Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chili Recipe

Well I tried to post the pictures I took along the way when I was making the chili today, but Blogger is being pain about posting pics lately for some reason. Either way, here is the recipe:

CHILI

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
Baby carrots, chopped
Green peppers, chopped
Yellow peppers, chopped
Red peppers, chopped
1 lb ground beef/turkey
Salt and pepper
Chili powder
Cumin
Oregano
Seasoned salt
Paprika
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper
Thyme
1 large can (or 2 small cans) tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can chili beans

Directions:
Heat olive oil in big pot over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, carrots, and peppers.
Cook until soft.
Add ground beef/turkey and salt and pepper.
Cook until beef is cooked throughout.
Add seasonings.
Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, kidney beans, and chili beans and stir well.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 1 hour.

*You can freeze this once it cools.

**You can use any peppers you have on hand (today I just used a green pepper).

***You can use any combination of spices you have on hand as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rite Aid - 9/23

I stopped by Rite Aid tonight because I needed some new makeup and they have Cover Girl cosmetics for Buy 1, Get 1 Free. They also still have the diapers for $8.99 and I had a $3.00 coupon for them. I also had a $5.00 off $25.00 purchase. I decided to peruse the store and see what other things looked good. I found Rite Aid wipes for $6.29 with a $2.00 rebate and I had a $1.00 coupon. I decided to do all of these deals.

I got 2 Cover Girl products (normally $9.99 and $8.59, on sale for B1G1), a pack of diapers (normally $11.99, on sale for $8.99), and a pack of 420 wipes (normally $6.99, on sale for $6.29).

It would have been $37.56.
After sales it was $25.27.
I used my $5.00 off $25.00 purchase = $20.27.
I used a $3.00 off (diapers), $1.00 off (wipes), $1.00 off (CG), and a $1.00 off (CG) = $14.27.
I used $6.00 in UP! Rewards = $8.27.
I got a $2.00 SCR for the wipes = $6.27.
I got a $2.00 UP! Reward
I saved 83%.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Got Paid $5 to "Buy" Diapers at Rite Aid

I LOVE RITE AID!!! I think I may love Rite Aid more than CVS. With the UP! Rewards program, Single Check Rebates, Gift Card programs, $5.00 off $25.00 purchase coupons they have on their website a lot, and the fact that they will take as many coupons as are applicable, you can make out like a bandit there.

Well, today I literally did make out like a bandit. I got paid $5.00 to "buy" 3 packs of Huggies diapers. Each pack was normally $11.99, but was on sale for $8.99. They had a $2.00 UP! Reward (and you could get one per pack on the same transaction - no limit). If you bought 3 packs (over $25.00 - you could also mix and match with other items, but I wanted diapers), you got a $10.00 Rite Aid gift card. When I matched it with all of my coupons and previous UP! Rewards, it was awesome. Here's the breakdown.

3 packs Huggies diapers normally $11.99 each = $35.97
On sale for $8.99 each = $26.97
Used $5.00 off $25.00 purchase = $21.97
Used (3) $3.00 off Huggies diapers = $12.97
Used $3.00 UP! Rewards from previous transaction = $9.97
Paid $9.97 + tax = $11.05
Got a $10.00 Rite Aid gift card = $1.05
Got $6.00 UP! Rewards = -$4.95

SAVINGS = 100+%

Friday, September 17, 2010

CVS - Free $25.00 Gift Card

A few weeks ago we got a coupon that printed out on our receipt for a free $25.00 CVS gift card if you transferred a prescription from a competitor or brought in a new one (couldn't be a refill). I thought, "We probably won't need this (as we don't get sick much in our house), but I'll keep it just in case." Well good thing I did because I had to get a prescription for Procardia (contraction reducing medicine) this week. I brought in my prescription, paid for it, and got a free $25.00 gift card. That will definitely go a long way with how I coupon. I am thinking 5 packs of diapers. ;)

Great Kohl's Trip

If anyone wants to know how I do Kohl's, I wrote a thorough post a while back. Just click on Clothes Buying on the side bar. Tonight we went to Kohl's because I had a 30% off coupon and they were doing Kohl's cash back ($10 GC for every $50 spent) and Luke needed his Fall clothes. I held out until I got the coupon and the cash back. I am thankful they had it this week as I am 33 weeks pregnant and feel about 50 weeks pregnant. I had a tough time and was exhausted when we got home, but it was worth it.

We got Luke:
- A nice tie for church (he really wanted one)
- 2 6pk underwear (he graduated to white ones - he's too big for characters)
- 7pk socks
- 8 casual shirts
- 6 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of khakis for church
- 3 church shirts
- Fleece jacket
- 4 pairs of pajamas

All of that would have cost $504.98.
After the sales it was $285.77.
After the 30% off it was $200.03.
We saved 60%.
We also got $40.00 in Kohl's cash.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who Knew?

Since I have been doubly pregnant, I haven't been able to keep up with everything like I normally try to. It's been quite frustrating for me as I am a "make a list, check off the list" type of person. I would still try to write a nice list for each day, but I slowly found myself marking less and less off each day. It got really annoying. Lately, I've barely been able to do anything minus making the bed, straightening things up, dishes, and wiping things down. I can do laundry, but I struggle with the getting it from bins and putting it away.

Well last week, Lee and I were having my last baby shower at our house since the people coming hadn't seen our new house yet. We decided that I would do surfaces (dust, wipe down bathrooms, etc) and he would do floors (sweep, vacuum, mop) and straighten up (take things to the rooms they belong). Well, I ended up in Labor and Delivery for 6 hours on Saturday. I was instructed to put my feet up and drink water and to not do any housework. That might sound like fun to most people, but I have a tough time relaxing and not doing the things that I normally do.

Well Lee insisted that he take care of everything. I just had to let go and let him do it. The funny thing is, he did an amazing job. In fact, he cleans better than I do. He moved stuff when he vacuumed (I rarely do that), he dusted with real dust spray and a cloth (when I do dust, I use those Swiffer clothes), and he scrubbed the sinks and toilets (I usually use Lysol wipes and just wipe hard). I was very impressed and to be honest, very embarrassed that I had always insisted to do everything myself.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that my "job" is to be a wife, mom, and homemaker. It gives me my confidence and my meaning (at least in the sense of a daily purpose like Lee gets from IBM). Plus I am really particular (okay anal) and I like things done a certain way. Well who knew that he could do it as good, if not better, than I do it? You learn something new everyday. ;)

It was really a comfort to know that 1) he is willing to do things that I normally do without a complaint and 2) he will do an awesome job. Now, I just have to realize that more people can do the same thing for me. That's the next step. ;) I have a feeling that God will use situations to help me learn that as well. He always does.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Payoff of Stockpiling and Meal Planning

So back before I got into this whole "Organized Homemaking" thing, I really struggled with grocery shopping and meal planning (or lack thereof). A lot of the time we would go out to eat, but when I would actually cook, there was zero planning. I would just say, "Let's have spaghetti (or whatever meal sounded good)." It was a totally different experience back then than it is today.

Before:

I would just go to whatever store was closest (usually Harris Teeter or Super Target) and would buy what I needed. I would grab some pasta noodles, sauce, lean ground beef/turkey, a green pepper, an onion, and perhaps some frozen garlic bread/texas toast. I would also usually end up grabbing some other random things (especially if I went to Target).

I wouldn't have a single coupon, but I would grab what brand was the best "deal" that day. I would spend probably around $11.00 just for the stuff for the spaghetti. If I added texas toast, it would be at least $13.00, not to mention the other random things (ie cookie dough/brownie mix for dessert).

After:

Now, I coupon and only buy things when they are great deal and stockpile. I buy all of my meat on sale and individually package it for the freezer. I never spend more than $3.33 on lean ground beef/turkey and usually get it for better than that. I buy pasta noodles (whole wheat) for virtually nothing and spaghetti sauce (even the large jars) for under $1.00. I buy my peppers when they are 50 cents to $1.00 (I cut them up and freeze them in freezer bags). I still buy onions when I need them, but they are usually not that expensive (maybe 50 cents apiece). I also stockpile baking goods (like brownie mix) when it goes on sale. I don't impulse shop anymore.

So, even if I haven't technically meal planned, I can say, "Let's have spaghetti." I go to the pantry and grab my free pasta noodles and cheap spaghetti sauce. I grab a pound of lean ground beef/turkey and my diced peppers from the freezer. I either have an onion from my fresh produce shop or have Lee stop and get one (saving me money - he will not impulse shop). If we want garlic bread, I have it in the freezer (I probably got it for 50 cents). If we want brownies, I have mix in the cupboard that I probably got for free or maybe 25 cents. So, I cook the same meal (if not better since I only buy name brand with coupons) for roughly $5.00 (including bread and dessert).

So by doing all this couponing, stockpiling, and meal planning, I saved myself $6-8 (or more) for just one meal. Not to mention the headache of going, "What's for dinner?" "How about spaghetti?" "I have to go to the store." "It's not worth it." "Let's just get fast food." We have a healthy, home-cooked family dinner which to me means we are building family memories. For me eating around the dinner table at home is very different from eating around 10 other families at McDonalds while your kid plays (and doesn't eat). Of course there is the place and time for that as well (all moms need a break from cooking and kids enjoy playplaces).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CVS - Lots of Baby Stuff - 9/5

CVS has some great deals this week (9/5-9/11), especially on Gerber formula and J&J baby products. I also had some awesome coupons, including 4 $3.00 off $15.00 purchase, 2 $6.00 off formula, $8.00 in total coupons off the diapers and wipes, and the J&J coupons they mailed me.

I have 2 CVS cards (one in my name and one in Lee's name). I don't usually use more than one, but the formula/baby products deal was too good to not do it twice. We did three transactions with my card and two transactions with Lee's card (we went to two CVSs - used one card at each).

Here's everything we got:

Store #1 - My Card

Transaction #1 -
25.7 oz Gerber formula - normally $23.99, on sale for $20.00
2 J&J baby wash - normally $4.49 each, on sale for $2.50 each

Total before sales = $32.97
Total after sales = $25.00
Used a $3.00 off $15.00 purchase = $22.00
Used a $6.00 off formula = $16.00
Used 2 $2.50 off J&J = $11.00
Used $6.00 ECBs (from last week) = $5.00
Paid $5.69 with tax
Got back $10.00 ECBs (if you buy $25.00 in formula and/or J&J baby products, you get this)

Transaction #2 -
40ct Huggies diapers - normally $11.99, on sale for $8.99
360ct Huggies wipes - normally $11.99, not on sale

Total before sales = $23.98
Total after sales = $20.98
Used $3.00 off $15.00 purchase = $17.98
Used $4.00 off diapers & wipes (CVS coupon) = $13.98
Used $2.00 off diapers = $11.98
Used $2.00 off wipes = $9.98
Used $10.00 ECBs (from previous transaction) = FREE
Just paid the tax of $1.40

Transaction #3 -
3 Scott 6pk paper towels - normally $7.49 each, on sale for $4.99 each
2 Wisk - normally $8.49 each, on sale for B1G1 ($8.49 total)

Total before sales = $39.45
Total after sales = $23.46
Used $3.00 off $15.00 purchase = $20.46
Used 3 $1.00 off Scott = $17.46
Used 1 $3.00 off Wisk (I had 2, but she only let me use 1) = $14.46
Paid $16.05 with tax

Store #2 - Lee's Card

Transaction #1 -
25.7 oz Gerber formula - normally $23.99, on sale for $20.00
2 J&J baby wash - normally $4.49 each, on sale for $2.50 each

Total before sales = $32.97
Total after sales = $25.00
Used $3.00 off $15.00 purchase = $22.00
Used $6.00 off formula = $16.00
Used 2 $5.00 off J&J = $6.00
Paid $6.69 with tax
Got back $10.00 ECBs

Transaction #2 -
2 Wisk - normally $8.49 each, on sale for B1G1 ($8.49 total)

Total before sales = $16.98
Total after sales = $8.49
Used 2 $3.00 off Wisk (she let me use both this time) = $2.49
Used $2.49 in ECBs = FREE
Just paid the tax of 66 cents
Had $7.51 in ECBs left over*

EVERYTHING -

Total before sales = $146.35
Total after sales = $102.93
Used $77.47 in coupons
Spent $25.46 (plus tax)
Got $7.51 in ECBs left over

Saved 83%.
Saved 88% if you factor in the ECBs I got.