April 30, 2010

End of the month report--April

We budget $350 each month.  This includes all groceries, paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicines/herbals, and hygiene items (razors, deodorant, etc).  My father is moving to Knoxville.  While he’s doing some renovations,  he’s staying with us.  We fed 4 people, enjoyed an Easter feast, and made it through a 5 week month at our budget.  Earlier this week I was over budget.  If it had not been for moneymakers at Walgreens this week, there is no way we would have eaten as well as we did and came in at budget. 

Because May, June, and July are months when I preserve a lot of food, I’m increasing next month’s budget to $450.  I don’t know if we’ll need that much of a cushion or not.  Last May’s budget shows about $350, but I want to have a cushion if I need it.  The budgets for June and July were not as detailed last year due to my grandmother falling ill—I was doing good to record anything during that very difficult time.  In looking back 2 years ago, I wasn’t preserving nearly as much as I am now.  Long story short, I’m not really sure how much to budget.  It will be a work in progress, and I’ll see how it goes. 

Writing that I’m setting a $450 budget might turn some folks away from this blog.  Some bloggers pride themselves on $20-$40 a week on groceries.  Some couponing purists will be disappointed.  All I’ve got to say to that possibility is—do what works for you.  It is so easy to get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to others.  I know, I’m really, really good at it.  It doesn’t serve us well though, it doesn’t honor our individuality.  You must make choices that work for your situation, for your family, at this current time. 

In the next few months we’ll be buying more locally grown meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables.  Even though we have a nice sized vegetable garden, there are plenty of local products that I don’t want to miss.  Taste a fresh, juicy strawberry right off of the plant that you picked with your own hands, and you’ll know what I mean. 

In April we spent $349.43—We were $0.57 under budget.

With that money we bought $758.60 worth of items.  If I’m doing my math correctly, we had a savings of 53.94%.

What did we buy with that money? Some of the items listed in the sections below were donated to our church food pantry/outreach programs.  Some of the others were used for church functions—krispie cereal, marshmallows, cinnamon rolls, key lime pie, some of the sodas, cake mixes, etc.

Free items—  dove shampoo, 2 in 1 shampoo for men, 3 cans dog food, Kashi crackers, Kashi cereal, 9 betty crocker potatoes, taco seasoning, schick shave gel, 4 biscuits, 11 vitamin D, 4 cans mandarin oranges, Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, coffee, 3 three packs of schick razors, 3 stayfree

What did we stock up on?

  • Friends and I order coconut oil in bulk at www.mountainroseherbs.com We split a 5 gallon container so that we all get a price cut.  Even with the shipping, the price is better than I’ve found elsewhere.  (Unless of course you managed to grab the uber-elusive free coconut oil deal advertised recently on some national blogs.  I did not.)  I bought a half gallon. 
  • I went in with a friend on a case of organic butter at our local food co-op. She’s also a member of the co-op, and we’ll split cases from time to time when we see fantastic deals. 

Other purchases--  Doesn’t look like a whole lot for $350, does it?  Easter’s ham and sausages purchase put a dent in the budget this month.  The trip to Kroger at the first of the month was the first time I remember going over $100 while grocery shopping in probably over a year. 

  • Local products--Bok Choi, 2 heads of lettuce, eggs from a friend who has chickens, Cruze Farm milk, 2 pints jelly
  • At Kroger— sodas, 3 cream cheese, cheese, 7 lunchmeat, 3 lbs organic ground beef, frozen peas, frozen spinach, Pam, 8 sausages for Easter, pretzels, broccoli, asparagus, ham, 2 breakfast sausages, whole wheat loaves bread, 2 cabbages, celery, bananas, parsley, bell pepper, 2 natural cereal, organic milk, 2 cake mix, 2 French fried onions, 2 butter, 1 (8 pack) ramen noodles, coffee creamer, 3 tuna fish cans, pork tenderloin,  2 lbs brown rice, sugar free jello, crushed pineapple, organic carrots 2 lbs, 1 lb black beans, 1 lb black eyed peas, marked down salad, romaine, key lime pie, cinnamon rolls, 2 rice cereal, 2 organic chickens, 1 bratwurst, cranberries, wild rice, squash, sour cream, parmesan cheese, 2 tubs Mayfields ice cream
  • At Walgreens—4 choco. eggs, 1  white choc bunny, 1 tums, 2 scrubbing bubbles, 2 cream of chicken, 2 cream of mushroom, eggs, 2 lbs dried apricots, sodas, 2 TGIF potato chips
  • Three Rivers Market — 7 lbs organic valley butter, tahini, 2 macaroons, honest tea
  • Target—3 dozen eggs, 1 box Kashi bars
  • Food City—4 bacon, 2 loaves ww bread, apples, 5 lbs grapes, 6 canned veggies, 2 mini marshmallows, organic chicken, 2 Doritos
  • Ashe’s--a fifth of rum for the bananas foster

So, what could you glean from this post to help with your budget and shopping? 

  • Keep records of your budget and purchases from year to year.  I know when we picked blueberries last year, when we bought strawberries and peaches, when we purchased coconut oil and lamb. If you choose not to make note of the smaller purchases, consider keeping track of the bulk buys, stock-up deals, and local crops.  Do you know how much dog food you use in a year?  I have a pretty good idea what we use.  Keeping a record to which you can refer offers loads of helpful information.
  • Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face (or as I just typed it incorrectly, cut off your face to spite your nose!)  Don’t become so obsessed with the deals that you don’t serve your family quality foods, that you don’t take delight in enjoying seasonal foods, that you don’t grow your own garden and can your own foods.  I realize how elitist it might sound to say this.  When you read those words, though, realize that this is coming from a person who has had some challenges in her life.  Yes, stay within your budget.  If you have a very strict budget, get help through food stamps or other assistance programs.  But, also seek out as many opportunities to educate yourself as you can.  Learn how to grow your own food or forage for your own food—many communities offer community gardens, free seeds, free cooking classes and gardening workshops.   Not sure where to start?  Call your local agricultural extension agency and ask them.  Check with your town government or local representative’s office.  Go to your local library and ask the librarians if they know of any services.  Look in the “announcement” section of your local newspaper (go to the library to read a free copy if you do not have the money to purchase a copy).  Many garden clubs, community action groups, and community kitchens will post information there.

I’m not sure if I read this in one of Astyk’s books or in Katz book, but I remember reading  about a man who was once homeless who was now a community educator and activist.  The story was focused on how he would teach people to use food grown in their gardens or food foraged from parks and lawns to feed their families.  The example he gave was on how to use Ramen noodles with a few “free” ingredients to make a wholesome dish.  (Thanks to my friend Honor’s hubs for helping me come up with the word forage.  I could not think of that word for the life of me!)  There is more free, healthy, wholesome food out there than you realize.  For example dandelion greens and lambs quarters for instance are both edible and are both considered to be weeds by most Americans.  A park down the street from me has both mulberry and crabapple trees that park employees complain about as a nuisance to clean up (both of these fruits can be made into jams, jellies, or preserves).  For those of you who have watched Food Inc, remember that family who opted for McDonald’s instead of buying a few pears for the same price?  The other side of that story is that with more information, more resources (not talking about money here), they might have more options.  It doesn’t have to be either or. 

Again, everything is a process.  You must do what works for your family. 

Don’t forget, Market Square Farmers’ Market Opens Tomorrow!

Market Square Farmers’ Market Opening Day

May 1, 2010 - 9:00 pm

Old Navy 30% off

Old Navy is having a  30% off sale from Friday, April 30th at 9AM-Sunday, May 2nd at 9PM.  You’ll receive 30% off everything in the store. Find out more details hereThanks Knoxville on a Dime!

Tip of the day

It is the end of the month, don’t forget to print your coupons!  Coupon sites often refresh coupons at the first of the month.  If there are some you want to be sure to snag, print them before it is too late. 

April 29, 2010

Museums on Us—Bank of America

 

Thanks to Knoxville on a Dime for this freebie info.  If you are traveling through Nashville or any of the other cities listed and are a card holder, you might want to stop in for a free trip to the museum:

If you are a Bank of America card holder you can visit a museum FREE on the 1st weekend if each month. The closest location to us is Nashville.

Go HERE to see the locations and forward it on if you have friends with a participating museum close by.

Tip of the day

UPDATE--

I wrote this post when my head was pretty foggy from a head cold, and I need to clarify a little more about it. A friend of mine e-mailed me about this, and I'm guessing if she had questions about it, others might too.

NO, I'm in no way saying that someone should work for free, and I'm not suggesting that you get a free haircut. Sometimes hair dressers will offer loyal customers a bang trim as a little freebie to promote their loyalty. It makes the person feel like their getting a little perk, and as a result makes them much more likely to refer friends and family to the hair dresser. Also, it is customary to tip a hair dresser, manicurist, etc whenever you receive a service--some people may not know this. I tip, and I tip well. Tipping isn't one of those things that I skrimp on, to me that is one of the differences in being frugal and being cheap. Even if the bang trim is free, even if it isn't, you should tip a hair dresser.

I once had a hair dresser near where I worked that I adored. I would have adopted her into my family if she'd let me. I had a baby, and she had a baby, and alas no more hair dressing with her. She started working closer to home, and I became a stay at home mom. She offered many times to trim my bangs for free, but I never took her up on it because I never took the time to go in between cuts.

I hope that makes a little more sense than the original post. Trimming your own bangs at home isn't for everyone. It works for me. Of course, I know that everyone who sees me in person is going to be over-analyzing my hair now! ;)

Learn how to cut your own bangs. Invest in a good pair of sheers (you can pick these up at Target or Sally’s Beauty Supply for around $10-$20). Watch your hair dresser when your bangs are cut next time. If your stylist is open to it, she might even teach you how. Otherwise, you can ask a friend or relative who does hair to teach you the techniques. I’ve had hair dressers charge $5 for a simple bang trim, which takes about 2-5 minutes tops at home. Even with the investment for the good pair of sheers, you’ll save a ton of money in the long run.

Sometimes stylists will offer to trim your bangs for free in between cuts. While this is a great freebie, I never seem to have the time to run in just for my bangs to be done. I guess if my hair were more difficult to manage, this perk might make the difference between which stylist or hair dresser I chose. If your hair is as such, you might want to call around to different shops to see if any are willing to offer this service for regular customers.

Coupon Preview 5/2

bs01864_ Southern Savers has the coupon preview up for 5/2.  It looks like we’ll have Red Plum, SmartSource, Procter and Gamble, and Food Lion—I love it when we have a lot of coupons in a paper.  It makes me feel like I’m really getting my money’s worth.  Remember that some coupons are regional, so not all of them will be in every paper. 

April 28, 2010

Home Made Simple Coupon Book

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By completing registration at Home Made Simple, you will receive a booklet by mail of over $30 in savings on great home care products.  Included in the booklet are high dollar coupons for Dawn, Swiffer, and Cascade.  Enjoy!

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market May Match-ups and Deals

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I’m posting this a bit early.  Our local co-op, Three Rivers Market allows customers to shop the stores in the last 3 days of the month and shop both the current and upcoming month’s sales.  Another benefit  of posting early is that you can print coupons that might not be available after the first of the month.  Please let me know if you catch any that I haven’t updated or find any new coupons I haven’t mentioned.  I’ll update the list as new coupons are made available.

Our local Co-op Advantage store is Three Rivers Market (or TRM as I often abbreviate it). If you are outside of the Knoxville area, go to this link and look on the last page to see if there is a store located near you.

PrintThree Rivers Market is a cooperatively-owned natural foods grocery store serving the Knoxville community and all of East Tennessee. They offer many certified organic foods, as well as fresh produce and offerings from our many local growers and producers. You'll find more than 200 herbs and spices, a large bulk buying section, freshly prepared deli foods, as well as refrigerated, frozen, and packaged groceries.

Their sales ad is good through the end of May.  

 

Best of the Bulk Buys--

Organic Thompson Raisins $1.79/lb FANTASTIC PRICE, STOCK UP!
Organic Flaxseed, $1.29/lb Good price
Organic Garbanzo Beans $1.49/lb Good price

 

Other deals—Thanks to Organic Deals and Coupons for some of the coupon links!

Honest Tea, 99cts each 20cts off in Co-op Advantage Coupon book
Use this coupon prior to 4/30 if you have it
Kettle Potato Chips, $1.79 $1/2 coupon

$1.00/1 HERE (w/Annie’s UPC) 

Stonyfield Organic Yogurt, $3.29 32 oz Go here for details on their rewards program
Go here for printable coupons.
Cascadian Farm Organic Frozen Fruit, $2.99
Cascadian Farm Fruit Spread, $2.49
Cascadian Farm Granola Bars, $3.79
$1/2 in the Eat Better America mailer coupon book

$1/1 Cascadian Farm Product or $1/1 Cascadian Farm Product (new registrants only)

$1/1 coupons here

$1/1 Fruit in the Co-op Advantage Coupon Book

Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Cereal, $2.99 Go here to sign up for newsletter and receive special offers, discounts, and maybe coupons.

$1/1 in the Co-op Advantage Coupon Book

Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes, $1.99 28 oz

Muir Glen Pasta Sauce $2.99
$1/2 Tomatoes in the Earth Fare Winter Savings Coupon Book (exp 7/1)
$1/2 in the Eat Better America mailer coupon book
$1/1 here or here
Apple and Eve organic apple juice $2.99 Go here for a $1/2 coupon
Kashi TLC cookies, $2.99 $1/2 items
Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips, $2.49 50cts off 1 bag

50ct/1 in the Co-op Advantage Coupon Book

Annie’s Naturals Ketchup, $2.99
Annie’s Pasta and Cheese 3/$4
Family Sized Shells with Cheese 2/$5
If you signed up for your Annie’s calendar before the deadline, it contains a coupon for these
$1.00 off delux mac and cheese  in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Organic Hot Dog Buns $2.59 $1/1 HERE (if you already printed this)
RW Knudsen Recharge $1.99

Spritzers $2.99
$1/1 in the Earth Fare Winter Savings Coupon Book
Spritzers coupon here.
Green and Blacks Organic Chocolate Bar 2/$5 50cts/1 on any 3.5 oz. Green & Black's Chocolate Bar in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Panda Natural Licorice Chews, $2.29 30cts/1 in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Traditional Medicinals Women’s Tea, $3.79 $1/1 in the Earth Fare Winter Savings Coupon Book
$1/1 here
$1/1 in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Organic Valley Cottage Cheese, $3.79 75cts/1 printable
Look for coupons in the Root Stock Mailer
Brown Cow yogurt 4/$3 Go here for printable coupons
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze $3.29 $1/1 coupon here
So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt 2/$3 Go here for coupon request
Bio Kleen Bac-Out Cleaner $4.49 $1.50 off any in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hot Dogs $4.99 $1/1 here
Purely Decadent $3.99 $1/1 here
Kiss My Face SPF 30 Hot Spots $5.99 $1.00 off any in Co-op Advantage Coupon Book
Ian’s Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets $4.49 $1/1 here
Alexia Sweet Potato Fries $2.49 55ct/1 in the 3/21 SmartSource

Puleo’s Grille Kids Eat Free

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Starting April 26, 2010, Puleo’s Grille is implementing a brand new Kids Eat Free Menu at all Puleo’s locations!  The rules are simple:

  • Children aged 10 and under eat free with the purchase of a regular menu entree’
  • 1 Free Kids Meal per entree’
  • Kids Meal Choices:  Spaghetti & Red Sauce, Mac & Cheese, Grilled Cheese, Puleo’s Cheese Pizza, Penne Pasta & White Sauce, Chicken Tenders
  • Kid’s Beverages and Desserts will be charged separately
  • Each child will be given a fun placemat with games to play and enjoy.

Thanks Coupon Katie!

Free Sample Pull Ups

Costco is offering a free sample of Huggies Pull Ups training pants.  You don’t have to be a member of Costco to sign up.  Thanks Common Sense with Money!

Free Panty at Lane Bryant


Lane Bryant is offering a free Cacique solid cotton panty coupon on their site.  Complete a simple form to score a printable coupon (up to a $12.50 value).  No other purchase required.  This coupon can be used at any Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Outlet, or Cacique store and is valid until 5/03/10.  Thanks Hip2Save!

Williams Sonoma FREE classes and demos

May CULINARY EVENTS at Your Local Williams-Sonoma Store

TECHNIQUE CLASSES

Presented free of charge, each hour-long-class is dedicated to a specific topic led by one of our culinary experts. Class size is limited, so reserve your space today.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Regularly scheduled demonstrations focus on seasonal foods and entertaining. All are led by culinary experts and offered at no charge.

Go here to view the complete list of classes.  I’ve attended these in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  They are usually fun and interactive.  I’d call your local WS to make sure they are participating.

Macy’s Friends & Family Event

Extra 25 percent off and Free Shipping

Since my cousin is registered at Macy’s for her wedding, I was pleased to see this deal.  Happy Shopping!

FREE Scrubbing Bubbles

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Visit Coupon Mommie’s site to learn how to get Scrubbing Bubbles free at Kroger this week.  I love free!  If you don’t use these, they would make a good donation to a pantry, church, or community center.  Many people do not know that food stamps do not allow for cleaning products or toiletry items. 

Earth Fare Web Coupons

Earth Fare now has web coupons!  LOVE that!  Go here to view the options.

Tip of the day

If your area has a predicted frost but you have tender plants in the ground, grab a few old blankets or sheets.  Use stakes to float the blankets or sheets directly off of the plants.  Use blankets and sheets directly on flowering or fruiting trees or shrubs.  The blankets will help to prevent the frost biting your veggies and fruits before you get a chance to bite them.  ;)

Baskin Robbins 31ct Scoop Night TONIGHT

Join us for 31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin-Robbins® and help us honor America's firefighters. The Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation is donating $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation™ (NFFF).

Participating stores will reduce prices of ice cream  scoops to 31 cents*. At some locations, you may also have an opportunity to make a donation to your local fire charities.

Our family has attended the last few years, and it is so much fun!  The line goes surprisingly fast! Go here for more details.

April 27, 2010

Stride Rite 20% off a purchase of $50 or more.

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My sister prefers Stride Rite shoes for her boys, and I know she’ll be thrilled to see this coupon.  Go here to print yours.  Valid through 5/13/10.

Free Bottle of Country Bob’s

right-rail-test-13-free-bottle Have you signed up for your free bottle of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce yet?  If not, head over to the website and sign up.  We use this sauce on just about everything!

Give a little, get a little back at Krispy Kreme

I received this information today.  Note that the key fob rewards card is only in participating markets—see the link below to find one near you.

Krispy Kreme has partnered with the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps(SM), an international family of camps and programs that provide life-changing experiences to children with serious illnesses and life-threatening medical conditions -- always free of charge -- for our Happy Campers campaign.

Our Happy Campers campaign runs through May 30, and in support of this effort you can donate $1, $5 or any amount. When you donate $5 in-store, you'll get a special key fob rewards card. And, every time you make a purchase at a participating Krispy Kreme store through January 2011, show your key fob and get a FREE doughnut! Key fobs are not available in all participating markets.

So, enjoy some delicious treats and help send some children with serious illnesses to a week-long camp at one of the five participating camps across the country. These camps are specially designed and equipped to provide a fun and caring experience for the children who attend. You can pledge your support to Happy Campers at participating U.S. Krispy Kreme stores and on-line through May 30.

To make a donation on-line or find out more information, click www.krispykreme.com for the Happy Campers campaign, and click www.holeinthewallcamps.org for the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps.

Thanks for your support,
Your Friends at Krispy Kreme

Dover $15 Gift Coupon

$15 Gift Coupon

Promotional Gift Coupon ends May 30th.  Go here to start shopping.

Kohl’s—Extra 15% off Everything

Go here to print your coupon.

Tip of the day

A few tips about coupons--
  • Read the fine print. Sometimes coupons will have limitations or rules. If a coupon doesn't specify that it can't be used for a trial size and it is a high value coupon, you might be able to score a freebie if you look in the travel section of your store. Sometimes coupons will specify that you must buy 2 of an item to use the coupon. Other times they might specify that the coupon cannot be doubled.
  • The photo may not tell the whole story. The photo may be of one product made by a company but the coupon may not limit you to purchase of only that item. Last year there were some great Breyers coupons. The photo was of a tub of ice cream but said that it could be used on any Breyers item. Breyers also makes yogurts, and the high value of $1 off made these free after coupons.
  • Watch the expiration dates. Coupons that have a longer period before they expire are great to have. You can be more patient with their use, saving them for a really great sale.
  • Consider how much the coupon is worth when it is doubled.
  • Obey by the rules. Don't try to cheat the system by decoding barcodes or scratching off the expiration dates. Use coupons ethically so that we can all continue to have them as a resource.

April 26, 2010

Free Sample Caress Body Wash

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Thanks to Coupon Mommie for this freebie info:

Choose from three varieties and get a FREE sample of Caress Body Wash

  • Caress® Whipped Soufflé™ White Peach Cream Body Wash whipped with White Peach & Silk Blossom
  • Caress® Whipped Soufflé™ Blackberry Cream Body Wash whipped with Blackberry & Vanilla
  • Caress® Velvet Bliss™ Body Wash with Blackberry & Vanilla Essence

Limit one sample per household.  Request yours while supplies last.

Restaurants.com $25 gift certs for $2

SAVE 80%: Get $25 Restaurant Gift Certificates for only $2!

Visit Restaurants.com to find a participating restaurant near you.  Remember to read the fine print, as many require you make purchases of certain amounts or at certain times.

Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals 4/26-5/2

Weekly-Deals

April 26th-MAY 2nd


Organic Lemons
$.39 each Save $.20 (GREAT price!)


Drew's 12 oz
Classic Italian Dressing
$2.15 Save $1.00


Wholesome Sweeteners 1.5 lb
OG Raw Turbinado Sugar
$3.19 Save $1.00  (Good price)


Wholesome Sweeteners 16 oz
OG Blackstrap Molasses
$3.99 Save $1.30


Herb Pharm 1 oz
Nettle Blend
$8.29 Save $1.70


Herb Pharm 1 oz
Reishi
$10.99 Save $2.20

Tip of the day

Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Week--

Be sure to have flashlights in multiple rooms of your house with extra batteries available.  Bedrooms, living rooms/dens, and kitchens are good places to have them in case the power goes out.  Try to be in the habit of returning them to where they are usually stored after use.  There is nothing quite as frustrating as searching through a pitch black house looking for a flashlight.

Meal Planning Monday

This April has 5 weeks.  While it shouldn’t really matter since the month has 30 days, the same as many others, I have found the budget stretched very thin.  The moneymakers at Walgreens last week really helped, though I’m finding that we are $8 over budget at this point.  If I manage to work a few moneymakers this week, I might be able to bring that number down a bit.  If not, we’ll be over our $350 budget.  Since we have had Easter, house guests, and my father staying with us for a good chunk of the month, I’m not sweating that number too much.  I’m stubborn, though, and I’m pretty determined not to make anymore purchases if I can help it. 

Our monthly budget is a goal number.  If I must spend more, we have a cushion to do so.  I don’t like to overspend, and I take great pleasure in hitting my monthly budget amount.  I take even more pleasure in seeing how much I purchased with the $350. 

What does this mean for my weekly meal plan?  I’ll be using what we have to make some meals so that I don’t spend anymore money at the grocery until the first.  Luckily the garden is starting to pick up and I have a pretty stocked freezer and pantry. 

Just so you know--The summer months are a different story.  Because I preserve so many locally grown foods during the summer, I expand the budget to allow for that.  I WILL have my strawberries.  The window of strawberry picking is relatively short, and if I needed to pick the strawberries today, I’d do so.  I won’t miss peaches or blackberries or canning beets or any of my other favorites from summer if I can help it.  Considering that canning and preservation helps with our budget for the entire year, I give myself a little more cushion in May, June, and July. 

Suppers

Monday—Chicken soup.  I’ll reserve some of the chicken to use for later meals.  We should have plenty of soup to freeze for future meals.

Tuesday—Stir fry using the chicken, bok choi, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and peas.  I’ll probably thin a little more of the broccoli raab too.  I’ll serve it over brown rice.

Wednesday—I’m kind of drawing a blank on what to make for the kids this week.  The sales aren’t that great, and the sales ads aren’t inspiring me much.  Unless I can think of something else, I’ll stick with a snack supper of sandwiches, pretzels, strawberries, and cucumbers.  On a side note, the kids loved the pasta bake and salad that I made last week.  Next week I have plans to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some Mexican food. 

Thursday—Venison tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes, and corn casserole

Friday—Veggies and pasta.  I make a loose sauce by sautéing fresh veggies  in olive oil, adding a little of the pasta water, and adding a bit of balsamic or red wine vinegar and parmesan cheese.  This week I’ll most likely have mushroom, peas, onions, thinned greens, garlic, and zucchini from the freezer. 

Saturday—Hamburgers on the grill, using grass-fed beef bought from a local farmer.  Salad on the side.

Sunday—Either leftovers or a veggie meal, based on what we have that needs using and the variety of foods that I find at the farmers market.

Independence Days Update

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.   This is our weekly update. 

Our area was finally blessed with some rain.  Unfortunately after the first rain, my husband realized that our daughter had left the spigot to the rain barrel open.  (She loves to water and adores making mud pies).  Luckily the next rain came before we needed to water anything, and the rain barrel is full again.  Everything looks lush and green, and the seedlings are stretching out to the sky.

Plant—2 Amish Paste and 1 Brandywine tomato and 1 Italian Parsley, organically grown/seeded and bought at the farmers market.  Nothing else made its way into the ground this week.   This next week, I’ll shoot for planting the watermelons, beans, and potatoes if they come.

Harvest—Shitake mushroom from my mushroom log, spring onions, broccoli raab that needed thinning

Preserve—A few green onions were put in the freezer.  Whenever I’m chopping and end up with too many onions, I throw them into a container in the freezer.  When I’m making omelets or an egg scramble these help to make the prep work a cinch.

Waste Not/Reduce Waste— Since my dad is living with us until he finishes some work on his house, he has been helping with the composting and recycling.  I’m thrilled because as far as I know, he has never really done either of these before. 

Want Not/Prep/Storage—We’ve helped my dad with his new place—moving things in, cleaning, washing windows, and starting work on some of the home improvement projects.  We’re making an effort to use what we have, and when we need to make purchases we’ll try and shop at secondhand shops when we can.  Since my dad has worked in construction for almost his entire life, we won’t have to purchase much new.  Hubby has been working on the playhouse for our daughter.  Progress has slowed on that with the rain and helping my dad. 

I picked up some Vitamin D at Walgreens this week to add to storage.  I found a great deal on canned veggies and picked up 6, the limit that the store would let me buy.  Kroger had their organic chickens marked down, and I picked up 2 for the freezer. 

Building Community Food Systems—I went to the farmers market for the first time this season and purchased some lettuces, bok choi, plants, and of course cookies from a local bakery.  Made up a list of things that I need to purchase at the farmers markets or at pick your own farms in the next few weeks.

Watched Food Inc again.  I decided a while back that I need to either read or watch something in that genre to reinforce for me the importance of purchasing local products.  I liken it to going on a diet.  At first, I’m gung ho and ready to change my ways.  Then with time, I become somewhat complacent and revert back to old behaviors, foods, and purchases.  Sometimes this occurs because of being lax, sometimes because of a tighter monthly budget, sometimes because it is too easy to do otherwise, sometimes it is because I need reminders and motivation, and sometimes it is because it is too difficult to find local products (in the dead of winter, for instance).  Regardless of the excuses reasons, a little tune up of information reinforces my dedication. 

Eat the Food— I went to the garden early one weekday morning last week and thinned the broccoli raab.  Knowing that the leaves and stems were edible, I cleaned and chopped them and added them to an omelet scramble with some green onions, ham and zucchini (home preserved).  I served it with locally made salsa and some cheese toast using the buttermilk cheese from Sweetwater Valley Farm, our favorite local cheese. 

The entire family enjoyed the steak dinner that I prepared over the weekend.  The venison steak was from a deer that my brother-in-law took this winter.  I brine the steak for about 24 hours and then marinade it for an hour or so.  We grilled it with the shitake mushroom and served it with a salad from locally grown lettuce. 

I had the pleasure of enjoying a dinner party with some friends from work late last week.  My friend, the hostess, made some yummy gumbo with Gulf shrimp.  Since it was a potluck, everyone brought something.   I brought the ingredients for Bananas Foster, and though the recipe that I used wasn’t the one I have used in the past, they turned out great!  Nothing says party like a flambé!

April 25, 2010

Pop Tarts Rewards—FREE Movie Tickets

Thanks to Who Said Nothing in Life is Free????  for this deal.  Since Hubby is a Pop Tart addict, I’m thrilled to see this:

Pop Tarts has a new rewards program called Pop Tarts Rewards:
Inside specialty marked boxes of Pop-tarts is a code that you will enter on their site. Once you enter 5 codes, you can cash out for a free movie ticket!
**You can only redeem one code per flavor so make sure you get 5 different flavors.

Kraft Singles Tuesday Night Tickets

Thanks to Faithful Provisions for the following info:

If you live close to a minor league baseball team, you can take advantage of BOGO Free tickets on Tuesday nights.  From April 13th through September 7th, bring a Kraft Singles package wrapper (just the wrapper!) to the ball park box office where you can purchase a Tuesday night game ticket and get one free.

There are some minor league teams that aren't participating, so be sure to check the "fine print" for a list.

You can find a list of the teams by state online (scroll down past the map).

 

Free Sample Maxim Feminine Protection

Go to the Maxim website, register, and you can request one of the following trial packs:

  • Tampons
  • Sanitary Pads
  • Pantiliners
  • Cotton Balls, Rounds, Swabs
  • Tampon & Sanitary Pad Combo Pack

Thanks Organic Deals & Coupons!

Don’t throw away your newspaper yet—FREE doughnut from Krispy Kreme!

Have you read through the Sunday paper yet?  I’m not feeling great today and have stayed at home to recuperate.  I was reading the Sunday paper over lunch, and I came across the Krispy Kreme circular.  In it is a free doughnut coupon good for either a Chocolate Fudge Cake or S’mores flavor.  Doughnuts count as medicinal foods, right???? 

I’m sure that not all areas received this coupon, but it is worth double checking your paper before you throw it in the recycle bin.  Hope you received one!

Weekly Deals 4/25-5/1

earth-fare-market Earth Fare (through April 27th)

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio

Target

kroger deals kroger sales logo

Kroger

advantage_card

Ingles

Walgreens

Walgreens

 

cvspharmacy

CVS

April match-ups for Co-op Advantage Stores

Organic Valley Butter is on sale for $4.49.  Use the $2/2 coupons found in store to pick up a pound of organic butter for $3.49.  Other coupons can be found at www.organicvalley.com and in the Root Stock mailer newsletter.

What to watch for at local farmers markets: fresh eggs, milk, meats, lettuces, greens (think bok choi and kale), green/spring onions, perennial herbs, pea shoots and maybe some early peas, potted plants and flowers, honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.  If you are lucky, you might find asparagus and mushrooms.  My shitake mushroom log is starting to sprout and morels are in season in some parts of the country.  Pretty soon we’ll start to see strawberries in our area.  If you are in a warmer climate, you might already be seeing strawberries and rhubarb. 

Olive Garden Printable Coupon!

olive 300x180 Olive Garden Printable Coupon

 Olive Garden has a new printable coupon available!  The coupon is good for $2.50 off per entree – maximum of 2 entrees. ($5 value) – expires 5/7/10. GO HERE to print.  Thanks Mojo Savings!

Free and Cheap Movies for the Family

Go here for info on the Free Family Film Festival at Regal Cinemas.  Go here for the schedule link.  This is one of our favorite freebies of the summer!

Go here for info on the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse.

Thanks Sweet Deals!

Catherine’s Friends & Family Event 40% off today only!

Plus Size Clothing - Friends and Family Event 40% off all regular priced items and an extrea 30% off clearance.  Today Only!

Go here to start shopping or for more details. Today only, Sunday, April 25.

Walgreens Photo 33% off of Prints and Gifts

Collect treasured memories for less: 33% OFF Prints & Gifts Enter coupon code 1000WORDS at checkout thru Wednesday,April 28*

Go here for more details.

Knoxville Zoo Tickets BOGO

Kroger

Zoo tickets are now Buy One, Get One Free through May 1, 2010 at Kroger!  Visit any Knoxville area Kroger store and purchase your tickets at this special discount with your Kroger Plus Card. 

Discount valid April 18 - May 1, 2010.  Cannot be combined with any other promotion, coupon or discount.

Thanks Coupon Katie!

A Happy Thought

DSC_3578 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, is it the only thing that ever has.”

—  Margaret Mead

Tip of the day

When you catch a good deal on bread, buy extra and put it in the freezer.  When  you store it at room temp, it is more likely to get stale or moldy.  When stored in the refrigerator, bread becomes stale and picks up odors from other foods.  The freezer is the preferred place for longer term storage because the bread won’t stale and won’t mold.  If stored for more than a few weeks, though, you’ll want to be mindful of freezer burn.  To prevent freezer burn, double bag the bread by using a 2 gallon sized zip top bag. 

April 24, 2010

A little light reading

Guys and gals, I’ve been a little busy this week and haven’t read much on line.  So, it is your turn.  Please add anything in the comments section that you’d like to share with other readers. 

  • What are your favorite websites?  Which ones do  you use to find deals, coupons, or money saving information?
  • What are you reading right now?  I just put one of the books by Dr. Mathew Sneed on hold from the library and look forward to reading it.
  • What are your favorite magazines?  Mother Earth News, Body + Soul, All You are among my current faves. 
  • Any posts that you’ve found this week that you’d like to share with others?
  • Have any inspirational photos you’d like to share with others?  What about ones from your grocery trips where you used coupons? 

I hope to be back in the blogging swing again soon.  Until then, I’m off being a busy bee.  Have a stupendous weekend!

Tip of the day

Once a month check your food stores.  This not only helps to prevent spoilage and waste, but it also helps you to keep better tabs on what you have on stock to use for meals.

  • Check your freezer.  Discard what is freezer burned or what might be beyond use.  Give it a good wipe down and refresh the baking soda box.
  • Look in your fridge.  Use any leftovers, the last of the olives, that last teaspoon of jelly, anything that might need eating to make way for fresh foods.  Give everything a good wipe down and replace the baking soda box in there.  Check the temperature and make sure it is at the proper level.  Vacuum the coils so that it is running properly.
  • What do you have in dry storage?  Onions starting to sprout?  Chop them and put them in a bag in the freezer.  This will help to streamline your prep work for supper on busy nights.  Potatoes starting to sprout?  Consider planting them this year as part of your garden.  Garlic getting tough?  Roast or dehydrate it so that you can use it before it goes bad.
  • What about your pantry?  Organize.  I like to put the cans so that I can see the labels, because I’m anal because I like to see what is available with a quick scan.  Make a habit of putting the new cans and jars in the back so that you can use them in a first in first out method.  Check any food that you have preserved at home for spoilage and discard what is unsafe to use. 
  • Check your spices.  If you can’t smell them, then they are probably too old to use.  Most spices do best if stored for 1-2 years. 
  • Plan a meal or two using the odds and ends that you found in your kitchen quest. 

April 23, 2010

Tip of the day

Preventative health measures are not just good for your wallet, they could save your life.  Today perform your monthly self check breast exam and encourage those you love to do the same. 

April 22, 2010

Taking a blogging break

The next few days will be very busy, as my dad is moving to Knoxville this week.  I’ll be on line a little, but I won’t be posting as regularly.  As always, I encourage you to check out the links section of my blog to find some other fantastic bloggers.  

Have a great rest of your week!

Tip of the day

Earth Day only matters if we make it matter.  I read a recent article from Body + Soul magazine that reminded me that any holiday can lose its meaning if we let it.  Work to make changes in  your life to be more environmentally friendly. Wherever you stand on the climate change argument, keep in mind that many of the steps that we take to help the Earth also help our pocket books. 

April 21, 2010

Earth Fare 20% off Bulk Foods and a Free Snap Tote

Do you have one of the Earth Fare snap totes yet?  I really like mine because it folds up to be compact—great feature!  Oh, and if you want some tempting, the pink yogurt covered pretzels are our favorite snack!  Click the box above to link to the coupon.  Be sure to sign up for their newsletter so that you can receive these coupons in your inbox.