Sunday, September 30, 2012

How we Budget!

About a month ago Jonathan and and I started a budget.
Budgets have NEVER worked for us. Especially Dave Ramsey's envelope system. (No hate to Dave, but using cash just isn't practical for us. We are debit/credit card users. Plus, we love the rewards we get from them)

So when I saw THIS blog post/video on a budget system that works best with credit/debit cards I was so excited!
Seeing an easy and practical way to make and stick to a budget had me excited to try it.
It is a simple concept, and really easy to stick to.
And I found that just by having a budget in place I was watching more closely what I would spend money on. And that alone helped us save money because I would seriously ask myself if what I was about to purchase was really necessary.

I think you can see from the picture that the envelope is split in half then into 4 separate weeks. One side is the grocery budget which is strictly for food, household, and beauty/health items. The other side is for miscellaneous items like haircuts, date nights, weekly emergencies etc... (you are NOT allowed to borrow money from another week if you are running low, but you CAN borrow from grocery to miscellaneous or vice versa. Like one week Jonathan went over on the Sam's club budget so we borrowed money from that weeks etc money to cover it)
You have to decide for yourself what each budget should be.
Jonathan and I started with $250 grocery and $200 etc each month and $75 on the back for Sam's Club. (Our etc budget is kind of high but before we started this we had a $35/week date night allowance but since this also includes haircuts and such we decided to up the amount) but last month we had $137 in surplus for the month that went into our "fun" account. So after next month if we still have a lot of surplus each week/month we will adjust our numbers accordingly.

A lot of budgets have you look at the whole month which cane be kind of overwhelming. Plus you tend to spend more at the beginning of the month then by mid-month you have to be super strict about what you buy.
This system takes the month and breaks it into weeks. So you have a certain allowance for each week and you are NOT allowed to borrow money from the next week if you are running low. (If I'm confusing you just watch the video from the link I posted, it will save your budget I promise)

This system will definitely work for people who use cash, but I love it because it is debit/credit card friendly! And if you put all of your receipts in the envelope you can put it in a file cabinet and have all your months receipts in one place for tax season!

I am absolutely shocked at how much we were able to put into savings just by knowing where all of our money is going and by sticking to a budget. Saving money really can be easy!

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions! :)

Sunday Afternoon Winn Dixie Trip!

After church Jonathan wanted to go to Sam's Club.
So I told him if I have to suffer through Sam's with him, he can suffer through me couponing at Winn Dixie.
So he did.
Lucky for him it was a very small trip, unlike last week. (I didn't post my trip from last week but I saved $50 and spent $44)

We haven't done our meal planning for this week yet so that is partly why this trip was so small. But I do know that we will be cooking something with chicken so when I saw that Winn Dixie had whole chickens on sale for only $.89/lb I decided to go ahead and get one. I figured I could put it in the crock pot to cook while I am at my internship then we can make a meal with the cooked chicken. But we shall see. :)
Also they had Caribou coffee on sale BOGO FREE and I had some coupons to use on them. Since Jonathan is a coffee junkie I decided to jump on that deal as well.

So here is what I got:

4 Caribou Coffee: $8.99 each: $35.96
Sale: BOGO (-$17.98)
Minus (4) $2/1 Q

$2.50 each: $10 total

Sanderson Farms Chicken: $1.49/lb: $8.28
Sale: $.89/lb

Almond Breeze: $3.49
Sale: $2.99
Minus: $.55/1 Q


Minus $5/$30 Q

Total Before: $47.73
Total After: $12.14
Saved: $35.59!

Now Jonathan is stocked on coffee and we have the main ingredient for at least 2 meals this week! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

FREE Razors and Cough Drops. My CVS & Rite Aid Trip!

I wasn't planning on making a shopping trip today but then I remembered that I had $8 ECBs that will expire TOMORROW.
So I decided to check out the weekly ad and make a trip.
Since I was going out anyway I went ahead and looked at the ads for Walgreens and Rite Aid. That's when I found a good deal on Cough Drops, so I decided to stock up. :)


2 Venus Razor: $6.99 each: $13.98
Minus (2) $4/1 Q ($8)

2 Mach 3 Razor: $10.99 each: $21.98
Minus FREE wyb Gillette Razor ($23.98)

ThermaCare: $3.99
Sale: $3.79

Minus $8 ECB

Total Before: $39.95
Total After: FREE!
Received: $10 ECB for Venus & $3.79 ECB for ThermaCare. $13.79 total!
That is a $13.79 moneymaker!

And I still have $12 ECB from last week so I now have $25.79 in ECBs to use! Woohoo!

Rite Aid:

6 Halls 30 ct. $1.99 each: $11.94
Sale: 2/$3: $9
Minus (3) $1/2 Q
Minus $6 +UP

Total: FREE.
Received: $2+UPs

Total Trip Worth: $51.89
Total Trip Spent: NOTHING!
Total Received: $15.79

So now we REALLY have enough razors, but why would I pass up FREE plus Money BACK razors?!?!?

I will still be on the lookout for good cough drop deals. You can never have too many cough drops during cold/flu season! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dinner on a Dime: Crock Pot "Pulled" Pork and Baked Potato!

So as I shared yesterday I am LOVING my crock pot! There are tins of different recipes that you can make in a crock pot.
Tonight we made BBQ "Pulled" Pork (in the crock) and Baked Potatoes!
It was soo good. And we have a TON of pork leftover!

check out the original recipe here!

And yes, this is another meal I got from Pinterest. I'm beginning to wonder how I fed us before I had Pinterest! :)

This meal really is so easy and so delicious. Jonathan and I are not the biggest fans of pork but love all things BBQ so when I saw this recipe and saw that Winn Doxoe had center cut pork chops on sale for BIGO FREE I decided to go ahead and try it. And I'm so glad I did!

-2 packs center cut pork chops (original recipe calls for 6 but they were thick ones and the ones at Winn Dixie were really thin so I used about 12 (6 in each pack)
- 1/4 c water
- 1/4 c liquid smoke (I added this)
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- bottle of BBQ sauce
- rolls

Slice onion (if using)
Mix water, liquid smoke, and HALF bottle of BBQ sauce together. Place chops in zip lock bag, add sliced onion and garlic then pour in marinade mixture.
Let marinade for at least 30 minutes (I did overnight).
Lay chops in crock pot (I had 2 layers) then pour marinade with garlic and onion over chops.
Cook on low for 7 hrs.
After its cooked use a mixer to shred the pork. Pork will need more sauce before it is ready to serve.
We added some onion and cheese to our sandwiches but that is totally optional.
We baked potatoes to eat with our sandwiches as well.

The meat was so tender that it shredded easily. If you look at the original recipe you will see that I made some slight changes (like marinating the meat and using liquid smoke) but either way, it's an easy recipe!

And all I needed to buy for this recipe was the pork, bread, and potatoes. I had everything else!

My cost:
Pork: $5.80
Rolls: $.14 each: $.28
Potatoes: $.25 each: $.75

Total: $6.83

And I have a can of baked beans I got for $2 to eat when we have the pork for leftovers on Thursday!
So that is 2 whole meals for only $9.11!
And we will still probably have pork leftover for lunches!

It really is easy to cut cost my meal planning, stocking up on food when it's on sale, and cooking based on what you ALREADY HAVE! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Granola!

Let me just say that I LOVE the crock pot! I made this tonight in it and our Dinner on Dime meal tomorrow will be another crock pot meal! :)

I'm not going to say too much about this since you can get the recipe HERE and she does a great job at giving the instructions!

It was super easy to make, just throw everything in the crock pot on high for 4 hours and stir every 30 minutes.

I added a bit more cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice because I REALLY like those flavors.

If you have most of the ingredients like I did its super cheap!
I had to buy the berries and oats which came to a grand total of $6. Not bad for 5 cups of yummy granola!
It made a lot more than what is pictured but I only had 2 jars so I had to put the rest in a Tupperware.

Hope you enjoy!

My Super Small Walgreens Trip

I'm still (kind of) suffering from this summer cold junk so when I saw that Walgreens had a sale on DayQuil/NyQuil I was super excited.

So here is how it went.

2 Vicks DayQuil/NyQuil: $9.99 each: $19.98
Sale: 2/$13
Minus $3/2 Q
Minus $1 RR from last week
$4.50 each: $9

And I got 2000 points on my balance card! (every 5000 points are worth $5)

So there is my tiny trip! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Winn Dixie Trip!

I hadn't shopped this weeks sales at Winn Dixie yet because I wanted to wait until I did our meal planning for this week.
I meal planned today and originally planned to go shopping after my internship tomorrow but decided I might as well go tonight so I can work on the school work that I did not do on Saturday when I get home tomorrow.

As you an see, I bought 2 more razors. Jonathan now has PLENTY of razors to last him a while, but with the huge Make-A-Deal this week I just couldn't pass it up.
This week when you bought a Gillette razor for $10.99 you got: shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and dental sticks FOR FREE! And I still had a coupon for a FREE Mach 3 razor when you buy a Gillette razor! So I got that for free as well!

Gillette Fusion: $11.99
Sale: $10.99
Minus $5/1 Q

Gillette Shave Gel: $4.79
Sale: FREE
minus: $1/1 Q

Secret Deodorant: $2.99
Sale: FREE

Crest toothpaste: $1.49
Sale: FREE

Proxi Plus Dental Sticks: $3.99
Sale: FREE

Toothbrush: $1.99

Mach 3: $10.99
Minus: FREE wyb Gillette

5 lb Idaho Potatoes: $3.89
Sale: $2.50

Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce: $2 each: $4
Sale: BOGO (-2)

Bush's Baked Beans: $2.49
Sale: $2

Center Cut Pork Chops: $6/l
Sale: BOGO (-$6)

Minus $5/$30 Winn Dixie Q

Total Before: $60.61
Total After: $12.20
I saved: $48!

We are using the pork for our meal on Tuesday (thanks Pinterest) and it will yield leftovers for at least one night but probably 2 nights.
So for about $7 we will have 3 nights worth of meals! :)

So I've had some people tell me how much they hate leftovers, then in the very next sentence complain about how they spend too much money.
NEWSFLASH I don't think anyone loves leftovers, but leftovers and second chance meals (where you use leftovers to create a completely new meal) are two ways to cut cost! And it makes for an easy dinner night when you don't have to cook a complete meal from scratch.
So no, leftovers aren't my favorite but I would rather put more money in the bank each week than buying more food and spending more time cooking.
Since I try to only cook meals from things I buy things on sale it really does save a lot of money to cook a little extra for leftovers. Plus, most regular recipes yield leftovers for us anyway. :)

Sorry about my rant. Happy savings! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Walgreens Trip!

Even though I feel like death and dope up on cold meds I still managed to make a trip to Walgreens!
Now I must admit I did not come up with this trip on my own I used the amazing and her wonderful Walgreen's Weekly Scenario.
Every week she does scenarios for Wags and CVS and tries to keep the OOP cost around $5!
It's a GREAT way to start couponing and learn how the drug stores work. That's how I began to "master the drug stores"!

Transaction 1:
2 Carmex Pamegranate: $1.69 each: $3.38
Sale: 2/$3
Minus $3 RR from last week

Total: FREE!
Received: $2 RR

Transaction 2:
Hair Bands: $1.50 (filler)
Clearance: $.49
Infusium Shampoo: $6.99
Sale: $4.99
Minus $1 Q
Minus: $2 RR from #1

Total: $2.48
Received: $3 RR

Transaction 3:
Jello: $2 (filler)
Clearance: $.74
Colgate Optic White: $4.49
Sale: $3.99
Minus $1/1 Q
Minus $3 RR

Total: $.73
Received: $1 RR

And I paid for everything with a $10 pre-paid card that P&G sent me FOR FREE! So I ended up spending none of my money.

Total Worth: $18.36
Total Spent (on pre-paid card): $3.21.
And I have $1 RR for next week!

I saved 87% today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dinner on a Dime: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.

Tonight's dinner on a dime is our THIRD meal to come from the chicken I bought last week at Winn Dixie for $5!

We had the "Rotisserie Style"Crock Pot Chicken which had enough chicken leftover for the Chicken Pot Pie (which yielded leftovers so made 2 meals) and still had enough chicken left for enchiladas!

Sorry there is no picture, I was so hungry, and it was so good, that it wasn't until I was halfway through my enchilada that I remembered to take a picture, and then it was way too late!

We didn't have a TON of chicken leftover (obviously) but we did have enough to make to stuff 4 overstuffed enchiladas (could have made 5-6 regular) with the enchilada filling. They were so yummy!

Here's how you make them!

Chicken (cooked and shredded)
Sour cream (as much as you want/think goes with the soup)
Cream of chicken soup (I used 1/2 a can since I didn't have much chicken)
Shredded cheese (you be the judge on how much you want)
Seasoning (whatever you want) we used S&P, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne.

Combine sour cream and cream of chicken soup then add chicken, cheese, cilantro, and seasonings. Spoon filling into tortillas and line in baking dish. Cover with salsa and bake at 375 for 10-15 min. Add cheese on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Cost Tally:
Sour cream: $1.25
Cilantro: $.50

This meal cost me $1.75 to make since I already had the other ingredients! :)

My Winn Dixie and Rite Aid Trip!

After my internship I stopped by Winn Dixie and Rite Aid.

Here is what I got:

Winn Dixie:

8 Old Spice Deodorant: $2.99 each: $23.92
Sale: $.99
Minus (4) $1/2 Q

$.49 each: $3.92

Roast: $9.16
Sale (-$2.38)
(this is for dinner Friday and will yield leftovers for Sunday! And I already have everything else for this meal, so 2 meals will cost only $6.78!)

Roast Seasoning: $1.19 each: $2.38
Sale: BOGO FREE (-$1.19)
$.60 each: $1.19

Total WD Before: $35.46
Total WD After: $11.89

Rite Aid:

10 Pepsi Product 2 ltr. $1.69 each: $16.90
Sale: $1 each
Received: $6 +up rewards!
It's like getting them for $.40 each!

Total Worth: $52.36
Total Spent: $21.89
Received $6 back!

We are definitely stocked up on soda, but we don't drink it often so we shouldn't be buying anymore for a LONG time!
Now I need to decide what I am going to buy at Rote Aid with my $6 +up rewards! :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My 9/9 CVS Trip! Razors and Coke! :)

I planned on only getting some razors and body wash, but Jonathan was with me and when he spotted a sale on Coke zero with Peelie Qs he was ├╝ber excited! So my OOP was a bit more than I had originally planned but what can I say, I'm glad Jonathan is finally getting excited about sales and coupons! :)

Transaction 1: (Jonathan's)
4 Coke Zero: $1.77 each: $7.08
Sale: 4/$5 ($1.25 ea)
Minus (4) $.50 peelies

$.75 each: $3

Now for my transaction:

2 Venus Razors: $6.99 each: $13.98
2 Mach 3 Turbo Razor: $11.99 each: $23.98
2 Right Guard Body Wash: $4.99 each: $9.98
Sale: 2/$6

Total before sales and coupons: $47.94
After Sales: $43.96

2- $4/1 Venus Razor (-$8)
2- FREE Mach 3 wyb Gillette (-$23.98)
2- $1/1 Right Guard (-$2)
20% off (-$7.60)

Total coupons used: $41.58

Total After Sales and Qs: $2.38
Received: $10 ECB from razors & $2 ECB from Body Wash.

Total Trip Before: $55.02
Total Trip Spent: $5.38
Received: $12 ECBs!

I still have $8 ECBs from last week so now I have $20 ECBs! :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Winn Dixie and Walgreens Trip!

After my internship today I stopped by Winn Dixie and Walgreens.

Winn Dixie was having a good sale on cheese and since the hurricane the cheese Jonathan has been eating on his sandwiches everyday at work is turning blue so I figured I might as well stock up! (yeah, im not looking to get the wife of the year award this year especially making my husband eat blue cheese!)
While I was in there I saw they had Old Spice deodorant on sale for $.99 each!

Walgreens was having a great sale on mouthwash and foil!

Here is what I got:

Winn Dixie:

4 Sargento Sliced Cheese $3.29 each: $13.16
Sale: BOGO FREE (-$6.58)
Minus (4) $.55/1 Q

$4.38 - $1.10 each

2 Old Spice Deodorant $2.99 each: $5.98
Sale: $.99 each
Minus $1/2

$.98- $.49 each

Winn Dixie Worth: $19.14
Spent: $5.36


I ended up having to do several transactions in order to get all that I wanted.

Transaction 1:
4 Reynolds Foil $2.19 each: $8.76
Sale: $1.59 each
Minus (4) $1/1 Q

$.59 each: $2.36

Transaction 2:
2 Scope Mouthwash: $3.99 each: :$7.98
Sale: 2/$6
Minus (2) $1.50/1 Q

$1.50 each: $3
Received: 3 RR

Transaction 3:
Crest Mouthwash: $6.79
Sale: $3.99
Minus $3 RR from #2

Received: $3 RR

Transaction 4
2 Scope Mouthwash: $3.99 each: :$7.98
Sale: 2/$6
Minus (2) $1.50/1 Q
Minus $3 RR from #3

Received: 3 RR

Transaction 5
Crest Mouthwash: $6.79
Sale: $3.99
Minus $3 RR from #4

Received: $3 RR

Walgreens Worth: $38.30
Spent: $7.34
Received: $3
Its like paying $4.34 for it all!

Not my best trips by far, but after the rough day I had, it was nice to at least save something!

Total Worth: $57.44
Total Spent: $12.70
With $3 RR back!

Now we are stocked up on cheese, foil, and mouthwash for a while! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dinner on a Dime: Chicken Pot Pie.

Tonight's dinner on a dime was a Second Chance meal that came from Tuesday's "Rotisserie Style" Crockpot Chicken!

Originally I had planned to make my own pie crust instead of buying one from the store.
But after returning home from school, I wanted something that was SUPER DUPER easy, not just easy. ;)
So I ran by the store and picked up a pie crist for $1 and went ahead and grabbed a tub of Philadelphia Cooking Creme (savory garlic) to use as the binding agent instead of making one out of cream of chicken soup. (super duper easy, remember?)

So here is what I used:

Leftover chicken (1 lb, shredded)
Philadelphia cooking Creme
Bag frozen mixed Veggies (steam bag)
Pie crust.

What I did:

Steam veggies in microwave
Combine Chicken, veggies, and cooking Creme (I ended up adding half a can of cream of chicken soup because I added a bit too much chicken.)
Add to 9 inch pie pan
Cover with pie crust and make 3 slits in the middle
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
Then enjoy!

(if you are using raw chicken obviously you will need to cook it before adding veggies/Creme)

My cost:
Pie crust: $1
Cooking Creme: $2.98

For $4 I was able to make a whole different meal from leftovers! And it yielded leftovers!!!
I know what we will be having for dinner Saturday! :)
And we still have enough chicken to have tomorrow with some homemade mashed potatoes (we already have the potatoes) and the gravy from the crockpot chicken!

This brings my weeks total to $10.49....for FOUR meals! (pot pie leftovers are included)
WOW!! Can't beat that! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dinner on a Dime: "Rotisserie Style" Crock Pot Chicken!

I am super excited about what we had for dinner tonight!
It was extremely delicious and extremely easy! And of course, cheap!

So of you read my Winn Dixie trip post you know that I got a 5lb chicken for $5.
Well as I was pursuing Pinterest (don't we all LOVE Pinterest!?!?) and came across a recipe similar to this one, but decided to google it to see what else was out there and came across the most amazing blog ever!
This lady used a crock pot everyday for a whole year and blogged about it. So there are literally hundreds (365+) of good crock pot recipes for you to try!
I can't wait to try more of them.

But anyway....she had a recipe for the rotisserie style crock pot chicken that was pretty much the same as the one I found on Pinterest but added a few more seasonings.

So here is what I used:

5 lb chicken
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp minced garlic

I also stuffed the chicken with:
3-4 whole garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered

What I did:

Skin the chicken and get rid of the neck and other stuff from the insides

In a bowl, combine all of dried spices and garlic
Mix until paste-like.
Rub the spice mixture all over inside and out.
(my crockpot came with a nifty cooking rack that I set the chicken on so it wouldn't sit in the juices it made and wash off the seasoning on the breast. If you don't have a rack ball up some foil to place under the chicken to prop it up some. Or you can do what we will do next time and foil wrap some potatoes and put underneath the chicken and you will end up with a whole meal!)
Place breast-side down into the crockpot.
Cook on low for 8 hrs (or high for 3.5-4.5 hrs)

I also tied my chicken with twine because in the reviews for this recipe some people complained that all the chicken fell off the bone and they had to fish the meat out of the juices. I had no problem with that.
Now when I cut the twine the chicken did fall off the bone.
It really is a super tender and juicy chicken. And so flavorful!!!!

We took the juices and added Wondra to make a gravy to eat on top of the chicken!
We ate the chicken with some can corn we had in the pantry.

And talk about leftovers!!! We had SO MANY leftovers!
So I pulled all the chicken off the bone and put it in a Tupperware for Thursday night when I will make a chicken pot pie since I have ALL the ingredients for it.

My Cost:
Meal 1:
Chicken: $5.80
Corn: $.69

Meal 2:

So I will be able to make 2 delicious meals for a total of $6.49!

Jonathan is convinced that we have too much chicken for just a pot pie (which I'm beginning to think he is right, but shhhh don't tell him) so we may also be making chicken enchiladas from this meat as well! :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Winn Dixie Trip!

Before I start let me address the chicken in the room.
For the last 4 months or so Jonathan and I have not cooked any meat and rarely at meat at all.
And we like not eating meat, but have decided that if we can get a super good deal on chicken (fresh, not frozen) then we will most definitely cook and eat it.
Well i felt this was a great deal on a chicken, so I bought it and we will eat it. (whenever we are able to move back home that is)

Now to my trip!
I love when I catch good sales!

6 Lays Chips: $4.29 each: $25.74
Sale: BOGO FREE (-$12.87)
Minus (3) $3/2 Q

$.65 each: $3.87

4 Kraft Dressing: $3.39 each: $13.56
Sale: BOGO FREE (-$6.78)
Minus (2) $1/2 Q

$1.20 each: $4.78

2 Philadelphia Indulgences: $2.99 each: $5.98
Sale: 2/$4
Minus (2) $.75/1 Q

$1.25 each: $2.50

Sanderson Farms Chicken: $1.47/lb: $7.16
Sale: $1.19/lb

Minus $5/$30 Winn Dixie Q

Total Worth: $52.44
Total Spent: $11.95

I'm super excited about my trip. I know I now have a ton of Lays chips, but at $.65 each I just couldn't pass it up! :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bath and Body Works Candles!

So as I'm sure you all know by now I LOVE autumn.
Well by default that means I love autumn scented candles, and my absolute favorite candles come from Bath and Body Works so I was super excited to get some so cheap!

A the bottom of all their receipts there is a website to fill out a survey and when you do they give you a code to get $10 off of a $30 purchase!

So I had one of those As well as a coupon for a FREE gift up to $14 when you spend $10!

This is what I got:

2 Three-Wick Candles: $19.99 each: $39.98

2 Medium Candles: $9.99 each: $19.98

Minus $10 from receipt
Minus $9.99 from coupon

Total worth: $59.96
Total Spent: $20!!!

I am so excited! And I should be pretty stocked up on my candles for a while! :)

Another Dollar Tree Trip! :)

I just had to go back to DollarTree today!
And I'll be going again tomorrow since my wonderful husband is bringing my coupons to our evacuated home tonight when he leaves work! I'm so excited!

Well here is what i got (I did 3 transactions)

2 Garnier Styler
Minus (2) $1/1 Q

2 Post Shredded Wheat
Minus (2) $1/1 Q

2 Hefty One Zip
Minus (2) $.55/1 Q
$.45 each: $.90

Total Worth: $6
Total Spent: $.90

Have I mentioned how much I am loving couponing at Dollar Tree?!?