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Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (11/2-11/8)

Monday, November 10th, 2014

 

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.comCoupon NetworkSmart SourceRed PlumIbottaSnap, HopsterCheckout 51, and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

Favorite buys:
* Huggies diapers $1.49
* Pampers diapers $3.49
* Eight O Clock coffee $1.27 each
* Free Newman’s Own Greek yogurt
* Finish dishwashing detergent $1.32
* Oreos $0.97
* Kraft sour cream $0.83/lb.

Total Spent: -$6.91 (negative number due to gas rewards credit- see end of post)
Total Saved with Coupons: $34.50
Total Saved with Sales: $51.50
Total Saved: $86.00 + $72.25 gas savings

CVS: $14.47
Saved with Coupons: $15.50
Saved with Sales: $6.00

I was super excited to get Huggies diapers for just $1.49 a pack after coupons/sales/gift card promo.  Back when I first started couponing, I often got diapers for this cheap but it has been a long time since I’ve I last was able to get a deal this good.

Looking to save on diapers and wipes?  You might enjoy my post about How to Save Money and Build a Diaper Stockpile.

Bought:

  • 2 Huggies diapers $11.99
    - used two $3.00 Huggies printable coupons
    - used $4.50/2 Huggies CVS printable coupon
  • Huggies diapers $5.99
    - used $3.00 Huggies printable coupon
    - used $2.00 Huggies CVS printable coupon

Got Back:

  • $10.00 CVS gift card for purchasing $30.00 worth of Huggies products

Giant: $32.91 + $2.00 grocery cash
Saved with Coupons: $13.00
Saved with Sales: $27.94

Before I tell you anything else about this shopping trip, I have to let you know that I shop lifted.  Yes, you read that right.  I got home from shopping and my husband was taking our 9 mo. old out of her car seat when he calmly hands me a jar of JIF peanut butter and says, “Not sure why that’s in there with her.”  My mouth just kind of fell open and I was speechless for a moment.  See, I had given it to Adelyne for her to play with as I shopped.  Eventually it rolled down beside her and I totally forgot about it and walked out of the store without paying for it!  Obviously I’ll be taking it back with me when I go this week to make amends.  I’m grateful the employees at customer service know me because otherwise I’d feel quite silly explaining it all!

As for the things I paid for….I got the Malt O Meal for free, the Newman’s Own Greek yogurt for free (thanks to Saving Star!), the Giant eggs were $1.09, the Pampers were $3.49, the General Mills cereal $0.33 each, the Eight O Clock coffee $1.27 each and the banana was free (thanks to Checkout 51).  The Pledge was not a great deal but I was totally out so I pretended it was a good deal.  <grin>  I paid $2.19 for it which I suppose isn’t too bad but it feels expensive when I haven’t paid more than $0.50 for dusting spray in a couple of years.

The grapes were a goof and not a good buy at all.  There was a coupon in the ad to get grapes for $0.99/lb. if you bought $25 worth of groceries.  Since the children love grapes I figured I’d get some since they were that cheap.  But unfortunately missed the fine print of “minimum of $25 must be met after all coupons and discounts” and alas, but my out of pocket was under $25 in that particular transaction.  (Yes, I often go through self check out and do multiple transactions so that all of my coupons will double.  Giant has policy that only one like coupon will double per transaction.)  So, um, those grapes were actually a bust.  But it’s proof that I’m human and prone to messing up- something I’m quite aware of, but something that I realize you all probably don’t see a lot of on this blog.  So, let it be known that I’m no different than you!

The Pillsbury, Crisco canola oil and Jif peanut butter (that I shop lifted) were all part of the weekly Giant gas reward deals.  And actually, I was to have bought 8 items to get the deal and wanted to get 2 more Crisco oils but they were out of stock.  So I got a rain check for them and will buy them another week.  Anyway,  after the sale prices/coupons and gas rewards I’ll essentially be paying $1.28 each for those things.

(If you aren’t familiar with how the gas deals work, basically you earn so much off a gallon of gas when you purchase a certain number of specific items.  This time I earned $7.50 worth of free gas for purchasing the Nestle and Blue Diamond products.)

Bought:

  • Pledge $4.19
    - used $1.00 Pledge printable coupon
    - used $1.00 Checkout 51 offer
  • 4 Malt O Meal cereals $1.00 each
    - used four $0.75 Malt O Meal printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
  • Newman’s Own Greek yogurt $1.49
    - used FREE Newman’s Own Saving Star offer ($1.49)
  • Giant brand eggs $1.59
    - used $0.50 Giant store ecard offer
  • 3 Pillsbury flour $2.29 each
  • Cheerios $1.66
    - used $0.75 Giant store ecard offer
  • Golden Grahams $1.66
    - used $1.50/3 General Mills printable coupon
  • Trix $1.66
    - used $0.75 Trix printable coupon (doubled to $1.00)
    - used $0.75 Saving Star offer
  • 2 Crisco canola oil $4.79 total (on sale buy one, get one free)
  • Grapes $4.62
  • Pampers $6.99
    - used $1.50 Pampers printable coupon
    - used $2.00 Ibotta offer
  • 4 Eight O Clock coffee $2.65 each (bought with rain check)
    - used $2/2 Eight O Clock printable coupon
    - used two $1.00 Eight O Clock printable coupons
    - used $1.50/3 Ibotta offer
  • Banana $0.25
    - used $0.25 Checkout 51 offer
    - used 20% back Saving Star offer

Got Back:

  • $7.50 in gas rewards savings for purchasing the Pillsbury, Jif (see note above) and Crisco

Weis: $7.12
Saved with Coupons: $6.00
Saved with Sales: $17.56

I know, this is an odd combination to purchase, right?  But it was an amazing deal!  I was able to get the Finish for just $1.32.  I’ve always used my dishwasher some but I’ve started using it more the last couple of months as a way to help decrease my work load more.  I figure it’s a relatively inexpensive maid.  <grin>  And deals like this make it really inexpensive!

I’m not much of a bought cookie fan- typically I much prefer homemade from scratch.  But Oreos are one of my weaknesses.  I mean who could not like them?  And I’m in the minority that I like the regular and not the double stuffed.  Anyway, I was able to get these for just $0.97 each.  I figured we’d enjoy them as a special treat every now and then.  I’ll probably actually throw at least one pack in the freezer to enjoy later on.  And yes, they are good after they are frozen.  I mean, Oreos are good any time, any way right?

Bought:

  • Finish $4.99
    - used $0.55 Finish printable coupon (doubled to $1.00)
  • 2 Finish $3.49 each
    - used two $0.55 Finish printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
    - saved $5.00 instantly for purchasing $15 worth of Finish products
  • 3 Oreos $1.97 each
    - used three $0.50 Oreo printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)

Sharp Shopper $10.84

This local discount store had some great buys again.  I rarely buy fish sticks but knew that we were going to have some busy days coming up and figured they’d make a quick, easy dinner.  And yes, I got more Oreo cookies!  But these were already crushed and I plan to use them for cheesecake crusts.  You can’t beat that price- and the fact that they are already crushed is definitely nice too.  I don’t know about you, but crushing cookies is not one of my favorite things to do.  Especially chocolate cookies that make it really messy.

The cheese is to send along with a meal that I’m making for a friend.  The sour cream?  Well, I was quite happy to get it for the equivalent of $0.83 a small container!  And this time of year we can use a lot of sour cream in soups etc.  For instance, I made 3 recipes of Creamy White Chili tonight and used 3 cups right there.  And no, it wasn’t all for us.  Although we did eat a large portion of it!  Seriously, I can’t believe how much we eat these days!  My children (that eat) are only 6 and almost 3 but I’m already wondering how I’m going to keep enough food in the house when they are teenagers!

I also grabbed a container of lunch meat.  I really like that this particular kind has no nitrates added instead it uses celery juice as a natural form of nitrates.

Bought:

  • Two 3 lb. Sour Cream $2.29 each
  • Colby Cheese $2.49
  • Crushed Oreos $1.09 ($0.99/lb.)
  • Fish sticks $1.49
  • Oscar Mayer lunch meat $1.19

Misc.: $0

Bet you all are wondering what this is!  The color is a little off in the picture but it’s the equivalent of almost 4 cans of  homemade pumpkin puree.  My sister-in-law shared a pumpkin that they grew with us and I finally got it cooked up and put in the freezer.

Speaking of pumpkin.  You really should try these No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes.  So good!

Credits: $72.25
The last couple of weeks I’ve been buying various items that are part of the Giant gas deals.  Basically, you get points for purchasing the products and then you can redeem those points for gas.  I was able to get $72.25 worth of gas for free as a result.  And since I only buy the grocery items that are part of these deals because they either get me free gas or make me money, I put the savings back into my grocery budget.  (To see the details of these purchases look at my previous Giant purchases under my What I Spent & What I Saved posts.)

How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Diapers on a Budget

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7 Ways to Make Money By Selling Your Clutter

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

I recently came through a month of intensive decluttering and while my goal was mainly to simplify, I was pretty happy to also make almost $75 in the process!  In fact, knowing that I could potentially make a couple of dollars off of something was great motivation for me.  And in the week since I actually made another $165 from selling a double stroller and some clothing that I hadn’t had a chance to sell earlier.

If you are decluttering or are simply tight on money, it is definitely worth trying to sell some of your things.  If you aren’t sure where to do it, here are a list of place that I have used and recommend

7 Ways to Make Money by Selling Your Clutter

1.  Craigslist
Craigslist is a great way to sell things and we’ve had good success using it over the last several years.  While you can post anything, I recommend using it mainly for bigger ticket items as those seem to do well there.  If you aren’t sure how much to charge for your item, simply use the “Search” box to see what others are charging for similar things and go from there.

To avoid being scammed, take only cash.  Also, if you aren’t comfortable having people come to your home, you can instead meet them at a local public place.

Tip: Detailed description and a few good pictures help a lot!  Also, a fairly specific location is helpful too so that people know whether it is worth there time.  For instance, instead of saying “Exton” try “Exton, north side”. 

2.  Ebay
I don’t use Ebay as much as some of the other methods simply because it gets expensive to ship big, heavy items.  But it’s great for smaller things and I’ve done reasonably well selling here.  I was intrigued to learn that coffee mugs and any thing pig related sell well on Ebay!

Before I list something, I like to see if it is worth my time by using the Advanced Search feature to see if similar items have sold well recently.  This is also a great way to figure out what to charge too.  To find these details, once on the search page simply enter the item description and check the “Sold” box.

Tip: Again detailed description and great pictures go a long way in helping your item get attention.  Also be sure to factor in shipping costs.  

3.  Online Yard Sale Facebook Groups
In the last year I’ve become a big fan of Online Yard Sale Groups on Facebook.  Never heard of them?  It’s basically like a great big yard sale online that you can sell items from any time.  To find one, simply search Facebook with your area’s name and either yard sale or resale and likely something will pop up.  If not, create one yourself- but be prepared for it to become a hopping, popular place!

While you can sell big ticket items here, I’ve found these groups to be a great place for selling smaller items and kid’s clothing.  In fact, two groups that I’m part of are specifically for kid’s stuff.

I really like these groups for two reasons.  For one thing you can see a picture of the person that is buying from you which makes it feel safer and less risky than Craigslist.  And asking questions is as simple as leaving a Facebook comment or sending the seller a PM.

Tip: I know, I said it before but it’s so very true!  Excellent detailed descriptions and clear pictures are what will really help you do well here.  It is also helpful to state whether you are going to go with the first person who comments, the first person who can pick up the item, etc. 

4.  Yard Sales
Good old traditional yard sales are still a great way to get rid of things.  We typically have one every summer and I love it for things that just don’t sell well anywhere else.  To keep things simple, we have a small corner in the basement where we put anything that we want to sell at our yard sale.  Want to really be efficient?  Price the items as you add them to the pile!

For tips on how to make the most of your yard sale, read my post 5 Tips for a Successful Yard Sale.

5.  Book Buy Back Site
If you have unwanted books lying around, it might be worth checking with some book buy back sites to see if they are worth anything.  Textbooks and books by popular authors often sell well.  And I love that most sites will pay for the shipping costs too!

Here are the sites that we’ve used with good success:

* Cash 4 Books
* Sell Back Your Book

6.  Consignments Sales/Stores
We don’t have any really great consignment stores around here, at least in my opinion, but the city I lived in before we were married had a great one that I used often to sell unwanted clothing.  It was super easy because I would just stop by with the clothes, wait as they looked them over and took my info and then when I sold $10 worth, they would contact me and I would get the money.  I always made out better than I would have had I tried selling those items at a yard sale and I loved that I could keep “cleaning house” all year round.

Also, many areas have kid’s consignment sales and while I have never tried selling at these, I have friends who have and loved it!

7.  ThredUp
I have bought clothes through ThredUp several times but I have never have used them to sell things simply because I feel like I have better options available.  But I know a lot of people love selling through them.  Basically you request a bag, put your women’s and/or kid’s clothing in it, mail it (postage is pre-paid) and then once your items sell you get paid!  You can then use your payment to buy clothing from ThredUp or simply cash out via PayPal.

What are your favorite ways to make money on your “junk”?

Home Organization: Schoolwork, Artwork, and Keepsakes
Home Organization: Schoolwork, Artwork, and Keepsakes
Home Organization: Schoolwork, Artwork, and Keepsakes

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10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints (just pay shipping!)

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards

UPDATE:  Just found out that this deal is both for ALL customers, both new and former users.   Yay!

Check out this awesome offer from Tiny Prints!

Through November 12, 2014, new customers can get 10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints when they use coupon code 10FREECARDS at checkout.  Shipping starts at $5.99 (economy shipping).  If you order more cards and your order is $49 or more, you should also be able to get free shipping with coupon code FREESHIP49.

Get 10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints

Tiny Prints has beautiful, high quality cards.  I’ve used them in the past and was super happy with their products.

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Ladies Scarves as low as $3.04 each! (Floral, Chevron & Polka Dot)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Amazon has a variety of scarves at great prices.  In fact you can get them for as low as $3.04 each!  (You do have to pay for shipping on many of them or buy enough other things to qualify for free shipping  Just want to be clear about that since I hate misleading people!) 

Scarves are such a great, inexpensive way to add a little wow to your wardrobe.  I love them!

 

Ladies Scarves as low as $3.04 each!

 
* Soft Chevron Infinity Scarf as low as $4.69 (variety of colors)
 
 
 
* Floral Chiffon Shawl Scarf as low a $3.04 (variety of colors)

 
* Polka Dot Sheer Infinity Scarf as low as $6.99 (variety of colors)
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Recipe: No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Last fall I came across this Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle recipe and desperately wanted to make it.  The only problem was, I didn’t have any Biscoff cookies and being the frugal person that I am, I hated the idea of shelling about several bucks for a small pack of them.  And so, I got creative and made my own version!

These No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes meet all my requirements for a great dish: they are quick and easy to make, they look pretty, they’re inexpensive and best of all, they are delicious!

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes
1 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 10 graham cracker squares)
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream + 4 tbsp. sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1.  Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.   Set aside.

2.  Whip heavy whipping cream until slightly thickened.  Add 4 Tbsp. sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  This should make about 3 cups of whipped cream.

3.  In separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix well.  Gently fold in 1 ½ c. of the whipped cream.

4.  Assemble by layering layer graham cracker crumb mixture, pumpkin cheesecake and whipped topping as desired.  Cheesecakes will be best if made no more than 1 hour before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

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