Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grocery Budgeting

I started keeping track of my grocery money on August 16th. I always had a budget before that, but on that day, I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the money I spend at each store I go to. I budgeted $96.15 a week, which is $5000 a year. I've read other blogs where women spend $800 a year on their family of 4, which I know is not realistic for us. I figured I'd try $96.15 and see what happened.

In the past 10 weeks, I've averaged $69.17 a week! I'm not done with this week yet, so it will go up, but I am no where near hitting my budget. So this means two things. One - spend more to meet my budget to stockpile more. Or two - reduce the budget. So on December, my budget is going down to $86.54 a week, a drop of 10%. I want to steadily decrease this budget so we can save more for other more important things. All those pennies add up to big savings!

Do you have a set grocery budget for a week, month, or year? How are you doing on it?

Loving Rite Aid!

I posted about a great diaper deal for this week. Here is what actually happened yesterday.

Transaction 1

3 Huggies Pure & Natural jumbos $8.99 each - 3 $3/1 P&N qs and 2 $2/1 RA qs
3 RA hand soap (we're almost out) $1 each - no qs!
- $5/$25 RA q
Total $11.97
Tax $.19
OOP $12.16

I'm going back either today or tomorrow to repeat this transaction. Then when I submit my receipts, I will get a voucher for a free Huggies jumbo. In the end, I'll have 7 packs of diapers and 6 hand soaps for $24.32. I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almost free food at Shaw's!

Here is a break down of my transactions at Shaw's this week. Yes, I drove 30 minutes to get some really cheap groceries. The catalina deal is running on presale prices (PSP), so it's pretty sweet.

Transaction 1 (cashier did not double my qs. Boo.)

2 Nature Valley granola bars - PSP $3.50 each SALE $2 each - 2 $.40/1 qs
3 Fiber One cereals - PSP $4.29 each SALE $2 each - 3 $.75/1 qs
2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereals - PSP $2.79 each SALE $2 each - 2 $.55/1 qs

PSP price $25.45
SALE price $14
Total qs $4.15
OOP $9.85 and a $10 catalina

Transaction 2 (same cashier from #1)

5 Dora fruit snacks - PSP $2.50 each SALE $2 each - 2 $.50/2 and 1 $.40/1 qs
2 Pillsbury Simply Cookies - PSP $3.99 each SALE $2.50 each - 2 $.55/1 qs
4 Pillsbury crescent rolls - PSP $2.89 each SALE $1.67 each - 2 $.50/2 qs

PSP price $32.04
SALE price $21.67
Total qs $3.50
OOP $18.17 and a $3.50, $4, and $10 catalina
*This one could have been lower, but my catalina from 1 didn't print, so I had to go through a hullabaloo to get it. They told me it was on sale prices, I said no it wasn't because my second transaction worked on PSPs.

Transaction 3 (different cashier who did double my qs!)

2 Cheerios cereal - PSP $4.19 each SALE $2 each - 2 $1/1 qs
4 Pillsbury grands rolls - PSP $2.49 each SALE $1.67 each - 2 $.30/2 qs that doubled
2 Pillsbury Simply Cookies - PSP $3.99 each SALE $2.50 each - 2 $.55/1 qs that doubled
1 Coke 12 pack - PSP $5.00 each SALE $3.34 plus $.60 deposit - no qs!

PSP price $29.32
SALE price $19.61
Total qs $5.40 plus $10 catalina from #1
OOP $4.21 and a $4 and $10 catalina

Transaction 4 (same cashier from 3)

3 Total cereals - PSP $4.99 each SALE $2 each - 3 $.75/1 qs that doubled
1 Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal - PSP $2.79 SALE $2 each - 1 $.55/1 q that doubled
2 Fiber One cereals - PSP $4.29 each SALE $2 each - 2 $.75/1 qs that doubled
3 Prego pasta sauce - PSP $2.79 each SALE $1.49 each - 1 $1/3 q
2 Crest toothpaste - PSP $2.50 each SALE $1 each - 1 $1.50/2 q

PSP price $39.71
SALE price $18.60
Total qs $11.10 plus $3.50 and $4 catalina from #2
OOP $0.00 and a $1 catalina (They actually owed my $.13, but the cashier made it 0.)
*My $10 catalina didn't print again, and I didn't bother trying to get it because I was frazzled at that point.


PSP price $128.52
SALE price $73.75
Total qs and catalinas $41.65
OOP $32.23 and still have $15 in catalinas left over

I think I'm going back tomorrow with my girls for more, so it should be interesting!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shopping at Shaw's

I don't normally shop at Shaw's because it's 30 minutes away. But they're running a catalina promotion that I couldn't pass up. If you buy $25 of General Mills products, you get a $10 catalina good on your next purchase. The best part is that the $25 is on pre-sale prices, a ton of GM stuff is on sale, and there are a ton of printable coupons that can be used.

I went this morning after my class of the day while the girls were still at daycare. Tomorrow, I'll post my transactions. It was a pretty good deal, but I didn't care for the hassle I got about my catalina not printing. I'm pretty sure I won't go to that Shaw's regularly, but it is a REALLY good deal, so I sucked it up. Stay tuned for pictures and breakdowns tomorrow!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I've listed some of my unneeded education textbooks and other fiction books on, a partner of eBay, in hopes of making a few extra bucks to save. I've listed 17 books and have sold 6 in 5 days! So once I get paid from them and subtract my shipping costs, I'll have made about $40. It's not a ton, but every little bit helps!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rite Aid Diaper Deals

Next week, RA has Huggies jumbos on sale for $8.99. Here is a scenario that will get you 7 jumbos for really cheap!

Transaction 1

3 Huggies Pure & Natural jumbos $26.97
- $5/$25
- 3 $3/1 manu qs
- 3 $2/1 RA qs from AdPerks in October
= $6.97 plus tax

Transaction 2

1 Huggies Pure & Natural jumbos $8.99
2 Huggies jumbos (not P&N) $17.98
- $5/$25
- 1 $3/1 Pure & Natural manu q
- 2 $2/1 Huggies manu qs
- 1 $2/1 RA q from AdPerks in October
= $12.97 plus tax

(Transaction #2 could be better if I had different coupons. I might try to find a Pure & Natural printable. Change these up depending on your coupons!)

Submit all your receipts to RA's SCR program, and you'll get a voucher for a FREE Huggies jumbo. So you'll get 7 jumbos for $19.94 or $2.85 each!! My kind of price for my 2 in diapers (although the big one is slowly starting to potty train). Saving a few more pennies here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grocery Budget Update

After about 8 weeks of sticking to the $96.15 a week ($5000 a year) budget plan, I am running at about $80-$81 per week. This includes stock-piling when things are on sale and keep the pantry stocked with lots of stuff for our menus. I think that I'm going to reduce my budget amount by 10% to $87 on December 1, which will have been 4 months at $96.15. It's totally doable if I continue to find the deals and save my pennies!

Why is there always no time!

I really want (and need) to keep up with this. I am committed to maintaining a $96.15 a week budget (or $5000 a year), and I want to share my deals with others. I've had my husband's co-workers ask me how I do it. My sisters are super impressed with my army supply surplus store in the basement. And my husband likes that I'm spending less of his hard-earned money on groceries.

My goal for this next week is to post one thing a day, whether it be small or large. Keep me in check if I don't get something up everyday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Stop & Shop deal

I'm enjoying the double coupon policy at Stop & Shop. I've been doing good there lately. Here is one from yesterday.

1 S&S olive oil $4.99 (we were out, so I bought the cheapest one on the shelf)
3 Gerber 1st foods $.99 each (minus $.75/3 manu q that doubled)
2 Hefty One Zip bags $1.50 each (minus 2 $1/1 manu qs)
1 Alexia onion strings snacks $2.50 (minus $2.50 from FREE manu q)
4 Trix cereal $1.50 each (minus 4 $.55/1 manu q that doubled)
$.10 credit for using reusable bags

Before qs and sales: $31.09
After sales: $20.26
After qs: $8.96
Tax: $.06
OOP: $9.02
Savings: 71%

I had bought some other cereal during this week's deal. I got 12 boxes of cereal (4 each of Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and paid $3.20 for all of them or $.27 a box. That is way below my cereal stock up price of $1 a box or less. We won't need cereal for a while now!

Monday, September 21, 2009


If you are a Huggies user, then RUN to the nearest Rite Aid. Huggies jumbos are $11, which is not a stock-up price. However, if you buy 3 jumbos, you can get a $10 SCR. Combine that with some manufacturer coupons, and you have cheap diapers!

Transaction #1

1 hanging shoe bag $1.99 (on clearance)
1 Huggies jumbo $11 (minus $2/1 manu q from home mailer and $2/1 RA q from AdPerks)
1 Pull-ups $11 (minus $3/1 manu q from home mailer and $1/1 RA q from home mailer)
1 Huggies wipes tub $2.50 (minus $1/1 manu q from home mailer)
1 Wheat Things little box $.99 (minus $1/1 manu q printable)
2 Reese's peanut butter cups BOGO $.88 (minus BOGO manu q from inserts)
$5/$20 RA q from AdPerks
TOTAL before qs: $28.36
TOTAL after qs: $12.48 plus $.22 in tax
OOP: $12.70

Transaction #2

1 collapsible cube $1.99 (on clearance)
1 Huggies jumbo $11 (minus $11 from FREE diaper voucher)
1 Huggies jumbo $11 (minus $3/1 manu q from home mailer and $2/1 RA q from AdPerks)
1 Huggies wipes tub $2.50 (minus $1/1 manu q from home mailer)
1 Wheat Things little box $.99 (minus $1/1 manu q printable)
1 Dove bar of soap $1 (minus $1/1 RA q from home mailer)
$5/$20 RA q from AdPerks
TOTAL before qs: $28.48
TOTAL after qs: $4.48 plus $.00 in tax
OOP: $4.48

I will get back a $10 SCR for buying 3 Huggies jumbos, a $1 SCR for buying 2 Huggies wipes, and $10 from the Gift of Savings program. I spent $17.18 today but will get back $21 from rebates. Rite Aid PAID me $3.82 for all this stuff. SWEET DEAL.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stop & Shop is overpriced???

So many people I talk to say that Stop & Shop is way overpriced. I agree with this. However, if you shop their loss-leaders and take advantage of their coupon doubling policy, you can score some awesome deals! I impressed myself with this one.

Before sales and coupons: $41.64
OOP: $6.61!

6 Gerber 1st foods 2 packs ($.98 each - used 2 $.75/3 qs that doubled)
2 Old El Paso hard and soft taco shells packs ($1.67 each - used 1 $.60/2 q that doubled)
2 Old El Paso seasoning mix ($1.00 each - used 1 $.60/2 q that doubled)
5 Success Rice ($2.00 each - used 4 $1/1 qs and 1 $.50/1 q that doubled)
2.08 lbs of green grapes ($2.06 - saved another $.52 from savings from the U-Scan thingy)
2 Glade soy candles ($3.19 each - used 2 FREE qs)
1 Reese's pb cups 8 pack ($1.25 - used 1 $.55/1 q that doubled)
3 Snickers bars (B2G1 - $1.00 each - used 1 $1/2 q)
$.10 reusuable bag credit
$6.80 from bottle returns

I also got a $1 catalina good on my next purchase because I bought 2 Old El Paso seasonings. I will probably print some more qs from hubby's computer and go back for more taco shells, seasoning, and rice.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Target Tuesday!

Went to Target yesterday. Still my favorite store. :)

2 Fusion razors ($7.99 each - 2 $2/1 MQ)
Get a $5 giftcard for buying 2 razors
Total: $11.98


1 Pampers Sensitive jumbo ($8.99 - $1/1 MQ and $2/1 TQ)
1 Pampers Sensitie wipes refill ($5.99 - $1.50 MQ)
1 Pampers regular jumbo ($8.99 - $1/1 MQ - $3/2 TQ WYB Pampers diapers and wipes)
2 Luvs jumbos ($6.99 each - $2/1 MQ and $1/1 MQ)
2 Kotex liners ($2.70 each - 2 $1/1 MQ and 2 $2/1 TQ = $.60 overage!)
Use $5 giftcard from transaction 1
Total: $20.85

Grocery Budget: $96.15
Used Today: $32.83
Budget Remaining: $63.32

Monday, August 17, 2009

Simple Ways to Save Money

I'm always looking for easy ways to save a few pennies. Here are some things that can save you some change.

- Cut dryer sheets in half. They're still just as effective. Or better yet, don't use them at all. I don't use any, and my clothes are just fine.
- Reduce or eliminate paper towels in your house. Use washable rags instead.
- Use efficient appliances. There are washers that are water-efficient, detergent-efficient, and energy-efficient!
- Make your own laundry soap. This is a bit much for me, but it can be done!
- Save all your change. We save all our change and turn it in at a CoinStar. If you get a giftcard, the coin counting is free! We get Amazon giftcards to purchase things like a high chair, a double stroller, and Christmas gifts!

Do you any new suggestions to help save even more?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diaper Deals at Rite Aid and CVS

Here's my plan for the drug stores this week. I don't go to these every week - only when the deals are good. I actually haven't been CVSing in months, so I'm trying to ease back in. Check out Deal Seeking Mom's info about the Drugstore Game. Believe it or not, you can actually get FREE stuff at these places!

Rite Aid:

Scotch Pop Up Handband, $2.49 (Get $2.49 SCR)
BIC Soleil Razor or Refill, $5.99 (Get $2 SCR) - use $3/1 from the 8/9 SS
Ziploc Containers, $1.99 - use $.75/1 from a home mailer
Huggies Mega, $14.99 (Get $2 SCR) - use $1.50/1 from the 7/19 SS

Subtotal: $25.46
- $5/$25 Rite Aid q
- $3/1 Bic Soleil
- $.75/1 Ziploc
- $1.50/1 Huggies
Total OOP: $15.21 and get back $6.49 in SCRs
Grand total: $8.72


Bic Soleil razor or cartridges, $6.99 (Get $3 ECBs) - use $3/1 from the 8/9 SS
2 Huggies jumbos, 2/$18 (Get $4 ECBs wyb 2 for $18) - use 1 $2/1 from a home mailer and 1 $3/1 from inside of a package
M&Ms, $.50 - use FREE from a home mailer

Subtotal: $25.49
- $5/$25 CVS q
- $3/1 Bic Soleil
- $2/1 Huggies
- $3/1 Huggies
- $1.50 ECBs
Total OOP: $10.49 and get back $7 in ECBs

Good week for razors and diapers. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Tonight we're having an especially frugal meal - BBQ chicken in the crockpot with rice and peas. Nothing fancy, but it fills our tummies. Here's the breakdown!

1.5 lbs chicken drumsticks at $1.09 a lb = $1.65
BBQ sauce = Free (after $1/1 Kraft q)
Rice = $0.25 (Success rice was on sale for $1.50 for 4 boil bags, used $.50 q)
Frozen peas = $1.25 (the most expensive part of the meal!)

So for three of us to eat (well, really 2.5, the big one doesn't eat a ton), it cost us $3.15 - $1.05 a serving. Not too shabby.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Target run - scored lots for little

I took the baby to Target today after we dropped the big one off at daycare. Gosh, I love that store. Here's what I got.

1 Cascade Rinse Aid - free MQ
4 Shout to go trial size wipes ($3.88 - 4 $1/1 MQ = $.12 overage!)
4 Fudge Shoppe cookies ($7.96 - 2 $1/1 MQ and 1 $1/2 MQ)
6 Poptarts ($9.12 - 3 $1/2 MQ and 4 $.75/1 TQ)
2 Kashi cereal cups ($2 - 2 $1/1 TQ)
2 Lady Stick ($2.96 - 2 $1.50/1 = $.04 overage!)
4 Satin Care trial shave gel ($3.96 - 4 $1/1 = $.04 overage!)
2 Bounty Basic ($1.98 - 1 $1/2 MQ)
2 Charmin to go ($2 - 1 $1/2 MQ and 1 $1.50/2 TQ = $.50 overage!)
2 Bic pencils ($2.48 - 1 $1/2 MQ and 1 $1/2 TQ)
2 Bic pens ($1.98 - 1 $1/2 and 1 $1/2 TQ = $.02 overage!)
3 Elmo books for the plane ride ($3)
2 Pairs of shoes for the baby ($3.24 and $1.74 - both at 75% off)
3 Christmas gifts ($3.98, $3.74, and $9.98 - all at 75% off)

Before Sales and Clearance: $142.03
After Sales and Clearance: $68.42

After MQs and TQs: $33.50

Tax: $1.28

TOTAL: $34.78 (76% savings!!!)

I am also going to submit for the $10 Fuel For School rebate, so that would put my OOP at $24.78, which would be 83% savings. This is why I love Target.

I am almost done Christmas shopping for my girls. Just have to pick up a joint gift for them, one bigger gift for each of them, and stocking stuffers. I've saved about 60% on each of them due to Target's July toy clearance and awesome clearance deals on clothes. My goal is to be done Christmas shopping AND have everything wrapped by Thanksgiving. The older one was born in December, and we have 3 nephews with December birthdays, so it's crazy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My first post!

After a lot of thought, I decided to start a blog about my couponing adventures. I know what you're thinking - there are a TON of those across the web. But I have found so few in the New England area that I wanted to help out those of us that don't have stores that double and amazing deals.

My ultimate goal is to buy groceries, toiletries, and paper products for my family of four (one of whom is not eating solids yet) for $100 a week. I have a great stockpile of diapers and wipes that I'm continually adding to if I can find good diaper deals. I won't pay more than $1 for a box of cereal. My stock up price for chicken breasts is $1.99 a pound - it doesn't get any cheaper around here. I won't need toothpaste until 2012.

During my free time between chasing two little ones, working part time, taking care of the house, and being Suzy Homemaker, I search for the best deals. I shop at RiteAid, CVS, Target, Walmart, Stop & Shop, Market Basket, and Hannaford's. Some have better deals than others. All of them (except Target) are in the surrounding towns. I make special trips for Target just because I love that store.

So I hope you'll stick around and see what deals I can find. I hate paying full price for anything. Free or cheap is where it's at!