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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crawl, Carol, CRAWL!!!

I've been neglecting this blog lately, but for a very good reason!

I've taken leave of my senses and signed up to walk a marathon. As in a 26.2 MILE marathon for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.

For the past several weeks, I have been training to walk a full marathon in my favorite place on earth, Walt Disney World. I'm also working to raise $3,700.00 to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I am walking in memory of my late friend Cliff Gorman, who died from leukemia in 2002.

Please visit my Team in Training Page at for updates, info and to make a donation in support of my efforts.

To keep up to date on my training progress and adventures along the way, you can visit the Crawl, Carol, CRAWL!!! blog at

There's also the Crawl, Carol, CRAWL!!! store at

From now through the end of October, I will be holding an online Tastefully Simple party, and the consultant has generously offered to donate 20% of the total sales to Team in Training on my behalf. If you would like to help by purchasing delicious food and holiday gifts, please e-mail me with "Tastefully Simple - TNT" in the subject, and I will send you a link so that Team in Training gets credited for the sale.

Anything you can do to help me get the word out, and raise needed funds in this challenge will be greatly appreciated! If you have a facebook page or web site, and can place a link to my Team in Training page on it, it would help so much!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Get $5 off $25 at CVS

Take a short quiz online, and get a printable coupon good at CVS for $5.00 of a non-prescription purchase of $25.00 or more.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't Throw Out Your Expired Coupons!

Did you know that U.S. military families stationed overseas can use expired coupons on base for up to six months after the manufacturer's expiration date? has a list of bases which allow you to send them coupons directly, even if you do not personally know a military family overseas. Coupons/Bargains at provides helpful info and guidelines for how and where to send them. Or, you can contact an organization like Coupons for Troops, and sign up to support a base.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week 4 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge!

This is it! The final week of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge!

I have some catching up to do as far as posting last week's details, but I managed to feed myself on $25 or less yet again! Not only has this been helping me budget-wise, it's also been helping me use some of the stuff that's been hanging around my kitchen for a while.

Last night, I tried something new - stuffed baby portabello mushrooms. They were really easy (and cheap) to make. A box of dozen mushrooms were on sale for $1.49, then I simply added some bread crumbs from my stockpile, mixed with some melted Smart Balance spread, and popped them in the toaster oven on 350 for about 20 minutes. Very Weight Watchers POINTS-friendly! I had 4 mushrooms with a Boca Cheeseburger on an Arnold Sandwich Thin for dinner. Total meal cost was less than $3.00!

For lunch, I had a Lean Cuisine Margherita Pizza that I bought on sale $1.99 each, less a $1.00 off coupon for 4 or more. I bought 5, so it brought the cost down to $1.79 each. Breakfast was my new favorite cereal - Reese's Puffs that I got on sale at WalMart 2/$5.00, less a manufacturer's coupon for $1.00 off, with some stockpiled Skim Plus milk (purchased on sale for $2.49 before the challenge, on 7/3/2009). Total cost per serving - $0.17!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Something I Learned Today...

"Good Housekeeping", a magazine that you would think would have coupons, doesn't have any! "Family Circle", on the other hand, has a few. "ALL YOU" has loads!

The End of Week 1 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge!

Well, I’ve done really well this week using stockpiled food! Yesterday was basically free, because I had stockpiled Special K and Skim Plus for breakfast, and then it was over to my sister’s for a barbecue.

So, aside from eating 1/3 of the black bean dip that I made from a 99-cent can of black beans, 1 tbsp stockpiled “herbs in a tube” cilantro and 1 cup of stockpiled salsa, and then a 44-cent bag of microwave popcorn later last night, my food was free!

Saturday, I had “Mexican Egg Scramble” that I learned to make from the Hungry Girl cookbook using stockpiled egg substitute, 1/4 cup of stockpiled Morningstar Farms “scramblers” sausage crumbles, 1 20-cent slice of Weight Watchers cheese and a tablespoon of stockpiled salsa.

I ended up not eating any lunch because I ate breakfast late, and didn’t get hungry until around 6pm. I fixed myself some Mexican Lasagna that I had made and frozen prior to the challenge, and ended the day with a 44-cent bag of microwave popcorn. For beverages, I had my daily pot of coffee made from stockpiled supplies, and 64 oz water lightly flavored with a stockpiled 4C Peach Iced Tea flavoring packet.

Total cost for the weekend's meals = $1.41

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 5 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

Cost of today's meals - This was a "spend" day, since my sister and I ate breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts:

- Breakfast: 1 large Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut Coffee and Bacon/Egg/Cheese on English Muffin - $4.76 (sadly, no coupons for either)
- Daily Pot of Coffee - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 7/3/2009)
- Lunch - Leftover fruit salad - $0.00
- Snack - None (wasn't hungry)
- Dinner - Leftover rotisserie chicken and leftover homemade pork fried rice - $0.00 (Chicken purchased, portioned and frozen 7/3, made the pork fried rice on 7/11/2009)
- Evening snack - 1 bag Walgreen's microwave popcorn - $0.44 (3 boxes/$4.00, 3 bags per box)

Beverages - water/coffee (I drink a lot of both:-)

Total cost for 7/17/2009 - $5.20

Total cost to feed me so far this week - $14.13

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Coupon Bonanza:-)

Here's an example of using coupons when items go on sale.

This week, my local Waldbaum's was offering TRIPLE coupons, and today was the last day of the sale. So, early this morning, I walked to the supermarket to make the most of my coupons. Below are the details of my "score":

5 Lean Cuisine meals on sale for $1.99/each with Valued Shopper card = $9.95
less 1 store register coupon for $1.00 off 1 Lean Cuisine = $8.95 (or about $1.79/each)

1 Package Weight Watchers cheese slices = $3.99
less 75-cent coupon TRIPLED = $1.74

1 1.5 qt container of Turkey Hill Light Ice Cream on sale for $2.49 with Valued Shopper card = $2.49
less $1.00 off manufacturer's coupon = $1.49

3 Morningstar Farms products (veggie burgers, sausage scrambles) on sale 3/$10 with Valued Shopper card = $10.00

1 bag Dole frozen fruit = $4.49
less 75-cent coupon TRIPLED = $2.24

Total for all of the above items after coupons and Valued Shopper card sale discount = $24.02
Total without coupons and Valued Shopper card sale discount = $51.59
Total savings = $27.57

And I have the receipt to prove it:-)

Days 3 and 4 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

Day 3:
Cost of today's meals - this is a "spend" day, as it's my only day in our New York office, and I treat myself to coffee and a slice of pizza:

- Breakfast: 1 serving oatmeal - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 6/2009)
- 20 oz Hazelnut Coffee from TAZ Deli - $2.00
- Lunch - 1 slice pepperoni pizza from TAZ Deli - $3.50
- 20 oz Hazelnut Coffee from TAZ Deli - $2.00
- Late afternoon snack at Weight Watchers Meeting - 1 Fiber One bar - $0.00 (stockpiled supply purchased at BigLots 5/2009)
- Dinner - Teriyaki turkey burger on Arnold Sandwich Thin with a slice of veggie cheese - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased prior to 7/2009 (condiments & seasonings), 7/1/2009 (turkey) and 7/10/2009 (veggie cheese)
- Evening snack - 1 small bag Doritos - $0.99

Total cost for 7/15/2009 - $8.49

Day 4:
Cost of today's meals:

- Breakfast: 1 container non-fat yogurt - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 7/10/2009)
- Daily Pot of Coffee - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 7/3/2009)
- Lunch - Leftover Rotisserie Chicken - $0.00 (frozen 7/3/2009)
- Snack - 1 serving flavored almonds - $0.00 (stockpiled BOGO sale 7/10/2009)
- Dinner - Teriyaki turkey burger on Arnold Sandwich Thin with a slice of veggie cheese - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased prior to 7/2009 (condiments & seasonings), 7/1/2009 (turkey) and 7/10/2009 (veggie cheese)
1 serving Betty Crocker mashed potatoes - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased at dollar store 6/2009)
- Evening snack - 1 bag Walgreen's microwave popcorn - $0.44 (3 boxes/$4.00, 3 bags per box)

Total cost for 7/16/2009 - $0.44

Total cost so far this week: $8.93

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2 of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge

So far, I haven't spent a dime on my meals! I'm making use of food I have stockpiled over the past several weeks/months. To give you an idea of how I'm managing this, below is my log of my meals for today:

Cost of today's meals:

  • Breakfast: Cereal and Banana - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 6/2009 and 7/10/2009)
  • Daily Pot of Coffee: $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased on sale 7/3/2009)
  • Lunch: Mexican Turkey Wrap ($0.00 stockpiled supplies purchased 7/3/2009 and 7/10/2009)
  • Afternoon Snack: - 1 serving flavored almonds ($0.00 stockpiled supplies purchased on sale 7/12/2009)
  • Dinner: Mexican Lasagna - $0.00 (cooked on 7/3/2009 and froze single serving portions)
  • Fruit Salad - $0.00 (leftover from weekend of 7/12/2009)
  • Evening Snack: 1 bag light microwave popcorn - $0.00 (stockpiled supplies purchased 7/10/2009)
Beverages - coffee, water - $0.00

Total cost for 7/14/2009: $0.00

Monday, July 13, 2009

The ALL YOU Grocery Challenge Begins!

Today is the first day of the ALL YOU Grocery Challenge! I have signed up to feed my family of one for $25/week for the next four weeks! This is going to be a major test of my Couponizing and using up stockpiled food skills. (You can use previously stockpiled food as part of the challenge, without using up any of your $25/week allowance.)

To aid me in this effort, I am making use of a free online service called SpringPad to create weekly meal plans, an inventory of my current pantry/refrigerator/freezer contents, a shopping budget, and more. I'm making all of my lists and plans publicly viewable. You can follow me there under the user name MsCarolM.

Do you think I can do this? We shall see!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coupon Tip - How to Maximize Coupon Savings

This is a fairly simple tip, but it's amazing how much you can save doing it.

Wherever possible, combine coupons with sales. I save a bunch doing this. I know certain items that I always buy often go on sale at my supermarket. For example, I buy Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers frozen entrees every time I go food shopping. The last time they went on sale, they were 3-for-$6.00! Now, add a doubled coupon for 75 cents-off 2, and you're getting three entrees for $4.50 - that's only $1.50 each!

Make sure you find out what your supermarket's policy is on coupons and sale items. Mine accepts coupons on sale items, and doubles them up to 75 cents on the first coupon. If I have multiple coupons for similar items, they only double the first one, and they don't double anything over 75 cents. Still, it's a great way to save!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Check Your Supermarket's Internet Coupon Policy

I found this one out the hard way about a year or so ago.

My local supermarket had always accepted the coupons I had downloaded and printed from the internet in the past. So, I went grocery shopping as I normally would, and had added quite a few items with internet coupons to my shopping cart. When I got to the register, I was informed that, due to some instances of fraud, they no longer accepted internet coupons. I asked to see the manager, because nowhere was any information on this policy change posted where shoppers could see it upon entering the store. The manager was very nice, and I suggested that, since they had accepted internet coupons up until recently, they post a very visible sign about the change in store policy at the front door. That way, shoppers would know before they got to the register with all their coupons.

But, lesson learned - check your supermarket's internet coupon policy before you download a whole bunch of them. Not only will you save yourself some aggravation, you'll save yourself some printer ink, too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Are You Having Fun Yet?

As part of my goal of giving myself away for free in 2009, I set up a free online community on called Fun with Finances 101: Relieving the Stress of Money Worries One Laugh at a Time. It's a place for sharing suggestions, helpful web sites, coupon savings information, support and encouragement during these tough economic times.

Everyone is more than welcome to join the community! I'm not setting any rules like "you have to post in the forums every day", but as in life, you need to show up. It's a work in progress, and I have no idea where it will lead, but it should be a really fun adventure!

As part of my mission to help people do more with less these days, I'm now starting this blog, which will contain tips and info on ways to save money, and will also feature information on The Couponizer system, and how it can save you more than money. I ordered one and saved over $38.00 the first time I used it. So, I signed up to become a Couponizer Coach, because I think it's a really awesome product!

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