Wednesday, December 31, 2008

great and not so great things about 2008

Well.. I guess this would be an amazingly appropriate time for me to explore some awesome things about 2008... GOOD AND BAD.

Here is 2008 summed up, funny I just rattled this off to 2 co-workers today.. all in all I feel like a failure on some parts but in other areas feel as if I've accomplished more in one year than any other year of my life.

♥paid off $30,000 in 6 months. my story is outlined here and the 2nd part continued here
♥found out January 2008 that I would be laid off by March 2008. later they extended that date to April 11th 2008. Had our HR come in and explain unemployment to us, our benefits, severance, etc. Had another company come in and help us do our resumes and prepare for interviewing.
♥May 2008 I am laid off and my husband work drops hours down to 32 hours. His final checks after taxes, health/dental/vision, 401k blah blah blah is not much more than my unemployment checks.
♥June 2008 out of necessity I start learning grocery gaming/couponing/hounding. It took me awhile and I'm still learning, but I've gotten some great deals since and have learned so much about myself and my money.
♥September 5th 2008 my husband gets laid off!! ughhh.. he gets unemployment and severance and luckily found another job within 3 weeks. He only wound up getting 3 weeks of unemployment in the end.. but oh well.
♥October 2008 my husband starts his new job and I learn to live off his new checks (they are bigger because there is no insurance/401k taken out yet) so I start saving as much money as I can and start building an amazing (to me) emergency fund. This of course will change with his insurance now kicking in as well as 401k.
♥December 12th 2008, my boss calls me in for a meeting and asks me to come back to work MONDAY!! I went back the next week after a few snafu's and having to change around a ton of plans etc.
♥TODAY DECEMBER 31ST 2008 I got my first check from my new company and EVERY DIME went to savings. I had not one bill that has to be paid.

~I gained an amazing amount of weight in the last 18 months basically. I must get back on WW immediately. I can not believe I was off for basically 9 months and did no biking, hardly any walking, no running, walked the dog just once a day.
~I wasted an unbelievable amount of time not getting much done this year. I'm not sure how the days slid by so quickly at home, but they did.
~My parents paid for me to take medical transcription classes on line. I completed the medical terminology portion in the first few weeks I was off but after that I was concentrating so hard on saving money that I never did get any of my medical transcription done. I feel so bad about that.
~I got rid of our gym membership after not going for 6 months and bought a treadmill which now sits with about an inch of quarry dust on it in my garage. *sigh*

Okay... now I have to admit.. Unemployment DID have it's benefits. I was home to help numerous neighbors with their animals over the summer and house sit. I felt good being able to help them all.

I was home to help a friend who wound up with Guillian Barre Syndrome explained here with her kids. At first her mother was living in her home 24/7 so I went over to help her mom. I figured I could at least give her a break. Once she came home from the hospital then I was able to watch the kids while she went for physical therapy so her mom could return to her own household life.

I also was able to spend some time with my son, my husband, family, and friends. This was good, but also had some stress related because of the financial situation. Hanging out sometimes requires spending ca$h, so I was pretty honest with people about finances and letting them know I couldn't join them for dinner at fancy restaurants or go down town or travel. It just wasn't in the cards.

Okay I had a ton more to write here but seriously I can't even think of the things I wanted to touch on. Basically, a majority of the people I personally know had a pretty stinky 2008. I can't wait to kiss this year goodbye and am looking forward to a POSITIVE 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

which do you use?

I'm full of questions again the last few days... so I'm wondering out of all the little websites that offer you cash back or points to shop through their sites, which ones do you use? Right now I have so many accounts I can't even keep them straight HOWEVER whenever purchasing a product I go on each site and find out which pays the most back and which allows you to use coupon codes. Plus I always use my credit card that pays me back points towards it's own website. Here are a few I use.

I know there is at least one other I'm not thinking of right now. Tell me what you think about these sites and which you use.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Is there any double dip deals this month at Walgreens?

Just a question because I was looking at a few sites and didn't see any posted?? even over at they didn't have anything posted... hmmm I know it's a bit late to be asking this but it slipped my mind until just today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 65 sq foot home, could you live there?

Jay over at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company has found a way to live green in many ways.. living in a 89 sq foot home since 1997 he runs a company that sells not only plans to these tiny homes but builds them and delivers them to you as well. Be sure to check out the you tube video's posted especially the one of his own personal home. I made sure to check out each of the layouts and thought that I would love to retire that way. Doubt my husband would be as excited about it, and stockpiling would be impossible.. but really.. with economic times being the way they are, living "green" would be so easy.. the green would be lining my pockets to keep me warm as well.. hmmmm check it out and let me know your thoughts on this...

Monday, December 22, 2008


Went to CVS with $40.92 in ECBS and left with $59.97 in ECB's.. I spent $3 of my own money out of pocket and I barely used any coupons!! I wasn't prepared at all.. just wanted to go to roll what ECBS I had that were going to expire the 27th.

My CVS was substituting many items as long as it was either the same price or less and a comparable product. So this is what I wound up with. LQQk at the HUGE Listerine's I got!! wow. I wish I had brought coupons.. I also wish my dumb butt would have actually looked through my CVS envelope I had with me because I had a few CVS coupons I could have used.. doh!! Anyway.. I'm not feeling like listing out all the prices.. but basically I did two transactions so I could use a $10/$50 for the first transaction and a majority of my original $40 in ECB's.

Bears Pictures, Images and Photos

whoo hoo they played the Packers so that's awesome for Chicago!!

I miss all of you! My new/old job is VERY busy so I've been working a ton.. which is good and bad. I'm salary now so no OT but it's good because we need the work to keep us open and keep my job so I'll take it!

If I don't post again before Christmas, have a wonderful holiday everyone!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009 goals..

anyone got any? yeah.. I know some of you have already posted your goals and even your budgets for the following year. I seriously don't have the energy or time for that right now and really who knows what is going to bring this year.. so instead I'm proposing a dare for myself.. ut oh another challenge where I'm gonna last ooooh 3 days. Probably.

Well basically now that I've learned how to live on what unemployment pay is for 9 months including my husband getting laid off.. I'm thinking of staying with that frame of spending. 2008 has been a kick butt year for me to learn a ton about myself and really even though I've spent on things I probably shouldn't have in the end I'm pretty dang proud of how well I've done. We paid off our debt in 6 months, $30,000 in 6 months.. I still can't even believe that happened.

Ok so I'm thinking that my goal for next year should be to live off of my husband's paycheck and only 1 of my paychecks per month. I get paid on the first and last day of the month so I could actually use my checks to pay bills and my husbands for the goal/challenge...?? hmm or I could take half from each check and throw that into savings. Either way, we'd still be living the way we do now with stocked shelves full of food, toiletries, cat/dog food/items, and really all I would have to do for awhile would be to buy fresh veggies, fresh dairy, and meat. We've done it for 9 months why can't this continue?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

get FREE or paid $5 for Entertainment books in the Chicago area!! (other places prices vary, but still great deals)

okay over at Choyster Cash she explains how to get Entertainment books for a great deal. The deal just keeps getting better the more you buy. I just bought one, I was already a Cashbaq member so I don't get the $5 sign up but mine worked out like this.

$25 regular book price
-$10 off from Entertainment book
-$5 off for signing up for auto renewal

$10 I put on my credit card but then I'll get the $10 back through Cashbaq.

If you know friends/relatives that you use these, it would be a great $5 gift!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Governor Rod Blagojevich Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm from Illinois.. which means that the whole blagojevich thing (if you had not heard yet Illinois' governor has been arrested for an array of reasons) has been part of daily talk in our state for the past few months.. now it's part of daily national discussion. Of course, with the new president elect being from Chicago as well, I'm feeling our area is under a microscope and all the media is here day in day out. Not that this shouldn't be national "talk" it's just that CNN and MSN picked up the story within minutes! It was insane.. anyway.. I just wanted to make some light of this horrible situation and remind everyone to watch Saturday Night Live tonight. I heard they are doing a few Blagajevich jokes or maybe a skit? Should prove to be pretty funny considering the guy is an obvious DOOHHHH!!

doh Pictures, Images and Photos {{also from Illinois the Simpsons}}


heyyyyy everybody.. sorry I again have been MIA. Again just not in the mood to hound, hit deals, etc. No money too either. I actually haven't touched my coupon box since last Sunday night when I was cleaning and that was just to move it upstairs to my office so it would be out of the way for my cookie party. I did have to grab it today to check the expiration on a few things, glad I did because the kitty litter coupons expire tomorrow not Monday as I had thought.

well.. I guess I should get on with the good news.. as you know good news somehow has bad news attached to it sometimes.. and in my case it sort of does.. but the good news far far outweighs any bad news.


Yup you read it here first! lol! I had talked to my boss on Saturday and basically he was thinking I would come back in March sometime, but the rates dropped out (mortgage industry) and they got bombed and decided to bring me back NOW! He called me for a meeting on Friday afternoon and I seriously didn't know what to expect... and there it was! whoo hoo!

bad news? what bad news? did I say something about bad news.. oh I guess I did.. well.. I won't have as much time to pull deals and to post them. I'll try to do the best I can but I know with going back to work and recreating my schedule, plus the holidays I won't be doing much until after the holidays. I will miss you all, I'll try to stop in your sites as often as possible just so I can steal your deals as I normally do anyway.

Anyway.. I hope everyone has a great holiday season if I don't talk to you before!! :) Everyone stay merry and bright and remember this season, for as much stress as it sometimes brings, is still most peoples favorite!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trina asked for cookie recipes!!

MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE Pictures, Images and Photos
Hi everyone.. over on FB (facebook) Trina (also a fellow blogger) asked for cookie recipes after I had announced last night that I was exhausted after my cookie exchange. I have hosted the cookie exchange in my neighborhood for 5 years. It is open to all family/friends of people who live in our neighborhood. We also do an ornament exchange which is fun. My rules for my cookie exchange are seriously fierce. For each person participating you need to make a bag of 6 cookies. They don't have to be Christmas cookies, they can be bars, treats, store bought. Any type, even chocolate chip is taken here. I try to make it cheap and fun.

Here is a list of rules from a website we found a few years ago.. we laugh about it like who would want to be in this one?


All cookies must be homemade, baked & main ingredient must be flour.
No "no-bake" cookies, meringues or bars are allowed.

Please bring 6 dozen total cookies. You can split 2 recipes into 3 dozen
each, if you wish. (NOTE! Most asked question: WHY 6 dozen?)

The theme is "Christmas Cookies" - no chocolate chip cookies allowed
- unless they are really different! No "no-bake" cookies.

Arrange cookies in a basket or platter (be creative!) & a large container (i.e., Tupperware) to carry away cookies and a copy of your recipe.

Christmas attire is encouraged!

RSVP as soon as you can and let me know what type of cookies you are planning on baking - no duplicate recipes are allowed.

If you cannot attend but would like to exchange cookies, you may
deliver your cookies the day before the party. I'll exchange them for you.

There's a prize for the best (most outrageous) Christmas outfit.
First, second & third place!!

If you don't have time to bake, or have ruined your recipe, but still want to attend, you must go to a real bakery and buy 6 dozen yummy cookies.

If you can follow all these rules you will be invited again!

anyway.. here is my favorite cookie recipe... for sure.
jose cuervo Pictures, Images and Photos
Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl,
check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality,
pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter
in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point
it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another
cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup
of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry
it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves
a sheet. Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall

Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the
Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.
Cherry Mistmas !

Holly Pictures, Images and Photos
here is a website that has links to great cookie recipes. Really nice layout.

I usually make a few type cookies every year but each year I make Peanut Butter Balls. I follow a very easy recipe and it always comes out very yummy.
1lb of powder sugar
1lb of peanut butter
1/2 lb of butter

melt butter, mix in powdered sugar and pb. roll into balls. refrigerate for 1 hour. melt 1lb of chocolate (any kind works and I als put a little wax in it) then dip balls. refrigerate another hour and put in tins/bags.

I host the exchange but every year I make PB balls.. this year I only did PB balls. Everyone asks for them so I said forget it.. they all get 6 of those. I should have done a double recipe and given everyone 12 just to make them happy! lol! I wasn't impressed with the way they turned out this year. Oh well.

From time to time we can get my sister to make those Neiman Marcus cookies that the e-mail had been going around about for here.. Here is the SNOPES version of that story with the recipe. They say the story is false.. hmm

Happy baking or not baking everyone!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

a little help from my "hounding" friends...

Okay.. I'm not listing this as a challenge because frankly I have nothing to give to a "winner" and nobody could actually be a "winner" because everyone's ideas are valuable to me. Anyway.. here is my idea. Last night I was laying in bed thinking about Christmas being so close. My husbands family has decided to do away with getting gifts for everyone, the family was just becoming too large especially now with the three of the 4 boys getting married in the last year (my husband being the 4th we got married 10 years ago).

Anywhooo just for fun the last couple years we've been doing one of those white elephant type games where everyone brings a small/cheap gift, wraps it, and we do a little game of rolling dice, picking gifts, and stealing from one another until everyone has rolled a 6 in the final rounds. This year they changed it up and said everyone must bring 3 $1 gifts... hmm well AS WE COUPONERS KNOW $1 can goooo a long way.
elf help books Pictures, Images and Photos
So I started thinking of items I've hounded that I either hounded so many of I'll never use them all OR items I've hounded that I haven't found a home for yet. My husband and suggested using the universal remote from CVS Black Friday deals as one of the $1 gifts because for that entire shop I only spent $1.33 OOP. We don't need it, we have all the universal remotes we need right now. I thought it would be a good back up if we needed it..?? but okay.. I'm game.. I got it for free.
gift Pictures, Images and Photos

So I was trying to think of 5 other items last night. I came up with some nail polish, batteries, soap, shampoo, cereal, etc. But then I started thinking bigger. So here is where I need your help. I'm going to go to CVS and do the biggest shop I can do where I only spend $1 or less out of my own pocket. Everything that I shop in that one transaction will be going in one big box along with the receipt as PROOF and one person will get to open that box and keep the entire contents.

Okay so what I want you to do is leave me a link to a shop you've just done, a shop you've just outlined for upcoming weeks, leave me a comment just outlining a shop that could be done easily or even leave me a comment of just ideas that could help me out.

I'm not sure how many people from the family read the blog, I think maybe 2-3 tops because I do have it linked to my FB. Either way, for the people that don't read this is going to be fun.

Here are my personal CVS details to date to help you with your ideas.
♥I have roughly $46 in ECB's.
♥I would really like to keep all of those $46 ECBS if possible maybe even making more.
♥I have several $10/$50 coupons and $3/$15 coupons I got in the mail from CVS.
♥I get regular papers so I do have multiple of most coupons unless I have used them.
♥I just bought more toner so if you suggest IP's I'm good in that dept
♥I have until Jan 3rd to do this because my husband's family is waiting until after the holidays to celebrate this year. This gives me an extra full week PLUS after Christmas sales.
♥Items must be products that you know will be stocked well. I have only 3 CVS's I can hit and most of them are not well stocked because apparently there are several other hounders out there that "clean the shelves" pretty early.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I had decided a few weeks ago that I wanted in on the $10 rebate from Coinstar you could get for simply putting $40 in change in one of their machines. I read the website
coinstar in detail outlining this deal. Now not every had used this machine before I wasn't exactly sure how they worked so once I got to the machine I did the short tutorial and read all the signs on the machine. The one sign taped to the machine said that you have to bring the receipt to the service desk. Knowing I had to choose an ecert or gift cert I was a little confused by that but thought that maybe that was just how this store worked with their coinstar machine. I went ahead and started looking through the choices for gift certs and when I couldn't decide I just figured I would put my money in and get it counted. I was over my $40 mark by just 76 cents. I had to work hard to get that $40, the last week I has $9 short and wound up having to buy $6 worth of change because prior to getting to the machine I didn't realize it took dollars as well.

Part of the advertising for this actually says "TRY" so I'm thinking this Coinstar trying to get new customers to use their machines. Of course, I'm looking for directions at the machine to get the rebate and all I remember was the website saying that I needed to keep the bottom part of the receipt to get the extra $10. My coins got counted and now I'm looking through my options and each one just wasn't that appealing to me. Of course I hit the back button to go back to the first screen that had different gift cert options than I was looking at and the next thing I know it's printing out a receipt. Umm okay.. so I go to the customer service desk and the lady hands me $37.16 Coinstar had taken my 8.9 cents on each dollar even though I didn't chose the cash option!!

The customer service lady said she could print a duplicate receipt for me, but this receipt only shows the $37 so I'm asking how I get my rebate. Of course they know nothing of this so I ask if I could get a copy of the receipt that came from the Coinstar machine. Sure, no problem.. so they walk me over to a copy machine which I had to pay the 10 cents for one copy of my receipt.. okay whatever.

I come home, find Coinstar's phone number so I can call them and get this worked out. The man I spoke to basically said "it's your fault you didn't select and it will time out" umm what? So I'm out my $3.63 plus the rebate huh? Basically yes.. so he suggests that I take the money some where else and get $40 in change and start again! Umm yeah you know how long it took me to get that $40 in change together? A long time, and I live in Chicago, this deal ends tomorrow and we're in the middle of negative degree windchills and snow! Yeah like I want to go back out in this weather, inconvenience the store for them to give me $40 in change, and start the process all over again. This is totally nuts.. So finally he puts me on hold to "talk to his supervisor" and comes back and gives me the same smoke so I said "okay so you are telling me I have to take time out of my day to lose even more money to complete this transaction because now I have to come up with another $4 in order to get the $10, how is this worth it??" and he hung up on me!!

Sorry this was not worth it to me.. I'm out my $3 and I'll never use their machines again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

a mish mosh of shopping

I did some shopping yesterday and today.. just wanted to share/brag my buys.. I just emailed a friend of mine a few deals. I'm just going to copy/paste this email because it has some good deals going on not only in my area but also in other states. It gives some good information to those people who are new to couponing as well.

You might have already seen these yourself.. but I wanted to make sure you knew about them because they are THAT GOOD! First that $20 P&G deal doesn't end until the 15th I think.. so take your time if you need to on that one. I just realized that last night and was sorta miffed because I know I could have waited for better Avenu coupons.

At Jewel this week, you might have seen this in their ad, they are doing this weird buy 4 for $19 meats or something. The Pub burgers are part of that. I don't have ad in front of me but basically it would be get 16 burgers for $19 for that's $1.20 for each burger! The lowest they ever went was $1 each! Luckily you have an extra freezer so you can buy these things up!! I use them to make everything from meat loaf to spaghetti and of course we do have burgers sometimes too.. but it's a great deal!!

Not sure if you have read on her website or you knew, but Target has their own coupons as well. ON their website it you scroll to the bottom of the HOME page. The link will be under TARGET STORES then it says SUPER TARGET COUPONS + SPECIALS. if you go into that you can print the coupons, one or all of them if you would like. The best part of this is that you don't have to print them at home. When you go to Target use their "registry" computers where you print baby/wedding registry and you can log on to their website and scroll down just like you would do at home, pick which coupons, and print just like at home but you dont' have to waste your paper or ink!! whoo hoo.

The reason I'm telling you about the Target coupons is because those coupons sometimes have real deals behind them. Like last week I printed out a few $1 off fresh broccoli or cauliflower. Entire heads were on sale for $1.33 so for 33 cents I got a head of broccoli and a head of cauliflower. Also right now there is $2 off ARcher farms HAM. They have Ham's that are cut in little chunks for under $2 so you could make that for dinner and have FREE meat for dinner (ham steaks, or cube it up for breakfast or make a tator tot casserole or any casserole for dinner with it! yumm)

ok that's all I got.. just wanted to let you in on the secrets!

ok, back to my deals! lol!

2 9" plates 79 cents each
2 6" plates 79 cents each
3 chapstick 99 cents buy 2 get one free
$7.xx on GC I took a picture of this because I found 2 that had 80 plates for the same price versus 72 plates. Basically I got 16 extra plates! Just something to watch for.

2 Hanes Womens socks $4.49
1 Hanes Men's socks $5.99
buy 3 Hanes products get $10 off deal. Paid $5.33 OOP and got back a $3/$15 CAT for my next trip! woot!

10 Welch's grape juice on sale for $2.99 each. If you buy 5 you get $5 off brings them down to $1.99 each. Used $1 manu coupons for each. Paid 99 cents each. Paid $10.xx OOP (we were actually out of juice believe it or not)

K-Mart (don't have the receipt in front of me so bear with me)
3 Reynolds Alum foil $2.99 each used $1 manus doubled paid 99 cents each
4 Beggin strips no clue on price used $1 manus doubled
3 Endust $3.29 each used $2 manus took add'l $1.29 off FREEBIE
3 Scotch lint sheet roll $3.29 each used $1 manus paid $1.29 for each
1 Lifesavers $1.79 used $1 manu took add'l 79 cents off FREEBIE
4 Quaker granola bars $2.99 each used $1 manus doubled paid 99 cents each (my manu's were actually for another line of Quaker but I had asked another double coupon week and they took them because they don't carry the other line at any of our area stores)
used $5/$50 coupon I got from electronics department that of course expired yesterday but the front register let me use (he had to ask the service desk manager and she said it was okay). My original total was $58.xx after coupons I paid $11.xx OOP.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Hey everybody.. sorry I've been MIA (too, I just saw another post like this). I too have been busy, getting ready for my cookie exchange at my house. I host it every year and for some reason this year it's just taking me longer to get everything put together. Last year I had 2 jobs and 6 teenage boys in my house the weekend before and still managed to get everything put together! Weird.

Anyway.. I only got a few Black Friday deals. Normally every year I refuse to even step foot in grocery stores from Thanksgiving to after Christmas but this year I figured I would at least take advantage of a few freebies.

Carsons had those $10 off any $10 item cards that were in the paper. I managed to snag mine and my sisters (she's a nurse and had to work a 12 hour shift on Black Friday) so I waited until the sale was almost over and went at noon. The sale ended at 1pm. The coupon would not allow for any door busters so I really had to work at finding something for $10 that was not included in any door buster deal. It was actually hard to do! Plus each register had a 20 minute line at the very least. I got in line with just a few minutes to spare and a sales lady walked through our line answering questions. She scanned my items and I asked if I could 2 transactions or if I could use BOTH coupons in one transaction. She told me to do 2 transactions.

I got the scissors normally $38 for $2.xx. I got the plaque for $1.38. I don't remember the original price. But I'm happy with both those buys.

I headed out to Jewel after Carsons, and then to Walgreens. I don't remember at all what I had to get at Jewel but I didn't take pictures. I had an IP coupon for BOGO on these lotions so I paid $1.99 for both of them. I had a $2 RR I wanted to use that they wouldn't let me use because my total on products was not over $2.. *sigh* used my GC and still paid nothing OOP.

I also stopped at Target and printed out a few of their broccoli/cauliflower coupons and got both for 33 cents after the $1 coupons. I used those for snacks for our Thanksgiving on Saturday with my husbands family. I also stopped at CVS where I spent a good half hour putting together a deal only to figure out it was on the wrong products. Bought 2 candy bars and left.

I stopped at Woodmans just to pick up a few other items for our Thanksgiving and they didn't have any good deals there but I did pick up this wreath for our front door for $11.99. I wound up spending $25 there.

My last stop was at Petco trying to find some cat litter I had a free coupon for. It's the Arm & Hammer essentials. The coupon is good for a free bag up to $3.99.. well I have yet to find a bag that isn't over $8!! So I'm not sure where this bag is being sold (on their website they mention every store I've been to for that product, not for that small size) so I still have the coupon which is now expired.

Yesterday I went to Jewel to do the buy $20 P & G products get $5 CAT plus 5 free Redbox video's. I had to pick up a few other items for my cookie exchange party and of course wound up walking out of there paying $30 OOP basically for toilet paper, paper towels, bounce dryer sheets, paper plates, cups, small bowls, utensils, and yeah.. that's it. LOL! I looked at the receipt several times and it's right. It all added up to that. I just had it in my head that my total was going to be like $20! oh well. I walked out with my $5 CAT for next time and 5 free movies.

netflix Pictures, Images and Photos PLUS xbox 360 Pictures, Images and Photos EQUALS $8.99 PER MONTH FOR UNLIMITED FREE MOVIES PLUS MOVIES BEING MAILED TO YOUR HOME!!

I have been using Redbox Pictures, Images and Photos exclusively for the past 6-8 months and getting freebie codes every Monday, sometimes every Wednesday and then free codes in between. As I mentioned I did a Jewel deal where I got 5 free codes. I'll be using those eventually for new movies that come out, but this watching movies right on my tv through my husbands XBOX is amazing!!! who ever thought that I'd be happy my husband has xbox?

anyway.. basically now all I do is go on line and add movies to my "watch instantly" que, then I go to the xbox and scroll through, find NETFLIX and scroll through the movies I have loaded. This includes entire seasons of tv shows as well as movies. It's so much fun. The other night I watched Grease 2 one of my all time favorite movies.
grease 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, November 27, 2008

walked in with $30 ECB left with $46.92

Okay.. in the grande scheme of CVS black weekend deals I didn't do THAT great.. they were out of a ton of stuff and they said they would give me rainchecks but I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to find the products again or if I would remember or if the coupons would still be good etc.

Here is what I wound up with.
♥1 universal remote $6.99 gave back $6.99 ECB FREEBIE
♥1 excederin $4.79 used $2 manu $3 CVS and got back $1 ECB FREEBIE = moneymaker
♥2 Loreal lip glosses $6.99 ea used $1 manus got back $6.99 ECB's each FREEBIE
♥2 Johnson Buddy bars $1.19 ea (fillers) used $1 manus
♥1 Sally Hanson nail polish $3.79 FORGOT TO GIVE A COUPON UGHH got back $3.79 ECB so still a FREEBIE but not a money maker
♥2 Hershey bars 50 cents each used BOGO bought the wrong bars, should have bought the king size so didn't get any ECB's oops
♥2 playtex tampons $3.99 each used $1 manus (could have used $2 ESC from WAGS??) got $3 ECB for each FREEBIE
♥3 Gatoraides $1.49 each no coupons got $1.49 ECB back each FREEBIE
♥Johnsons lotion $5.69 used $1 IP manu got back $5.69 ECB FREEBIE + moneymaker

used $3/$15 CVS I got in the mail, couldn't find my beauty coupon???? and then used a $10/$50 as well.
paid $1.33 OOP

It's funny how things have been coming to me when I need them.. maybe because I'm actually looking for them? not sure but the last couple days I've been looking at peoples stockpile pictures and realizing that everyone has a ton of TP and I have absolutely none! I'm down to my last few rolls and that was from a deal that I don't even remember that I know wasn't "that good" oh wait.. yeah it was at Menards of all places. Anyway.. so I finally found a deal that was ending today at Jewel $6.99 for Cotonelle 12 double roll pack. I had a $2 CAT for Cotonelle and a $5 CAT (left from my rolls at Jewel the last few weeks) so I paid 55 cents OOP for 12 double rolls of the TP we love. I'm good with that.

Then again tonight.. I wasn't going to go to CVS but then my husband talked me into it. I looked at the tampons thinking I could really use some. I was hoping that they would at least have one box even though I was seeing it was a max of 2.. and low and behold there was 2. It's just funny how since I've started hounding how putting myself out there things have come to me when I start thinking about them. It's a great hobby! lol!

UPDATE!! I went to Jewel today and asked about the bags I had purchased for $2 and the first girl at the Service Desk immediately said that I couldn't return them.. *sigh* I said they've never been used, they are still tagged and I'm going to rebuy them immediately.. do you need me to bring the bags in??? So she asks another girl who was just walking through and she says "yeah give her the $10 back" so the first lady I talked to said "you give her the $10 back I'll go do this" and grabs some stuff out of the 2nd ladies hands and walks away.. umm okay.. she cheerfully handed me $10.18 out of the drawer and that was that... I stood there with the receipts and said "shouldn't you MARK the reciepts?" ooh yeah.. lol! she marked them that I was refunded I took my $10 and was a happy camper!!

Even though I didn't get all the Black Weekend deals at CVS I wanted I was glad to get what I did get and with the help of my favorite store employee. He always tries to help me out and even says "let's just do this and if it doesn't work then I'll refund your $$" So as far as my deals today, I got things I actually needed and great customer service. Great day for me even though I didn't get much! lol!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What would HOUNDERS do?

Okay.. remember all these??

Just found out these are going to be $1 starting tomorrow.. I paid $2 for each of them and had gut feeling they would drop to $1 each but wanted to make sure I got them before they sold out!! *sigh* so what would you do? Would you bring them all back tomorrow when the sale starts and get your $1 back for each? So far I've only found 2 of the receipts but it's for 10 of them. I believe I bought 12 total.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Okay this post could go a few ways.. don't ask how I got so much and don't ask how we got on this subject BUT a girlfriend and I somehow got on the topic of how much tea we have in our house. Seriously, how does this happen because the more people I talk to about it the more people flip open their cabinets to reveal just how much tea they have too! lol! So funny! So I decided to gather what tea I have in my house and take a pic.. somehow I decided to add in all the little cold tea packets I have, hot chocolate, coffee (I don't drink coffee but somehow I wound up with some), and juice mixes. Most of this stuff has been hounded so I figured it ties in with my blog! lol!

here goes

50 pack box of singles to go from Walgreens clearance I think I paid $2 for them
9 boxes of Crystal Light Peach tea singles $1 each on clearance at K-Mart during their first double coupon days
Kool Aid packets I bought so I could get other freebies like the Crystal Light tubs!
Miscellaneous teas/spiced ciders/coffee/ singles I have gotten through hounding, samples, gifts.

9 BOXES of Celestial Seasonings teas all FREEBIES at Wags a few weeks ago
9 boxes of Swiss Miss hot chocolate and 2 store brand
9 boxes of Lipton Pyramid teas all FREEBIE

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm a dope, but I found someone that is more of a dope..

I decided to run out and hit 3 stores today. Walgreens, CVS, and Jewel. All three transactions I could have done better. Don't get me wrong, I still got good deals on everything but... could have spent less OOP if I had thought about it. Also, I'm taking down the ticker because well.. IT'S MOCKING ME and my loser ability to fail miserably at a task within 3 days time.. nice huh? I've done better.. I've quit diets 9 minutes in before. I'm THAT good folks!

♥6 Glade scented square thingys $2.50 each used BOGO coupons
♥4 Duracell batteries $5.99 each used 75 cent coupons and $5/2 coupons

okay here is where I get dumb.. for some reason I was calculating what I had to spend to get the items trying to figure out if it was a better deal to do one or two transactions and whether I should grab other items. I didn't have any filler ideas or extra coupons so I said forget it and walked up to the cashier. Of course, as soon as I walk up to the empty front 5 people get in line behind me. My total comes to $42.xx before coupons and I'm thinking DOHHHHH I could have gotten $8 worth of stuff and used a $10/$50 coupon which I have several of! grr.. I didn't want to tick anyone off so I just dealt with it.

Used a $15 ECB which the cashier couldn't get to work, I know my first $15 ECB from Duracell also wouldn't work and the cashier had to key it in as three separate $5 ECBs. So this cashier decided she couldn't figure out how to get it to work so she calls over another cashier. He comes over and keys it in as I paid $15 cash. Okay that works. My total was $5.xx so I used my debit card. The drawer opens and the cashier is standing there asking ME WHY the drawer opened and I said "because he keyed my ECB in as CASH" she said "any other time I key something in as cash it doesn't open the drawer" so I asked her "okay how do you put CASH in the DRAWER when a customer PAYS WITH CASH?" and she waves at me like I wouldn't understand. {{rolling my eyes here}} anyway.. I got back another $15 ECB for Duracell and $5 ECB for glade.

♥7 Philadelphia cream cheese 99 cents each
used 3 .50/2 coupons
total OOP was $5.55 and got back a CAT for $4!! so these cream cheeses cost me roughly 22 cents each!! woot!

this was a Walgreens double dip deal that has been talked about all over for the past couple weeks in anticipation of monthly double dip days. Anyway, there weren't many double dip deals this month but I like this shampoo so I wanted in on this. The way that the deal read was that these shampoo/conditioners were 2/$20 there was an ESC from the new December book for $5 each and of course the ESR for $10 so I'm expecting free shampoo in the end of the deal. I get there and there are no December books. So I go to grab my poo and the shelf says 3/$20 not 2/$20. and in my head I'm like whooo hoo I'm gonna make $5 on this deal with that $5 off coupon. So I go to the front and ask for the book and the cashier finds one, I flip through and find a coupon and it's for $2 off not $5. I didn't see any other coupons so I had to pay $15 off my GC. I wasn't happy.. but i guess I got all three for $5 which isn't bad.. but I don't know what went wrong here.. ???

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


owned Pictures, Images and Photos
yup that's me.. today.. you see.. I ran a bunch of errands. Came home started taking pictures of my deals. Went outside to take pics of the the last deals and dropped my camera on the ground. Grr.. we've been looking for a new camera HOWEVER we don't have the $$ to be going off to buy a new one yet. when I take pics the screen looks normal but then the pic looks all weird. I figured maybe it was just the way the pictures were displaying. yeah no dice... I just loaded them and they look like this...

yeah not good.

Okay.. my run went like this

CVS (sorry it's impossible to see what is in the picture)
First Transaction
4 Glade candles $2.50 each used $1.50/2 coupons
paid $7.xx OOP got back $5 ECB

Second Transaction
4 batteries $5.99 each used 2 $5/2 and 75 cent coupons
4 Glade plug in refills $3.99 ea used BOGO coupons
2 Glade candles $2.50 each used $1.50/2 coupon
$5 ECB and $15 ECB from last trip
paid $3 OOP and got back a $15 ECB for Duracell and a $10 ECB for glade.

2 bagged salads 99 cents each used 75 cent coupons
1 clearance bag of rolls 99 cents
$1.52 OOP

First transaction
9 Swiss miss hot chocolates $1 each (regular price $2.35) used 2 30 cent coupons
1 (not pictured) Parmesan cheese $2.99
$10 CAT from last week
$1.60 OOP and got back $10 CAT

Second transaction
8 boxes cereal $3 each used $1/2 coupons
2 boxes chex mix bars $3 each used $1/2 coupons
$15 in CATS $9.53 OOP got back a free milk CAT (for next transaction) and $15 more in CATS.

Last transaction
1 milk $3 used $4.50 coupon gave overage
1 Dannon Yogart$2.29 Avenu coupon 75 cents
paid 12 cents for both

Okay so the question of the day is, do you know of any great deals on cameras? Bring em here if you do! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

*sigh* now I can't get rid of A&H TP!!

Okay.. here was my CVS deal yesterday. I went specifically for the batteries. I have plenty of coupons the CVS ones, ones from inserts, and the internet email CVS ones.. so combined I planned out a groovy easy deal.
4 Duracell batteries $5.99 each (not pictured) used two $5/2 coups and 4 $1 coups (we didn't the $1.50 coups?)
4 A&H TP clearance for $1 used 75 cent coupons
1 Johnson Buddies $1.19 used $1 coupon
11 Halloween chinese food style containers clearanced to 9 cents each
CVS $5/$30 coup plus $5 ECB
My original total came out to $37 which I thought I was right at $30?? not sure.. but then I gave her coupons and my total was $7.xx so I had figured I would have to spend $6.xx OOP so I might have been off here or there. I get the receipt and realize the A&H TP rang up as $1.99.. so she credited me back $8.xx to my debit card, rerang and my total came to $4.xx. So basically I got everything for $3 OOP in the end. I also got back a $15 ECB for this transaction which was good because I was down to one lonely little $5 ECB! lol!
Okay.. while I was there they were bringing out a ton of Halloween clearance items. TONS it was insane. I almost wanted to ask if they actually ever brought out any items during Halloween because there was the freebie plastic pumpkin and many other great buys during October.
So here is my question for the day. This lady was there and she was filling up 2 CARTS of this stuff plus baskets of candy and odds and ends. She had an envelope filled with coupons. It took a full 20 minutes for her to get rung up so while I was getting my issue cleared up she had finally gotten everything put back into the carts and had left. So I walked over to the cashier that had rung her up and said "out of plain curiosity what was her total" she says "she did 3 transactions and each was under $1" UMMM HOW? there is no way on god's green earth that she had coupons for most of that stuff... none of it was name brand anything.. so I was I asked the cashier "what coupons did she use" she showed me what she used and she was stacking $3/$15 (old expired ones), the $5/$20 halloween from scanner coup, then $4/$20 email ones and $5/$30. It still makes no sense how each transaction was over $30 and she got them all down below $1.. but does your CVS let you stack multiple of their coupons?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

oh but of course

Soooo yeah I failed miserably at my challenge.. just what 3 days in.. K-Mart was having double coupon days so I had to go. I wound up getting a few things I really needed that they had pretty good deals on. I got a new cat litter box, some pint jars for canning I want to start asap, a tea pot (my husband threw ours out or sold the one we had at our last house, I'm still mad about it) and cheese. The cheese was BOGO at $3.19 so I figured that was a good price for 2 8oz packages. Either way my original total was $115.xx and I walked out of there spending $40.xx so not bad..

Okay, I had so many errands to run the night I got the milk I didn't realize that Dominicks brand milk comes in different colors. I think I *knew* it as I have bought it before, and I *thought* I read the container, however it says LOW FAT.. meaning NOT SKIM which is what we normally drink! oops.. more fat.. great.

Also, I did not check my bank account before leaving the house on those errands. I figured I would get cash back from that transaction versus having to pay ATM fees to go out to dinner last night. So my total came to $24.05.. yeah I had $22 in my account by the time that transaction came through.. so that transaction cost me another $10.. ughh $14.05 for two gallons of milk that I don't even like.. *sigh*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ran a few errands tonight...

I had 2 REDBOX movies to return (freebies with Walgreen's text codes from yesterday) so I decided to grab some coupons and get in on the buy $20 get $10 Conagra deal. Sorry I had so many stops to make I didn't get pics of everything.

have you ever seen such a perfect HUNT'S diced tomato pyramid? The cream cheese couldn't make it to the cheering competitions tonight, sorry. and for heavens sake, will someone please little miss hunt's diced in the 2nd row from the top on the left to stop looking at her mom while we are taking pictures.. geez! I guess this is what Jon & Kate plus 8 feel like at family pic time!!
♥10 Hunts diced tomatoes regular price $1.80 sale $1 used 5 .40/2 manu coupons
♥1 Healthy Choice meal thingy regular price $3.95 sale price $3 used $1 manu
used two $5 CATS from last weeks trips paid tax for those items
♥2 Zone Perfect bars on sale for $1 ea used $1 manus FREEBIES
♥2 Jewel cream cheese on sale for $1 ea
paid $2.30 OOP for that entire order. Basically I paid for the cream cheese and everything else was free! OOH and I got another $10 CAT for my next purchase!!

yes, that is a Thomas Kinkade stained glass covering an outlet in my kitchen.. and yes, that is a phone jack with no phone.. the only phone jack in our house and there is no phone.. woot for being unplugged for 5 years and counting!
♥2 Fresh Express bag salads on sale for 99 cents each used 2 .75 coupons 24 cents each
♥1 lb Deli Salami $2.95
♥6 pack onion rolls day old sale $1.19
♥2 Banquet breakfast sausage 99 cent each
Total OOP $6.74


♥2 gallons of milk sale price $1.99
Total OOP $4.05 p.s. if you've never seen 2 gallons of milk together, raise your hand...

Okay so my total for the night is: $13.09 added on to my total from yesterday of 18 cents I'm at $13.27 for 2 days.. ughh not great.. but I've gotten items that will last.


Well of course on day 2 I found out about a couple things going on.. BEST of all KMART IS HAVING DOUBLE COUPON DAYS AGAIN.. BUT THIS TIME THE SUPER KMARTS ARE INVOLVED WHICH MEANS MORE GROCERIES!! Groceries are my hardest thing to hound so I'm actually going to make a day of it driving to another town a little over a half hour from here.

Okay.. so here it is..
♥Breakfast was cereal, bought it for 80 cents per box at Target last week
♥Lunch was soup/bread bought the soup during one of my Jewel raids and my son was home sick so he needed some good ol chicken soup
♥Dinner baked Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread made it from my 14 cent boxes of Smart Taste, Ragu from my Jewel raid last week, tomato paste and diced tomatoes I got from aldi for 45 cents, onion I got for 79cents for 3lbs, green/red pepper I got marked down for less than a quarter each, cheese I got 2/$4. I think that about sums it up.

I didn't take pictures but yesterday I went to Jewel just to get 4 more boxes of the Lipton Tea FREEBIES and a loaf of Italian Bread which I had one of those survey free coupons for FREEBIE. I've never made homemade garlic bread before and actually was happy at how easy it turned out to be. I have so much tea now I'm sure that these will be going in my Christmas bags this year! Last night my son decided he wanted to try some so I let him open 2 boxes. Now I have 4 boxes of open tea, which I know for some {{{ahhhhemmmmother}}}} isn't a lot.. but I normally only have maybe 1 at the most.

Originally we were supposed to be doing Subway for dinner but after announcing my stockpile challenge I decided it would be better to stay at home and eat. The catch was instead of just making dinner for my husband, my son, and myself added to that was my mom and my two nephews. We had to pick up my sister from the airport last night so I wanted to make a meal that was filling enough and easy to make for 6 people. It turned out good (minus my 10 yo nephew who has a gourmet chef for a father and said he didn't like it much and ate 4 bites). We had plenty of leftovers to boot which I just had for lunch YUMMYYYY!

Okay yesterday I spent a whopping 18 cents at Jewel for 4 boxes of tea and loaf of bread for dinner. So this is where I sit at right now, 18 cents.. I'm liking it up here. My excitement will be quickly fading with a CVS trip, a trip to Dominicks to get $1.99 milk x's 2, a Super Kmart run tomorrow along with putting together a deal at Wags to use that awesome $5/$20 good tomorrow and Saturday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mashed Potato Bar

You know.. I should have just explained this in the post.. but the post was getting too long. Mashed Potato bar is great for get togethers, any type.. just a fun little extra. I'm going to copy/paste some comments I answered in my post about it.

Mashed potato bar ~ Learned this from a great neighbor of mine ~ I know it's cheating but it's how I do it.. I make an entire small box of mashed potatoes in my small crock pot (I don't even know the size it's a tall round one, the inside is the circumference of a dollar bill I'd say??) then I put out goodies like bacon I make earlier and crush up, cheese, sour cream, green onions, regular onions, salsa, butter etc.

**when you pour the whole box of potato flakes in the crock pot you are probably going to be standing there thinking "geez there is no way the rest of the milk/water will fit" those potato flakes absorb it up quick so even if those flakes are 1" close to the top, it will probably all fit. Stirring it is never easy either because you have to dig down deep to get down to the bottom.**

I make it about an hour before the party so it has time to heat up. I make them per the regular directions with the same butter, salt, water, milk measurements the box tells you.

Then I put it on warm or low during the party. I try to keep an eye on it because eventually the bottom will start to burn. So mix it up from time to time and I've even turned it off for 20-30 min at a time. At the end of the night whatever is left I throw in little storage containers and freezer for dinners another night.

I think the steam and mash would probably work out in the crock pot.. you could probably steam/mash them and just throw them in the crock pot just minutes before guests arrive. My neighbor actually makes her own mashed potatoes. I would except it's a ton of work to be doing RIGHT before a party start, plus having to clean up a huge pot again right before the start of a party. I guess you could make your own the night before or hours before and just throw them in the crock pot with enough time for them to rewarm through.

Also, for this I usually put out little disposable bowls and separate spoons/forks because for some reason it just seems easier (and more fun) to build a little mashed potato meal for yourself. I wind up having like 3-4 bowls and eating nothing else just because I'm a mashed potato nut! lol!

25 days and counting down...

Okay.. so day 1 down! lol! I've been thinking about doing this challenge for awhile. In fact Mary over at
OWLHAVEN did this in September with her husband and 10 kids!! Yes you read that right 10 kids!! Her day to day blogs were inspiring as she has a huge garden so much canning was going on that month along with many other homemade items. Her goal was to spend under $200, however, she had spent an extra $200 the month before stockpiling items. She felt her pantry was full enough to give it a go, and she pulled it off!! Amazing.

Also over at another one of my favorite blogs Precious at Frugal makes Cents she had talked about the same thing I am here, using up her stockpile. She had some of the same guidelines that I did basically stating that if she could get something for rock bottom price she was going to get it. She is simply going to take the next 6 months to use her stockpile. Easy enough.

I have been banned from shampoo purchase and cleaning product purchase so that does leave me with less to coupon anyway. (I have bought some shampoo/cleaning products but only stuff I could get for free)

My first day at this!!
Yesterday was my first day, I hadn't announced it on my blog yet. I wanted to put some real thought into it. What rules/guidelines I wanted to follow and I still have to work on the budget for this. I've found plenty of milk for $1.99 so I'm confident that the maximum amount of milk will be $6 this month although sometimes my son goes through a ton of milk.. hmmm might be more like $10. still not bad. As far as Mary at Owlhaven goes I would have spent the $200 just in milk if I had 10 kids. I think she had gift cards and did some trades here and there if I remember correctly.. not for just milk but for other supplies as well.

Okay so Day 1 went like this.
Cereal or leftover big breakfast from Sunday

leftover dinner from Monday or Onion soup with bread and cookies

Shake and Bake Pork Chops, steam broccoli/cheese, cranberry sauce, and potatoes. The potatoes were supper yummy. A neighbor told me how she makes them and it came out really good. Basically she cubes up potatoes, mixes them with EVOO and a packet of onion soup mix. Bake at 350-400 (depends on your time frame) until tender. I decided to start using the stockpile so I scrounged up some salad dressing I had gotten awhile back for free. It's some Jalapeno red pepper ceasar, weird huh? It had some oil in it and some flavor with a kick.

Okay Day 1 done.. 24 to go and already I'm planning a few shopping trips.. one for today, a couple for tomorrow, and actually one for next week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My personal challenge.

Well.. it's come to my attention over the last couple days with all the shopping I did and trying to fit everything into the freezer and moving things around to make the stockpile shelves fit everything I bought that I really need to "dig in" to my stockpile. Seriously. (ok longest run on sentence followed by the shortest sentence ever) I still have most of the boxes of 100 cal packs I bought in August during Meijer's back to school deals.

Here is a list of my over abundance of goodies.

One of the first things I noticed yesterday is that I now have more pork than I know what to do with. Somehow I've ended up with I think 4 packages of just pork chops. I also have a pork roast. I also have a good stock of chicken. I have some burgers which I can make into other things such as chili, meatloaf, or for spaghetti. I'm going to aim to clean out the freezer first of meat and then I can start buying other meat. I probably have enough meat in there to last my 25 days.

OMG somehow I've managed to gather a ton of soup, and not just already made soup but those packets of soup, cup of soups (both little packets and little cups), not to mention Ramon noodles, chicken stock, bullion cubes and the like. whew.

Because of that sale I have a huge over abundance of frozen veggies. They are all in steam packages, however, I have been using them over the past few days in various other ways. I actually partially steamed the sugar snap peas and used them as dipping veggies. Didn't work out that great because they were limp and soggy, but it was a yummy treat with no chips! lol!

Those Smart Taste coupons came in handy and I used em! lol! It was BOGO at $2.29, so I got two boxes for 29 cents a couple weeks ago. The sale before that was 10/$10 and I used up what coupons I had at that time. Not to mention I started out with a good amount of pasta in the house. But now it's just out of control. Same with Pasta sauce. Lots of it!!

wow.. not sure where they all came from (yeah I do, don't let me fool you) but boy do I got boxed potatoes. I have plenty of mashed potatoes and au gratin potatoes to last a long while. I would say I would save these to use for the cookie exchange party, but I like making plain potatoes and letting everyone put their own toppings on. All the boxed mashed potatoes I got are all flavored.. hmmm guess I could use the cheese ones.. who doesn't like cheese? lol!

Currently I think we have around 15 boxes of cereal. Which for other hounders probably isn't a huge amount, but for us I think in 4 weeks we can make that last

As I mentioned above we have plenty of 100 cal packs and pretzels from 10/$10 sales and also a scary amount of tortilla chips.

I will allow myself to buy dairy. I know I'll need milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and regular cheese this month. Fresh produce mainly fruit but also a few veggie items like lettuce and cilantro for other meals. Meat I will allow myself once my stockpile gets smaller as I mentioned above.

One little strange thing about this is that my last day is the day before my cookie exchange in my neighborhood. I usually make PB balls and one or two other types of cookies. I've already bought the PB and I have a ton of chocolate. I'm pretty sure I have plenty of powdered sugar so I will be okay in that area. Maybe for my other cookie I'll make cake cookies from cake mix. Easy and yummy.

But the fun doesn't end there with the cookie party. It's a neighborhood fun night and I invite neighbors from my hood to come over, eat munchies, and spread Holiday cheer with the cookie exchange (this includes MEN!), ornament exchange, and usually lots of good ol fashion gossip and of course explaining our cookies to everyone else! Some years I've spent a ton of ca$h buying boxed appetizers and the like.. last year I pulled back the reigns because of credit card debt. This year I'm going to do my best to find some cheap 2 liters of pop and I have to do my mashed potato bar for sure. Included in this I will have to buy sour cream, bacon, cheese and veggies. I will do boxed mashed potatoes so I think just the food/drinks should be a pretty minimal amount.

This DOES NOT mean that if I can get something for 25 cents or less that I won't buy it.. it simply means that I need to cut back and start using the stockpile. There is no reason to have a stockpile if I'm not going to use it right?

I normally count my eating out into our food budget but I also combine our grocery budget with entertainment and household items because with hounding it's hard to separate what was cleaning products and what was food. I have SEVERAL coupons from that I had purchased so when my son is visiting (which is when we eat out the most) we'll have those to go out to eat with.

Luckily we have Thanksgiving tucked in there. This year my family is not celebrating basically because my sister/mom are both nurses and always work the holidays for the extra money. My mom will be out of state for Thanksgiving and my son is actually going out of state with his dad. My sisters boys will be with their father and his family out of state as well. We do have dinner with my husband's uncle on the 15th and of course Thanksgiving at his grandparents on Thanksgiving day. So both those days are automatic freebie days for us!

This is tricky.. because I really need to figure out what I've spent so far THIS MONTH on food. As I said I combine Entertainment and household items into our food budget so I'll have to figure this out tomorrow. I was originally thinking $80 for 25 days which I think is possible. I will need $6 for milk this month, $10 other dairy items, $10 produce, and between $14 & $20 for the cookie exchange party. This puts me roughly at $46 however this doesn't include my great deal buys of 25 cents or less.

I do have $15 in CATS from the Jewel shop and also around $40 on my WAGS card. That money I will not count towards this month. Those are essentially my freebie dollars.

As some of you already know, I get very excited when I make entire meals from the stockpile. I also try to figure out how much it cost me for the whole meal and each serving which sometimes is hard considering I don't remember exact prices. I'm going to try my best to blog daily to let you know how I did the day before!! Wish me luck!!

acts of kindness

Lindsay over at FRUGAL AND FABULOUS gave me this award!! I really love the comment she left about me and why she was giving me this award.

"Melissa @ I robbed that store legally! Melissa gets some really great deals week after week - and often goes to great lengths (and through many an awful cashier) to get them. But she's a trooper and never gives up! :)"

I really appreciate this comment because YES hounding/couponing is difficult, it's frustrating, it's not as easy as it looks, and it's addicting. I've made tons of mistakes and love to share them simply because I don't want other couponers out there (newbie or veteran) to think that I don't or that they can't make mistakes or that they are alone making mistakes.

Simply, we are here to save our families money. That is the bottom line. Whether we technically could afford $1,000 worth of groceries or not, we chose to go this route and yes it's tough but we all must keep swimming! lol!

Now I have to tell you six things that I am thankful for, and then I have to nominate six people with this award!

I am thankful for:

1. I'm thankful for my healthy normal son. He was born very ill, has had 3 brain surgeries in his 14 years of life amongst other bumps, bruises, stitches, bone breaks, and the like.

2. I am thankful for both my nephews.. both of whom bring light into my world.

3. I am thankful for my parents.. they've been married almost 40 years and through it all taught me a lot about life. They had a tough first 20 years of marriage, but they stuck it out.

4. I am thankful for my sister.. she's amazing.. she was like a 2nd mother to me when I was little and my mom was in nursing school. Even though I know I was a pest to her as kids, I always knew she loved me.

5. He isn't blood.. but I'm thankful for my husband.. I know weird he is coming in close to last. He's a grounded stable man.

6. I am thankful for my grandma. Next Tuesday will mark her death, it's been 5 years. I can't believe it's been that long. I can always spend time with her when I'm in my kitchen. I learned more about her, about life, about love, about family, and really best of all about cooking. For 10 years I made dinner almost every night with her. Her hands were too weak and sore from rheumatoid arthritis to lift the heavy iron pans or peel the potatoes. So she stood over me, or sat next to me and told me how to do them. While we prepared meals, we talked about everything from her relationship with my grandfather, her family (she was one of 11), her life growing up on the farm and moving to the big city (Chicago), and even sex! She was and still is an amazing woman!! Go Grandma!

Okay now that I'm sobbing my fool heart out... I've decided not to tag anyone because as always it seems everyone has already been tagged for this.. Anyone of blogs I stalk deserve this award! everyone of them puts their heart and soul into their blogs and I appreciate each of them!

Rock on Ladies!!

In closing....
Veterans Day Pictures, Images and Photos

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I feel like JC Wayatt in Baby Boom!

right around 1:37 minute through 2:20 she is making baby applesauce and putting it in the cabinet.. this was like me last night putting away all my Jewel deals!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My totals for my Jewel deals this week.

I have no idea when this deal even started, however, I got the flyer a week ago and didn't actually decide to get into it until Friday this week! I waited at least 5 days before getting in on it. I kept thinking "I don't need any of this stuff"

Total OOP $43.28

I don't have an exact total of how much each of these items would have cost without sales and coupons however I did 7 transactions over the last 3 days and I had to get over $30. A few transactions I was well over that $30 mark others by only a few dollars if that. So roughly I got $210 worth of groceries for $43.28 and I still have $15 CATS to use towards my next Jewel trip!! whoo hoo. Free milk here I come! :)

Okay.. my son saw the GoGurts in the sale and I had to go back!

No picture because I'm just too darn lazy. I left the house at 10:33 and got back around 11:12. This trip didn't go so well and I'm trying to figure out why because I added fillers just in case. I had everything worked out on paper, all the shelf prices were about 2-5 cents off.. nothing major. Anyway.. I wound up with

♥6 GoGurts (am I spelling that right?) yes my 14 yo son asked for them. they were 4/$10 normally $3.20 each used 75/2 coupons
♥3 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes $1 each normally $2.20 each used 35 cent coupons
♥2 Betty Crocker frostings 6/$10 sale or $1.67 each used 50 cent coupons
♥1 Betty Crocker cake mix this was a filler $1 each normally $2 each
3 $5 coupons
Total OOP $3.92 and no RRs/Cats whatever printed LOWER LIP POUT!! I was so sorta upset and the checker was like "was it suppossed to reprint more of those coupons?" (some young guy) so I said "yeah" as I was scanning and counting the before sale prices on the receipt to make sure I hit $30 which I did... hmm so he called the service desk girl over who shrugged and handed me my coupons back from the drawer that I just used!! are they going to work again??? no clue.. oh well..

I *think* this is my last Jewel deal.. however, the night is young..

♥ 6 All detergents 3/$10 used 2 $1 IP coupons and 2 $1/2 coupons
3 $5 CATS/RR's whatever you call them
$2.24 OOP received another 3 $5 CATS OYNO
**note I heard this deal works with only 5 All detergents.. but I figured the total would be $13.xx and I wanted to get over the $15 instead of having to find fillers. Plus I had also heard some people had issues when only buying 5. Either way it worked for me with 6 and I was happy! :)

these pics are sorta out of order.. but oh well.. My son needed to go to Wal-Mart and I had a few coupons I knew I could get some freebies with so I decided to quickly get some coupons together. This is what I got for a good deal/free/was paid to take. I didn't put everything in the picture. I did get a new pair of fuzzy boots, a thing of celery salt, my son got a bunch of fishing stuff (why we had to go fishing in WINTER IN CHICAGO.. UH HUH)and some more of those Tic Tac Chills which I found 2 more coupons for.

♥11 Johnson buddies (10 pictures my 14 yo son is showering with the last one as I type this!) 94 cents each used $1 coupons, some $3/3 coupons, and some IP coupons I had all in different places!
♥8 Well Patches 97 cents each used $1 coupons
♥2 Vlasic pickles $1.76 used $1 IP coupons horrible price for this size jar usually I get the huge jar for this price during rollback. My son is a pickle hound and I just gave my last huge jar to my mom to keep at her house so my pickle hound child can eat through those at her house instead of the ones she buys! lol!
♥3 Zone Perfect bars 97 cents each used $1 coupons (I had a ton more coupons but of course they had only 3 bars left)
♥All You Magazine $2.xx ughh I need to order a subscription! lol!

♥10 packs Wrigley gum $1.19 each WAGS BOGO coupon and BOGO manus FREEBIE
♥1 Celestial Seasonings tea $1.50 (my signs even at this WAGS said $2/5 I even took a pic with my camera phone this time) used $1 manu and had cashier scan ESC for the other 50 cents.

My total was 13 cents... I was digging in my purse and the cashier used the take penny/leave a penny fund which had a dime and several pennies. Done! I still have more BOGO Wrigley coupons however I didn't know how many they would allow me to buy at one time which is why throughout the week I started at 4 packs and moved up to 8 and now 10.

PB pasta sauce time???

I don't think that's how the song goes.. or saying.. whatever it is that my nephews and son say constantly PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME soooo annoying.
anyway.. again.. I woke this morning knowing that awesome Jewel deal would be over after today so I got together another small deal..

♥8 Skippy PB's normally $3.20 (shelf said $3.29) on sale 4/$10 used two .75/2 coupons =$17
♥4 Ragu normally $2.67 (the shelf price was different than this as well, it was higher) on sale 6/$10 or $1.67 each used 2 $1/2 coupon = $4.68
used 4 $5RR from yesterdays trips total OOP $2.14 and earned another $15 RR for my next trip!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I just couldn't resist.. another Jewel run!!!

I did two separate transactions just so I could roll the RRs and get the most for the least. Here goes

♥14 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 13 25 cent coupons.. not sure where the 14th went and boy was I mad! lol!
two $5 RR's from trip earlier today
57 cents!! booo yaa! Got 3 $5 RR's

♥12 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 12 25 cent coupons
♥5 Betty Crocker potatoes $1 ea used 35 cent coupons
♥2 Berry Crocker Frosting $1.66 used 50 cent coupons
♥1 Jewel Garlic bread $2 for dinner
♥2 Progresso chicken stock $1.66 used $1 coupons
3 $5 RR's from first transaction total OOP $3.33

walked out of store with $20 in RRs because the first transaction I only used 2 from earlier today!!
OHHHH yeahh!

****I had to use two Bertolli dinners for dinner tonight and take each of my veggies out of their boxes in order for them all to fit! I really need a 2nd freezer!!

whew, I'm exhausted!

This was my lunch after my hounding crawl!! ha ha I don't drink so instead of a pub crawl I do hounding crawls! nice!
Made it from my 99 cent chicken breast I had grilled and frozen and one of those Green Giant Veggies I got! whoo hoo
and now for my feature presentation.....

♥5 boxes of Kelloggs Cereal $2.75 used $1 coupons
♥4 Prego $1.67 each used $1/2 IP coupons and $1/3 coupon
$5 GC from a previous Target run
$6.67 OOP and I got back a $5 GC for nex time

2 stores, 2 transactions
first store
♥8 Celestial Seasons Tea the sign said $2/5 but they rang up as $1.50 each??? I read they were suppossed to be free after $1/2 ESC and $1 coupons and that's what I got them for FREEBIES
♥8 packs of gum $1.19 each used BOGO circular coupon and BOGO insert coups
total 29 cents

second store
♥8 packs of gum $1.19 each used BOGO circular coupon and BOGO insert coups
total 8 cents
**had to fight with the cashier on this one.. she tried to give me the "one per purchase" blah blah blah

♥10 Green Giant veggies $1 each used 25 cent coupons or 50 cent/2 coups
♥22 Pure Protein bars $1 each used $1.50/2 coupons
♥4 reusable bags $1 each (decided to do 4 more xmas bags)
♥4 Old Orchard Juices BOGO $3.49 used $1/2 coupons so 4/$5 I had read on another site that this was giving a $5 RR.. I didn't get it..??
♥2 Lipton teas $2.50 each used 60 cent coupons plus $2 ecoupons FREEBIE
♥4 Ranch dip packets $1.29
used $15 RR from last trip, total OOP $13.61 and I got $15 RR for the next trip!!

**this trip has made it impossible for me not to go back this afternoon HOWEVER I don't have the freezer room for all the free veggies I could get *sigh* So I'm going to try to work up just one more deal.. we'll see what I come up with.