Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5

Yes, I'm hopelessly neglecting this blog.

We went on vacation two weeks ago. We spent three nights in a motel, tooled around Arkansas, and went on a diamond hunt and a canoe ride all for under five hundred bucks.

I spent a total of $193.20 on groceries for the month of April. Of course, we were gone almost every weekend last month and went on vacation, but YAY! It was less than $200! Finally.

So far in May I spent 56 bucks for a motel room after the Dave Matthews Band concert and $15ish on dinner that night at The Cheesecake Factory.

I spent $11.70 at CVS on diapers, wipes, batteries, dishwashing liquid, razors, a Whitman's Sampler that I got on sale with a coupon for $3.99 (Happy Mother's Day, Mom!), and the BBQ sauce we needed to grill chicken. I used $14 of CVS points/cash.

Last month I spent $50 on our Angel Food boxes, but I count it for this month's groceries since we'll eat them this month. Today I spent $87.88 at HEB bringing my total for groceries in May to $137.88. I was real pleased with the free bottle of HEB laundry detergent ($4.69) I got free for buying an 8-pack of HEB paper towels for $6.99.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9

I haven't written much here because I haven't shopped much.

Last Friday, I went to Hallmark and bought a Webkinz and a Webkinz lipgloss because the big kid had a birthday party to attend. I was pleasantly surprised to find both of them half price at check-out. $10.24 for both. Yay!

And then I had to go to CVS for "feminine supplies". I could've shopped around a found a better price, but I can walk to CVS (but I didn't). I did use coupons on those but while I was there I saw that if you bought $25 of Huggies products you'd receive $10 bucks in CVS bucks so I bought two packs of pull-ups at 10 bucks a piece and a huge refill pack of wipes at 5 bucks. I didn't need them right then, but I will eventually and I can go back and use the bucks to buy four gallons of milk at some point. I also got Herbal Essences shampoo for 99 cents because it was on sale and I had a two dollar coupon. I LOVE their new Hydralicious shampoo but I refuse to buy it at $4.59 so this was a nice bargain to me. I've been loving my new shampoo this week. Almost makes up for the crappy forty-five dollar haircut I got with my Christmas money. That's another story I just don't want to relive.

I had to break down and go to the grocery store. We weren't able to go on our vacation this week so I needed some things to tide us over until next week when I can go on a big trip. On Saturday I spent $22.37 and on Tuesday I spent $59.52. Not bad, but I didn't get anything to make meals with just snacks and sandwich fixings. With the thirty dollars I spent last month on April's angel food box, I've spent a total so far in April of $111.89 for groceries. I still hope to keep our month total under $250, but I know I'll be buying a lot next week. Here's hoping there will be good sales.

Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30

I picked up our March Angel Food box on Saturday. We ate half the rib-eye steaks and half a bag of the french fries and still have the rest of the box to use this week and next. I am NOT going to the supermarket this week. No, I am not. Little experiment here, I am going to see how far I can make this box and the rest of my pantry go. We are going on a short, cheap vacation next Wednesday and I am going to stretch it until we get back, after Easter. Of course, we'll be eating Easter dinner at the grandparents so that will help, but with the extra cash we'll be spending on our yee-haw Arkansas trip we just don't have the money for anything else until April 15. I think I can do this. Wish me luck.

So far in April: $30.00 for the Angel Food box.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25

I got to looking at my grocery receipt from yesterday, wondering how in the world I spent seventy some dollars on food for three planned meals. Turns out I buy lots of soda and kool-aid when it's on sale. Oh, I can get it cheap, like a dollar for a 2-liter or $2.50 a 12-pack and I got really excited to get a big canister of kool-aid mix for $1.50, but it adds up. I just don't like water. I want taste. Sweet taste. Good taste.

But. I am giving it all up.

Once I finish my stash, it's water, tea, juice, and milk for us from now on. Tap water is free and tea can be made very cheaply and a few teabags go a long way. My dad cannot live without his soda so we can get our carbonation fix when we go there. I have always watered my kids juice 50/50, this can stretch a 64-ounce jug to four or five days. Now, I think I'm going to start 75/25 to wean them off of it and onto water. With the exception of Adam, they don't like water anymore than I do.

So that's my new plan. I am hoping to save at least five bucks a week this way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24

If it's Tuesday, it must be grocery day.

I've been off on the grocery trips due to spring break. The last time I went to the store until today was March 13 where I spent $64.03. Today I spent $79.13. Combined with the big trip I made at the beginning of the month, I have spent $227.57 at the grocery store this month. Not too bad. Of course, we were gone a few of those days, but still.

We are still working on the Angel Food groceries. The week before spring break I was able to make supper each day just on the stuff from those boxes. I'll go Saturday to pick up April's boxes. I also need to hit the double coupon store sometime this weekend, but I hope to only get free or nearly free things there.

At HEB this month if you buy a 12 pack of pop-tarts you get a 3 pack of Horizon Organic milk singles free. The pop-tarts were $2.50 and the milk was $2.99. Each week I had a coupon for a dollar off pop-tarts so for $1.50 I took home some mighty tasty Hot Fudge Sundae pop-tarts and healthy milk to pack in the kids lunch. Not bad.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11

I spent $74.25 at the pediatrician's office today. Apparently our ultra crappy insurance company has decided not to cover immunizations for my middle child. The baby, sure she can have some, but middle child not so much. WTH? I see nasty phone calls in my future.

I spent twenty some dollars at CVS for pull-ups, band-aids, and female necessities. I got what was on sale, but man, they charge heavily for that stuff.

I also wanted a new deodorant. I always buy whatever deodorant I can get dirt cheap on sale and with coupons, but now I'm down to my last one and it's a scent that I am almost sure has been triggering my daily migraines since opening it last week. I saw Secret, which I love and never buy because it is so expensive, on sale for $3.99 and if you used your CVS card they'd give you $1.00 so it was like getting it for $2.99. I had a $2.00 coupon in my purse so I was like SCORE! When I checked out the cashier was having a hard time making my coupon work and I wasn't paying a lot of attention because all three of my kids were trying to steal candy bars (I mean, what do that think putting that crap down there so low?) and finally he tells me he can only take $1.37 off and I was like what the heck for? and apparently the deodorant rang up $1.37. OKAY. So I got it totally free and they paid me my CVS dollar to take it! I am going back tomorrow with another two dollar coupon to do it again and then the next day I'll use both my dollar coupons so I can get two more free awesome, unscented Secret deodorants! I am excited just thinking about it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

March 9

No spending on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Well, except to pay the jumpy house man and the big cookie place. But that goes on our birthday budget.

I won't be spending today or tomorrow either because I AM NOT going to the grocery store this week. I think I can make it all week on stuff we have here.

Our dinner menu for this week is:

Monday: Cheezy Cabbage Casserole with baked potatoes
Tuesday: Chicken Fritters with mashed potatoes and carrot slices
Wednesday: I'm going to the rodeo with a friend and the husband can do whatever the heck he wants for dinner.
Thursday: Chicken Stir-Fry over rice with potstickers
Friday: Gumbo
Saturday: Steak and baked sweet potatoes and carrot slices
Sunday: Leftovers

Everything except the gumbo came from Angel Food Ministries. The gumbo was made by my mom at Christmas and promptly frozen for just this sort of occasion.

Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6

Yesterday I spent thirty bucks to order our Angel Food box for April. Technically it's the March box, but since I pick it up the last day of March and will be using the food in April, I will count that thirty bucks toward our April grocery budget. There's gonna be ribeyes in it!

But I spent $55.00 in February for the boxes I am using this month so with Tuesday's grocery trip I've spent $139.41 total this month. And it's only the 6th of the month. Oy.

I do think if I work at it, I can still keep our bill under $250 this month. I have planned meals until the 18th on the food from the Angel Food boxes and with that shelf staple milk they sent I may not have to make it back at all next week. Whatever would I do next Tuesday morning?

Also, the husband refinanced our mortgage today. He was going to go with a 30-year at 4.85% which would've shaved over $400 bucks off our monthly payment and, incredibly, bring it very close to what we paid for that old house. That crappy old house that was half the size and price. But in the end, because interest makes him develop a tic, he went with a 15-year at 4%. FOUR PERCENT! It makes our payment more, but we'll still be saving about $250 a month.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 3

Well, I didn't keep it under $75. Yeah, I know, I could bring a calculator and keep track, but with a list, the coupons, and two kids I need to keep wrestling back into the cart, no thanks. I'll take my chances.

I spent $84.41 at HEB today.

Tuesday is my regular grocery day, but that is the last day of the sales ads. They were out of a lot of the things I went in for that were on sale. I was rethinking my strategy while in the store and thinking maybe I might want to change my grocery day to Friday, but then I remember that thing called "the rain check". Why do they call it a rain check? I have never gotten a rain check before, but I remember my mother getting them all the time. So when I checked out, I asked the cashier for rain checks and she was happy to give them to me.

Anyway, I saved $15.95 with coupons.

Some of the deals I got:

Little Smokies 50 cents each. On sale for a dollar and I had a dollar off two. They'll be nice to serve at the birthday party this weekend.

Minute Rice 82 cents On sale and with a dollar coupon

Crisco olive oil, 16 ounces $3.78 Used a dollar coupon and the in-store coupon for a free $2.15-one pound box of Barilla Plus pasta.

Carl Buddig Deli Cuts Ham $1.50 On sale with a dollar coupon, regulary priced $3.29.

And a tank full of gasoline for $24.02. A bargain considering what it was six months ago.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2

I didn't spend any money today! Yeah!

Tomorrow is my grocery day and I'm hoping to get out of there spending less than $75.

I want to see how far the Angel Food boxes will take me so I'll log it in here.

Yesterday for lunch we had half of the bag of breaded chicken fritters and some of the apples.

Tonight we're having the frozen salisbury steaks with 1/3 of the bag of frozen french fries and some frozen green beans I already had.

Last night for dinner the husband treated his skiing friends to steak and expensive vegetables and a frozen apple pie. With all these apples here he BOUGHT a pie? He did not give me the receipt because he knows I'd be ticked at him. And, well, yes I am. I try hard to spend frugally on groceries and he probably blew half our budget on that one trip. Grrrr.

So so far, I've made two meals on the angel food groceries. They say it will last a week for a family of four. We'll just see....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 28

Today I picked up our Angel Food boxes.

For $55.00, I got:

4 sirloin steaks
4 boneless pork chops
3 pounds boneless chicken breasts
6 salisbury steaks
bag of breaded chicken cutlets
bean soup mix
huge bag of frozen french fries
1 box of mac and cheese
1 box of instant oatmeal
1 package of hot dogs
1 pound of bacon
1 dozen eggs
4 oranges
4 gala apples
2 pears
1 pineapple
4 pounds sweet potatoes
3 pounds yellow onions
3 pounds red delicious apples
half a vanilla cream bundt cake

And I swear there was more I can't think of off hand right now. There was enough to cover my entire kitchen island, and we have a huge kitchen island.

I didn't even have to get out of my car, they loaded the boxes right into the back for me.

They say it's enough to feed a family of four for a week, but I swear I can stretch that to two weeks.

If it's available near you, I would highly recommend it.

You do have to order ahead of time. I paid for the boxes in February, but I'm counting it toward March since we'll be using it all in March.

So, $55.00 so far in March.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 25


I spent 27ish bucks at Village Pizza.

If we ever move again, it will NOT be near a restaurant. I wish we'd never set foot in that place. Sure, their food is heaven on a plate, but it is costing me.

Yeah, remember when I said I was going to limit our pizza intake? BWWHHAHHH.

When the husband goes away, I don't like to cook. I mean, why should I? The only kid who'll use eat it is Jacob, who'll eat pretty much anything, and then I'm slaving away just to put more leftovers in the fridge. Sure I could've just fed them another box of that mac and cheese, but I could smell the philly subs cooking from here and, well, I was weak.

And I got two sandwiches because I couldn't decide.

And french fries because I'm nice like that.

And, you know, throw in a salad because I kinda feel bad not cooking a veggie for my kids.

Oh, and there was the pizza.


27ish bucks. I threw the receipt away because I was too embarrassed to hang on to it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 24

I went to the good and fancy grocery store bright and early this morning.

In all I spent $84.80. $11.18 of that was pet food and $7.43 was for birthday party supplies. We separate those on our budget so I don't count them as groceries. So my total take on groceries today was $66.18.

The sales expire today, but I did get tangelos, seedless red grapes, blood oranges, and pears for 99 cents a pound so we'll be eating well fruit wise this week. I also scored a six pack of canned dog food for $2. Sure, one was missing, but the regular price was $4.59 so I think it was a good deal for five cans. Ezra usually eats dry food, but we do give him canned food as a treat sometimes and he's old and deserves to be treated well once in a while so I couldn't pass it up.

So our monthly grocery total for February is $267.73. Not bad for a family of five I think. My goal next month is to keep it under $250.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 22

Well, for a family on a budget, we sure did spend a lot of money yesterday.

My husband is cheap. Very, very cheap. But if he gets in his mind he wantsneeds something, he gets it. The good thing about this is he rarely wants needs anything, but when the need hits, watch out.

We went to JCPenney yesterday to have the kids pictures taken. I have a Portrait Club card so the sitting was free and I had a coupon for $3.99 a sheet, which is a must because the regular price is $14.99.

So, $58.85 for pictures to adorn our walls.

But then the husband walked a few steps over to the housewares department and found three pictures he had to have for our dining room wall. They were on sale, 50% off, but they still packed a punch at $70.00 each. I think we could've lived with two, he insisted on three, and $215ish dollars later our dining room is almost decorated. I'm not crazy about them, but the husband is, so I think we'll keep them. I'd have rather put that money in the education fund, but oh well. At least it was a semi-deal at half price.

So, $215, say, for more pictures to adorn our walls.

I also learned not to go grocery shopping with the husband. Ever. He makes the kids cry because he won't allow them to snack out of the cereal box like I do and when I say grab a box of the mac and cheese on sale, I ended up with five, so I don't save as much money with him around.

I spent total on groceries/household goods at Kroger: $73.92.

If you have Kroger where you are I got these deals:

Pillsbury crescent rolls - 75 cents
Schick Quattro Razors - $2.49 down from $7.19 with sale and coupon
Pringles - 70 cents a can
Pillsbury Toaster Strudel - 95 cents

And I stocked up on toilet paper, all different brands with double and triple coupons and sales. In all I saved $6.00 on toilet paper. I spent 12 bucks for 36 rolls of TP. And, WOW, has toilet paper gone up. It does disturb me to literally flush my money away like that, but what else can you do?

But I hate Kroger. They advertised milk at $2.49 but rang me up at $2.99 and I threw some Italian sausage into the cart because it was $2.00 but they rang me up at $2.99 for that. I usually watch so carefully, but I missed those two. I did call them on the 99 cent/pound peaches they tried to charge me $2.99 though.

So that brings my grocery spending for this month to $201.55. I was really, really, hoping I could do it for under $250 this month, but not possible. I still have to go to my favorite store on Tuesday for a few things because we are having dinner company that night and I anticipate another fifty bucks there. So now my goal is to keep it under $275.

And then there was $21.10 for a forty pound bag of dog food at PetSmart. Damn dog.

We should only spend $1.75 today for a Sunday paper for more coupons. I am going to do my best to keep the husband away from the stores today.

So, 368.87 today. OUCH.

Yeah, 1500 a year my ass.

Friday, February 20, 2009

February 19

As much as I knew I shouldn't have done it, I went to Target.

My middle child was wearing a pair of Lightning McQueen shoes that were falling apart and he really needed another pair. Sure, I probably could've skipped the shoes and just dealt with the fights upon trying to shove his feet into his sneakers every day, but he likes to just slip these shoes on and go and, honestly, that helps me out a good bit so I decided to splurge on another pair of shoes. And while we were in the shoe aisle, Sister decided she could not live without a pair of almost identical Dora shoes so I threw them in the cart too. They were 11.99 each, on sale from 14.99. Let's hope they last all summer.

The deals I got with coupons and sales were:

Pampers: 8.49
Huggies body wash $1.29 (down from reg. price 2.99)
Purina One dog food absolutely free
Transformers Valentines 74 cents

Valentine kitty book that I'll put in the bucket o' birthday presents box - a quarter

Of course I got sucked into the dollar spot again with some Easter gloves, some glow sticks for the next birthday party, and some birthday balls and toys for the birthday dog (Happy Birthday, Ez!) at 10.00. Sometimes I really hate Target.

I spent 11.15 on milk, bread, bananas, egs, cereal, and some Oreo splurging bringing our grocery total for the month to $127.63. I will make our last grocery trip of the month next week and hope to keep our total under $200 bucks.

So total spending for today was $106.71. Not a great start.

February 20

Through a link from a friend, I learned of a family who was trying to live off only $1500 for a year. That blog has been since deleted, but I was inspired to try my own version of spending frugally, or not all, throughout 2009.

Yeah, I'm late, it's already February, but it's never too late to save a dime, am I right?

Anyway, it's not realistic for our family to spend only 1500 bucks in a year. For starters, we spend $445 each month to send our oldest child to private school. Suze Orman would cringe at this, but for now, this is a necessity and we're willing to cut corners where we can to come up with the tuition. Thankfully, we don't owe another payment until June since we chose to pay by semesters this year.

My husband makes pretty good money, but only on paper. He's taxed pretty heavily and the healthcare contribution for a family of five continues to increase. We recently moved to a nicer and newer neighborhood, something we saved for ten years to do. Our mortgage went up initially only $400 but now with the fancy new-fangled PID tax and a mistake by our mortgage company at closing, we're up $600 more bucks for escrow until it's all straightened out. We can make our payments and won't default because we've kept a savings cushion, but with this increase, we now pretty much pay our bills and that's it. There's nothing left for extras. But we have three kids and birthdays arise and playdates come up and we don't want our kids to sit at home doing nothing for the rest of their lives, so I'm going to budget and shop for the best deals on all our household supplies and groceries, children's clothing, etc. for the next year.

My goal is to save enough money for another year of private school and possible bring our bills down so that child two can attend there as well.

So....today I was going to go to the grocery store. I haven't been all week. But I decided to stay home and enjoy the weather and the kids and don't anticipate spending a dime today. We have bread and cheese and tomato soup in the cupboard and I have a frozen lasagna I'll thaw for supper. Usually we order pizza for a kind of end-of-the-week fun dinner, but I'm going to start limiting that to once a month or for special occasions. So, by doing that, I've saved $22-25 bucks today.