Thursday, January 19, 2017

Back to the Shopping Trips!

I thought that I got so much at Super Doubles that I was going to stay out of the stores more but that wasn't the case at all.  I was at Aldi right after super doubles was over.  There were so many good deals this month that I couldn't help but make it to the store and spend a lot of money.  I posted all my super double trips and here is what else I have been doing this month and the money that I spent.

Aldi $11.73

I went to get turkey and pepperoni but also decided to get rice, chips and apples because we were running low.  I couldn't remember about the powdered sugar and my son's birthday cupcakes had to have frosting so I grabbed a just in case bag.  Turns out that I had enough but I used all of what I had so I guess it was a good choice to get.  If I hadn't of gotten it, I would have needed it for sure!

Wegman's $25.96

I took my son for a few errands and decided since I was close I would run by Wegman's to get my ground beef.  I found that the chicken was also on sale for $1.88 per pound so I grabbed that too.  The mac and cheese was on sale for $0.33 each so I bought three instead of the case (which works out to $0.32 per box) which I had been doing before but I hope that we get to enjoy these soon.

Harris Teeter $26.99

There was an electronic special loaded on my card for $1.77 for granola bars limit 4 so I was trying to decide whether it would be worth it to buy enough to use two coupons because there is currently a coupon for $1/3 and when I got to the store, they were on sale for $2 so I grabbed 9 and used three coupons.  There was another electronic deal for some Kelloggs cereal at $1.97 so I grabbed the ones that I had the coupon for so I used $1/2 for both sets of cereal and there was another $1/2 electronic coupon which I had to have adjusted at customer service but I ended up paying $1.10 per box.  The cranberry juice was on sale for $2 each so I grabbed a few more.  The margarine was on sale for $0.77 which is cheaper then I have been getting it and Aldi's seems to carry a way more expensive brand here now.  I added the Annie's mac and cheese which was free after sale, coupon and electronic coupon.  The Special K bars were $0.50 so I splurged and added something for me at the end of the shopping trip!!

Harris Teeter $42.65

My car was out of gas and I knew that I wouldn't have time to fill it the next day before work so I dragged myself out to get gas and grabbed 9 more boxes of granola bars because the sale and coupon made them $1.67 per box (way better then the $3.49 shelf price that made me choke).  The toilet paper deal was something that I had been thinking about because it was normally $15.99 shelf price and it was on sale for $12.99 but I got a electronic deal that it was $9.97.  In addition, I had a printable coupon for $1.50 off 18 pack so I got them for $8.47 which was $0.47 per roll.  That is a great price since the shelf price makes them nearly $0.89 per roll.  I had three coupons so I got three packages of toilet paper which blew my monthly budget.

Total Retail $199.35
Total Savings $92.02
Total OOP $107.33

Monthly Total Retail $568.06
Monthly Total Savings $377.52
Monthly Total OOP $190.54

I seem to have been over shopping and already went over my monthly budget.  I am a little sad that I went over on the first month of the new year but I know that I got a great deal on the toilet paper with the sale and the coupon for $1.50 off which is very rare.  I also got 18 boxes of granola bars but they were also an amazing deal with a coupon that was quickly expiring.  I only made it to the store for the second time to get the last trip because my husband couldn't fill my gas tank and since I was already out, I stopped at the store.  I didn't look at the amount of money I spent so far in the month so that was also my downfall.

I am torn but I know that there is another deal to get Coke and I have free Coke coupons so I will be back in the store this month and I have already gone over my total.  Here is hoping that I use a little creativity and make a lot of meals and special things to keep the total down next month.  I certainly haven't had the time to make a lot of things yet this month but hoping things are turning around. I know that I have chicken, ground beef, and many more things to last for a long time but I will need milk and lunch meat soon.  I will certainly be grumpy spending even more then I have already this month!!

How are you doing this month??

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

High Heat Book Review

I saw that there were two new books at the library in the Richard Castle series so I was super excited to grab those.  I find that I can't keep up with any series when I rarely look at the new release section but then I also run into the fact that things stay on the new release in our library system forever!!!  I often look at the same book that I already read to see if I have read it.  Do you ever do that??  Needless to say, I took High Heat (Nikki Heat) by Richard Castle out of the library and was pleased to find out later that I hadn't actually read it yet!!!  It was actually a semi recent new release.

An ISIS-style beheading of a journalist, carried out by a New York City group pledging fealty to that rogue state, becomes more than just another case for NYPD Captain Nikki Heat when the killers announce their next target: her husband, magazine writer Jameson Rook. Meanwhile, Heat is haunted by a fleeting glimpse of someone she swears is her mother... a woman who has been dead for nearly twenty years.

Super enjoyed this great book!! It was a great follow along to the television series and the books series already in progress.  There are many things that are interesting to follow and the clues are laid out in a way that makes you wonder if they are going to figure out the mystery or what the missing piece is going to be to make the whole picture fall into place.  Jameson Rook is always entertaining in the different trouble that he gets into and this was even worse because he is in the middle of the trouble.  Nikki Heat is charged with trying to run the police precinct and protect her husband, Jameson Rook.  There is an ISIS cell that is capturing journalists and beheading them and Rook was the next one named.  This was a highly stressful problem but kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next.  I enjoyed this series and the characters so I am hoping that there are going to be more of this good series even though the show is over.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Driving Heat Book Review

I was so excited to find this new book in the series and I was surprised that I missed the book when it came out.  Driving Heat (Nikki Heat) by Richard Castle was the next in series and I was excited to start reading it when I got home from the library.  I couldn't wait to get back into the series based on the television series Castle that was on ABC.  The series is the book series that Richard Castle is writing in the television series and they are very interesting mystery novels.

On the morning of her first day as the new captain of the Twentieth Precinct, Nikki Heat is rocked when her NYPD shrink washes up dead on the banks of the Hudson River. But the jarring murder of the man who knew her most intimate secrets is only the first of a series of blows to batter New York City's top homicide detective. She is soon blindsided by the discovery that her fiance, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jameson Rook, had been secretly meeting her psychologist as part of an explosive investigative article he is writing for a magazine.Nikki's sense of betrayal deepens when Rook refuses on ethical grounds to share confidential information he has learned about the victim. His headstrong stance and continued meddling in Heat's case strain their engagement to the breaking point as their professional lives drive straight for a collision.In this riveting new novel from his blockbuster series, New York Times bestselling mystery author Richard Castle steers Nikki Heat full throttle through the heart-pounding obstacle course of her most daunting and dangerous case yet. Her stakes have never been higher or more emotional as she races to stop an ingenious repeat killer with a chilling MO and a long list of targets. In her quest for justice, Heat confronts a narcissistic dot-com tycoon, deals with a headline-hungry auto-safety whistle-blower, weathers a hacking attack that cripples all of New York City's police technology, and faces unrelenting danger to herself and the man she may yet marry-if they both survive this deadly ride.

Another great book in the series!  This is the first book that Nikki Heat takes over the precinct to start leading the team which she used to a member of which causes lots of conflicts.  While trying to be involved in the investigation, she is still trying to balance her new leadership role the best she can.  Then they get a case that is close to home with her psychologist who was murdered.  With many murders on the board, they find out that they are related and have to work extra hard to find the missing pieces to solve these many mysteries.  I hope that you check out this book and see how great they are too.  If you like the television series. make sure you check out this interesting books.  I promise that you will enjoy them.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 1/16

Monday- Little Caesars Pizza
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Thursday- Chicken Stir Fry with green beans and white rice
Friday- Leftover Night
Saturday- Dinner out with family
Sunday- ??

Last week went a little crazy very quickly with too busy days and way too busy nights.  We ended up with a lot of leftovers.  My husband and I had leftovers on Tuesday while my son had pasta.  We ended up having tacos over the weekend with a busy night with my cousin coming into town and not a lot of time to make dinner so we had Barber Chicken on Wednesday night.  We ended up with recreated leftovers on Thursday night and my husband had leftover while we were at a birthday party on Friday night.  I went with super easy meatball subs on Saturday because my husband was watching football and I was exhausted. We went away on Sunday but the hotel had a kitchen so I made chicken and rice after a long day at the museum.  We ended up having lunch and dinner take out on Monday on the way home so we moved my son's favorite meal to Wednesday.   I just bought chicken so I am going to try to cut it up and freeze it and save the pieces for an easy stir fry for this week with my free green beans.  Here is hoping that this week goes better then the last even though I still had no time to prepare and a busy schedule with basketball practice, Spanish class, staff meetings and grocery shopping....tired just thinking about it.  Time to start the to do list!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Super Doubles Extravaganza!!

I was actually mostly ready for Super Doubles with a clean coupon basket and my coupons cut....except that I totally didn't have enough time!!  My son's birthday party was over the weekend.  I had to bake cookies because he wanted to decorate cookies at his party.  I also had to make the cupcakes for later in the party and then we had the party itself.  If that wasn't bad enough, we also had a snow storm that was horrible!!  I was totally ready to get lots of deals but no time to do it in.

I went to the store after work on Wednesday and Thursday but I just couldn't make it there on Friday with all the things that I didn't get done for the last few days.  I went to two stores on Monday which was my day off but barely had enough time.  Then, one last trip on the final day!!  I was hoping to make it more but I think that I got a great haul so here are all the pictures and amounts.

Harris Teeter $4.99

I went quickly after work and grabbed the free kids shampoo and the men's shampoo.  I got the clearance tea for my mom which they nicely price adjusted at the register so that I didn't have to go to customer service but that meant that I didn't get the full amount of the coupon which was a bummer.  I grabbed the Earthbound Farms salad mix with a coupon and paid $1.69 for fancy organic lettuce that has been a welcome lunch for me with my homemade salad dressing.  I bought the 8 lb potatoes for $2.77 which isn't a great deal but we were almost out.  

Harris Teeter $23.03

I used a rain check for the Twix and Milky Way Bites and the Quaker granola bars and the Barber Chicken saving a bunch off the shelf price and letting me use a coupon to get a great deal including $0.50 candy and free chicken.  I got some great deals but the Celestial Seasonings tea didn't show up on sale and neither did the P3 packs so I went to customer service and they gave me lots of money back.  It all ended up working out to the most savings trip of the whole super doubles even though I got a lot of splurges like my husband's favorite tater tots which are normally $4 but they were on sale and I had coupons so one cost $1 and the other was $1.50.  He was so happy to enjoy them again.  Last minute grab of the mini marshmallows for my son's birthday party and the ones we didn't use just went to make rice krispy treats.

Harris Teeter $31.51

I got two free bags of fancy organic frozen green beans, free snickers and lots of other deals including $0.08 taco seasonings and $0.99 mozzarella cheese. My favorite deal was the $0.77 Cooked Perfect meatballs and my husband's cough drops for $2 (since he paid full price at CVS last time he was sick).  I used a rain check for the Dixie Crystal Sugar which moved it from $3.59 shelf price to $1.88 and there was a coupon for $0.50 off each so they ended up being $0.88 per bag!!  The shortening is actually cheaper then Aldi so I picked it up because we were totally out.  The vinegar was on sale for $0.50 off and we are out so I figured that I should grab it.

Harris Teeter $6.72

There were a lot of things out of stock at the store but I got $0.39 rice and pasta sides, $0.50 Chicken Noodle soup (my husband sick comfort food), free Suave shampoo, free airwick starter, free sausage, $0.23 raviolis and $1.50 Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  I was a little sad that there weren't more deals to be had but I think that I still got a good savings.

Harris Teeter $16.96 

Final trip to the store and got all of the deals that I could.  I went to my other computer to print coupons and get free Zing sweetner, free ortega taco seasoning, free snickers, free sausage, $0.77 meatballs, $0.23 cheese raviolis, $0.50 tissues, $0.97 cereals, $0.97 Lance cracker packages and my husband's shampoo for $2.99 for huge bottles.  I wished there were some of the other deals still available or if I had enough time to come more earlier but I think that this was a great trip!!


Total Retail $368.71
Total Savings $285.50
Total OOP $83.21

The great news is that I got lots of things but I am half was through my monthly budget.  I had a few more things that I wanted to get and they were out of them for the whole time.  I am really low on tea bags and I need some more which were free with super doubles but I never got a chance to get any.  I have a bunch of coupons so I guess I will need to go back get some that aren't free!!! AHHH!!  Overall, there are a ton of things in the cupboard and freezer for months to come.  Here is hoping for a very productive second half of the month with lots of great purchases including a few things that we are out of like ground beef and mac and cheese from Wegman's and a great deal on chicken.  Hope your month is going well!!!

Menu Plan Monday 1/9

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade french fries
Tuesday- Pasta (son) and Leftovers (us)
Wednesday- Barber Chicken and white rice
Thursday- Meatball Sliders
Friday- Leftovers/Birthday Party
Saturday- Herb Roasted Chicken
Sunday- Pasta

I thought that this was posted but something happened and it didn't go up as most of the posts for this week.  I switched Wednesday and Thursday because the nights ended up being way different then I thought they were going to be.  Wednesday night homework is always the bad night because we have to do a writing assignment and that is the toughest for my son and longest to complete.  Here is hoping for a good week for the rest of the week.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Year End Grocery Spending

I haven't been tracking our year to date spending on an ongoing basis but I have a notebook with all my numbers recorded.  This year seems to be missing a lot of savings amounts like last year because I was too busy to track all that I saved.  I am hoping to be better next year tracking my savings but it is less important then just making sure that the spending is under control.

My goal is to spend under $160 on all of our household expenses for groceries, paper supplies, cleaning supplies, and medicine (except prescriptions) per month.  This gives me a total for $1920.00 for the year to spend on our family of three.  Below is the monthly totals that I spent on those items:

                                                            January                     $155.93
                                                            February                   $101.57

                                                            March                       $154.63
                                                            April                         $139.69
                                                            May                          $89.17
                                                            June                          $277.59
                                                            July                          $105.85
                                                            August                     $128.65
                                                            September               $92.32
                                                            October                   $259.92
                                                            November               $130.46
                                                            December               $156.56

                                                            Total OOP              $1792.34

I spent more then I have in the last four years but I think that I got a lot of things to take care of my family and still stay under budget.  It has been very hard to maintain the spending that low while working two part time jobs this year because there is very little time to put into following blogs and planning shopping trips.  I normally throw together trips at the last minute and possibly in the store to be honest.  I have had trouble keeping up the coupon cutting but mostly maintained the best that I could!!

                                                           Monthly Average     $149.36

I am happy to start a new year and try my best to do it again.  With my son getting bigger and eating more, we might have an increase in the budget to maintain that but the $160 monthly budget has been working for over 4 years and I know that the method is going to work to come up with the new budget.  Hope you have a great year and look forward to sharing for another year to come!!!