Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of Year Challenge Review

We decided to end our challenge two days early so that we could splurge a little for the New Year. We have already proven to ourselves that we could succeed and wanted some down time not thinking about bargains.

What we learned...we enjoy eating out and it is hard to not do that as often. Dining out is really our only vice, we don't drink alcohol, smoke anything, or party; we just like to eat at restaurants. I think reigning in the restaurant use was the hardest part about this year.

We did actually spend more thatn $1200, but that was because I added in $58.76 worth of rebates I received from different bargains. Here are our totals for the 2010 Challenge:

Total amount of money actually spent: $1219.55

Total rebates added in: $58.76

Amount left: $9.79

Amount saved: $891.27!!!!

Total value of purchases: $2110.82

I can't believe how much can be saved. We used coupons, gift cards, and sometimes people gave us items. Amazing.

It was a good challenge for the year. We are proud of ourselves for trying the challenge and it has definitely taught us some budgeting skills.

Stay tuned for a post on next year's challenge!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One more gift card

We went to Chili's tonight, thanks to a gift card from my parents. Saved $25!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New challenge for 2011

We have picked our new challenge for 2011. Info coming soon, as well as a 2010 challenge review!

CVS trip of the week

Quick stop in today. My CVS didn't have the $15/$5 ECB CoverGirl deal because they don't carry the right types of products. I was bummed because that was what I was aiming for, oh well, I did need detergent! Plus I was able to use up some ECBs.

Total OOP = ZERO
Total saved using MQ, ECB, and GC = $22.41 (food savings = $6.36), plus I earned $5 in ECB

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today's outing

We went into town today to look for some after Christmas sales and some other things.

4 - Holiday brownie mixes on sale for $0.79 each = $3.16

Total OOP = Zero ( saved $6.36 from sales and using a gift card)

3 bags of Pretzel M&Ms at 50% off = $3.75

We took advantage of the Meal Deal of the week. Purchase one package of pre-seasoned fajita meat (beef, chicken thigh, or pork) and get several items free.

Total OOP = zero ($7.15 on giftcard, savings of $13.64 with all the free items.)

We also ate at Olive Garden for lunch using a giftcard from my parents. That was a savings of $25. Then we had ice cream using the money my parents gave us for our wedding anniversary which was a savings of $7.56.

It was a really good day for us as far as savings goes!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

We hit the sweet spot when visiting my parents today. We received oranges, a double pack of Cinnabon muffin mix, candies, hot chocolate, and real Maine whoopie pies. The whoopie pies alone are $26.95 for the dozen! I am going to take a conservative estimate and guess the total value of these goodies at about $40...that is $40 saved for us!!!

No picture, but we also picked up some milk and tortillas at Super Target yesterday. Used a gift card so we saved $4.08.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another candy trip at CVS

Decided on one more candy run. Cost me $0.05 after sales, MQ, CVS Q and ECB.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's CVS trip

I'm still trying to use up ECBs that expire Thursday. I will have to make one more trip, but that is alright.

I used a B2G1 free Q on the Hershey's/Reese's candy, and when scanned it took off the original price of $3.49 instead of the sale price of $2.50. Sweet deal. I actually went negative with this deal and thus ended up having to purchase the M&Ms.

Total before sales, Q and ECB = $14.15
Total sales, Q and ECB = $ $13.85
Total OOP w/ tax = $0.76

CVS Excedrin deal

I have been really disappointed in CVS deals lately. Well, for about a month and a half now. I had a ton of ECBs to use up so I went looking for something I could use and still earn some ECB on.

Total cost before Q and ECB = $21.07
Total MQ and ECB = $20.47
Total OOP = $0.60
Earned $10 ECB and I still have about $8 in ECB to use by Thursday. I don't really like the deals this week either, but I did find one or two things I can get...if they are in stock.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


A friend of mine got a few people together to purchase a half a cow that was grass-fed and hormone free. We ended up with one huge roast (about 4 pounds), two round steaks, two T-bones, 4 pounds of hamburger, and 1 side of fajita meat for $34.78. I forgot to take a picture of it because it was so cold and I was in a hurry to get inside. We are pretty happy with the deal especially since all of the cuts of meat were the same price ($2.70/pound).

Monday, December 6, 2010

A few items and a meal

I don't know why we did it, but on Saturday we ate lunch from Jack in the Box. Total OOP = $11.33

We made a quick trip to the store last night for some non-food items and picked up these two things. James saw the cakes and said, "Oh, and they are my favorite kind." Who can resist a 40 year old man saying that about Little Debbie Holiday Cakes. Total OOP = #3.76

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The good thing about working at a restaurant is that sometimes there are extra groceries. My boss accidently received a large crate of eggs and was told he could keep them. We don't use a lot of eggs at the restaurant so he was giving them away. I walked away with two and half dozen eggs!

Saved = $3.23 (based on the local price of $1.29 per dozen)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Late Meal Plan

I'm feeling really lazy. I don't want to do my daily chores this morning so I'm just going to post my meal plan and watch New Moon before going to work. I like being able to have mornings like this.
We have a weird week with James having rehearsals two nights and concerts two nights this week, so you'll see lots of quick meals.

Tuesday - turkey tortellini soup

Wednesday - tuna steaks and baked potatoes

Thursday - turkey Alfredo

Friday - spaghetti

Saturday - turkey enchiladas

Sunday - crock pot BBQ pork sandwiches

In case you didn't notice, we have some turkey to use up!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick trip

Just picked up two items.
Total OOP = $3.66

Sunday, November 28, 2010


No picture today, sorry. James loves the Jimmy Dean heat and serve breakfast sausages. I don't usually purchase them because he goes through them so quickly and due to the expense. I did purchase a package at CostCo for him on Friday since we had a coupon.

Total OOP = $5.49
Total saved = $2.50

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest coming trip - getting my turkey

We don't do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in our household. I could eat turkey all the time, but don't like many of the traditional side dishes. James is not a huge fan of turkey, but would eat the sides. So when we got married, we decided we would just cook whatever we wanted to eat that day. Additionally we usually run in the local 5 mile Turkey Trot which takes up the morning by the time you include driving time. This year we have company for Thanksgiving, but we are still sticking with our tradition, just modifying it a little bit.

Yes, you see a turkey there!!! We are making a huge pot of chili for Thanksgiving, but still going to have some bird as well. James is going to smoke up the turkey the night before and then we will eat on it the next couple of days, as well as chowing down on the chili! Best of both worlds.

The turkey was normally $0.89 a pound, but with a $10 purchase went down to $0.58 a pound. Since we needed to get eggs, drinks for the guests, tortillas for freezer breakfast burritos, and corn chips for frito pies, we were able to snag a 10 pound turkey for $6.30 ( a really good deal around here ).

Total OOP = $19.46
Total saved = $8.03

Pillsbury Cinnamon French Toast Bake

I saw the recipe for this dish on a show on the cooking channel that was recapping old Pillsbury BakeOff recipes. This one just kind of stuck with me. It is called Cinnamon French Toast Bake. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in an 8x8 metal pan. I really liked the top of this dish, so cinnamony and crunchy. The bottom however was soggy and less appealing to me. I am not a huge fan of bread pudding for this very reason, and this recipe reminded me of the pudding a little bit. I will definitely make the recipe again, but with a few changes. Instead of having butter on the bottom of the pan and then putting in the cut-up rolls, I am just going to spray the bottom of the pan. I also might cut the syrup in half and add it to the custard mixture instead of adding it on top.

We are going to try to warm the leftovers up in a skillet this morning to see if we can crisp up the bottom a little more. Happy eating to all!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bzz Report: Tom's of Main Wicked Fresh Toothpaste

As part of the BzzAgent program, I recently received one full size tube of Tom's of Main Wicked Fresh Cool Peppermint toothpaste and several smaller samples to test out. I gave one sample to my mom and another to my wonderful friend Stephanie.

The Bzz pamphlet about the toothpaste stated that the toothpaste:

* Provides long-lasting fresh breath, naturally
* Comes in two minty fresh flavors, Cool Peppermint and Spearmint Ice
* Contains fluoride to help fight cavities
* Does not contain alcohol or any artificial ingredients
* Suggested retail around $4.19 for a 5.2 oz tube

Tom's of Maine also stated" "Wicked Fresh! toothpaste combines a patent-pending boost of botanical extracts and great-tasting natural mint oils to fight bad breath germs for hours." Tom's also does not test it's products on animals, uses sustainable practices, uses no artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives and use as much recycle content as possible.

After a week and half of using this toothpaste exclusively, I have mixed feelings. I do feel that it does a good job of cleaning my teeth. I also feel very good using it because of all the measures Tom's of Maine uses to help the environment. However, the toothpaste has a very bitter, chemically test that takes a little bit of getting used to. I don't know if the mint oils are just super strong, or if I am accustomed to the artificial sweeteners put in other commercial toothpastes. I am also not pleased with the price. Since I get most of my toothpaste for either free or up to $0.50, I would be hard pressed to spend $4.19.

Overall, I will probably not purchase this product, based mostly on the flavor. My friend Stephanie said that after the first use, and the bitter taste, that she would not use the toothpaste ever again. I didn't think it was that bad and will finish out the tube.

Keep in mind that I was given the samples from Bzzagent and that all opinions are mine or those of my friends. You should always try something on your own to garner your own opinions. Happy Brushing!!

No picture

Quick stop at the store today to pick up a half gallon of milk and a small container of heavy cream.

OOP = $3.37

Monday, November 15, 2010

Some quick stops

I was watching a show on the Cooking Channel yesterday in which they were baking recipes from the past Pillsbury BakeOff contests. One of the recipes was for Cinnamon French Toast Bake. It looked so good that I knew I needed to try it this week. Oh, I can't wait!!

Walmart: OOP = $2.55 (I will be able to use the Half and Half for something else as well.)

I also made a quick stop at CVS to get some mostly free gum!
Total OOP = ZERO ($3.04 on GC)
Total Saved = $19.58 plus I have a $1 ECB

Menu Plan Monday: 11/15/10-11/21/10

I can't believe it is already the middle of November. We just got back from our Big Bend backpacking trip and I am still trying to get in the swing of things. We got some bad financial news...or potential bad news, so we are starting to tighten down again. I also might be looking for a second job, but we'll see how things go.

Monday - Crockpot pork loin with potatoes

Tuesday - BBQ pork wraps and chips

Wednesday - Crockpot baked potato soup (Oh, I love how comforting this dish tastes!)

Thursday - LO

Friday - Breakfast for dinner

Saturday - Tuna steaks and rice

Sunday - Pasta

Let's see how this goes for the week.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back from our trip and groceries!

We just got back from a week at Big Bend National Park. Three and half days and three nights of which were spent backpacking the outer loop. By far it was the most physically demanding thing we have ever done. But, despite our deepest desires to stay there, we are back home and trying to get into a routine again. We did a little grocery shopping and since my mind wasn't completely back in the frugal mindset, we had a bunch of splurges. I hope it doesn't make things too tight at the end.

CostCo - OOP = $40.81 (My only consolation is that these will last us a little while.)

Total OOP = 45.48
Total saved = $16.31

Total OOP = $2.97
Total saved = $2.40

My 75 pound lap dog

Marshmallow has recently decided that instead of occasionally getting into a chair with people, that he thinks it is acceptable all the time. That makes him our 75 pound lap dog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last night's game meal

Last night we watched the Texas Rangers play in the first game of the 2010 World Series. We decided to have a game day meal of pizza...but neither one of us felt like putting one together from scratch, so we bought Totino's frozen pizza. I'm also planning on making a big batch of breakfast tacos to freeze, thus the potatoes and bacon.

Total OOP = $11.85
Total saved = $0.73

My bosses wife is trying to lose weight so she cleared out her pantry. Here's what we received from that cleaning. After a little research, I am going to low-ball this and say this is a savings of $5.50.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No shopping needed

We are in between two trips so groceries are a little weird right now. We just got back from a weekend trip and had leftover food from that which was purchased out of the vacation budget. So we'll be okay for a couple of days since we still have a bunch of stuff left in the house as well. It is going to be a hodgepodge of meals this week, but it will work for us.

I'm getting nervous because my total amount left for the grocery challenge seems so low. We'll see how things go.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're back!

We decided to get away for the weekend and went down to Rockport. I am not a huge fan of the coast, but James loves it so we packed up Mary and Marshmallow (the others stayed with a beast/house sitter) and took off. I loved taking pictures of the birds!

This seagull was hovering above a pier at Stinky Beach in Goose Island State park. The wind was so strong, it was literally not moving anywhere.

I made James stop on the road so I could take a picture of this caracara eating a fish. There were two of them, but one got a little scared by us stopping.

I think this might be either the coolest or scariest name for a boat.

This is a huge, old live oak tree by Goose Island State Park. It is over 1000 years old and has a circumference of a little over 35 feet. I loved the lines of the beautiful branches.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two food stops today

Two quick stops for some food today. We got the chili for free at HEB by purchasing cheese, which we needed anyway.

Total OOP = $14.13
Total saved = $3

We also made a quick stop at CVS so I could get some free gum and my favorite cereal.

Total OOP = $1
Total saved = $18.23 (sales and used MQs and ECBs, plus earned $5 ECB on cereal deal)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Date Night

We had an awesome date night! Awhile ago I saw a link to a Christmas song performed by a men's acapella group called Straight No Chaser. I hope you check them out.

We went out to dinner at Firebowl Cafe and had ice cream at Amy's Ice cream. Total OOP = $27.69.

Plus we bought some apples and chips at CostCo. Total OOP = 16.98 (James has really been wanting the Honey Crisp apples and this is the least expensive place to buy that many.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fudge Brownies

I was in the mood for some brownies today but wanted to try a new recipe. I used the recipe from the book, "Feed Your Family for $12.00 a Day" by Rhonda Barfield.

I didn't have all the ingredients she used, so I had to make some changes. I also halved the recipe. Because I haven't tweaked the recipe enough to make it my own, I don't feel comfortable posting it. The changes I made involved substituting pumpkin puree for prune butter and using a real egg instead of egg substitute. I also added some M&Ms I had on hand and topped the brownies with powdered sugar.

These do not have the typical brownie texture, they are a lot smoother. I am on the fence on whether I like them or not. I think for a "healthier" version of a brownie they aren't too bad, but I would never choose them over a "real" brownie. James likes them okay, but says he can taste the pumpkin puree a little (I can't or I wouldn't even be eating them.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spending freeze

We have decided to go on a week long spending freeze. We just want to see if we can do it. Tuesday will be an exception because we had already made some plans that can't be rescheduled. We are only allowing ourselves to pay bills and I can use my CVS gift card if there are good deals this week...but no cash, check or credit card otherwise!

On a side note, we are doing really well on our month long challenge of being a one car family. It definitely takes some planning, and I've been riding my bike to work alot, but it's been interesting!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shopping trips from yesterday

Needed to pick up a few items at the store today. Mostly basics, but a couple of treats. The Diet Coke was free courtesy of coke rewards!

Total OOP = $24.94
Total saved w/ sales and Q = $7.49

Also made a quick stop at CVS. I have not been super thrilled with their ECB deals lately. Keep in mind, I only buy what I use...I don't just buy things to get ECB. I have been wanting to get the Colgate Wisps for an upcoming backpacking trip, and they finally had some ECB's associated with them this week.

In two transactions:

Total OOP = $2.21
Total saved (ECB, MQ, and sales) = $13

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mini-baking day

I have been craving cinnamon rolls lately. I really like to have some quick breakfast foods on hand for James in the morning so, I decided that I would use some of my time today for a mini-baking for the freezer day. I set my game plan and started working. Took me five hours but this is what I made:

7 wheat pizza shells (not pictured because they were being baked at the time)
4 plain bagels
4 cinnamon-raisin bagels
17 cinnamon rolls (8 regular and 9 with raisins)
3 dozen chocolate chip cookies
1 dozen banana-pecan muffins (vegan)
5 Bacon, potato, and egg breakfast tacos

The muffins ended up being vegan because I ran out of eggs. I had some Ener-G egg substitute on hand so I just used those.

I think James will be happy when he comes home!

Menu Plan 10/4-10/10

We should do better on our menu plan this week because we don't really have any plans this week.

Monday - Tuna steaks, baked potatoes, and wheat rolls

Tuesday - Boca chicken burgers and baked chips

Wednesday - Spahetti and Peasant bread

Thursday - Sesame chicken and rice

Friday - Pizza

Saturday - Crockpot BBQ chicken and mac and cheese

Sunday - chili or some other kind of soup

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Into Town

We went into the big city this morning to visit a new church. We came away from that with the knowledge that we would not be going back to that particular church. Then we went to Target to get Powerade. I had a Target Q for buy 4 get the 5th free plus I had two free powerade Coke Reward coupons. I was worried they would beep so I called the corporate number to ask if I could use all the Q at once, and they said yes. Of course, they beeped and the manager gave me problems. Basically calling me a liar, but back pedaled and started kissing my rear when I asked her if she was calling me or corporate Target a liar. She did take all three coupons, but advised me that it really shouldn't have been done and that corporate always says "yes" because they don't have to deal with customers in store. Moral of the story, no one else try's too much hassle.

Total OOP w/ tax = $1.71
Total saved = $2.57

We also decided to stop for a totally unhealthy fry fest and shared a plate at Long John Silver's. OOP = $9.94

Halloween Decoration

I finally finished my newest Halloween decoration. It is now hanging up on my front door. I totally messed up the cat's head when I was cutting out the pattern, but was so frustrated that I just adjusted the stitches. I also had to change some colors since I didn't want to buy a whole skein of yarn just for some little pieces. Overall I'm pretty pleased!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last little trip of the month

I've been having a craving for cinnamon rolls lately. I needed some cream cheese for the frosting and I also picked up some tortilla chips.

Total OOP = $3.27
Total saved = $0.25

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Even though it is going to put us way over-budget for this month, we picked up some hamburger at CostCo. We had been waiting for a sale for a long time, but nothing was happening. It will probably go on sale this week now that I have bought some.

OOP= $17.67

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This week's CVS trip

Hit up CVS this morning. Did pretty well. I needed some back up shampoo and conditioner, and have been wanting a rechargeable toothbrush. I bought these items in two transactions and used a $4/$20 CVS Q, a $4.99 ECB, a $13 ECB that I earned in the first transaction and several MQ. I also earned $10 in ECB that are leftover. Additionally with the purchase of the Olay and Oral-B products, I will be able to add that to the total I've purchased from Proctor and Gamble and send away for $110 worth of MQ.

Total before sales and Q = $57.35
Total sales and Q = $49.96
Total OOP w/ tax = $8 (savings of 87%)

Also, need to deduct $6.47 from grocery budget for eating out last night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out again

No meal plan, no sleep, and not feeling well lead to skipping boot camp and eating fattening food. But on the bright side I did get to watch the entire episode of Glee!

OOP = $8.74

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One item at CVS

I stopped at CVS the other day for one item. I picked up the Soft Scrub Total cleaning product. OOP = free (used a $1 MQ and $0.99 ECB, the product was on sale for $1.99). Then I stopped at a local thrift shop looking for an ottoman. Mary (our oldest beast) is having a hard time jumping up on the bed so we are trying to find an ottoman to help her - I know it's crazy, but she's our baby. No luck with the ottoman...but I did find an old school paper cutter for $6. Super thrilled with that find!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red Robin free meal

We went out celebrating a birthday last night and went to Red Robin to take advantage of a deal. We had a coupon for a free Gourmet Burger via the birthday club of Red Robin. We also had a $10 gift card. Cost of meal = ZERO! Amount saved = $20

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Little bits

Needed some basics and got James a surprise.

HEB: (eggs and milk)
Total OOP = $2.48

CVS: (shower gel and Milano cookies)
Total before sales and Q = $7.98
Total sales and Q (including $5 ECB) = $7.74
Total OOP w/ tax = $0.31

Total from grocery budget = $2.72
Total saved = $0.76

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan 9/13 - 9/19

Hopefully we'll do well this week on our menu plan. We took advantage of some birthday freebies last week and will do that one more time this week.

Monday - Taco Corn Bread Squares (new)

Tuesday - Boca chicken burgers and chips

Wednesday - Tuna tacos

Thursday - birthday celebration

Friday - Beefy BQ macaroni (new)

Saturday - Crockpot BQ chicken and mac and cheese

Sunday - LO

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Couple of items

We were in one part of town today and I had some Target coupons. I could get the chicken less expensive in another store, but it would have meant using more gas to drive farther, so we bought this.

Total OOP = $6.18
Total saved = $3

Neither one of us felt like cooking tonight after eating such a big meal at lunch with my parents and nieces, but we figured we would be hungry later. We decided to use another birthday coupon and went to Papa Murphy's.

Total OOP = $9.99
Total saved = $3.99

Friday, September 10, 2010

No cost dinner at Chili's!

Several of weeks ago, the builder that built our house stopped by and asked if he could take some pictures of the interior of our house for future reference. James checked him out online and decided to let him. A couple of weeks ago we received at $25 gift card to Chili's in the mail from him!! In addition, I received a coupon for a free brownie sundae from Chili's birthday program recently. So we headed off to the restaurant. It started out pretty bad because we weren't greeted by a server for a long time. Finally the manager came and got our order. When we ordered the 2 for $20 meal, she told me we couldn't use the free dessert coupon because you can only take advantage of one promotion at a time. I explained that it was my birthday coupon and she graciously let us use it.

Our meal ended up costing us nothing. I paid for most of the tip with the remainder of the gift card and left extra (does not come from grocery budget.)

Total saved: $27.44 ($21.65 for the meal and $5.79 for the free desser)t. Can't beat that action!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shopping trips of the day.

I have a weakness for baked potato chips, but I never purchase them because of the expense. I am loving HEB's new ad campaigns designed to get you to buy their store brands. If you buy the name brand version, HEB gives you their version for free to compare (requires an in-store coupon.) This week I took part in three deals, including baked chips! YUMMY!

Total before sales and Q: $15.83
Total sales and Q: $8.57
Total OOP: $7.26

On my way home I decided to drop in at CVS to see if they had any of the BOGO Wisk and pick up a thing of gum. I could have made this deal even better by using my ECB, but I wanted to save those for food purchases or something that would earn my more ECB.

Total before sales and Q: $19.27
Total sales and Q: $15.29
Total OOP w/tax: $4.31 plus I received $0.99 ECB for the Dentyne

I'm glad the Wisk was in because I haven't been able to find any good deals on detergent lately. I might make another trip.

BzzReport - L'Oreal Collagen Micro-Pulse Total Eye Correction System

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered a spot in the BzzCampaign for L'Oreal's Collagen Micro-Pulse Total Eye Correction System. L'Oreal and BzzAgent (also there is a direct link on my blog you can use) sent me a full-size package of the product, pictured below. I looked up the retail value at my local CVS and this product sold for $18.99.

Here's how the product was described to me in the offer email:

• Immediately reduces the appearance of crow’s feet and eye bags
• Minimizes the appearance of eye bags, dark circles and crow’s feet in just four weeks
• Features a a ground-breaking micro-pulse massager to minimize eye puffiness

I went to the L'Oreal website and followed the links to the product to learn more. Here's the link to the page I read.

I have tried this product for over two weeks now and have to say that I haven't really noticed that much of a difference. I like using the product. The anti-wrinkle + dark circle cream is smooth and is easily applied. The "gentle micro-pulse massager" feels good and does make the area under my eyes and around my crows feet feel tighter. However, I think I have only noticed a small decrease in the visibility of my crow's feet and have noticed no change in the size or color of the bags under my eyes.

Having said that, I am willing to give the product some more time to work. I think the L'Oreal Collagen Micro-Pulse Total Eye Corrections System would work really well for people that are just developing crow's feet and bags under their eyes.

If you have any questions about my results, just leave me a message. Thanks for BzzAgent and L'Oreal for letting me be a part of this campaign, I enjoyed trying the product.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Adding in an $8.97 rebate!

Menu Plan - late again

Yesterday was the last day for my summer job at the pool. I am glad it is over although I will miss my lifeguards. Late start to the menu plan, but at least I've got it up.

Tuesday - steak fajitas

Wednesday - lentil soup

Thursday - pita pizza

Friday - tuna steaks

Saturday - crockpot BBQ chicken and mac and cheese

Sunday - breakfast for dinner

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bad us

This is my last weekend to work at my summer job, and boy am I ready for it to be over. Unfortunately, I am also tired and don't feel like doing anything. Thus, we went out to eat for dinner last night at Taco Cabana. Good news is that I used a coupon.

OOP = $9.40
Savings = $4.99

We went hiking/geocaching this morning and James decided we needed donuts because he was going to be in a hurry to go to church.

OOP = $4.14

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shopping and savings

I had a plan of action today and started early. My original CVS plan was thwarted by the weirdos who buy all of one thing, leaving none for anyone else, buy I was still able to do okay.

Total value = $ 12.67
Total savings = $12.21
Total OOP w/ tax = $0.50

Next I headed to Walmart, where surprisingly I was not hassled by a cashier. I actually had a really friendly cashier! I also went to the Dollar General for the Tide.

Total value = $9.89
Total savings = $7.81
Total OOP = $2.08

Dollar General - I love Tide, but don't usually buy it because of the expense.
Total value = $5
Total savings = $1
Total OOP w/ tax = $4.33

Finally I was off to HEB. I got some quick stuff for J's lunches and breakfasts. I also had a couple of coupons, making the big bags of HEB chips $0.50 each, so I grabbed a couple of bags. Please excuse Marshmallow's nose, he was checking things usual.

Total value = $48.70
Total savings = $10.93
Total OOP = $37.77

For the day:
Total value = $76.26
Total savings = $31.95
Total OOP w/tax (if applicable) =$44.68

For the grocery budget:
Total value = $55.68
Total savings = $15.83
Total OOP = $39.85
Not too shabby for a mornings work.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Meal Plan for 8/30-9/5

I never had the time yesterday to type up my meal plan for the week.

Monday - We had yummy carnitas!

Tuesday - Boca Chicken burgers and home fries

Wednesday - chili and cornbread

Thursday - Smoked chicken wraps

Friday - tuna steaks and potatoes

Saturday - crockpot barbequed chicken

Sunday - steak fajitas

Monday, August 30, 2010


Quick trip to Walmart for a peanut butter and chocolate milkshake craving.

Total OOP = $5.91
Total saved = $0.44

Also was able to bring hom 7-8 links of sausage and a bag of tortillas from the triathlon this morning. Savings = $4

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My two boys catching some ZZZZ's

Marshmallow likes to sleep in the chair, and is not deterred by someone already sitting in the chair. Last night he decided to cuddle with his daddy and of course they both fell asleep. So cute!

Quick trip into town

I just got back from visiting my nieces and James had been eating the same stuff for days. We have been out of peanut butter for over a week, and cheese was long gone!

Total OOP = $24.89
Total saved = $2

Dog Almighty: $10.76

Baskin Robbins: $7.56

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CVS trip: $59.38 value for $3.27

I had been pondering my game plan for CVS for the last couple of days and just sat down last night and finalized it. Early this morning (my favorite time to head to CVS), I executed the plan. I ran into a little problem since my CVS was out of the Purex 3-in-1 sheets, but I still think I managed to do alright.

As usual let me state that I could save a lot more at CVS, but I only purchase things we will use. I don't buy things just to get ECB. For me that's what makes this game so much fun!

Transaction 1:
1 Zegerid on sale for $9.99 (used $4 MQ and $5 ECB) - earned $7 ECB
2 Right Guard deodorants on sale for BOGO (used BOGO MQ)

Transaction 2:
1 Blink Tears on sale for $7.99 (used $1 MQ and $7 ECB from Trans 1) - earned $7.99 ECB
3 M&M products on sale for B2G1 (used $0.50 CVS Q)
2 Right Guard deodorants on sale for BOGO (used BOGO MQ)

Transaction 3:
3 Kellogg's cereals on sale for 3/$10 (used $1 MQ and used $7.99 ECB) - earned $5 ECB
1 Emerald dry roasted peanuts on sale for $1 each (used 2 $1MQ)

Total value before sales and Q = $59.38
Total sales and Q = $56.11
Total OOP = $3.27 + still have a $5 ECB (94.5% savings)

Total to be deducted for the $1200 grocery challenge = $2.28 and total saved = $16.35
Not a bad savings for 20 minutes worth of work.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I had seen a recipe for 5 ingredient PB bars at The Grocery Challenge website and had been thinking about it for a couple of days. In desperate need of a sweet, I made a half batch yesterday. These were quick, easy, and yummy to make and eat! Sorry no pictures, they are half gone already anyway!

Meal Plan 8/16-8/22

Hoping to stick with things this week!

Monday - cheese pizza

Tuesday - crockpot chicken and stuffing with wheat rolls and salad

Wednesday - pasta, rolls, and salad

Thursday - hamburgers and grilled potatoes

Friday - tuna steaks

Saturday - smoked chicken

Sunday - smoked chicken green enchiladas

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Raincheck and pork

We had a raincheck for the fruit bars and needed some tortilla chips as well. Found some pork on sale so purchased that as well.

OOP = $7.55
Little Caesar's for dinner last night since James didn't take out the tuna in time. OOP = $10.84

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Late Birthday celebration and bacon

James' birthday was yesterday, but we were too busy to do anything. Tonight we went into town and "celebrated". James is a member of the Red Robin eClub, and he received an email for a free gourmet burger. I traded in some points on for a $10 Red Robin gift card a little while ago in preparation for our visit. The total OOP for our visit = ZERO. (When we set our challenge, I decided not to include tips in the budget. I like to reward good service so I pay the tip out of my allowance.) Savings = $18.38

After dinner we went to Culver's, of which James is also a member of their eClub, for his free frozen custard sundae. Total OOP = $2.59 for my custard, savings of $2.59

We also stopped by CostCo and got some bacon. We love bacon and are specific about the brands we like. Unfortunately we are willing to pay more for what we like. OOP = $11.89 for four pounds.


I received a $9.85 rebate. I added that in to our challenge.

CVS trip

Quick trip to CVS today. Let me again express that I don't play the CVS game like everyone else. I refuse to buy stuff I'm not going to use just to get ECBs. Thus, I don't always save as much money as others, but I feel comfortable with my purchases. Today's purchases were done in two transactions.

Transaction 1:
1 Schick Hydro razor on sale for $8.97 - $5 MQ = $3.97
1 Schick Hydro shaving cream for $3.99 - Free MQ peelie on razor box = Free

Total before sales and Q = $12.98
Total sales and Q = $9.01
Total OOP w/ tax = $4.30. Earned $4 ECB

** Plus I'll send in my receipt to the Schick rebate and get a check for $8.97. **

Transaction 2:
3 Garnier Fructic shampoos on sale for $5 - 2 $1 MQ - $4.99 ECB (U Kotex) - $4 ECB (Schick)

Total before sales and Q = $22.57
Total sales and Q = $18.56
Total OOP w/ tax = $4.21. Earned $5 ECB

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meal plan 8/9-8/15

We have a birthday this week...specifically my James is turning 40 today! Unfortantely we are too busy today to do anything, so we'll celebrate tomorrow.

Monday - chicken/black bean wraps

Tuesday - Celebrating J's birthday (more to come)

Wednesday - lentil tacos

Thursday - beef fajitas

Friday - tuna steaks and potatoes

Saturday - BBQ chicken, potatoes, and corn

Sunday - Pink pasta

Finally a grocery trip!

We finally made it to the store last night for some groceries. There are a few preservative laden, fast foods in there, but it just had to be done. I also got a raincheck for some fruit bars that were part of a meal deal at HEB, but they were out of stock.

Total before sales and Q = $68.22
Total sales = $5.71
Total Q = $12.58
Total OOP = $49.93

Fiesta Texas FREE visit

On our recent "vacation" to house/dog sit for my parents we visited Six Flags Fiesta Texas. James is pictured above outside Tony Hawk's Big Spin, an awesome roller coaster ride! We paid ZERO dollars for our $50-60 tickets. How did we do it? Very easy the My Coke Rewards program.

I have been collecting reward points from boxes of soda or bottle tops for over a year. The great part is that we didn't pay for more than 90% of these points. My wonderful Mom collects all her bottle tops and saves them for me. Plus I get a bunch of box codes from both of my jobs. I've "earned" over 5000 points in a year.

Six Flags tickets were 1000 points each, so a total of 2000 points for us. I just redeemed the points and printed my tickets off the computer. Sweet!!!!!

I've also redeemed points for Powerade and magazine subscriptions. It is a pretty cool program and it probably takes me fewer than 10 minutes a week to type in my codes. Not a bad trade off of my time.

**This post is my opinion. Fiesta Texas and Mycokerewards did not compensate or contact me. **

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.