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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!

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