap overalls. We found those and also found a shirt that we had been searching for all week(the reason is a surprise!), and it was on sale!!!

Wal-Mart 2/11:
+ 5 pack Gerber onesies
+ surprise shirt $5.00 (marked down to $3)
- gift card $5.00
= $7.78 out of pocket, $7.00 saved, 47% savings
Avg. cost per item: $3.89


We stopped at Ross next. I had been there this morning and saw cute Stride Rite tennis shoes for $12.99 there. I almost bought them this morning, but decided I'd like for DH to see them first. He liked them, too! (I didn't mark any actual savings on these shoes because they were full price at Ross, but keep in mind Stride Rite shoes average costing about $50 at the SR store!)

Ross 2/11:
+ Stride Rite tennis shoes
= $13.87 out of pocket


The final stop was CVS. We needed some milk and I have tons of ECBs built up, so I decided to use some up. I added a candy bar to the mix to add up to enough to use my $7.98 ECB. DH appreciated it. :)

CVS 2/11:
+ Maola Skim milk gallon
+ Maola Whole milk gallon
+ Snickers king size candy bar
- ECBs ($7.98)
= $0.69 on gift card, $0.00 OOP, $8.10 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.00
*Plus 4 coupons printed on my receipt! :)

Total left for this month: $261.80

Going Green!

In addition to trying to save my family money on groceries and household items, I've also tried to take us down a "greener" path. In the last few months, here are some things we've implemented in our household to reduce waste.

*reusable shopping bags: We have some cloth canvas ones from a local store and also some Baggu ones. I love how you can fold the Baggu bags down so small. I keep 3 in my purse and then I also have a carry-bag full for trips to the grocery store. Here is a post on Jane4girls about other types of reusable bags and a giveaway!

*cloth napkins: I bought a pack of 10 from Bed, Bath, & Beyond with one of their 20% off coupons. I also picked some up when Linens N Things was going out of business. We use them instead of paper napkins with meals and also for cleaning up small messes (and faces!).

*cloth paper towels: I actually use flour sack towels from Target. Their actual purpose is for drying glassware lint free. I absolutely love them! They are large enough that you can use each corner for a different purpose before you have to wash it. They are very light-weight, but also very absorbent.

*cloth diapers: We've been using cloth diapers for one year now--since DS was 4 days old. I love how DS never gets rashes and I actually look forward to diaper changes because his diapers are so darn cute. We've tried out lots of different brands and all different styles. Some of our favorites are BumGenius pockets, Fuzzi Bunz pockets, Thirsties AIOs, Goodmama fitteds, and PeanutButter & Ellie bamboo velour preflats.

*front load washer: When our top-load washer was on it's last legs, we looked into getting a front loader. They use lots less water in a wash cycle than a top-loader does. We ended up going with a Frigidaire machine, and I absolutely love it. It uses less water per cycle and I think it gets our clothes (and diapers) a LOT cleaner!

What do you do to be GREEN?

Updating Totals

Eating Out:
+ $9.05 Cafe Central 2/2
+ $5.39 Subway 2/9
+ $24.53 Bass Lake Ale House 2/9

Merchandise:
+ $24.53 Alumni Hall 2/7 (BIL birthday present)
+ $8.62 Target 2/7 (total was $18.62 but saved $10 by using a gift card that we had gotten for free a few months ago by using a coupon and spending $100 at Target for Christmas presents)

Returns:
- $16.00 Target 2/7

Total left for this month: $287.70

Sunday, February 8

A Thrifty Meal

We were pressed for time tonight and needed a super quick meal. So, I thought I'd make use of some of our great buys from Harris Teeter.

We used from our new HT stock:
*1 can Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes ($0.65 after sale/coupons)
*1/2 box Minute brown rice ($0.50 after sale/coupons for whole box)
*1 can Sweet Sue's chicken ($0.74)

We used from existing stock:
*a splash of olive oil
*one clove fresh garlic
*one teaspoon fresh (frozen) basil
*one box Green Giant frozen snap peas (I bought a ton of these types of veggies with coupons when they were on sale...prices ranged from free to $0.50/box.)

I sauteed the garlic in olive oil and added the canned chicken (drained) to brown it a bit. Then I added in the frozen basil, followed by the can of tomatoes (not drained). After letting the mixture come to a boil, I reduced the heat.

Meanwhile, I cooked the Minute rice according to the directions on the box in another pot, and also microwaved the Green Giant veggies.
The entire meal was done in about 15 minutes.

It cost less than $2.50 total, it fed 2 adults and a toddler, there is still 1/2 a box left of uncooked brown rice, and there were enough cooked leftovers for my lunch tomorrow!

Final Results of the HT Triples Sale...

The Harris Teeter Triple Coupon Event is ending tonight and thank goodness it is because I don't think I could take another day of this madness! Here's how we did overall:

* 10 trips
* 160 items
* spent $74.11 OOP
* saved $269.77
* 78% savings
* average cost per item = $0.46
* average savings per item = $1.69

I heart Cellfire @ Kroger

I forgot to load my cellfire coupons to my Kroger card online before I went for this trip, but I have internet on my cellphone and was able to add the coupons from my phone while sitting in the car in the parking lot. The screen said they would be ready to use in 10 minutes. I went into the store, did my shopping, and sure enough they worked when I checked out! Yipee!

Also, Kroger is running a great deal on cans of Hunt's Manwich this week. The cans are $0.88 and if you buy 10, then you get $3 off your order at checkout, making the cans $0.58 each. I had 5 x $0.50/2 coupons that doubled to $1.00 off of every 2 cans, making them $0.08 each.



Kroger 2/8:
+ 8 Cottonelle 4-pack single rolls (25 cent cellfire coupon)
+ 3 jars Ragu spaghetti sauce
+ 10 cans Hunt's Manwich (5 regular, 5 bold)
+ 1 Fiber Plus Yoplait yogurt multi-pack ($1 cellfire coupon)
+ 1 YoPlus yogurt multi-pack ($1 cellfire coupon)
+ 1 bunch organic bananas (2.40 lbs.)
+ 5 Anjou pears (3.23 lbs.)
+ 4 Sweet Potatoes (2.67 lbs.)
+ 1 3-lb. bag Organic Russet potatoes
+ 1 Johnson's Buddies soap bars
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$19.33 out of pocket, $24.70 saved, 57% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.55

Total left for this month: $343.82

Harris Teeter Triples Trip #10

This is our last Harris Teeter triples run this go around. This is trip #10!

(You can click the photo to enlarge.)
Harris Teeter Triples Trip #10:
+ 1 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
+ 1 can Del Monte tomatoes (no salt added)
+ 1 Quaker old-fashioned oats
+ 1 Hormel lasagna
+ 4 bottles French's Worcestershire sauce
+ 1 Wet Ones wipes
+ 2 Snyder's MultiGrain tortilla chips
+ 1 Blistik lip balm
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$7.31 out of pocket, $20.78 saved, 74% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.61

Total left for this month: $363.15

Harris Teeter Savings Thus Far

Since triples started at HT on Thursday, we've done 9 trips. Here are the combined results for all trips so far:

* 148 items
* spent $66.80 OOP
* saved $248.99
* 79% savings
* average cost per item = $0.45
* average savings per item = $1.68

Triples Mania!

Ok, so we did a few more Harris Teeter triples trips today and may go back this evening since we got a few new coupons in the paper today that might be good ones to use. On trips 6-9 (pictured below), we spent $23.52 OOP and saved $47.12, a savings of 67%. We purchased 37 items, each with an average cost of $0.64.

(You can click the picture to enlarge.)
Harris Teeter Triples Trip #6:
+ 1 Newman's pasta sauce
+ 8 cans Hunt's tomatoes
+ 2 cans Ortega refried beans
+ 3 cans Sweet Sue's chicken breast
+ 1 French's fried onions
+ 1 can Rotel tomatoes
+ 1 can Polaner All Fruit
+ 2 cans Old Glory black eyed peas
+ 2 Suave deodorant
+ 1 loaf Merita bread (DH insisted)
+ 1 Blistik lip balm
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$13.31 out of pocket, $33.17 saved, 71% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.58


Harris Teeter Triples Trip #7:
+ 8 cans Hunt's tomatoes
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$5.34 out of pocket, $6.80 saved, 56% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.67


Harris Teeter Triples Trip #8:
+ 4 cans Hunt's tomatoes
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$2.67 out of pocket, $3.40saved, 56% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.67


Harris Teeter Triples Trip #9:
+ 1 bag Synder's whole grain tortilla chips
+ 1 Heluva Good dip
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$2.20 out of pocket, $3.75 saved, 63% savings Avg. cost per item: $1.10


Total left for this month: $370.46

Harris Teeter Triples Haul

Here's a pic of everything we've gotten from HT since triples started this week. We've done 5 trips which I've blogged about already.

(You can click on the picture to enlarge it.)


We spent $43.28 OOP and saved $201.87, a savings of 82%!
There are 111 items, with an average OOP cost of $0.39 each, and an average savings of $1.82 per item!

Saturday, February 7

Saturday Night @ CVS

I ran into CVS tonight after reading on Crystal's blog about the Russell Stover deal that was only good through today. They only had two packages left. I didn't have time to look around for anything else and my lowest ECB was for $7.xx, so I just had to eat the OOP cost on my gift card.

CVS 2/7:
+ 2 Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla chocolates
- Coupons (BOGO)
+ Tax
=$2.84 on gift card, $0.00 out of pocket, $4.08 saved, 100% savings Avg. cost per item: $0.00
*Plus I earned back $2.00 in ECBs and 4 coupons (including one for FREE CVS antacids)!

Even More Triples

Harris Teeter Triples Trip #4:
+ 4 Betty Crocker potato pouches
+ 2 Arm & Hammer Baking Soda boxes
+ 1 Wishbone salad dressing spritzer
+ 2 boxes Lipton tea bags
+ 1 Frank's hot sauce
+ 3 Mueller's whole grain spaghetti
+ 2 Carnation evaporated milk cans
+ 1 Hungry Jack pancake syrup
+ 2 Harris Teeter Macaroni & Cheese dinner
+ 2 Suave body wash
+ 1 half dozen Harris Teeter eggs
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$9.67 out of pocket, $24.04 saved, 71% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.46
*Plus I earned a $1 off 2 Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers catalina coupon.


I was a little disappointed with this next trip. It should have been a little cheaper but I had a $0.75 coupon that would have tripled that didn't get scanned. So this order SHOULD have been $2.25 less. This is what I get for doing self-checkout where you hand the cashier who is standing far away the coupons to scan where you can't see them. :(

Harris Teeter Triples Trip #5:
+ 2 boxes Lipton tea bags
+ 1 box Luzianne tea bags
+ 3 Mueller whole grain spaghetti
+ 2 Craisins 100 calorie multi-packs
+ 3 Suave body wash
+ 4 SunSilk conditioners (marked down to $1.36 each)
+ 1 Downy fabric softener (marked down to $3.67)
+ 2 Coffeemate liquid coffee creamers
+ 1 Simply Orange with pineapple juice
+ 1 Kraft shredded cheese
+ 1 Minute white rice
+ 2 cans Ortega refried beans
+ 1 pouch Betty Crocker potatoes
+ 1 Dinty Moore beef stew (marked down to $1.34)
+ 1 pack Little Swimmers swim diapers (marked down to $4.49)
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$21.87 out of pocket, $35.83 saved, 62% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.84
*Plus I earned two catalina coupons -- one for $1.00/3 Coffee-Mate creamer and one for $0.75/1 Prego Heart Smart Italian Sauce.

Total left for this month: $393.98

Friday, February 6

More Triples Trips

Harris Teeter Triples Trip #2:
+ 4 Viva paper towels big rolls
+ 1 box Bisquick mix 40 oz.
+ 4 Minute brown rice
+ 2 Mueller's spaghetti
+ 1 French's yellow mustard
+ 3 French's Worcestershire sauce
+ 1 Frank's hot sauce
+ 4 Mueller's whole grain spaghetti
+ 2 Colgate Whitening toothpastes
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$1.28 on gift card, $5.36 out of pocket, $41.04 saved, 86% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.24


Harris Teeter Triples Trip #3:
+ 2 Viva paper towels big rolls
+ 3 Frank's hot sauce
+ 4 Mueller's whole grain spaghetti
+ 4 Suave body wash
+ 4 Suave deodorant
+ 2 Smithfield bacon 16 oz.
+ 1 Smithfield bacon (40% lean) 12 oz.
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$6.38 out of pocket, $40.64 saved, 86% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0.32

Total left for this month: $425.52

I heart Harris Teeter!

Harris Teeter is doing triples again, and I was really prepared this time. I ordered some coupons that I knew I could use for good deals from The Coupon Clippers on Tuesday. I headed to HT as soon as the mail arrived today!

I had a coupon for a free can of Del Monte tomatoes, a $4 OYNO catalina from buying $20 worth of Gerber a couple of weeks ago, and a $5 gift card that customer service gave me for free for having to go through a lot of trouble to get my $4 OYNO catalina that didn't print like it was supposed to...in addition to all my coupons that tripled. After all was said and done today, I still have $1.28 left on my FREE gift card!!!

Harris Teeter 2/6:
+ 4 boxes Minute brown rice 14 oz. ea.
+ 1 can Del Monte diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano (no salt added) 14.5 oz.
+ 4 Viva big rolls paper towels 70 sheets ea.
+ 3 bottles French's classic yellow mustard 8 oz. ea.
+ 2 packs Smithfield bacon (40% less fat) 12 oz. ea.
+ 2 packs Smithfield bacon 16 oz. ea.
+ 4 boxes Mueller's whole grain spaghetti 12 oz. ea.
+ 2 Colgate Whitening toothpaste with oxygen bubbles 6.4 oz. ea.
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$3.72 on GC, $0.00 out of pocket, $55.32 saved, 100% savings
Avg. cost per item: $0

Total left for this month: $437.26

Wednesday, February 4

Quick Kroger Run

We were almost out of milk and also needed some meat for our spaghetti dinner tonight, so DH ran out to grab us a few things. He bought everything I had put on the list, but then felt compelled to add on a T-bone steak that ended up being about 50% of the total OOP cost. Without the steak, our total OOP would have been more like $7.42, making each item an average of only $0.62. Oh well.

I did send him with some awesome Kroger store coupons we had just gotten in the mail. We had a $7 store coupon that was our reward from the last points cycle, a $1/$4 fresh fruit coupon, and a $1 OYNO coupon. We also had a $2.50/3 Johnson's products that he used for the Buddies.

Kroger 2/4:
+ 1 gal. Kroger skim milk
+ 1 T-bone steak
+ 2 x 1.3-lb. ground turkey
+ 1 bag Kroger all purpose flour
+ 4 Gala apples
+ 1 bunch bananas
+ 3 Johnson's Buddies soaps
- Coupons
+ Tax
=$13.25 out of pocket, $14.22 saved, 52% savings
Avg. cost per item: $1.02

Total left for this month: $437.26

Monday, February 2

February 1st Spending!

On the first day of the month, we spent 10% of our whole monthly budget. :( Not such a great start to February. Thankfully it's a short month.

+ $24.75 Food Lion 2/1...saved $6.79 (a DH shopping trip without coupons)
+ $24.74 Lynnwood Grill 2/1 (SuperBowl supper)

Total left for this month: $450.51

Earning Extra Money: $100

As a SAHM, anytime you can earn extra money it really helps out! Some ways I've been trying to bring in extra money is by selling things we no longer need, want, or use on Craigslist (our garage is chock full of STUFF) or by selling cloth diapers we aren't using on diaperswappers (I way overbought in the beginning and now our house is overflowing with diapers!). I don't count cash earned or paypal funds in my monthly budget; instead we use that money to buy things we do need or want. It kind of makes up our "funny money" fund. And sometimes, too, I do deposit it into our bank account, and use it to pay down debt or put into one of our savings accounts.

Recently, I was lucky enough to receive an email about a research focus group to which I replied right away (it was from a reputable source, so I knew it was legitimate, plus my neighbors have been called for these several times). I was chosen to participate and I went last Thursday evening.

I was given a light dinner, then sat in a room with 9 other participants for 2 hours while we had a discussion and answered questions asked by the researcher. When I left, I was given a crisp $100 bill. Can't beat that!!!

February Goals

A Review of my New Year's Resolutions:
1 - Make a monthly budget and stick to it. (see below for Feb.'s goal)
2 - Limit impulse buying by discussing all $20+ purchases with DH first.
3 - Plan monthly goals for improvement. (see below for Jan. & Feb.'s goals)

A Review of my January Goals:
1 - Budget for food/household/eating out: $500 (basically this should cover everything except for routine bills and gas...will start with a high limit this month and try to work down each month of the year)
2 - Read more books to DS.
3 - Convert the dining room to a playroom for DS.

*NEW* February Goals:
1 - Budget for food/household/eating out: $500 (basically this should cover everything except for routine bills and gas)
2 - Finish converting the dining room to a playroom for DS (including painting shelf).
3 - Take DS on more outings -- to friends', the playground, the backyard swingset, on walks, etc.

January Monthly Totals

BUDGET:
$500


GRAND TOTAL:

*Total OOP = $519.71
*Total savings = $415.75
*Percent savings = 44%

REMAINING:

-$19.71

Final January Spending Updates

Ugh! We went over budget, and here's why: DH's razor broke and he went out to buy a new one without telling me about it first. :( Oh well, we came really close to staying within the budget for this month. I'm still proud of us!

+ $3.23 McDonalds 1/25
+ $32.01 Target 1/25
+ $5.39 Subway 1/29

Total left for this month: -$19.71

Tuesday, January 27

Good Deal & Good Food

We eat out every Monday night with family/friends, and usually eat out with different friends on Friday nights. This past Monday night we got a great deal!

Mondays are family nights at Johnny Carino's so you can get the family-size portions for the single portion price, and you can also get unlimited soup or salad for 99 cents per person. There were 5 adults (and my almost one year old DS) who ate with us last night.

We ordered two family size portions--fettuccine alfredo and chicken gorgonzola pasta, 3 caesar salads, 1 house salad, 1 potato soup, and 4 drinks (plus 2 waters). Our total came to $35.70. We used a Restaurant.com gift certificate we had purchased back in November for $25 off a $35 or more meal (I got it for 80% off the purchase price which ended up being only $2!). With the GC, they automatically add in 18% gratuity, but still 5 people (really 6 because I think my DS ate as much as the adults!) were able to eat a sit-down, restaurant meal--which was delicious I might add--for less than $20 including tip and the price of the GC! There was even one leftover portion that someone got to take home for lunch the next day.

Since we typically pay separately for our meal or everybody adds in to pay the bill, we put in the GC and $5 that DH had in cash in his wallet, so the three of us were able to eat for only $7 total!

The $5 came from recent Craigslist sales and the $2 GC was purchased back in November, so this meal doesn't count against our monthly budget.

Total left for this month = $20.92