Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I've been doing a bit of research on how to play the CVS "game".  Last week, I picked up a prescription and got a $4 off of a $20 purchase coupon.  I checked out the ad, and was able to find a good sale on training pants (still!), and a few other things to total $21 and change, and got $7 in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) to use on a future purchase.  This week, I really planned it out - I went in by myself (thank you Toddler Time!!), selected a basket full of items, and then sorted it out into 4 transactions at the checkout counter.  The cashier was incredibly patient, as I had picked a couple items that didn't follow my plan, and talked about how she liked to play the "game", too.  So, here's todays purchases:

Transaction #1

  • Carefree Pantiliners / 13.78 / 9.00 /accumulating
  • Neosporin / 5.49 /5.49 / accumulating
  • Neo To Go / 6.49 / 5.50 / accumulating
  • $4/$20 coupon      -4.00
  • $2.00 ECB           -2.00
  • $5.00 ECB          -5.00
TOTAL / 25.76 / 9.62

Transaction #2
Item / Regular Price / Sale Price / ECBs
  • J&J Bedtime Cream / 4.29 / 3.99 / 10 (combined with T#1 purchases)
TOTAL / 4.29 / 3.99 / 10

Transaction #3
Item / Regular Price / Sale Price / ECBs
  • Starburst / 0.79 / 0.50 / accumulating
  • Hershey's Nuggets / 3.49 / 2.50 / accumulating
  • Kitkat 4 pack / 1.29 / 1.00 / accumulating
  • Trident 3 pack / 2.79 / 2.00 / accumulating
  • M&M Premium / 4.99 / 4.00 / 5
  • Old Spice Deodorant / 3.99 / 2.99 / 0
  • $10 ECB -10.00
TOTAL / 17.34 / 2.99 /5

Transaction #4
Item / Regular Price / Sale Price / ECBs
  • Scott Towels 8 pack / 9.99 / 4.99 / 0
  • Bandaids / 3.29 / 2.99 / 2
  • $5 ECB -5.00
TOTAL / 13.28 / 2.98 / 2

GRAND TOTALS  Regular Price Sale Price ECBs
TOTAL / 60.67 / 19.58 / 2

That seems like a pretty good deal to me.  I stuck to buying only items that we'll actually use.  I also got another $4/$20 coupon, which I will use next week.  I definitely wasn't very smooth, but as I said, the cashier was very patient and nice.  Even adding this to the rest of my grocery spending (for this two-week period) leaves me with $35 for items that come up, saving for future meat purchases, and next week's CVS-ing!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Another Monday, another menu plan!

Last week went well - again a little out of order, but I tried a few new things that are keepers!  The Stir-fried Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce got rave reviews - it actually tasted a bit like takeout Szechuan Chicken - yum!  The Two-Sauce Lasagna was also really good.  I'm not a huge lasagna fan, but I really liked how this one turned out.

This week (and next week) are short due to family things on the weekends - a reunion this weekend, and a wedding next weekend.  Because of that, I planned for the 9 days we'd be here the next two weeks, and grocery shopped accordingly.  We also have a cousin coming to stay a few days (starting today), so a few bigger meals are planned.  I do have the menu split into two weeks, and here's this weeks:

Monday:  Crockpot Venison Roast, Potato Salad, Green Beans, Bread

Tuesday:  Pizzas, Salad

Wednesday:  Shepherd's Pie (from the freezer), Bread

Thursday:  Beans on Toast & Eggs (or leftovers)

Friday - Saturday: Family Reunion

Sunday:  Leftovers (or Beans on Toast & Eggs)

I'm not really attempting too much homemade this week.  It seems like it's going to be a very busy week.  We did bake bread and make biscuits for the freezer on Saturday, and Nora and I will make cookies today, but that's it.

For more great menu ideas, head on over to OrgJunkie.  Thanks, Laura!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Grocery Budget

We recently revised our budget for groceries down a bit, and I am happy to report we are staying on budget.  Last week, we came in at $59 for the week.  The next two weeks are a bit different, as we will be traveling on the weekends for family functions, so I sketched out a menu and grocery list for 9 days.  Nora and I went to the grocery store and CVS yesterday, and we spent $68 - including a small bag of gummy worms.   I think I've even got all of my staples covered.  I will probably buy a gallon of milk at some point; if we have any kind of cereal in the house, it disappears fast.

Part of staying on or under budget has been making some of the foods we used to buy from scratch.  Tortillas, syrup, and croutons all turned out very well.  I think we're going to start baking bread ourselves, too.

The other (major!) part of our grocery-store-economy is that we have a freezer full of venison.  Working that into meals sure drives the cost down.  My plan (hope?) is that we will be under budget so consistently that when we do finish using the venison, we will have a kitty to spend on a side of beef or some other comparable large amount of meat for the freezer.

Now if we could just be more disciplined about our entertainment budget, we'd be doing great!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I am really enjoying menu planning - and so is my budget.  We were pretty successful last week - some things got out of order due to a missing ingredient: flour!  It seemed pretty challenging to make flour tortillas without flour, so we just switched things around a bit. I think I've managed to get all of my staples for this week, so I shouldn't need to get anything at the grocery store!

Cuban Black Beans with Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Cuban Black Beans with Pork Tenderloin

In addition to menu planning, I'm trying my hand at making some of our more-commonly purchased "convenience food" here at home.  Last week was tortillas and waffles (made and frozen).   This week, it will be pancake syrup (we used up what we had on waffles!) and croutons. There are other foods I'd like to make instead of buy, but I figure I'll start with a few things at a time.
Without further ado, this week's menu:

Breakfasts:  Hard-boiled eggs, steel-cut oats, lemon scones, waffles and syrup

Lunches:  Leftovers, sandwiches, soup

  Monday:  Shepherd's Pie (I add frozen corn, and pretty much make the gravy with a pinch of this, alittle of that)
  Tuesday:  Beans on Toast with Eggs
  Wednesday:  Stir-fried Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce (I add a little ketchup, a few drops of fish sauce, and some cornstarch dissolved in cold water to thicken it), Stir-fry veggies (frozen), Rice 
  Thursday:  Lasagna, Salad (with croutons), Bread 
  Friday:  Brats, Corn, Salad
  Saturday:  Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas (just tortillas wrapped around cooked chicken cubed up and a ton of cheese, smothered in canned enchilada sauce and more cheese, then baked at 350 till bubbly), refried beans, fixings 
  Sunday:  Leftovers/catch-up day

Desserts:  Rice pudding (using leftover rice from Wednesday), Cherry Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Pound Cake (yes, it is as good-tasting and bad-for-you as it sounds)

Please visit Laura at Organizing Junkie for many more delicious menus!  

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first attempt at publishing my menu for the week.  I have done menu planning sporadically in the past, and I'm hoping to stay a bit more accountable about it.

Venison Burgers (with all the trimmings)
Crash Hot Potatoes (from the pioneerwoman.com)

Pork Tenderloin
trimmings - lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream


Stir-fry Veggies
Steamed Rice

Tuna Melts

Grilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Out to eat for Dinner
Sandwiches/leftovers for supper

Thank you Laura at Organizing Junkie.  More great menu plans and recipes are over there!

Menu Plan Monday (figuring out formatting)

Thank you Laura at Organizing Junkie.