Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekly Spending Summary

Well, this is the vacation addition. I had hoped to be able to type a big $0 here but unfortunately soon after we got home, we realized that we had forgotten to stop and get milk at the farm we get it from. And so, Vince had to run to Giant and get a gallon to hold us over. Still, it was fun to have a week of very little spending. And amazingly I had absolutely no Extra Bucks or UpRewards that were close to expiring so I didn't even have to worry about setting foot in one store!

Total Spent: $4.03
This was for a gallon of milk at Giant.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Coupons at Coupons.com

Ebates: Cash Back for Online Shopping

Earlier today I mentioned shopping through Ebates to earn cash back on your purchase. It occurred to me later that some of you might not even understand what Ebates is or how it works. If that describes you, read on. Hopefully, your questions will be cleared up!

Do you sometimes shop online? Then you'll want to sign up for Ebates. Ebates is a shopping site that gives you up to 25% cash back every time you shop online. They have over 1,000 stores that you can get cash back at including Abebooks, Ebay, Walmart, Overstock.com, Kohl's, and Snapfish. Plus sometimes you'll even get additional savings with exclusive coupons and free shipping offers. And when you sign up you'll also get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase.

So how do you shop through Ebates?
* Simply sign up or log into your account.
* Click the "Coupons" tab to check for any special offers from the store you want to shop.
* If there are no special offers, click "Select a Store" on the left hand side of the site and find your store in the drop down menu.
* Click on the store's name and you're on your way to earning cash back on your purchases.

Note: It is very important that you go to the Ebates site first and shop through there, otherwise you can't earn the cash back as they have no way of tracking your order.

Have you used Ebates? What stores do you like to shop through Ebates with?

Weekly Spending Summary

Well, since we were on vacation, I'm a little off schedule, so this post is actually my spending for 8/14 - 8/20.

Total Spent: $47.24
Total Saved with Coupons: $39.38
Total Saved with Sales: $28.52
Total Saved: $67.90

$0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $35.68
Saved with Sales: $22.28

My out of pocket for this would have been $3.77 had I not used a gift card that we earned through our credit card rewards program. I paid $3.99 for three of the packs of Huggies and $2.99 for the other one. And then to top it off, the Huggies was part of a promotion where if you spent $30 (before coupons) you got a $10 gas gift card. So I got that as well! The Twix and CVS bandages were free with coupons from the little CVS coupon printer machine in the store.

Giant: $7.20
Saved with Coupons: $1.70
Saved with Sales: $6.24

I've been watching for inexpensive grapes all summer because I've been wanting to make fruit slush. (I really need to post that recipe on here. It's such a refreshing thing to eat.) The sandwich flats are for our trip that we are taking. Here's my confession. I do not really enjoy cold sandwiches that much...unless they are made with sandwich thins. So when we go on trips that is one of the things I splurge on. I figure it is still cheaper and healthier than eating out!

Aldi: $12.92
I had to buy yet more sugar for canning. I'm planning to make applesauce in a couple of weeks and know I'll go through a lot then.

Walmart: $12.36
Saved with Coupons: $2.00

I decided to make my own marinara sauce this year. I'm skeptical that it was actually cheaper than buying it, but I enjoy doing that kind of thing AND I know what is in the stuff that I make. Plus, the homemade stuff is usually better than most of the brands that I can buy inexpensively. Anyway...that is what all the tomato paste was for. :) The fruit pectin was free after coupons. I'll save it and use it to make jelly next year.

Amazon: $14.76
This was for 96 oz. of honey, which in my opinion is a great price. I was really excited because I was almost out of honey and saw this deal. And hey, you can't beat getting honey shipped right to your door!

The Children's Place: FREE Shipping + 20% Off (8/29 Only!)

I was excited to see this sale. While I love finding clothes at yard sales, sometimes I simply don't have time to go and sometimes, well, it's just easier to buy brand new clothes online at really good prices. :)

Anyway, The Children's Place is offering FREE shipping on all orders today, 8/29, and if you use coupon code Y6E2011 at checkout, you can get an additional 20% off- even on clearance items! Plus if you shop through Ebates, you can earn an additional 2.5% cash back. No, it's not a lot, but it does add up!

A few things I found (some of these are under clearance and some are just mixed in with the regular sections):

$3.99 shipped

$2.39 shipped

$3.99 shipped

$0.79 shipped

Also, this time of year, you can often find great clearance deals at The Children's Place stores as well, so if you get the chance you might want to stop by. It's a great time to stock up for next year!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vacation Time

I know I've been quiet on here this week and that is because we are on a week long vacation! Earlier I had thought I'd write some posts up ahead of time and then have them automatically post this week so that it wouldn't be completely dead on here. But, well, with canning 1 1/2 bu. peaches, doing 400 ears of corn, 2 bu. tomatoes plus all the normal stuff in the last couple of weeks I just simply ran out of steam and didn't get it done. And so, this week my blog is just going to enjoy a vacation. :)

Actually, Vince and I are enjoying an early 5th anniversary trip to the Boston area. We are thoroughly enjoying our time here and have taken in a whale watching cruise (we saw a LOT of them and it was amazing!), visited Plymouth Plantation (a great way to learn history for this non-history buff), taken a Segway tour of the city (this was a lot of fun!), as well as numerous other things. It's been a fun time, although I'm wondering how rested I'm going to feel when we're all done with all the running around we've been doing! It's okay though, it's still relaxing and we're making great memories. I wish I had some way to upload some pictures, but we actually haven't taken that many and I also failed to bring along the cord I need to upload the pictures from my camera.

I hope all of you are having a good week too!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Winner of the Lays Giveaway

Yay! We have a winner for the Lays Chips Variety Pack giveaway. Congratulations to entry #16- Jessica (email: reklaw422)! Jessica, please check your email and reply to the one I sent you within 48 hours.

Thanks to all of you that entered!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giveaway Reminder

Just wanted to remind you that the Lay's Chip Variety Pack giveaway ends tomorrow at 7 pm. So if you haven't entered it yet, be sure to do so!

And while I'm talking about giveaways, I'll give you a heads up about the next giveaway I'll be doing in September. It's for a daily planner that I absolutely LOVE called The Time Keeper. I'll tell you more about it then, but seriously, before you go out and buy a planner to use for 2012 consider The Time Keeper. It's totally the best!

Weekly Spending Summary

Whew! I think I majorly blew my budget this week! There were several reasons I spent so much.

1. I had to take a veggie tray to a family get together and well, getting a bunch of veggies just isn't real cheap. I also had to take meat and cheese for a tray and we all know that gets expensive too.

2. I bought several things such as the Compound W and cereal at Weis that I paid out of pocket for but will get most or all of the money back in gift cards or rebates.

3. It's canning season and I bought quite a bit of sugar- which keeps rising in price!-, jar lids, etc. And all that adds up amazingly fast.

We're going to be gone on a week long trip and I'm really hoping that will help balance out this week's spending! Let's just say that right now I'm kind of dreading doing my Monthly Spending Summary. :)

Total Spent:
Total Saved with Coupons: $56.92
Total Saved with Sales: $60.35
Total Spent: $117.27

Rite Aid
: $14.69
Saved with Coupons: $8.00
Saved with Sales: $12.98

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $25.97
Saved with Sales: $14.50

This was kind of a fun week at CVS for me. I had free product coupons or the Herbal Essence, Aussie and CVS body wash. I also had a $3/$15 baby purchase coupon that printed from the little CVS coupon printer a couple of weeks ago. I used that towards my Pampers purchase and combined it with manufacturer coupons to get a great deal. Love being able to stock up on diapers at low prices!

Giant: $10.68
Saved with Coupons: $12.25
Saved with Sales: $10.54

Weis: $15.30
Saved with Coupons: $10.70
Saved with Sales: $22.33

I was pretty excited to do this cereal deal. I bought 8 boxes that had the Cars codes on them and I'll be able to submit those codes online to get two $5 Visa gift cards. So after I get those, I essentially will have paid $0.20/box of cereal!! You can't beat that!

Aldi: $28.44

$10 of this was cash to use towards grocery items at market etc.


Anyone else notice the increase in butter prices? I don't like it, but I'm not willing to switch to margarine. It's just one of those things I'm willing to spend extra on because I believe it's healthier for us (not to mention, we hate the taste of margarine).

Glenwood Food: $32.69

I needed to stop and get some jar lids for canning and a few other things to make vegetable soup to can. While I was there I checked cheese prices and was excited to find cheese for just over $2/lb.! I haven't been able to find shredded cheese that cheap for a long time. I didn't need it desperately, but decided to go ahead and buy it and freeze it for later.

Misc: $20
This was for cash to use to buy produce at market and the above stuff at a local Amish store. I had to take a veggie tray to a family function an spent quite a bit on veggies. At least it was healthy food! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Giveaway: Variety Pack of Lay's Potato Chips

If you are a chip lover, you're going to like this giveaway. Frito-Lays is generously giving me a variety pack of their new Lay's Regional Flavors potato chips to give away to one of my readers. (See the apple dumpling recipe I posted as part of their Tastes from Home contest.)

Here's a little information about the new chips:

  • These chips were inspired by popular American regional cuisine and include:
    • Northeastern U.S. – Lay’s Honey Mustard
    • Midwestern U.S. – Lay’s Creamy Garden Ranch
    • Northwestern U.S. – Lay’s Balsamic Sweet Onion
    • Southwestern U.S. – Lay’s Chipotle Ranch
    • Southeastern U.S. – Lay’s Cajun Herb & Spice
  • All of the Lay’s Regional Flavored potato chips are made with all natural ingredients, and are cooked in healthier oils so they contain 0 grams of trans fats per serving!
  • There’s also less sodium in them than you might think – a 1-oz serving of our Lay’s Regional Flavored potato chips contains less salt than a plain bagel!

Don't they sound good? I think so!

So here are the giveaway details. One person will win one variety pack of the new Lay's Regional Flavors potato chips.

You have four different ways to enter the give away and each thing counts as a separate entry. Please leave your email address with each entry! The giveaway will end 8/19/11 at 7 p.m. (EST) and the winners will be chosen via random.org. I will then notify the winner by email and they will have two days to respond before the next winner is chosen.


1. Which of the new Lays Regional Flavors (listed above) do you think you'd like best?

OTHER ENTRIES (to be done after mandatory entry)

2. Become a follower of this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you are already a follower, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

3. Subscribe to this blog (see top left hand corner of blog). If you already subscribe, give yourself an extra entry by posting that in a comment.

4. Tell other about the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, or your blog and leave a link to your post in your comment.

Disclosure: Frito-Lay's is providing me with a variety pack of chips to give away to one of my readers. This blog post is also a form of entry for the contest.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

JCPenney: Sign Up for Email Offers

Have you signed up to receive JCPenney emails yet? If not, you really should as they send out some great offers from time to time. I find that signing up for store coupons is one of the easiest ways to save on purchases that are otherwise hard to save on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Tastes from Home" Recipe and Giveaway Heads Up

Frito-Lay's is launching five new flavors of potato chips, marketed as Lay's Regional Flavors, which are inspired by flavors and cuisines from all over the country. As part of their promotion for these new flavors, they are inviting various bloggers to share recipes that remind them of the region they call home.

I'm from an area that has a lot of good home cooking and I grew up with my Mom making nearly everything from scratch. With fresh apples starting to be available around here, it got me thinking of my Mom's homemade apple dumplings. I always loved their yummy, doughy, sweetness and since she didn't make them very often, they were a real treat. Here's her recipe:

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

6 medium apples, pealed and cored (leave whole)
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening
1/2 milk
sugar and cinnamon

2 c. brown sugar*
2 c. water
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add milk, press together lightly, working dough only enough to hold together.

Roll dough out on floured surface into a 12x18 rectangle 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick. Cut into six 6-inch squares. Place whole apple on each square. Fill cavity of each apple with 1 tbsp. sugar then sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Fold edges of square towards the center and pinch edges together, covering completely. Place dumplings 1 inch apart in a greased baking dish.

Make sauce by combining brown sugar, water and spices. Cook for 5 minutes, remove from heat and add butter. Pour over dumplings.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Baste occasionally during baking. Serve warm with milk or ice cream

Variation: Roll dough into rectangle 1/4 in. thick. Spread with sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Roll up like a jelly roll and cut into 1 1/4 in. slices. Place in pan, pour syrup over and bake.

*These are plenty sweet. You may find you like a ration of 1 1/2 c. water and 1 1/2. c. sugar better.

Would you like to try the new Lay's Regional Flavors potato chips? (Personally I think the Chipotle Ranch and the Garden Tomato and Basil flavors sound delightful!) Well, as part of writing this "Taste of Home" recipe post, Frito-Lay is going to give me a variety pack of their Lay’s Regional Flavors potato chips to give away to one of my readers. So watch for that giveaway post soon!

Disclosure: For writing this blog post, Frito-Lay is providing me with a variety pack of chips to keep as well as one to give away. This blog post is also a form of entry for the contest.

Monthly Spending Summary (July)

Another bigger month of spending, mostly due to buying peaches and subscribing to the Sunday paper. I'm pretty sure that my expense for the newspaper subscription should pay for itself through the coupon savings I'll have, but I still hated to lay out the money for it!

Monthly Grocery/Household Budget: $190

Total Spent:
Total Saved with Coupons/Sales: $206.80

Week 1: $11.80
Week 2: $54.27
Week 3: $15.65
Week 4: $56.53

Other Expenses: $93.61
- $45.76 of this was for a years subscription to our local Sunday paper. This is the first I've ever actually paid to subscribe to the Sunday paper but my one source of getting it free is no longer available, so I needed to do something! The rest was for 1 1/2 bu. of peaches that I froze to enjoy the rest of the year.

Credits: $88.00
- This was for some rebates that I did.

Ending Monthly Balance: $46.14
Balance carried from Jan.-June: $95.15

Ending Annual Balance: $141.29
- In case you are confused, this is the amount I have left over for the year. This comes from being under budget in some previous months. So basically I am ahead by $141.29 for the year. This doesn't make me feel too great because I still have apples, some more peaches and tomatoes to buy to can/freeze. I guess I'll have to see if I can be really under budget for the month of August! :)

Weekly Spending Summary

You'll have to excuse the strange lighting on my pictures this week. I must have accidentally messed with one of the settings on my camera.

I actually didn't spend that much this week but I got $25 cash out of the bank to use on fresh produce over the next month or so, so that really made my total jump up.

Total Spent:
Total Saved with Coupons: $62.66
Total Saved with Sales: $18.12
Total Saved: $80.78

Rite Aid
: $2.75 (plus used $0.26 spare change)
Saved with Coupons: $26.50
Saved with Sales: $12.60

CVS: $0 (gift card)
Saved with Coupons: $23.48
Saved with Sales: $1.30

I would have spent $1.46 had I not used a gift card. I had a $4 coupon from the CVS coupon machine that I combined with a manufacturer's coupon to get these diapers for around $3.50. The chips were $0.50 after a CVS coupon machine coupon and the rest of the items were free after coupons/sales/Extra Bucks. Be sure to scan your Extra Care card at the coupon machine each week- you never know WHAT you'll get!

Giant: $6.65
Saved with Coupons: $8.50
Saved with Sales: $2.24

I also purchased a small bottle of lemon extract that is not pictured.

Darrenkamp's: $6.10
Saved with Coupons: $4.18
Saved with Sales: $1.98

Misc.: $31.00
-This was for cash to use at produce stands, for the milk we buy from a local farm and fresh ground whole wheat flour from my mother-in-law.

Friday, August 5, 2011

You Might Enjoy...

It's been a long time since I did one of these post and since I have been extremely busy this week and have not really had time to post much I thought it might be just the time to do a You Might Enjoy post. Have a lovely weekend!

* A Reminder to Cherish Your Children
- I don't know about you, but I needed this reminder. I've been so busy lately and it's just too easy to see Logan as an interruption to my schedule. Sigh. I love that little boy dearly and he is NOT an interruption but a huge blessing to our lives. But I need serious help some days to remember that!

* 8 Tips for Clutter-free Counters
- One sentence: I wish my counters looked like that picture! :)

* A Neat Cake Decorating Method
- Loved this way of decorating a cake. I only wonder if I could actually pull it off!

* Walking in God's Economy
- I thought this was a good, worthwhile read. And I needed to be challenged again to remember that what I have I am simply a steward of...it is all really God's. Read Jen's post, I'm sure you'll be challenged!

Weekly Spending Summary

A week of bigger spending...but in most ways pretty normal.

Total Spent:
Total Saved with Coupons: $17.48
Total Saved with Sales: $10.53
Total Saved: $28.01

CVS: $0 (gift card)

This is crazy, but I can't find my receipt for my CVS purchases. I know that I spent nothing because of using a gift card and I know that my out of pocket would have been around $9 otherwise. This is higher than my normal out of pocket but I had a $4/20 coupon that I wanted to use and so I couldn't roll my Extra Bucks very well. I did end up with over $18 in Extra Bucks at the end though, so really I doubled my money which is the best I've done at CVS in a LONG time.

Speaking of the $4/$20 coupon reminds me of something else. Sometimes I get so tired of having to get rain checks for items, but occasionally it pays off. Thanks to having a rain check for the Bliss chocolate, Bayer aspirin, and Oral-B toothbrush I was able to get a great deal using the $4/$20 coupon. If I hadn't had rain checks I don't think it would have been worth me buying $20 worth of stuff. So sometimes those rain checks do come in handy!

Rite Aid: $1.55
Saved with Coupons: $6.00
Saved with Sales: $1.65

I had a rain check for the Gillette razor. The ball that you see my son proudly holding was bought as a reward for getting potty trained. He had spotted it earlier this spring when we were shopping one day and so I told him that when he's all potty trained we'd get it. Well, he's been potty trained for a while now but I kept forgetting to buy that ball when I'd go to Rite Aid. Finally this week I remembered and he was pretty thrilled. Bonus was that it was now on clearance! :)

Saved with Coupons: $11.48
Saved with Sales: $8.88

The Schick razors were free with a raincheck and coupon. I had a FREE product coupon for the creamer and had some overage on a coupon that pretty much covered the cost of the Grande chips. So really, my expense here was for the 3 bags of Good's chips. Let me tell you, I don't think I've ever paid so much for chips in my whole life and I about had a fit! But we were having a fellowship meal at our church and I was asked to bring 4lbs. of this specific brand of chips, so I didn't have much choice. So it goes...

Centerville Bulk Foods: $16.97

Just some random things I needed. Those lemons you see made some delicious fresh lemonade. I just enjoyed some of it this morning!

Kauffman's Fruit Farm: $22.19
- I bought some more freezer boxes to freeze peaches and applesauce in.

Misc.: $2.75
- For some corn (and it was really good!) and cantaloupes for fresh eating.