Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Sept 28th

Last week had it's ups and downs. There were some good recipes and some not so good recipes and some necessary tweaks to our menu plan. Sunday and Monday went off without a hitch! And I'm proud to say my family was very receptive to the new "Meatless Monday" tradition! On Tuesday, I was preparing to make the Ricotta & Ham Stuffed Chicken Breasts when I realized my ricotta was not fit for human consumption! So we just grilled the chicken breasts with a little BBQ sauce instead. On Thursday, I just did not feel like eating fish, so I made Bruschetta Chicken Bake instead. It's an easy dish that is one of our family's favorites, so it was a breeze to change things up for that night.

Now on to this week's menu:

Sunday - Rosemary Grilled Steak with Tomato Jam, Loaded Potato Skins, Baked Beans and Biscuits

Meatless Monday - Blueberry Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs

Tuesday - Mexican Chicken-and-Rice Casserole, Cornbread Muffins

Wednesday - Grilled Pepper, Onion & Sausage Calzones, Salad

Thursday - Tilapia Piccata, Rice-a-Roni, Broccoli, Honey Wheat Bread

Friday - Salisbury Steak (frozen meal), Mashed Potatoes (using potato reserved from Monday), Fried Zucchini, Biscuits

Saturday - We have a party to attend, so no cooking for me!

For more menu planning resources, head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Have a great week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Sept 21st

I'm working on organizing my office and in the process, I sorted through all my old magazines. I tore/clipped any recipes I wanted to try or craft projects to make and set the rest aside to be used for craft projects, school projects, etc. So now I'm on to trying all those yummy recipes in my "I'd like to try that someday" recipe stack!

I'm also trying to start implementing "Meatless Mondays" in our household. It's a bit of a challenge because we have quite a few picky eaters and this is a brand new concept for them. We'll see how it goes.

Now on to the menu:

Sun - Steak with Sherry Mushroom Sauce, Baked Potatoes, Corn
Mon - Refried Bean Tostadas, Spanish Rice
Tue - Ricotta & Ham Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Pasta Side, Green Beans, Biscuits
Wed - Mushroom & Sweet Onion Cheesesteaks, Mac & Cheese
Thu - Baked Tilapia (with Ritz crackers), Rice Side, Squash Casserole
Fri - Pork Medallions with Lemon Sauce, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Corn on the Cob
Sat - Sausage Ratatouille (from Oct '09 Family Fun Magazine), Cornbread

For more menu planning resources, head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dinner for Four for $2.00

I just served my family a yummy dinner for an estimated $2.00 total for the entire dinner for a family of four! That certainly made every bite taste even better! We had Spaghetti with Meatballs and Garlic Bread. Here's the breakdown:

1/2 bag Schwan's Italian Style Meatballs - Free (promotion details here)
Classico Pasta Sauce - approx. $1.25 (from Tom Thumb Living Well promo)
Dreamfield's Penne Pasta - approx. $0.41 (from Tom Thumb Living Well promo)
2 Archer Farms Artisan Mini Baguettes - Free (used Target coupon from HotCouponWorld)
4 Tbsp Butter
Garlic Powder to taste
Dried Basil to taste

The sauce and pasta cost me a total of $1.66 and I'm not going to figure out the cost of the butter, garlic and basil (which would be minimal) so I'm just rounding up to $2.00 total.

I sliced the baguettes, mixed some garlic and basil with the butter, slathered it on and popped them in the oven for 5-10 minutes for some yummy garlic bread! Meanwhile, I boiled some pasta and let the sauce and meatballs simmer in a pot on the stove. Turned out to be a really cheap, really simple dinner!

Note: While the Schwan's and Target deals are still active, the Tom Thumb Living Well promo has long since expired. I just wanted to post this as an example to all of you of why it pays to stock up when you find a great deal! If I hadn't had the extra pasta and sauce in my pantry, this meal would have easily cost me double!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Top Ten Grocery Savings Tips

A recent discussion on one of my mommy groups prompted me to come up with a list to help people save money on their grocery bill and stick to a monthly budget. I couldn't sleep and wrote this list at 3am so I apologize if parts of it are less than stellar, but I wanted to post it here nonetheless, so that some of you might benefit as well!

1. Plan Your Meals. There are generally two schools of thought on this: a) plan a whole month at a time, or b) plan weekly based on what's on sale. To really save money, I like to plan weekly, based on what's in the weekly store ads. Basically, you should create a master list of the meals you make on a regular basis, what your family likes to eat, including sides and such. Then you can take inventory of what you have on hand, compare that to what's on sale for the week, and plan accordingly. Many sites will summarize the best deals in the grocery ads for you each week. For the DFW area, I like,, For other areas (since prices vary by region), check the Grocery Gathering at for listings in your area. Another tip, plan your use of fresh fruits/veggies around what's in season. Even though most produce items are available to us year-round, if an item is in season, it's going to be much cheaper than an out of season product that has to be shipped in from another location.

2. Buy Extra on Sale. Most sales cycle every few weeks, meaning that what's on sale this week will likely be on sale again in a few weeks. If there is an item your family uses regularly, it makes since to buy enough when it is on sale to last you till the next sale. For instance, my family loves boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They are on sale this weekend at Albertson's for $1.68/lb. Rather than buy a little this week at that price and then buy more next week at $2.99 (or more) per pound, I'll buy enough to last us a few weeks until the next sale. This seems only logical and while many of us do this with meat, you'd be surprised how many people balk at doing this with other items. Even fresh fruits and veggies can be bought in bulk and then peeled, chopped, diced, etc and frozen for future use.

3. Shop More Than One Store. For some of you who live in more rural areas, this might not be as feasible to do, but for most of us who live in larger cities, we have our pick of grocery stores nearby. It may take a bit more time but the savings are worth it in the long run. Best case: Throw a cooler in your trunk and make the rounds purchasing only the best deals at each store. At the very least: Compare the ads and choose the store that has the best deals on the majority of the items you need that week. Also, check to see if your store will price-match competitor's ads. Wal-Mart will match competitor's ad prices, but sometimes the deal is better at a store that will double/triple coupons.

4. Forget Brand Loyalty. You can save so much more by purchasing store brands or even purchasing a different name brand that's on sale for a lower price that week. And a lot of the store brands are manufactured by the same people who make your favorite name brands anyway. If there is something that you absolutely can't budge on (for me it's my Colgate Total toothpaste), that's fine, just make sure you stock up when you find the best deal. But for most items, you'll learn it doesn't really matter.

5. Use Coupons. I hear people say all the time that they don't have time to use coupons. I laugh when I hear that! The sites listed above (and many others) will tell you if there is a coupon available to match with a sale and where to find that coupon. If it was a coupon that came out in the paper, they'll tell you what week it came; if it's a printable coupon, they'll provide a link to the site to print the coupon. The hard part is already done for you! Just cut it out and take it with you.

6. Sign up for Savings. If there is a product your family loves, go to their website and see if there is a mailing list or email list to sign up for. You can receive coupons and sometimes even free samples for doing so. This is especially helpful for items such as organic products that don't have newspaper coupons as often. And be sure to sign up for your favorite stores' email and mailing lists too. They usually send special coupons to their loyal customers. (You can create a separate email address specifically for this purpose so the emails don't crowd your inbox.)

7. Know Where to Find Your Store's Bargains. Most stores have a policy of marking down perishable items shortly before they "Sell By" date is up. Meat, bread, eggs and deli items are especially prone to this practice. Meat can be purchased for deep discounts when it is near the "Sell By" date and is still perfectly fine if used or frozen by that date. So stock up when it's cheap and fill your freezer for later! Bread, cheese, lunch meat and many other items can also be frozen for later use if you cannot consume it before the "Best if Used By" date. Here's a good list of things you can freeze for later use:

8. Think Outside the Major Grocers. Ethnic grocery stores are treasure troves of bargains! They often have great deals on meat, fresh veggies and other items that are prominent in their regional cuisine. I found a great little Mexican grocery store near my house that sells rice and beans in bulk, has very cheap limes and peppers of all kinds and they always have the best meat. I even found large containers of spices for a fraction of what I would pay at my local grocery store. Another favorite of mine are bread outlet stores, such as Mrs. Baird's. Not only can you find great deals on bread, but also chips, snack cakes, bagels, english muffins, all sorts of items. And my local store offers a punch card that rewards frequent shoppers with free items! But my favorite place of all has got to be my local Farmer's Market, bar none! The best choice of fresh fruits and veggies and often cheaper than my grocery stores' sale prices!

9. Grow or Pick Your Own Veggies/Fruit. Start a small garden with your favorite veggies, fruits or herbs. I'm currently growing onions, bell peppers, rosemary, basil and parsley in a small container garden in my backyard. Look for Pick-Your-Own Vegetable farms in your area where you can spend some family time together cashing in on a great bargain. is a great place to start hunting. Or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or co-op where you pay a set amount to help sustain a farm in exchange for a share of the harvests each month. There are many different options for many different budgets. Try this site for details:

10. Make Your Own Convenience Packs. Instead of buying pre-packaged convenience items, buy larger packages and make your own convenience packs. When you get home, spend about 20 minutes a week chopping up veggies, portioning out chips and snacks, and putting them in ziploc baggies or reusable containers. You'll save several dollars each week because you aren't paying for all that extra packaging! Don't believe me, check out the cost comparison one mom did:

If you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them - leave me a comment below!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Win a $25 Target Giftcard

Your Coupon Buddy and Your Frugal Buddy are giving away a $25 Target giftcard! Bonus: If you win, and you are a (verified) subscriber to BOTH Your Coupon Buddy and Your Frugal Buddy, your $25 Target gift card will turn into a $50 gift card!

Click here to enter!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kellogg Cereal Deal at Albertson's

The Kellogg Cereal Deal is back at Albertson's! Buy 4 cereals for $14, Get 3 Free, PLUS get 3 coupons for a Gallon of Milk at checkout! So you're getting 7 boxes of cereal and 3 gallons of milk for only $14. Pair this with our awesome Kellogg printables we got a couple weeks ago and you've got yourself a heck of a deal - 7 boxes of cereal and 3 gallons of milk for only $14. Plus, there's an in-ad coupon to get a box of Pop-Tarts for $0.99 when you buy 4 Kellogg Cereal that you can combine with this deal!

I just heard that some of the Kellogg coupons might be expired. I did the deal 3 times this morning with no problems but I didn't check my coupons beforehand, so I hope they were good! The word on the street is that some of them have different expiration dates, so depending on when you printed them, they might still be good!

Even without the coupons, it's still a great deal! I typically pay $1.99 for a gallon of milk so the 3 free gallons of milk are worth $6 to me (though each coupon is good for up to $3). So basically without coupons, it would be like paying $8 for 7 boxes of cereal. Pretty cool!

My Albertson's Trip - 6-3-09

I had a pretty good haul at Albertson's today! I went specifically for the Kellogg deal but found a couple of unexpected deals too! I made 3 transactions to get this all in.

21 boxes of Kellogg Cereal - 4 for $14, get 3 Free & 3 Free Gallon of Milk Coupons
Used: 19 $1/1 Kellogg printables - no longer available (and see Kellogg Deal post for details)
Final Price: $1.10 each plus 9 free gallons of milk!

1 Kellogg Pop-Tarts - $2.49
Was supposed to use coupon in ad to make it $0.99 but forgot to use coupon! :(

4 Mars Candy Bars - $0.99 each
Used: 4 Free Mars Candy Bar coupons from - max coupon value: $0.85
Final Price: $0.19 each (should've checked my coupon fine print first!)

1 Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks - $4.69
Used: 1 Free Oscar Mayer Beef Franks coupon - max coupon value: $4.50
Final Price: $0.19 (again, should've read the fine print!)

2 Clorox Bleach - $1.67 each
Used: $2/1 printable from Clorox MomWire
Final Price: Free plus $0.33 overage!

3 Glade Fabric & Air Refreshers - $4.29 each
Used: Free item peelie on bottles
Final Price: Free!

2 - 1 lb pkg Laura's Lean Ground Beef
Reduced for Quick Sale - $3.26 and $3.11

2 - 1.2 lb pkg Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey
Reduced for Quick Sale - $2.49 each

2 Honeysuckle White Turkey Breast Cutlets - $4.34 and $3.74 ($2.99/lb)
Gain Dryer Sheets - $4.39
1 Little Debbie Nutty Bars - $1.00 (Impulse Buy)
2 Bush's Baked Beans - $2 each
7 Albertson's Canned Tomato Products - $0.89-0.99 each
Downy Wrinkle Releaser - $3.99 (special request from my Grandma!)
1 Loaf of Bread - $1.59 (not pictured)
2 Dreyer's Dibs - $2.50 (not pictured)

2 Double Sunday Papers
One rang up $2.00 and the other rang up $2.89, not sure why the difference???

Total OOP: $76.67
Total Savings: $104.30 (58% Savings)

Since I got 9 coupons for a free gallon of milk and each of those coupons is worth up to $3 each, if you factor in that additional savings it brings my total savings up to $131.30 or 73%. It would have been even better if I'd just stuck to the sale items!