Thursday, March 15, 2018

It is the Middle of the Month Already or Is it the END????

Every month, I budget $160 per month for my family of 3 for all our groceries including food and  household goods.   I shop sales and coupons to get the most for my money and stretch our money out through the month to get the best deals.  I like to cook and bake most of our meals at home and do a monthly meal plan to spread out the meals a little more evenly.  We budget $40 a month for eating out or take out.  With a plan for dinner around the events in our lives, we are able to choose when we are going out and look forward to a special treat.  I share what I get every month at the store so that you can see it is possible to spend very little and still feed your family every night with yummy meals.

I was exhausted after my first back to back super doubles.  The first one was three days and then there was the second one right after so it was 7 days straight of different sales and coupons.  I was so overwhelmed with the amount of the deals that I really needed or that were money makers to pay for other things.  I got so much that my son opened the freezer and said "Holy Rice" and my husband didn't understand and didn't ask.  Later my husband opened the freezer and he said "HAHAHA  Holy Rice!  I get it now!"  The freezer had the bags of frozen rice across the top so you couldn't see anything else.  I got them for free so I got all that I could of course!!

I went sometimes during the day and then again at night which was exhausting but I got lots deals and saw lots of different stores to try to get the stock because it was a tough sale for finding stock in stores.  I don't know if I remember all the prices or deals and why I got money back at all the stores but I am going to try to explain each trip to the best of my ability.

Harris Teeter $4.99

I went to get some of the free things but top on my list was the diapers because I was stocking up on them for my shower gift for my cousin (of course she just saw them but she asked for them so it isn't a huge surprise).  They were $1.99 per package so they went quickly.  The Barilla, Swiffers, Wish Bone, Findlanda, and Chobani were all free.

Harris Teeter $16.36

I got three packages of diapers for $1.99 each.  The Swiffer, Garnier, Peas, Barilla, Finlanda, and Jones sausage were all free.  The bacon was a huge splurge at $0.99 per package but I enjoyed the yummy lunch that I had with them and I will enjoy it lots this month.  I got the Windex because we were down to only 2 and they were $1.50 each.  I got the turkey lunch meat to replace the one that I had when the power went out so we had to trash it.  It was $3.49 after sale and coupon.

Harris Teeter - $2.64

I went to another store with my couponing buddy and I tried out the catalina and it didn't work because their catalina machines weren't working.  Customer service gave me back the money so instead of using it towards a future order, I subtracted it off here so this one was a money maker.  It was a tough break because the catalina doubles so I was looking forward to using it to make an even bigger profit.

Harris Teeter $2.79

This was my second transaction that I was hoping to use the catalina from the first to pay for but there were still some good deals that I couldn't pass up.  I got free shampoo, Barilla, Sweet Tarts.  I paid $0.50 for the huge bottle of Dawn which has been the price of the smaller Dawn recently so I decided to grab two.  My deodorant was on sale half off so I got two and turned in the rebate for $0.50 on Ibotta.  The Poise was $0.99 after sale and coupon and there was a $3 rebate so I turned that in on Ibotta.  The customer service person gave me my money back for the missing catalina so I didn't have to worry about that and took it off my total spent since I got it in cash.

Harris Teeter $3.76

I got the free Barilla, Shampoo, Rice, Sausage and Chobani so the only thing that I paid for was the chicken.  I decided to try these for dinner and they were tasty.  They were on sale for $2.99.  I got the catalina from the shampoo to use on another transaction.

Harris Teeter $0.42

These were all free and I only paid tax.  I got the catalina finally and I did a little happy dance.

Harris Teeter $1.72

This included free Barilla, Garnier Shampoo, L'Oreal Shampoo, Jones Sausage and I grabbed 5 deodorants and the $0.99 Organic Rice and used the catalina to pay for it.  Another catalina came out to use for another transaction.

Harris Teeter $0.36

This was for three shampoos and I only paid tax but I can't find a picture of them so I don't know what happened here.

Harris Teeter $4.42

I was trying to figure out what I was going to get based on what was left in the store.  I got the free shampoo and pasta.  I got the Crunch Master Crackers which were $0.24 each.  I had the catalinas to use so I went a little crazy.  I got three bags of the Baked Chicken which was $2.99.  I got one of the Perdue Chicken which was $2.50 after sale and coupon.  I think that I must have used two catalinas to pay for this transaction.

Harris Teeter $0.77

Everything was free except the $0.09 Sweet Tart Ropes which were $0.09 so I paid for that and tax on this transaction and was supposed to trigger a catalina from the shampoo but it did print at the register that I was at and the customer service person refused to credit me so I had to call customer service to get the money back on my account.

Harris Teeter $7.27

This was my splurge trip and I was going to pay with the catalina but I didn't have it so I was a little sad because I had to pay for everything out of my pocket.  I should have put things back but I was a little confused and just got everything.  My son requested ice cream sandwiches and Brown Cow ice cream.  They were $1.99 and $2.49 each.  I got the $2.99 Baked Chicken Nuggets and the $0.99 Mahatma Rice.  The Colgate toothpaste was free after coupon.

Harris Teeter $0.19

I got only the free stuff at the store so I paid for tax.

Harris Teeter $0.14

More free stuff and more tax.

Harris Teeter $0.60

I went to the store and got three shampoos and three swiffers and got my catalina to use on my next transaction.  I paid only tax on these.

Harris Teeter $25.90- $2.00= $23.90

I got the free Noodles, Noodle Bowls and Eggs.  I don't know what I was thinking but the Cottonelle was a great deal because you got the Evic special pricing on 4 and there was a $0.75 coupon off on each and then when you bought $15 woth, you got a $3 catalina to use on your next transaction.  It worked out to an amazing deal and I couldn't help getting more although I now have 168 rolls so I really need to pass on the next deals and save money in the budget for other things.  I got the Glad trash bags which were on sale and there was a coupon to get them for $3.97 per box.  I decided that while I was going crazy that I should get the evic deal on the Pringles because they are $0.97 and there was a $1 off 2 coupon that doubled to make it super cheap.  Although my highest total out of pocket of any of my trips.  I am sure that I used one of my catalinas to pay for this too.During one of the last trips, I gave a few coupons to my couponing buddy to get the last catalina on the shampoo so she kept the shampoo and gave me $2 towards half of the catalina so that I could use it towards this transaction and I almost forgot to subtract it out of my budget.

Harris Teeter $9.86

$1.49 Cheez-Its, $0.74 Cocoa Pebbles and $0.99 Rice which I used the $3 catalina from the previous transaction to lower the out of pocket costs.

Harris Teeter $4.46  

I had been looking every day in multiple stores and they didn't have the diapers but they were finally back in so I grabbed two more packs.


Giant $0.10

I went to the store to get the freebies which were the Fage Crossover, Muuna Cottage Cheese, and the Tic Tac Gum.  I used a coupon on the gum to get overage which paid for the Ortega seasoning which was on sale for buy one, get one free so I paid only tax.

Harris Teeter $9.69- $6.00= $3.69  

This trip was a little crazy and I went to customer service and returned a bag of frozen rice that was open so it spilled all over my bag by the time that I got home and I obviously wasn't going to eat.  They didn't have a replacement for it so she gave me $2 back.  I bought all my groceries and I don't know if I did it one or two transactions but I was so tired when I made it home that I took it as one.  I got the free noodles, noodle bowls, tea, eggs, bomerang pot pies and pizza dough.  I got the Cheez-Its Grooves which we have never had because there was a rebate on them through Checkout 51.  They were $1.49 each and I turned in a rebate for $3.  There was a credit that was supposed to issue and they tried to fix it and they issued me the money at customer service.

Target $0

I used my Pay Pal money to place an order for the Quaker granola bars that my son likes because they haven't been on sale at the store recently.  They were on sale at Target and I got to use my free money that I transferred to Pay Pal from Ibotta and Saving Star so it was a great addition to the budget and the pantry.

Harris Teeter $3.21

I got the noodles, noodle bowls and tea for free.  There was a promotion on the So Delicious Yogurt and Milk.  If you buy four yogurts, it takes off a free milk.  The yogurts were on sale for $1.25 but I had coupons to get $1 off 2 so they ended up being $0.25 each.  I used a coupon for the milk too and it gave me $1.25 off because it only doubled to the price of the yogurt but gave me enough that I got all of them for free with $0.25 overage.  The Cheez-Its were $1.49 per box.

Harris Teeter $1.61

I was totally confused by the time that I finished the checkout and I was down to my last two coupons on my card with a few more things that I wanted to get.  I got these two because I thought that I had two Saving Star rebates for these but there wasn't one for the cereal so either it expired or my tired brain made it up to justify buying these.  My son didn't like it but I thought it was a great and tasty snack although it cost me a $1 which is above my price for cereal especially without the rebate coming back.  The Cascadian Farms granola bars are for me and I paid $0.50 after sale and coupon and I will get back $1 on Saving Star for the Cascadian Farms bars.  Not like I was throwing away money but my tired brain shouldn't have been making choices this late at night.

Harris Teeter $ 4.32

I went to the store to get the free cream cheese, free noodles, free noodle bowls, free tea and free juice with money making rebate.  I got $2.15 back from Ibotta and $1 for the Pringles from Checkout 51.

Aldi $4.99

We were out of milk.  There was a lot of excitement in the house because between my son drinking and recipes, we used up the milk before it went bad which had been a problem here with lots of winter colds.  I grabbed two bags of the popcorn because we only have 3 lbs left in the freezer so we will surely need some and it is a seasonal item at Aldi so I don't want to miss the "season."

Harris Teeter $0.05

I ran to the store to get the weekend freebies of the Oreos and the yogurt.  I decided to grab the noodles and use two coupons.  I only paid tax.

Harris Teeter $8.96 

I wasn't expecting another trip to the store but three of us went to the store to see what we could get.  I decided on the free noodles and noodle bowls to use up the last of my coupons.  I got the juice for free after coupon and turned it in for a rebate.  I got the Honey Maid Smores Cereal for $0.74 and turned it in for $0.50 rebate.  I got the meatballs for $0.99 after sale and coupon and then I turned them in for a $1 rebate for Checkout 51 on each bag.  I got the Quaker Breakfast Flats for $1 each and turned them in for a $0.50 rebate each.  I got one Breakfast Squares for $1 and turned it in for $0.50 rebate.  Because there were so many Ibotta rebates I got a $3 promotion and I also got a $0.50 promotion for getting both Quaker promotionsIn case you don't have an internal calculator, after rebates I got $11.40 back in rebates just on this order so I am glad that I went back to the store even though I didn't want to spend more money out of the budget.

Harris Teeter $3.63

I went back to get the two deals that didn't need super doubles and only regular doubles because my Ibotta rebates reset.  I got $0.50 for each item and $0.25 any item and $1 bonus so it was $3.25 back in rebates so it was a great deal that I just couldn't pass up.

Aldi $19.13

I went to the store because my son enjoyed the ice cream sandwiches from Harris Teeter but told me that he liked Aldi better.  I was in the area to get my car serviced and I decided to grab most of the things on the list that I would need later in the month except milk.

Total Retail $1078.51
Total Savings $949.45
Total OOP $129.06

I hope that you had a great first half of the month!!  I was so busy but I got a ton and saved even more.  I had so much fun last month with the Splenda catalina that this one was even more fun but the catalina machines made it a little bit of a challenge.  I was not sure how much I actually saved because I had so many not print and I am not sure if I even got the right amounts back from customer service when I called but I think that I saved around $39 with the catalinas that I got and the cash back from the ones that didn't print so it seems like it worked out well except it was way lower then last month because there was limited supply of the shampoo to get even though we got additional coupons.

I got back a ton of money in rebates including $21.90 in Ibotta, $7 in Checkout 51 and $2.55 in Saving Star plus additional 1% of the Nabisco and P&G products which I have no clue how much that will add up to.  I got a total of $28.20 back from the items that were already great deals.  I don't count this money back into the grocery budget because I don't transfer it into my bank account but rather my Pay Pal so I used it for other things and we call it our free money.  It has paid for school pictures, Stride Rite Shoes, Home Depot Insulation and Vitamins and Granola Bars at Target.

Although I totally over spent in the first half of the month with all the purchases, I hope that this will keep us out of the store for the rest of the month with all that we have at home.  I know that there is tons of food at home since it will barely fit in the cupboards again.  I think that the only big thing that we are out of is Cranberry Juice so I might have to check Target to order with what is left of the Pay Pal money in the account or find a sale somewhere with the money remaining in the budget for the month ($30.94).  I hope that you have a great rest of your month and enjoy some yummy deals!!

Eating Out

We haven't gone to any restaurants but we had a special treat to see a local college basketball game and my son wanted to get a treat so my husband bought him a movie theater sized bucket of popcorn which is mostly ate himself and was upset when I finished off the little bit at the bottom of the tub.  We spent $6 on eating out so far this month.  We also have two gift cards to go to restaurants from my son's team to thank my husband for coaching and for one of my husband's birthday gifts.  We are going to be having some fun times out of the house over Spring Break at the end of the month so I am leaving our take out budget for there because we will likely use it while driving. 


  1. Oh my goodness, I can believe you were exhausted! That's a lot of shopping trips. Sorry about the Catalina problem, that would have really bothered me, LOL. You're making the most of those rebate apps, good for you!

    1. Some of the things were done at the same time at the store in different transactions but it was still a lot. Using the catalinas means that sometimes you have to check out to get them and use them on the next transaction to keep the price down so it throws everything into a tizzy (or at least me) when I don't get what I am expecting. It was exhausting to get everything and even add up the quantity of receipts. I wish that the catalinas worked out better but I still made a good amount off the catalinas. I love making money on free groceries!! I think that the rebate apps are doing well for me! I have been working the bonuses and things have been going my way with them recently. Sadly this month I might have gone a little crazy at the beginning to make it under budget the whole month but I am hopeful. Might need to rethink things with the rebates since I am going after them much more now and accomplishing much bigger savings. Not counting them back into my budget might be a tough one this month.


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