Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Goals For Spring Break

So, with Spring Break comes a break for me, too!  Not really.  I take the week off from watching kids, but there's some things I can't do while they're here.  Mainly, it involves finishing up some projects.  So here's the list:
  • Complete a handbag I started a year ago for my Mother-In-Law
  • make 4 sets of cloth sandwich bags for my favorite girl, Carol, and her fam
  • make Kate some new hair clips with my ribbon grab bag that just came in the mail
  • get a rid of expired coupons
  • make a new chore list for the four oldest kids and implement
  • go through my room and make it sparkling again:)
  • finish the details for Luke's 6th birthday
  • get some really cheap Easter candy!
This is in addition to all the stuff I normally do, so I think I'm being realistic:)  I'll let you know how it goes come Sunday, April 4th!

Update: It's Monday and you can see that I got half of my list finished.  Ugh!  Not what I'd hoped for, but I'm forever an optimist.  I'd rather have more on my list than not enough.  In return, I got to spend some unanticipated time with family and friends.  I'd say I still came out ahead:)

Here's some of the hair clips I made.  I was a machine and cranked out quite a few.  I even made some for my nieces to match their Easter dresses.  I'll be posting later about making your own hair stuff-a great way to save money if you have a little girl.

Thanks La Vida Cheapo for inspiring me to post my to-do list for this week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Best Recipe for Cooked Chicken

Well Cooked Poultry Safe Despite Bird Flu Fears

When a recipe calls for recipe-ready chicken (such as in a chicken and rice casserole) this is how I always prepare mine, courtesy of Super Suppers cookbook, page 7:

Poaching Chicken Breasts:

Place desired number of chicken breasts in saucepan with a lid. Cover breasts with water. Place over high heat, uncovered, and bring to a boil. When water is at a full boil, follow these steps: 1)Place lid on pan 2)Remove from heat 3)Set a timer for 20 minutes.
No matter how many chicken breast you have, from 1 to 20, this method will always produce juicy, tender, perfectly cooked chicken. If freezing cooked breasts, place in a freezer bag and add enough cooled cooking liquid to cover breasts. This will help insulate meat from freezer burn.

I never add the cooking water to mine to freeze, but it sounds like a good plan.  I just cut it up into small cubes or shred.  I used this recipe over the weekend after scoring some super cheap split chicken breasts at Yokes ($.99/lb) and had to get them cooked and in the freezer quick.

I also must add that the thought of poaching chicken was unappealing to me.   One day I was short on time and tried it.  I love it!  I don't overcook chicken anymore, and it works great in my recipes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Free Pastry at Starbucks 3/23 ONLY!

Economic Warning Signs Increase

Well, for my coffee drinking friends I thought I'd share this!  Tomorrow only you can snag a free pastry between opening and 10:30am with your drink purchase (check to make sure your location is participating).  Just print this coupon and give it to the barista.  I've never done this, so I'm guessing the free pastries will go fast?  I'll try to get a blueberry scone, my favorite.  Yum!
Thanks Hip2Save for the tip!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Score On Some Cheap Games!

Since we've been reducing our debt, I've sworn to buy gifts throughout the year so that it's not a strain when birthday's or Christmas come around.  With five kids, it seems like someone's always having a birthday!  My old habits would go something like this:  I would wait a couple of weeks before whoever's birthday and look for gifts.  Ugh!  Nothing like scurrying around to find the right gift with not enough time or money.  I mean I did give birth to all those kiddos, you'd think I'd be more with it for their special day:)

So here's the fabulous deal I did today:  I went to Target (kind of in a rush since Amazing Race is on tonight) and bought 10 Sobe waters.  When you buy 10 you get a $5 Target gift card.  I handed over $6 in coupons to make my total $4.16 with tax (plus I now had my $5 gift card in hand for my next trip).

Then I proceeded right back to the games and picked up R2D2 Trouble-$14 and Connect 4-$7.  At check out I had them price match with Toys R Us' ad for the Trouble game.  That game came down to $9.10, then I handed over $11 in coupons.  My total was $5.10 and then I paid with my $5 gift card.  My total out of pocket was $1.24! (they taxed me on $13.10).  Shopping this way works so much better for me.  I now am done with toys for the kids' Easter baskets and Easter is a couple of weeks away!  I also have a game to stash away for later.

I paid $5.40 out of pocket for 10 bottles of Sobe and two games!  And I even made it past the scary checker-guy at customer service!  Yay!

Oh, and that's my daughter who just had to jump in and 'pose':)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Try Your Hand At Walgreens Shopping

I wanted to pass on this info so that even if you're not into couponing for food because you think it's all junk (which it's not), you could certainly save at the drugstores.  We're talking things that you will use throughout the year such as toothpaste, kleenex, etc.  Any guesses at to what I paid for all this?  I couldn't even get a picture up before we'd torn into the Reese's and had a swig of grape juice!  Anyway, I spent $4.49 with tax.  Then I got $4 Register Reward towards my next trip, so some people would count that as only paying $.49, but I'm not sure where to categorize that.  All this trip took was a little organizing of my coupons and using a Register Reward from a previous trip.  I could have had all this for free (with probably a few Easter candies thrown in so the store didn't owe me-they can't do that), since I had another $5 off Register Rewards with me, but I held on to it to use later this week.  Why not shop this way?  If you can do it, you'll have nothing to lose!  If you need any help shopping at Walgreens click on this helpful link from Hip2Save.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

25¢ Sale at Other Mothers

One of the ways I keep within budget is thrift store shopping, and for the kids I often go to Other Mothers.  Lately, our store has been pretty lacking.  It's a mystery to me how they choose their items.  I have taken my kid's stuff in to get store credit, and I often get back quite a few that they wouldn't take.  Keep in mind I even go through them and weed out what I know are "play" clothes and wouldn't be desirable to anyone else.  What I see on their hangers would not be something I would pay the type of money they're asking.  Often it's worn out or has been there for a long long time.  I also have about zero luck with boys clothes, and mainly just get my baby girl's stuff there.

I check about twice a month and there are often the same items.  Maybe I need to go in more.  I have also stopped taking the kids' clothes in as I'm going to see how selling them on Craiglist goes. 

Now, enough of the negative Nancy stuff!  I actually got a few items from the 25¢ sale that they have once, sometimes twice a month.  You really have to dig through the piles of clothes, but I found some acceptable tops and yes, I know, some really weird pants for Kate-I just couldn't help thinking that with the right top it could be a cute outfit.

So for five items I paid $1.25.  The birthday girl shirt is going to need a little TLC.  A good washing might get it cleaned up, but if not I've got some tough stain remover that should do the trick.

A New Concept!

A few short months ago, we were like these folks!

Of course after reading the one page book, we are now on our way to debt freedom!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here's My Free Lunch and Maybe your Free Dinner!

 So I wanted to post this real quick so that you can snag this deal if you wanted before the day is done.  Panda Express is offering, today only (3/10/10), a free side of their Honey Walnut Shrimp.  It was good, but won't be a fav for me.  For sure worth 'friending' them on Facebook for this deal.  I just consider deals like this to be part of the frugal lifestyle!  Plus it's just flat out  fun getting free stuff.  Click on this link to get all the details.
Thanks Hip2Save for the tip!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Guess They're Paying Me to Shop

I just had to share this great little transaction I did on Sunday!  So I went to Rite Aid and bought 4 Covergirl Makeup products, 2 Starburst and 2 bags of Nestle chocolate eggs.  My subtotal was a little over $26.  Then between the BOGO's and coupons the total deducted was $23!  I wound up paying $2.98 for everything!  Even cooler, if I hadn't been so conservative with my figures I could have paid $.98 for all of that, but I was being a chicken (since I'm pretty new to Rite Aid shopping) and went with a $3 coupon instead of a $5 one (from reading their coupon policy they can't owe you money, so I wanted to stay away from totally messing up the deal).  Anyway, this kind of shopping is so much fun, I wonder why I didn't do it sooner!

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Grocery Totals

This month wasn't as good as last month, but I still think I did pretty well-so here's the scoop:

Total Spent on Food= $303.80
Store Savings=$175.45
Manufacturer Coupons Used=$109.25

I think that $300 is a good target point for me.  We'll see how the summer months treat us, I've heard it's a  bit harder to coupon in the summer, but I haven't read what the reason for that is.  My guess is that it's just a busier time and maybe there's less deals to be had.