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 ūüėČ

~Lissa

This was a much busier week, grocery shopping-wise! Lots of small trips and did a big multi-stop shop on Tuesday after my massage. It’s such a good time to do that because I have to get out of the house and I can take a route back home that hits all of the major stores so I’m not going out of my way at all and wasting gas money.

Birthday was ok. I wish I could say I was super excited and it was awesome, but really I just felt kinda bleh about the whole thing. It was my 30th and while I did go out and have dinner and drinks with a couple of friends, my head just wasn’t really into the party spirit. Dinner was nice with a friend I haven’t really gotten much chance to hang out with outside of work, and then drinks started out pretty good with a couple other friends. But drinks was the sole activity (no darts, pool, etc) so I just literally sat at the bar drinking rum & coke after rum & coke and chatting a bit. The two friends didn’t know each other so that can be a bit challenging conversation wise. I dunno….it was basically just drinking with the sole intention of getting drunk….which I did magnificently. Pretty sure I was shoveled into the car by my friend Craig and shoveled into bed at home. I have a feeling that I wasn’t too good of company for him all in all, which is too bad. My personal life is in SUCH a stall right now, birthday celebrations just felt a little forced. Hopefully things improve in that department soon.

Ok, back to groceries! I definitely have THAT department all figured out! Here’s the week in pictures:

Safeway: $6.05 & $6.10

More cheese! Apparently the $2/$10 e-coupon is still on my card, so with a printed $2/$10 Lucerne products coupon, all these dairy items were 40% off! $0.75 per 80z bags of cheese (since somehow apparently I ran out of mozzarella), more feta and cottage cheese. Free silk almond milk singles too! And onions that were basically free from a Just4You pricing error.

$1.99

FREE!

Albertson’s: $6.87 OOP,¬† $1.87 actual cost!

Lots of great freebies at Albies with the $1/1 Albertson’s brand coupon: pasta, ketchup, mustard, marinade. A catalina deal on the razors + deodorant, I took my $5 catalina coupon to Fred Meyer’s since I was doing some gardening purchases. See below! $1.99 baguette to take to work with bruschetta from my reclaimed produce boxes – yum!

Fred Meyer: $0.54!

I took the $5 catalina that I earned at Albertson’s from the razor deal and used it at Freddy’s for a hanging plant bracket that I needed anyways.

Target: $6.12

Ok, because I am TOTALLY lame and ridiculously frugal (and maybe just not feeling my birthday), I took the $30 giftcard that my mom sent me to Target for my bday and used it on pet supplies. Hey! I NEEDED dog food and cat litter and I was just gonna buy them at Walmart instead. Probably got a better price at Target combining store and manufacturer coupons…..$3 off the dog food, $3.50 off the 35lb cat litter, $3.05 off the cat food. Plus a lonely can of enchilada sauce for $0.57 to make layered chicken & black bean enchilada casserole with. Truly though, I have been very pleased on how much I have been able to save with my pet supplies lately by thinking outside of the box. Just in the last 3 months I have:

-Bought dog & cat food at Rite Aid capitalizing on manufacturer coupons + my 20% wellness discount and using UP rewards that I earned in moneymaking transactions to pay the bulk of the rest of the cost – paying nearly only tax OOP.
-Bought cat litter at Albertson’s on sale + manufacturer coupons + doublers + catalinas = cheap!
-Bought cat food at Fred Meyer’s using manufacturer coupons and paying with catalinas earned at Albies and Rite Aid
-Bought all of the above at Target combining manufacturer and store coupons and using a gift card to pay the majority of the balance!

By doing this, I have vastly reduced my OOP expenses for these items – which would typically run $40-50/mo – to less than $10-15/mo! Pet supplies are kinda like cheese and meat — always needed, generally can’t get for free, and a good place to¬†use UP rewards or catalinas earned from other moneymaking transactions!

Rite Aid: $49.57 OOP, $45.57 actual cost ***

***BUT that includes the purchase of a $50 gift card to Lowe’s! (See the next pic for what an awesome haul I got!) So reaaallly it’s like $0.43MM oop and $4.43MM actual cost.¬† The $50 gift card had a promo where you get $10 UP, bringing the true cost of it down to $40 for $50 of merchandise. Sweet! An excellent way to save money on gardening supplies that i was going to buy anyways. Other highlights:

FREE big bags of sour patch kids!
$0.49MM Kotex liners
$0.39 sink stopper! (unadvertised UP + wellness discount – sweet!)
More $0.05 Milano cookies ūüôā

Lowe’s: $0.38 OOP ($50.38 actual cost)

Sooo…..after picking up that handy $50 gift card at Rite Aid, I wandered around the garden department at Lowe’s. I knew I wanted a few things: a hanging basket, some more strawberries, and 1 or 2 hanging baskets of flowers. Here’s what I got:

Lovely hanging basket of petunias – $20
Empty hanging basket (to plant big strawberry plant in!) – $6
BIG strawberry plant with lots of strawberries already ripening (the less likely for me to kill it off) – $5!
Medium cherry tomato plant – $4
4-pack of broccoli (I fully expect to kill this within a week or two) – $2
Small trellis for snap peas or tomato – $4
Garden twine – $2
Hand trowel – $3

I am now ready to plant! I have 2 hanging plant brackets to install, one for the petunias, one for the big strawberry plant in new basket. I have another round planter to put the tomato plant and small strawberry plant in. I have a long rectangle planter to put the snap peas & broccoli in. And lots of organic potting soil from a couple of weeks ago! I think I will stick with just this for this year. Though I *may* get another flower basket. And I’ll probably stalk for more veggies later in the summer if I don’t manage to kill all of these ones. This is definitely my most ambitious gardening year ever!

Reclaimed Food: FREE!

Another different week in Adventures in Produce. A fairly standard, though smaller selection from the local grocery. And at the natural foods co-op – fairly quiet except for the HUGE berry score! I just had an ice cream maker given to me from a coworker so I am SO making some strawberry sorbet! Oh yes I am.

10 ears of corn – frozen
4 heads of lettuce
4 tomatoes – oven-dried for salads
6lbs of strawberries – 1/2 for eating, 1/2 for sorbet
2lbs fresh green beans – I need to find a good recipe using these
one sad carrot
one white potato
one head of garlic (yay!)
one bunch  parsley Рdried
8oz raspberries – snacking
a few blackberries – ate them!

I am making a chicken, black bean and corn layered enchilada casserole this weekend. It’s awesome to know that the tortillas were free, the black beans were $0.25, the enchilada sauce was $0.57, the chicken will be about $0.80, and all the rest of the produce was FREE! So that’s $1.62 for a 5-6 serving meal or ~$0.30 per serving! I LOVE couponing!

Ok, even more shocking, I didn’t buy hardly any alcohol this week. Granted, it was my birthday Sunday and I knew I’d be going out drinking (and having it paid for/comp’d) Which was lovely. Happy hour dinner and a glass of wine my coworker friend paid for. One free drink from the bartender I know there. And then all my drinks at the casino were free because the bartender is the boyfriend of my other friend from work who I met there. So FREE birthday outing = yay!

Weekly Total: $24.71!!

I am so excited that even with all those stops AND cheese stocking up I still managed to stay under my $25/wk budget! Course, no alcohol helps with that. Wait….there WAS a bottle of wine…..

As you may have noticed, I did NOT include the gardening supplies in that total, I just didn’t think it was fair to put it in this category. For budgeting purposes, it will go under home improvements.

Gardening supplies: $50.95

I am now officially on vacation for the next 10 days! What will I do? Well square dancing tomorrow night, next Saturday my friend is having a Pride party, I plan to actually plant and situate my balcony plants, and spend plenty of time in the sun in the park and at the beach (if we actually GET any). Of course, the grocery adventures won’t stop either!

Happy hunting!
~Lissa

Ugh I am already so over this weekend. Like many of¬† my weekends (which are Sat-Tues FYI), I accomplish darned near nothing until Tuesday and then feel like I am constantly running out of time. Big (ironic) problem this week? I actually stayed on a graveyard sleep schedule…but I have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for a stupid leadership seminar thing for¬†work, rather than my normal graveyard shift. I am¬†bitter about this for many reasons:¬†A. It’s a LEADERSHIP SEMINAR. B. It completely messes up my sleep schedule this week. C. I have to drive all over kingdom come to get to and from the thing. D. I lose out on about¬†3-5 hours of shift + differential pay. For those counting, that’s¬†about $100 pay cut for the day for a STUPID mandatory seminar of¬†which I will see no use.

Me = pissed.

Good thing I’m saving tons of money with couponing and¬†grocery shopping and free-produce-gathering! This week was quick, simple, and great. Check out the rundown:

Fred Meyer: $14.95

Bottle of rum….I HAD to! It was the first day of privatized liquor sales!

Rite Aid: $3.67

Another quick little trip, mainly to roll UPR forward. Nair, paying tax only of ¬†0.47 and 4 packs of Milano cookies for $0.05 each (woot car snacks!) + cheap-o bottle of wine, of course. (was way underbudget again this week despite bottle-o-rum so said “why not?”. Elsewise would have skipped.

Albertson’s: $0.27

Yup, that’s right – 27 cents! While definitely not my most amazing Albies trip (and DEFINITELY not the trip I planned to make THIS weekend) I am still quite happy with what I managed to accomplish with just 3 (THREE!) doublers.

Albies released doublers in the Friday papers – instead of on Sunday due to the privatization of liquor release on Friday. Seems all good… until you remember that many couponers (like ME) get multiples of the SUNDAY paper in order to maximize on the coupon inserts and Albies doublers. All well and good except no one knew until Sunday that we wouldn’t be getting doublers ALSO in the Sunday paper. To be honest, I didn’t try very hard to find Friday papers to buy, just checked the recycle bin at the apartments carefully through the weekend. But the end result? Only the 3 doublers from my own Friday paper. Sigh. And it was SUCH a GOOD weekend for doublers!

But…..
2  Tribe hummus Рfree
1  Albies vinegar Рfree
1 Albies WW pasta – free
4 Kraft dressing – $0.27 total (after overage from the hummus)
= a pretty darned good trip of all useful stuff

 

Reclaimed food:  FREE!

Wow! Another great (and different!) week in Adventures in Produce! So I still have to look up some recipes and figure out what to do with the leek and the peppers, but’s here’s the rundown:

5 ears corn – boiled, cut, will use in salads/sides
14 tomatoes – will make pico de gallo, cut for salads, + oven dried
4 hearts of romaine – eat them! these are excellent for snacking ūüôā
4lbs strawberries- eating UP! I am SO LOVING the all-you-can-eat summer of strawberries! I didn’t eat nearly enough last year- hah!
2 – 8oz of blueberries – have to do something with these….
2 bunches broccoli rabe
3 cucumbers
8 chili peppers
5 jalapeno peppers
1 pablano pepper
handful of snap peas – used in chicken noodle soup
1 head green lettuce – will take to work
1 leek
1 orange
1 tangerine
1 peach – ate!
2″ ginger

– phew!

Weekly Total: $18.89

Another under-budget week, once again would be negligible without the alcohol. No dining out. Next weekend is my 30th birthday so there will not only be plenty of drinking, but definitely dinner on Sunday. Stupid leadership thing tomorrow, then a short 2-day week! One more week, then 10 day vacation, 2 more weeks and then I’m onto part-time! Yay bring on the summer!

Happy hunting!

So work has been incredibly busy and emotionally draining the last 6 months or so. Usually in the winter we have a few months where things slow down a bit, but not this year! Good thing all in all but we are very tightly staffed so we have all been run ragged. Plus we have had a disproportionate number of very old, very sick, very not-going-to-get-better-what-the-hell-is-the-goal-here-exactly cases. These are part of ER/Critical care work but we have had SO MANY. All the time. And we have been doing SOO many surgeries at night. The last 2 years I’ve worked at this hospital I do maybe one major surgery on my shift every 2-3 weeks. The last 6 months? One about every 2 out of 3 shifts. A surgery cuts 4-8 hours out of the day so it’s a huge encumbrance to deal with.

Suffice it to say, I’m a bit fatigued. It’s not exactly burn-out, I still enjoy my work and really enjoy the place I work at. But I definitely have some compassion fatigue going on and generalized worn-out exhaustion. I have a 10 day vacation in a month with plans to do a lot of nothing so that should help some. In general, I have been thinking about an exit plan for the last year or so — what to do when I no longer can/want to do clinical medicine.

Today I was doing some wistful thinking about only working part-time in clinics. Seems like a far-off dream when Pets At Home had built up more, or I was burning out, or when I had enough money saved to take a plunge to develop PAH. And then I ran the budget numbers this morning. Guess what I discovered?

I can go to 2/3 time. Right. Now. If I want to.

Wow.

What with the raises of the last year (this week¬†was RaiseDay for the first time in 3 years at work for performance raises and I got $0.33/hr!) and new savings in grocery spending…..I am in¬†a position to move from fulltime (3 shifts/week) to 2/3 time (2 shifts/week) –¬†WITHOUT changing my lifestyle one teeny little bit. The only requirements? Cut my monthly¬†savings from $1000/mo to $650/mo, drop my gym membership $50/mo¬†(that¬†I have been terrible about using anyways), work 1 extra shift/mo, and make at least $250/mo with PAH (or work a total of 2 extra shifts/mo). Even if I don’t take ANY extra shifts or make ANY money with PAH (not a realistic turn of events) – I would just cut my savings contribution that month and still come out ahead.

This is a mind-boggling realization and very tempting! I *think* that I could likely even get away with it at work without too many repercussions. I see a definite potential for my missing shift to be covered easily, I still have private health insurance to¬†compensate for¬†the employer-paid, and I would still be part-time enough to qualify for lowered amounts of other benefits (paid time off, uniform allowance, CE allowance, etc). So I would hopefully lose nothing by dropping one shift/mo — and gain more sleep, more time to develop other things like speeches, CE presentations, and setting up/promoting PAH. Also would have more flexibility in my schedule to take a greater number of PAH jobs — so I can actually work towards promoting for more business! As PAH profit grows, I could if I wanted to continue stepping back from clinical practice. I think realistically I could be entirely out of scheduled clinical practice within a year or two if I desired to develop PAH that fast.

My poor HR manager, she’s going to really be¬†blindsided when I talk to her about this during my mentor meeting on Thursday. We’ve lost a number of long-term people in the last few months and have had a huge graveyard shift turnover for the 2nd time in 8 months. This is going to worry and stress her but I think it may actually be an opportune time for the clinic — I see a very easy way to staff my missing shift. Plus, this is better than totally burning out and leaving altogether. I hope she will be able to be behind me on this and we will be able to make it happen. It’s such a bizarre and thrilling idea to NOT work fulltime! And to potential be on the track to never have to work fulltime again.

I’ll keep you posted!

Resolution strong

March 14, 2012

Well! So far, March is progressing QUITE nicely. ūüôā

I have spoken with a real estate agent, he will be keeping an eye out for potential properties and be ready for me whenever I see something I want to look at or know more about. I spoke with a mortgage broker, she is very optimistic that I should qualify for a very good interest rate and possibly even a 5% downpayment (though I want to put down at least 10%). I don’t think that I should have trouble getting finance for the amount of loan I am looking at as I am pretty conservative in my own wishes. I have a list of documentation to gather for her….including the lease for my tenants (which I need to revise and send to them to sign and send back) and my 2011 taxes (which I haven’t done yet – eek!). So it will probably be a week or two for me to get that all put together for the preapproval. Which is fine!

I also looked at my expenditures last year for groceries/household items/pet items/dining out. They were MUCH higher than I had assumed! I spent on average $311/month on these categories combined. Yikes! While I was saving with couponing over shelf costs, I was still buying more than normal + lots of veggies. I also ate out quite a bit more than my usual last year what with going to the little Italian restaurant by my house to study and also once  a week to study group as well as on vacations. The good news? I have a fully stocked house and plenty of room to cut back and save money here! My original plan was to cut back by $50/mo but now I am aiming to spend only $180/mo on these categories Рa savings of $130/mo.

Here’s the House Downpayment Savings Standings for the first 2 weeks of March:
1. PAH jobs:  a petsit job = $120 net
2. Relief shifts: 14hr shift last night + a 12hr shift next Sunday = $435 net
3. Extra hours: staff meeting today = $25 net
4. Grocery running total: Spent so far: $32. Left in budget for March: $148. Savings over last year:  $279

Directly saved so far: $580 + $120+ in grocery savings. Woot woot! We are well on our way!

Discovering new stores

February 21, 2012

I have a few stores that I shop at weekly, more that I shop at once or twice a month, and a few that I shop at on occasion depending on the sales.

Weekly: Albertson’s, Rite Aid (almost ALWAYS these two)
Weekly-Biweekly: Safeway, Top Foods
Once or Twice Monthly: Fred Meyer, QFC
Occasionally: Walgreen’s, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods

Now I have another store to add to the occasional or once/twice monthly group: Petrosa’s. Petrosas’s is a little family neighborhood grocery store that is 2 blocks from my house. I have stopped in a couple of times for produce when they have some amazing deal listed on their marquee. This week they had cauliflower for $1.29 each! I love when cauliflower is sold by the head instead of by the pound because it is almost always cheaper. Usually the best price I find in the store per lb is $0.80, often not better than $0.99/lb which comes out to each head being around $2.50. So nearly half off the best price! I definitely wanted to stop in. It’s always good to surf the edges of stores for clearance and unmarked sales on produce, dairy, and meats. Here’s what I found:

 

Only $5.78!

This was an amazing shop to me…such amazing prices. I will definitely be going back to check in here!
 
(3) cauliflower – 1.29ea
(1) 8oz crimini mushrooms – $0.99 on clearance
(1) Zoi greek honey yogurt – $0.69 on clearance
(4) bananas – $0.19/lb on clearance (only 0.23 for all 4!)
 
I have already eaten 3 of the bananas, the yogurt, used 1/2 the mushrooms in zucchini lasagna, and roasted a 1/2 head of cauliflower. Yay for cheap produce!!

 

  It was quite a busy week around town. And besides shopping, I had a busy week elsewhere! This weekend was my rotating Saturday night shift and I have a client on Saturday mornings that requires 2 hours driving time (roundtrip), then there was 3 different store with coupon deals that required shopping on Sunday due to coupons that expired that day. Sunday night I had to do all my reading and prepwork for study group on Monday night, I had to go to my client again first thing Monday morning, 5 hours sleep, then study group, then I had picked up an extra shift that night. Swung by 3 more stores on the way home today. Phew! I now have 2 days off and a long list of chores that need to be done!! But no more shopping until next week!! I swear!

So I did a lot of couponing this weekend. It was a doubler weekend at Albertson’s and I stopped in 3 times. Plus one trip to Safeway, one to Top Foods, one to QFC, a HUGE trip to Rite Aid, and a trip to Walgreen’s. This is a VERY NON-typical week for me! I nearly always have at least one trip to Rite Aid & Albertson’s, 2-3 trips to Albertsons on doubler weeks, and here and there to the others, with rarely going to Walgreen’s or QFC. And yet, somehow this week there were amazing deals at each and every one! It’s funny because I had just taken a huge amount of groceries/toiletries into work which were snatched up quickly by the coworkers. And in just one week I’ve made huge progress in rebuilding my surplus pile! At least I’m putting those newspaper subscriptions to good use!

Something that I have commented briefly on in the past is that I don’t want to get so wrapped up in the “deal” that I lose sight of what I am buying and exactly how much money I am spending. If I have 20 tubes of toothpaste in my surplus pile, I can skip some deals. And if it is an item that I won’t be personally using, even if it’s a good deal, if it costs me money, that’s still money that I am throwing away.¬† Also, I am trying to make a more conscious effort to eat healthier. Yes, I love chips. And candy. And various junkfoods. And yes there are plenty of good deals on those. But I don’t want to be eating large amounts of those type of foods, so I am learning to pass up those deals also. There really are great deals out there for healthy foods! If I ever had time (hahahhaaha) I think I would put together a couponing blog focusing only on healthy lifestyle couponing.

Ok well I want to show you what I got!¬† The total for ALL the stores is $13.85!!!! I wish I had a picture of everything but here’s the list:

 

Albertson's #1 $3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albertson's #2 & 3 $3.17

 

QFC $1.59

 

Rite Aid $9.50 moneymaker!

¬†Ok so here’s the purchase list:

Albertson’s – $6.17

(10) Atheno’s greek yogurt
(4) Snackwells cereal bars
(5) TicTacs
(1) bag Twizzlers
(1) Franz WW bread
(1) Franz WW english muffins
(1) Franz WW mini bagels
(1) Driscoll’s raspberries
(1) Friskies canned cat food
(3) bags Kraft 2% mozzarella shredded cheese

Except for candy, all quite healthy items, including meal stuff

Safeway – $8.02 (not pictured)

(1) 20lb Tidy Cats scoop litter
(5) Fiber Plus cereal

I actually needed to get cat litter, and the cereal was 0.49ea and will make an excellent healthy snack item. Plus each box came with $5 worth of coupons, including $1 off fruit wyb 2 boxes any Kellogg’s cereal – doesn’t expire til March 2012 so will definitely happen upon more cereal deals before then! So really it’s like I made 0.51 on each box once I redeem the free fruit!

QFC – $1.59

(8) Beggin Strips
(5) bags frozen brussel sprouts

This was an incredible deal, one of those too-good-to-be-true! I have to break it down for you:

Transaction #1
Buy 8 Beggin Strips at $4.19ea = subtotal of $33.52
Store sales promotion is BOGO = -16.76
Sales tax now calculated = new subtotal of $18.35
Use 4 BOGO insert coupons from SS 5/8 = $1.59
Pay $1.59, receive $5 catalina (wyb $30 worth of Purina products)

Transaction #2
Buy 5 bags Kroger frozen veggies – $1ea
Use $5 catalina from transaction #1
Pay: nothing!!

The Beggin strips will go to work to keep patients very happy (I saved a couple of bags for Emmy). And I actually love oven-roasted brussel sprouts and they are never included in the $1 sales that Albertsons and Safeway have! So I am very excited by this one!

Top Foods – $2.10 (not pictured)

(2) 2lb bags of whole carrots
(3) yellow onions

Great cooking/snacking essentials at rock bottom prices!

Walgreen’s – $4.60 (not pictured)

(2) 12pk Cottonelle TP
(1) Crayola washable markers
(3) Folders (filler- 0.11ea)

Less than $2ea for the TP, donated the school supplies.

Rite Aid – $8.83 MM!

#1 – J&J deal ($10 UP wyb $30)
(4) Bengay – 4.94ea
(4) Stayfree – 3.99 BOGO50%
(2) Folder/Envelopes – 0.29ea (fillers)
= $31.73 (34.74 w/ tax)
-(4) $3/1 Bengay from 7/31 RP
-(4) $2/1 Bengay in-ad
-(2) BOGO Stayfree (-3.99ea) from SS 6/26
Paid: $6.76, get $10 UPR

#2 – Oral care deal ($5 UP wyb $25)
(4) Crest 1L mouthwash Р5ea
(1) Oral B battery toothbrush – 5.99
=$25.99 (28.46 w/ tax)
-(4) $2/1 Crest from PG 7/31
-(1) $3/1 Oral B from PG 7/31
use $10 UPR from #1
use $3/$15 survey coupon (NLA)
Paid: $4.46, get $5 UPR, submit $10 SCR (Crest), $2.99 SCR (Oral B)

#3 – P&G deal ($10 UP wyb $30)
(8) Gillette body wash – 3.98ea
=31.84 (34.86 w/ tax)
-(4) BOGO from 6/5 PG
-(4) $2/1 Gillette body wash from 7/31 PG
use $5 UPR from #2
use $3/$15 survey coupon (NLA)
Paid: $2.94, get $10 UPR

Total OOP: $14.16
Leftover: $10 UP, $12.99 in SCR
Final Trip Price: $8.83 profit!!

I hereby declare myself FINISHED with these GM catalinas! What with the last 2 weeks of Nature’s Valley and Fiber One….then this week new and fun catalinas ON THE SAME PRODUCTS, just add cereal and free milk. What’s a girl to do? Coupon!!

Ok, it’s not too crazy this week. I didn’t shop every day or have huge insane trips or use 70 doubler coupons. Really. But still, look at the score!!

This is Albertson’s. 2 separate shops, one yesterday, one today. Grand total? $12.02!

Here’s the rundown:

12 boxes GM cereal = $0.50ea
4 boxes granola thins = $0.19ea
4 gallons of milk = free wyb 4 cereal/granola thins
4 Emerald Breakfast on the go = free
6 boxes Ronzoni Healthy Harvest = free
1 Chips Ahoy = free wyb milk (free milk counts!)
6 S&W beans = $0.69ea (should have skipped these, cheaper at Walmart or Fred Meyer’s- but I’ll eat em!)
1 Nalley dill pickles = $0.89
and 1 lettuce head = $0.24

Into the “share” pile goes 8 boxes cereal, 2 boxes granola thins, 4 boxes Emerald togo, 2 gallons milk, and Chip’s Ahoy. Happy happy coworkers!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I also went to Fred Meyer, though I don’t typically shop there, look at the ad, or even look through the matchups. But their ad has a huge picture advertising cherries for $1.49/lb. I like cherries and I happen to KNOW this is a stock-up price.

I spent $17.45 and got:
10 cans beans – 0.50ea
5 packs Tillamook shredded cheese – $1ea
5lbs of cherries – $1.49/lb

Not a super cheap bill compared to alot of times, but when you consider all the cheese and cherries….it’s good prices. I think I’m going to make some dried cherries!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

And then I had a Walmart run. The Walmart isn’t very close by¬†and it’s not a supercenter with a full grocery section so I don’t make trips there unless I’m nearby. It is on the way to my massage clinic though so once or twice a month I stop in. It was a great trip today!

All this for just $3!!!

One of the great things about Walmart is that they give overage. So sometimes there is a good moneymaker (or several) and it reallys helps to bring down the cost of other items. Here’s the rundown:

(7) Travel-size pronamel sensodyne toothpaste: 0.06ea
(6) Travel-size men’s Dial lotion – 0.94 moneymaker each!
(3) Noxema razors 4-pks – 0.16ea
(1) 4lb Iams dog food – $1.58
(12) M&Ms – 0.12ea
(6) 3 Musketeers – 0.25ea
(2) Tomato soup – 0.58ea

So all the travel items, the razors, and the 3 musketeers go into the “share” pile. I made $5.64 in overage which basically paid for everything else, I just paid a touch more than tax!

Phew! In other news, I bought new tires for $328 and I need a crown that will cost me about $550….and may end up needing a root canal anyways. Guess it’s a good thing I coupon!

Happy hunting!
~Lissa

Yeah so I suck at blogging. I have been busy umm…… doing my VECCS application? Working? Holiday-ing?

I however do not suck at couponing. I have kept it up, but not done much in the last couple weeks since the pre-Christmas extravaganza sales. I picked up a bunch of stuff at 50-75% off clearance Xmas at RiteAid, including a set of TV tables for $10! YAYAYAY! I saw those in the Christmas section back in December and held out hoping that they would be part of the clearance sales. My patience was rewarded. ūüėÄ

Well, my munching and binge-eating that had been exacerbated by my heavy drinking and complete lack of exercise has come to an end. I decided to stop all of that stuff come the New Year, but I wasn’t sure how I’d go about it. I ended up making the choice to go back to the South Beach diet. I did it last summer and it went pretty well. I was a bit of a cheater, especially with alcohol, so I wanted to do better this time. The exercise is harder since it is January and freezing cold/rainy out and I don’t want to go outside to do walks. Instead, I am going to focus on the exercises from the book and do intervals in the halls/stairwells of the apartment complex. I also want to try and go ice skating once a week and get back in square dancing one or twice a month (maybe more, who knows!).

The funny thing is, I haven’t had ANY trouble doing Phase one this time. In Phase one you cut out all starches, sugar, alcohol, and fruit. The purpose is to regulate your blood glucose and eliminate cravings. I remember from last time that I was AMAZED when it worked! However, last time I only made it one week before I started transitioning to Phase two. Part of that was that it was summer and there was such awesome fruit around, part of it was that my birthday fell at the end of week one and I splurged with Olive garden gluttony and didn’t want to go back to the strictness of Phase one, and part of it was that i had a really hard time with finding enough acceptable food choices and getting enough veggies in. I did ok, but only lasted 6 weeks on phase two (with plenty of phase 3 (and more) cheats before I pretty much gave up shortly after the 4th of July. I haven’t reverted to eating HORRIBLY, but I stopped trying as much to eat WW pasta/rice, starting eating more processed snack crackers/chips, ate lots less veggies, much bigger portions, and got REALLY bad with drinking. And oh yeah….there was Christmas. And cookies and fudge. OMG sooooo yummy.

I knew for at least the last couple weeks of December that I was going to get back on track come the new year. So I ate whatever I wanted and savored it. By the time Jan 3rd rolled around, I didn’t even want to drink any of the rum I have left, or eat another cookie/candy. So that was helpful!

For some reason, i am having a much easier time staying on track this time around and finding tasty meals and eating all my veggies and other stuff appropriately. Maybe because I already looked into all this last time? Maybe I’m growing as a person….ha ha.

I don’t want to chronicle all of my dieting exploits here, as I am putting them into my diet journal at http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=99628¬†and double blogging is DEFINITELY way too much work!¬†If you’d like to follow my progress and daily meal reports, check in there. ūüôā I’d be happy to hear from you!¬† Please note, I am NOT doing this as a diet. Do I have weight to lose? I have fat to lose, but that will come with exercise, not weight loss dieting. My weight has been right about 115lbs for several years now. It crept up and hovered for some time¬†to 120 last summer which is why I went on SB then. I essentially lost an average of 5lbs and have stayed at 115 since then, which I think is my “normal” so I am happy with my results from the summer.

I would love to be a size 5 jeans again, but that is all about my butt/thighs, which need cardio and strength training to slim down! I expect that whatever fat weight I lose would be made up in gained muscle weight, which would be fine by me. When I say “diet” in reference to SB, I mean that in a what I eat way of living diet, not a weight loss diet. I want to have more energy, more endurance, more strength, more flexibility, and less binge-i-ness!

So here’s to 2011! I know resolutions can be super-optimistic and shortlived, most of mine for 2010 were. Here’s the run-down for 2011:

1. Stick to SB diet, Phase 2 for at least 3 months, then if ok, Phase 3 indefinitely
2. Outside of SB, new drinking rules: no drinking between work shifts during workweek, only drinking when in a good mood, no more than 2 glasses of wine or one mixed drink when home alone, ok to drink more if with friends
3. Exercise! Stick with it! SB exercises EOD-q3days, yoga 2x weekly, walking/intervals EOD-q3days, ice-skating 2-4x monthly, dancing 1-2x monthly.
4. Get Pets At Home up and running. While income is majorly variable depending on level of busyness/employee numbers, aim for my income to be minimum $500/mo ($700-$3400 gross income depending on if¬†I’m taking the jobs vs. employees)(35hr/mo-170hr/mo)
5. Get accepted to take VECCS exam (March), study daily SOMETHING, take test at VECCS (Sept), pass and get VTS (ECC) in November!
6. Date!

Well I think that is enough noble and valiant goals for one month. I’ll check in next year to give you the full rundown on how it went. And of course, you’ll here tidbits about them all here and there in the weeks to come!

Maybe next time I’ll give you a coupon post…..do you feel lucky? I have big plans for Rite Aid this weekend……

Take Care,
Lissa

Coupon craziness!

August 15, 2010

Well I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by my newest obsession. After all, I have always LOVED grocery shopping. I enjoy catching a good sale and since I stock up on my favorite foods, I am always able to get good prices and almost never buy anything at full price. Lately I have been trying to watch the sales flyers and plan to go to more than one store and choose which ones depending on my shopping list and the sales. I thought I was doing good! And opposed to some, I guess I probably was.

But then. I discovered. SUPER COUPONING!!!

It’s funny really that I haven’t gotten into this before. It so suits me….my love of the grocery store, my innate desire for a deal, my deep satisfaction of penny-pinching.

I wandered into it almost by accidently. I was aimlessly browsing on MSN Money when I came across an article titled something like “Eating Well on $1 a Day”. And I wandered over to grocerycouponguide.com. Reading Jeffrey’s daily posts about his adventures in super couponing (amazing!) and meal management (good for his obvious lack of ability in this area) I was inspired to make a little more effort to use coupons and save more money.

Between grocerycouponguide.com and forthemommas.com (another couponing/savings site) I was able to easily access all of the coupons, special offers, and great sales at my local stores (Safeway, Albertsons, Top Foods, RiteAid mostly). Even better, both sites explain and show you how to combine various types of coupons (stacking) in order to get the best deal. Each week they have bloggers who go through their store’s sales flyer and the varying sources for printable coupons, e-coupons, and newspaper inserts to find the most money-saving (or making!) deals out there and then lay it out exactly how to do it so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Not that it is a quick and easy thing even with that. E-coupons are loaded directly onto your club card and there are 2 websites to get them from. Printable coupons are “clipped” and printed from about 4+ different websites. Each coupon can usually be “clipped” 2 times but you have to go onto the website and clip them separately, there is no option “clip twice”. Gathering the Sunday inserts and paging through them to find the manufacturer coupons takes time — keep them organized as these coupons are often good for 2+ months and future sales flyers combo deals will reference past inserts (not just the current week) so if you let everything get all messed up you will have to page through EVERY insert you have….in my case I screwed this up and now I have about 7 sets of inserts from varying weeks, some repeats that i get to page through everytime a deal says “xdate xxinsert”. And of course, just keeping track of the coupons is a huge deal once you have printed and cut out everything! I got a coupon organizer (surprise on clearance at Safeway for 1/2 off = $2!) And then once you GET to the store with your shopping list and separated coupons and other coupons (just in case there are any deals you didn’t realize) you have to look carefully to find peelie coupons on the products themselves, blinkie and pad coupons near their products, and special clearance items.

But when you come home with a car full of groceries that you have bought for insanely low prices it is so worth it. At least it is if you are me and you know that the several hours you just spent clipping coupons, organizing the shopping plan, and doing the shopping were far more enjoyable than what I would have been doing — sitting in the recliner watching TV.

So loooong story short, here is a quick summary of my best deals of the day and a picture of what I bought:

Safeway:
Total regular price: $178.22
Total sales price before coupons: 120.52
What I paid: $71.31
Coupon savings: 41%
Savings off Reg. price: 60%

Great deals at Safeway:
A $4 off 4  sale combined with a large variety of printable and e-coupons made this insane deal possible:
5 Fruit Rollups snacks
1 Nature’s Valley nut clusters
3 Fiber One bars
3 Nature’s Valley granola bars
Total sale price before coupons: $15.38   What I paid: $0.13 TOTAL for all 12 items!! (Most of this is going my friend or a food bank)

1 22oz Mayo and 1 22oz Miracle Whip, normal sales price: $7.38 for 2
Coupons: (2) $1/1 from grilling booklet found in store!
                 (2) $1.70/1 from ad in sales flyer
                 (1) $1.50/2 from some insert
Total that I paid: $0.48 for 2 ($0.24 each!!)  One will be donated.

Pillsbury has a huge coupon promotion going on…..
PB Cinnamon rolls & Crescent rolls (reg: $2.49) sale price: $1.99
I bought 2 of each (4 total) w/ a mix of coupons:
(1) Sales flyer store coupon .50/1, limit 4
(1) .40/2 crescent rolls
(1) .50/2 cinnamon rolls
For a total of $5.06 for 4 ($1.27 each (1/2 off!))

There were lots of other nice deals that I did at Safeway. Basically almost everything that I bought had at least one coupon, usually 2 coupons on top of the sales prices. But the three deals above had the most significant savings ratios.

Top Foods:
Total regular price: $41.67
Total sales price before coupons: $26.68
What I paid: $14.48
Coupon savings: 46%
Savings off Reg. price: 65%

Great deals at Top Foods:
Kiwi were on sale 4/$1 so I bought 8. Kiwis keep for a long time so that is nice!

Yoplait yogurt was on sale 10/$6, but w/ coupons:
(1) Sales flyer $2/10
(1) .40/6 printable
(1) .55/8 blinkie coupon! I took 3 more as these are good through September.
Total paid: $3.05/10 ($0.31 each —¬† over 2/3 off!)

And select Kellog’s cereal had a $5 off when you buy $15 promo. All the selected cereals were also on sale for $1.99 already (reg price $2.79-$3.59). Which meant that you needed to buy 8 to make $15 ($15.92 to be exact) which brought the total to: $10.92 without any coupons. But oh yes, I did have coupons….
(1) .75/1 printable
(1) 1/3 from an insert
(2) 1/2 one from insert, one printable
Total paid: $7.17/8 ($0.90 each! 2/3-3/4 off!) Most of these are being donated as well.

And then I picked up a couple of things at Rite Aid:
Visine eye drops ($4.99)
$3 store rebate
$1/1 sales flyer
Total paid: $0.99

Garnier had a great promo on too:
(1) Garnier mousse & (1) Leave-in conditioner (sale 2/$6)
$2 store rebate
(2) 1/1 one insert, one printable
Total paid: $2/2 ($1 each! About a 2/3-3/4 savings off regular price!)

I also got a raincheck for a Crest toothpaste that after store rebate will be free. I will pick that up in the next couple of weeks.

So the total for the day:
Total regular price: $233.66
Total sales price before coupons: 159.14
What I paid: $89.73
Coupon savings: 44%
Savings off Reg. price: 61%

And besides stocking up on some staples and taking advantage of some great deals, I am donating to a food bank and/or sharing with a friend 2 bags of stuff:
4 boxes of fruit rollups
2 Fiber One bars
3 Nature’s valley granola bars
1 bag of Wacky Mac
2 Cornflakes
1 Cocoa Krispies
1 Corn Pops
3 Apple Jacks

Which has a total regular cost of: $52.43 but in combination with other items I bought, I paid: $7.09. A savings of 86% and some paying it forward!!

ūüėÄ
I am excited to see what next week will bring. Now that I know all the websites to access the coupons and I have a¬†good load of printed¬†& gathered coupons as well as a gathering of past inserts and an idea of what I am doing, it will hopefully not be too¬†time-consuming!¬†Today I spent about 5 hours prepping at home and 3 hours shopping and 2 hours sorting afterwards at home and logging receipts. Obviously it should be better from here on! I’ll keep you posted on the highlights.

Oh yeah, and on other newsРI am moving. I will tell you about it next time but I am not moving far, just to a different apartment. And it is AWESOME!! The details and pics to come soon.

And vacation last week in¬†Wilmington, NC to see my friend Robyn and the Dawson’s Creek/One Tree Hill sites was amazing! More on that front soon also ūüôā