Friday, May 28, 2010

Quick grocery trip for some sales

There were a couple of sales at HEB that I wanted to take part in, plus I found brownie mix on sale from $1.55 down to $0.98 each.

Total before sales and Q = $22.16
Total sales = $2.74
Total Q = $7.69
Total OOP = $11.73

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bad us

We went to Taco Bell for dinner. . .Bad, Bad, Bad! Total OOP = $11.25

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We love corn on the cob around this household. We especially like it fresh, grilled over a charcoal fire! Now is the season to buy it fresh, so I picked up some on sale.

Total OOP = $2.37
Total saved = $2.25

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu plan 5/24-5/30

I'm back from a visit to see my nieces again before they go back to their mother. It is a busy week because my second job gets really busy towards the end of the week and my grandma, parents, and nieces are visiting on Friday.

Monday - breakfast

Tuesday - lasagna

Wednesday - chicken enchiladas

Thursday - ravioli al fredo

Friday - pizza bread

Saturday - burgers

Sunday - LO

I'm also going to make a half batch of chocolate chip cookies and freeze them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dinner out and a CostCo trip

We enjoyed dinner out tonight. James picked an Italian place that we had never visited, but that had received good reviews. The restaurant is called Mangieri's Pizza Cafe. I had a small cheese pizza which was large enough that I only ate half and will eat the other half for breakfast. James had lasanga. He said his was good but it would have been better with some Italian sausage or hamburger. Dinner cost us $17.00.

After dinner we went to a locally owned ice cream store called Austin Scoops. The ice cream was good, but nothing special. Also since they use hormone-free cream and buy items locally, they are a little more expensive than other ice cream stores. Ice cream at Scoops was $8.98.

We made a quick trip to CostCo after eating. We really needed Parmesan cheese and are particular about what we use. We like the CostCo brand even though it is expensive. The container will last us a for awhile. Since they were on sale we also picked up a pizza and some ravioli. Big surprise - I don't make my own ravioli.

Total OOP = $27.27
Total Saved = $5.50

Meal Plan for 5/17-5/23

Kind of boring, but it will work for us.

Monday - EATING OUT!

Tuesday - hot dogs

Wednesday - black beans and corn cakes

Thursday - chicken enchiladas

Friday - pizza bread

Saturday and Sunday - James fending for himself since I'll be out of town

Reflections on the $1200 challenge -month 5

We are now almost 5 complete month into the $1200 challenge. Financially we are doing okay. We have averaged less than $100 a month and I have been able to save a lot with coupons and gift cards that I was given.

Here are the downfalls:
1) We miss really eating out. Right now if we eat out, we go to our normal places, where we know how much we'll spend. No variation is kind of boring.
2) I am in a meal plan rut. Since the only cuts of meat we are buying are chicken and ground beef, we are getting pretty tired of these. There are NO local sales on different cuts of meat. All the stores are putting their highly processes, pre-seasoned cuts of meat on sale, but not normal cuts. I think we are going to cut the budget in other areas in order to purchase some different cuts of meat.
3) I am focused all the time on the cost of food. It is a little draining. As I have started my summer job, this will get easier because I won't have as much time to think about. I also eat less during the summer because my job is outside and I get off late, thus I don't usually want to eat hot food at night.

In an effort to alleviate two of these downfalls, James and I have decided to go out to eat tonight. We are going to enjoy ourselves, but the focus is not going to be on cost. If we find a good deal that will be great, but we are going to have a good time.

Hot dogs

I picked up some hot dogs on sale today.

Total cost = $3.92
Total sales and Q = $1.96
Total OOP = $0.63 ($2.29 on GC)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


We needed eggs. OOP = $1.48

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Poor Planning

I did some poor planning for dinner on Friday night. I didn't think about how we would feel after working two jobs (me) and running late in the evening (both of us). We ended up getting pizza for dinner. OOP = $10.83

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sale items

I forgot to take a picture of the items I bought yesterday. I went to Walmart for some non-grocery related items and ran across a sale on soda. I also got some bakery items on clearance.

OOP = $4.96
Savings = $3

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken pot pie and peanut butter chocolate ice cream - homemade

I wish I could give you the recipe for this yummy concoction of chicken pot pie, but I just kind of threw it together. I used smoked chicken, potatoes, carrots, homemade chicken stock, Italian seasoning, cheddar cheese, half and half, and some puff pastry pieces I've had for awhile. The pie was so yummy! I love successful experiments!

I also made some peanut butter chocolate ice cream. So great and what an awesome consistency! I put it on top of some brownies I had made up already. You will not believe how easy this is to make.

Chocolate ice cream
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
2 c half and half

1. Melt the chocolate. (I used the microwave.)
2. Stir in the condensed milk until all the chocolate is incorporated. Stir in the half and half.
3. Chill this mixture for at least an hour.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions from the manufacturer.
5. Once the ice cream is made, put it in a container and let it freeze for several hours. To prevent ice crystals I put a piece of plastic wrap right on the top of the cream before putting a lid on the container.

*I added some bits of peanut butter towards the end of the the time in the ice cream maker.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu plan for 5/10-5/16

This week is going to be crazy, just like the next four months of weeks are going to be. I'll continue to meal plan, but there might be a lot of changes during the week based on time.

Monday - hamburgers and beans (LO from catering event at work)

Tuesday - chicken and dumplings

Wednesday - waffles and bacon

Thursday - tuna and potatoes

Friday - black bean tacos

Saturday - chicken spaghetti

Sunday - kafta wraps

Dessert - brownies (I took a shortcut and made them from a box this morning. I'll freeze half of them.)


James decided to go to the grocery store and get some extra stuff for dinner without checking with me. Apparently he didn't want to use what we have and really wanted some additional items. He doesn't do it often, and makes very few requests, so I'm okay with it. The items are not pictured, but the total was $5.92.

I went to pick up a few items this morning. James loves Claussen pickles, but I rarely buy them because they are so expensive. They were on sale for $3.88 and I had a $1 MQ so I splurged and bought them for him. I also bought some lunch meat because I needed something available for quick lunches. Unfortunately because of migraine issues, I have to buy Boar's Head brand meats since they don't use preservatives. Boar's Head is significantly more expensive, but I'm willing to pay it so I don't get migraines.

Total OOP = $7.65
Total saved = $2.50

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Money saved

My bosses gave me a bunch of catfish and beans leftover from a catering yesterday. We had that for dinner tonight so it probably saved us about $14. Yippee for freebies!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quick baking

I was able to finish everything on my short to do list, plus take Marshmallow and Darla for a walk. I hope James enjoys the muffins, but I'm sure he will. I'm not so sure about the tortillas, but I'm trying them for lunch so we'll see then. I substituted 1/3 cup whole wheat flour to add some fiber. I think my biggest problem was that I couldn't tell when they were done. If they aren't done, they'll cook in the microwave when we reheat them.

I have a couple of hours this morning before having to go to work. Since I'll be busy for the next several days (unless something changes), I thought I would try to do a mini baking day.

Here are my goals for this morning, if time permits:
* mini banana nut muffins
* baking mix
* tortillas

Let's see how I do.

Needed back up flour

I am going to try to do a little baking before work today and I needed a back up flour. Strawberries were on sale, so I picked up a container for James for a little surprise!

Total OOP = $3.60
Total savings = $0.52

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dewberry picking

We went out on our second dewberry picking excursion of the year today. We were actually pretty successful thanks to James going way into the the patches. We ended up with a big bowl full. They have already been washed and are freezing in a single layer in the freezer. I will use these to make dewberry muffins, cobblers, syrups, and smoothies. We need to wait a couple of days to let the berries that we didn't pick ripen up. Hopefully no one beats us to the big unripe patches.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Laptop

This is my first post on my new laptop. I have wanted a laptop for ages, but have never been able to convince myself to purchase one. James and I have been watching sales for awhile and one we liked finally went on sale. I couldn't decide whether or not to get it, so James decided for us. I need to do some exploring. More later!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Errand run

Dinner at Dog Almighty:
Total OOP = $3.35
Total savings = $9.24 (paid with GC)

Ice cream at Culver's: $5.17

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Minis from Randalls's:
Total OOP = zero
Total savings = $2.24

Mountain biking at Lake Bryan

We went out to Lake Bryan yesterday to ride the East loop. We had a good time and enjoyed the trails. Some parts were more technical than we are used to, but we managed...especially James!

I was brave enough to try the seesaw. Oddly exhilarating!

Just so no one says that I tried to portray myself as an awesome mountain biker, here's me walking up a section. There was like a two foot jump up. There is NO WAY that I am capable of that.

James on a pretty section of the trail where we rode switchbacks up a hill that had a ton of wildflowers on it.

We are looking forward to going back out there and trying the West Loop.

April Update

We spent a lot in April. We were able to hit quite a few sales and we ate out a lot also. Totals for April grocery spending =

Spent = $154.35
Saved = $120.05

I was really busy this month and didn't get to read as much as usual. My numbers are kind of low, but they will probably stay that way for a couple of months since I have started my second job.

# of magazines read = 10

# of books read = 8

7 samples and freebies for the month. This number is also low, but I have cut back on sending out for freebies.

Random food purchases

I made a quick trip to HEB this morning for jelly and honey. Since James hasn't had time in the morning (he doesn't want to get up early enough and he does a lot in the morning around the house) to eat breakfast. He really likes sausage biscuits so I decided to make him some. Sausage is really expensive, and for what I wanted to do, this package was the least expensive.

Total OOP = $8.13
Savings = $0.55

Yesterday I went to Walgreen's to use up some register rewards on ice cream. However when we got there, we were severely disappointed in the ice cream flavor selections. We opted to use the RR on junk instead and we fully intend to enjoy the junk!

Total OOP = $1.28
Savings = $7.50

Saturday, May 1, 2010

More chicken

We went back and bought three more whole chickens.

Total savings: $6.80
Total OOP: $14.61

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.