So the last few years in January or February Rite Aid has run a month-long promo where if you spend $100 in the monthly period on participating items (about 100 different brands of stuff), you earn a $20 reward. SWEET. Last year in February I actually EARNED $28 dollars after factoring in the $20 UP that I received. Let’s see how I did this year:

Rite Aid 1.7.13 $5.49 oop $0.99 act Rite Aid 1.12.13 $7.33 oop $9.33 act Rite Aid 1.15.13 $18.01oop $9.01 actRite Aid 1.20.13 $1.36oop earn $20 UP

(4) Nivea chapstick  – $0.84 (0.21ea)
(1) Nivea lotion – $0.21
(4) Finish dishwasher detergent – $10.20 (2.55ea)
(2) Veet – $1.62 (0.81ea)
(1) Culterelle – $1.52
(1) Photo album – $1.31
(1) Picture frame – $0.92
(2) L’Oreal Revitalift cleanser $1.12 (0.56ea) 
(6) I.D. gum – FREE

Total OOP Paid: $25.97
Total Actual Cost: $17.74
Received: $20 UPR
Final Cost: $2.26 moneymaker!

So it’s not the $28 profit that I made last year, but I did make a small profit and within those items, managed to buy a 1.5-2 year supply of diswasher tabs! also a nice photo album and frame for the house or for a gift. The rest of the items will go into the donation box that I take in every 2-3 months for coworkers.

Rite Aid is doing this promotion again for February, so let’s see how I do with that one! I think I’ll maybe focus a little harder on spending less OOP. Part of my challenge in January is that I started the month with only a $3 UPR and so it was difficult to not spend much OOP on higher cost-up-front (high UPR value) items. I did a lot of breaking transactions up over multiple days in a week, never fun. Good news is that I am leading into February with that $20 UPR and another $8 UPR so that gives me a little more flexibility to spend in the first couple of weeks!

Happy hunting!



Ok guys, week 1 went really well! Only 51 weeks to go!

I decided to cheat a little and pull a couple bucks from my February alcohol budget. Partly because I know I have a $15 rebate pending on the champagne that will probably come in sometime in February. But mainly because last night at work was wretched and I really wanted some faux-mimosa this morning to chill out since the champagne is STILL $3.99/bottle. PLEASE RITE AID PLEASE STOP TORTURING ME WITH THIS SALE PRICE.
K, here we go!

Dollar Tree: $2 – newspapers

Rite Aid 1.12.13 $7.33 oop $9.33 act

Rite Aid: $7.33 OOP, $9.33 actual cost (+$4.37 for the champagne!)

Cheap cheap dish detergent – comes out to $0.08/load – awesome stock up price! This should give me about 1- 1.5 years supply. Candy and lights at 75% off – can’t beat that.

Rite Aid 1.15.13 $18.01oop $9.01 act

Rite Aid: $18.01 OOP, $9.01 actual cost

So this week I did spend a good chunk out of pocket at Rite Aid, which is pretty unusual. Part of that was because I have only been rolling $3-4 of UPR each week, and I wanted to buy the Culturelle for $16 to add to the January Buy $100, get a $20 UPR promotion.  ( I got a $16 UP reward for the Culturelle though so it was free + tax). So I paid about $14 up front for that, and rolled the $16 UPR for the picture album and frame and Christmas lights. Good thing is that now I have $12 in UPR rolling forward to use next week. I already have my transaction all planned out, and it should put me just over the $100 mark. Stay tuned and next week I’ll tell you how much of that $20 UPR will be PURE PROFIT.


Safeway 1.13.13 $9.38

Safeway: $9.38

Score! $0.99 turkey bacon! $0.74 shredded cheese, $0.40 salad kits, and $0.15 bananas.

Albertsons 1.13.13 $0.74

Albertson’s: $0.74

Free free free fest! I am SO excited to get free OJ. Just paid $0.37ea for the 2 greek yogurts!

Reclaimed 1.14.13

Reclaimed Produce: FREE!

Pretty boring week in produce. Gave the lettuce and 1/2 the tomatoes to a neighbor for her tortoise – I have 3 heads already leftover from last week. Made oven-dried tomatoes from the rest to add to salads. Made a cute 1/3 bath of blueberry muffins for breakfast this week. 🙂

Weekly GDP Total: $37.46 (yikes! but the Rite Aid oop will pay off next week when I earn that $20 UPR)
Weekly Alcohol Total: $4.37 (-1.85 for the month)

Happy shopping!

So here’s the thing. I EXCEL at baking. I was an awesome first-grader. I got extra stars for my ability to follow directions. Cooking is more of an Extrovert Sport. It is for those people who can go up to strangers and have conversations at parties. Those artsy people who are creative and like to make their own rules, or have no rules.

I am not that person. I like to work within a set of expectations and guidelines. However. I also do not like to spend money eating out in restaurants all the time and I want to eat healthy, yummy food. So I have been forced to learn how to cook, not just bake yummy fattening awesome cookies.

I love love love homemade chicken noodle soup. It is one of my favorite things to make (even if nearly every time I do, I immediately come down with a cold. It’s like I have a premonition that I’m )getting sick. Or it’s all psychological. Whatever.)  Sadly, sometimes it comes out AMAZING. And sometimes, bland. I don’t know why. I try to do it basically the same every time. Thus, my frustration with cooking. But this after-Christmas, I made a pot of turkey noodle soup whilst making some homemade stock from a turkey carcass and it. was. awesome. So I’m going to share my basic techniqe with you. Don’t you feel special? I make absolutely no promises about the results of your own soup. (or even my own if I tried this exact thing again, sigh.)

Turkey Noodle Soup (+Turkey Stock)

Turkey carcass (obviously, cooked and carved. Not raw. No feathers please.)
2-3 onions, quartered 
2-4 large carrot, 1″ chunks
2-6 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 sticks celery, 1″ chunks
Whole bunch of water, enough to submerge turkey carcass in stockpot
Spices (this is where measuring goes out the window)
Salt – probably about 3-4T?
Pepper – 2T?
Chili Powder – 1T?
just dash some oregano, sage, thyme, whatever you feel like in there too
2-3 bay leaves

Note: Instead of whole veggies, you can use peels & ends that you collect. I save all these odds and ends (may also include mushrooms, leeks, sweet potatoes) in a gallon ziplock in the freezer. When full I make a batch of veggie or chicken broth. I used a bag of frozen “scraps” to make my turkey stock and added in one more onion and 2 sticks celery and 2 carrots this time.


-Put turkey carcass, frozen or fresh veggies into large stockpot (whatever size it fits in) and fill with water until turkey is covered. Toss in spices. Heat on high until boiling, then cover and simmer on low however long you wish. I simmered this bath for about 24 hours.
-Strain turkey and veggies from the broth. I ladled out the big pieces and then poured the rest of the broth through my colander.
-Put pot of broth into the fridge at least 12 hours so that fat congeals on the top. Scoop off fat and warm enough to liquify the broth again.
-Pull out and shred any remaining turkey from the carcass. Save turkey in fridge for soup/etc. Throw away other veggies. Or pick out large garlic/onion chunks and feed to rest to the dog.
-If making soup: separate out as much broth as you want for the soup.
-To make stock: Whatever amount of broth you want to make stock out of: heat in appropriate sized pot to boiling, then turn to medium or medium-low and simmer until reduced by at least 1/2 to 2/3.  Cool, then ladle into jars to freeze or can. Alternatively, spray muffin pans with oil and ladle into muffin pans, freeze, and then store frozen “cubes” in a gallon ziploc to thaw and use in recipes requiring smaller amounts of stock.

Turkey Noodle Soup

*There are very few measurements here. Thus the reason I get such varying results, I’m sure. Sigh*
I use a double boiler pot and eyeball amounts to make a full pot.

6-8c. broth
2-4 carrots, chopped/sliced
2-4 sticks celery, chopped thin
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
Turkey – 1lb? 2c.
Noodles – 1/2-1c. uncooked?
Salt, pepper, chili powder, sugar, oregano, etc to taste – hmmm

-Pour broth into pot until 2/3 full.
-Add veggies and spices (add turkey/chicken also if raw)
-Cook over medium about 20min
-Add turkey/chicken if had been precooked. If not, pull out now-cooked meat, shred it, and add back in.
-Cook another 20 min
-Add uncooked noodles
-Cook another 20 min over medium

Add additional seasonings to taste, cross your fingers, and enjoy!

So, first off since this is the first week of the year, let’s review last year goals and how that all panned out:

2012 Goals
Grocery/Alcohol/Drugstore/Pets: $100/mo
Restaurants: $80/mo Jan-Jul, $50/mo Aug-Dec

Actual spending
G/D/P: $1700 ($142/mo) – $500 over budget
Restaurants: $636 ($52/mo) – $174 under budget
Total Year: $2336 ($195/mo) – $326 over budget

Not too bad, but some room for adjustment. What I decided to do was to separate alcohol purchases from the equation and move to a set $20/mo pulled out in cash to spend on alcohol. I am hoping that this gives me a better representation of the GDP spending as well as help to limit my alcohol intake. Restaurant spending was upped just to $55/mo because I like $175/mo better than $170/mo as a total goal, lol. Also, I no longer have a newspaper subscription so it will be easier to track my purchases of newspapers (for coupons) and this amount will be included in the GDP numbers.

K, here’s week one!

Rite Aid – $17.48
4 bottles of champagne @ $3.99ea – will be submitting a rebate of a total of $15 from 12 bottles total. Will equal only $3.20/bottle cost (including tax!) after the rebate.

Dollar Tree – $2 – newspapers

$2.25 moneymaker!

$2.25 moneymaker!

Fred Meyer – FREE!

Have you tried the smartphone app Ibotta yet? It’s a great little app that let’s you quickly, simply, and easily get cash back for purchasing common grocery items. I will be getting $1.25 back for the Frosted Flakes and $1 back for the Rice Krispies. And with other sales and coupons I paid NOTHING for them already! Score! Here’s a link if you want to check it out:

Safeway $5.95

Safeway $5.95

 With Safeway’s Just4U program, it has become one of the best places for me to get my hard-to-get-for-free-with-coupons items – primarily cheese and produce. They have frequent enough awesome personalized prices and 2o-30% off discounts on TOP of the personalized prices that I can combine to = really amazing savings.

Bananas – $0.36/lb ($1)
Cucumbers – $0.39ea
1lb Baby carrots – $0.43ea
Shredded cheese – $0.69ea

Albertsons 1.7.13 $0.34

Albertson’s – $0.34

Cheezits for $0.17 a box, wow!

Rite Aid 1.7.13 $5.49 oop $0.99 act

Rite Aid – $5.49 out of pocket, $0.99 actual cost!

Reclaimed 1.7.13
Reclaimed – FREE

Weekly GDP Total: $13.78 OOP
Alcohol Total: $17.48

So far so good! Plus I have $2.25 pending from Ibotta. I plan to just collect earnings in there each month and then redeem through Paypal and reconcile for the month’s total.

A New Year: 2013

January 5, 2013

Well, it’s that time again. A new year, new resolutions (or rehashing of old resolutions as these things tend to be). I will attempt to keep this brief and to the point.

1. Seriously. Get a life already.
2. Pay $500-$1000/mo extra mortgage principle. If can maintain, will be on track to have mortgage paid OFF in 5 years. How ridiculously awesome would that be?
3. Dance more. Dancing is fun. And good for me.
4. Eat less processed food. Drink less aspartame.
5. Keep myself on a $20/mo cash budget for alcohol purchases. Ergo forced limitation of solo intake.
6. Post here weekly – once for couponing, once for life update. Or more. Heck, go hog wild and post every day if I feel like it (don’t get your hopes up).

Ok, how’s that for short and sweet? Next: the first couponing post of the year! May the coupons be EVER in your favor 😉