Friday, June 25, 2010


You need to go to Hy-Vee. I just bought 2 dozen eggs for $1!! $.50 each?? You'll never find that at Aldi!

Other deals:
-$1 Hy-Vee box cereal (stock up on knock off rice krispies, cheerios and cornflakes to use in rice krispie treats, baby snacks, and casserole toppers)
-10% off a bag full of dairy items
-2/$5 Tennessee Pride sausage (and if you have the coupon from this past Sunday for $1 off, it's even cheaper!) Use 1 lb of sausage in lasagna, and the other you can save for a breafast for dinner meal, pizza, or an actual breakfast!

I'll be looking at recipes with eggs in them over the next few weeks because I now have 3 dozen eggs in my fridge! I'm thinking quiches, breakfast casseroles will be on the menu. Anyone have some great recipes using eggs that are not specific to breakfast? I'd love to hear them!

P.S. I pretty much live right across from a Hy-Vee so it's pretty convenient for me to stop in there when I'm checking on a coupon deal. In case you were wondering . . . .

For all you Hippies . . .

This blog is for you! If you enjoy organic and environmentally friendly stuff, check out this site for deals on 7th Generation diapers, organic baby blankets, chemical free hair detangler etc. Go read it now!

Coupon Ethics

As I'm a pretty recent couponer (yes, it's a word), I'm trying to learn what the appropriate coupon ethics are. Here's an example from yesterday:

I had a coupon for $1 off 2 packs of Rayovac alkaline batteries. On various sites, I'd read that there were some Rayovac batteries on sale for $1 at Target. People using 2 coupons were getting them for free! Well I went to check it out (and buy 2 loafs of bread for .50 each at the grocery store next door!) and by the time I was in line, I realized the packs I had in my hand were not alkaline as the coupon insisted. Also, how were people getting them for free since the coupon said it could not be combined with any other coupons, and the limie was 1 per customer. I only had one coupon so I felt OK about that, and I also figured that if the batteries I had didn't align with the coupon's requirments, it wouldn't work.When I gave the coupon to the very friendly cashier, she had no problem scanning the coupon. It took the dollar off just like that!

So here is my question that I'm researching (and we all know that "research" done online is totally legit . . .): do coupons have bar codes on them that let the computer know how to apply the price reduction, in accordance with the coupons requirements? Or is it solely dependent on the cashier reading the coupon correctly?

I want to make sure I'm doing this all legally so I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on the subject as well as any legitimate sites that provide coupon guidlines. Here is a great article I found and I'm now headed over to one of my favorite sites, The Coupon Mom.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hy-Vee Deals Today and Tomorrow!

For any of you living near a Hy-Vee, now would be a good time to head on over! They are having some big sales. I made my first stock pile purchase today. Hy-Vee brand 8 oz. shredded cheese usually costs about $2.06, but today they are on sale for $1 each! (Limit of 5) Shredded cheese is something I use often, whether it's my homemade pizza I make almost every other week, or in my favorite enchilada recipe. And recently, I've been buying block cheese and shredding it myself because I use less cheese, and it's cheaper. However, when I see $1 shredded cheese, I BUY IT.

Also, tomorrow the dairy section is having a good deal as well: fill one paper grocery bag with dairy items and save 10%. This is a prime opportunity to combine coupons with a great store deal. As for me, I already used some of my best dairy coupons earlier this week so I'm not going to go spend more money just to save 10%. But if you happen to have a lot of dairy coupons, you need to take advantage of this deal!

Click here to learn more.

Healthy Coupons!

Yes, coupons for healthy/organic foods are skinnier than that coupon you have for $1 off a package of Little Debbie cake rolls. So if you are a Hippy, check out this site for some healthy coupons!

Thanks to Lorrie at Natural on a Budget for the great link!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Bottom Line

When it comes to finances, everyone has their own Bottom Line. I've decided there are 3 main Bottom Lines: Environment/Organic, Time, and Money. Let me explain how I categorize the stereotypical grocery shoppers.

The Hippies: These are the people who place the environment above all else. It doesn't matter if that bottle of cleaning spray costs $8.99. It's chemical free and won't harm the environment. The Hippies are usually found at food co-ops, organic grocery stores and in their own garden. To them, it's worth it to spend the money on something that is organic and chemical free.

The Yuppies: When I'm behind a 20's something wearing $100 shoes, talking on her cell while she absently unloads her groceries onto the belt, I know I'm behind a Yuppy. Or a DINK. (Duel Income No Kids). This woman doesn't care what she spends at the grocery store because she makes enough to pay for it. Sometimes these people come in the form of a Grandma who works full time and would rather spend her time with family. For these people time is their bottom line. They work full time so it's not worth it to them to spend the time clipping coupons. I fully expect and hope that one day I'll be like this. Sure, I will still look for deals, but there will come a time when my Bottom Line will not be money, it will be time.

The Penny Pinchers: That's me. My Bottom Line is money. I stay at home with 2 kids while my husband works part time and attends graduate school. Money is my bottom line because it has to be. We don't have the luxury of spending whatever we want on groceries. We have a budget and we stick to it. So to me, it's worth it to take the time to clip coupons.

Of all of these three types of people, not one is the correct way to live. You just need to decide what your Bottom Line is. Couponing can be frustrating for some if their Bottom Line is Time, but they think they "should" be clipping coupons. If you are a Coupons For Life! kind of woman, DON'T make those who despise couponing feel like they are less than the ideal woman. And you Hippies? We're glad you love saving the environment, just don't scoff as those of us who don't have the money to save it with you.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and learning how to save money with me. But if your bottom line isn't money, like it is mine, I understand that you might not find the coupon tips that beneficial. Hopefully, you can still find the recipes and menu planning helpful. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see on my blog to help you with YOUR Bottom Line.

Shopping Update

So yesterday I made my first real attempt at shopping for groceries for a week, using a menu that was based off of coupons, sales and store promotions. My goals was $50. I want to get that down even further eventually, but hey-I'm just starting out with this coupon thing!

I first went to Hy-Vee where I realized I'd made my first mistake: Weekly specials are changed every Wednesday so last weeks specials were still up, while I had this week's coupons from the Sunday paper. Oops. But it worked out fine because Hy-Vee was offering some things at sale prices that I also had coupons for. If you remember my list from yesterday, I ended up buying cottage cheese, yogurt, sugar and hot dogs from Hy-Vee.(plus a few other items)
  • I bought 2 4-packs of brand name yogurt for less than a dollar each because I had TWO coupons, for each. (One printable, one from the paper.) I think I spent less than .50 on each!
  • The cottage cheese was name brand, but it was on sale, and then I had a coupon for .50 off so it made it cheaper than I could have bought it for at Aldi. That's a deal!
  • All in all my total was $10.10 because I saved over $6 in coupons! This ratio encouraged me because the first time I attempted coupons with no real list and no real plan, I saved $10 and spent a total of $80!

At Aldi . . . I also messed up there. I had left my blog post up on my iPod so I could read my list at the store. When I arrived, for some reason, it only showed a white page. (And it had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn't connected to the Internet in case you are wondering if I'm that stupid.) So I had to re-create my list from memory . . . which means I forgot some stuff after the fact. I did however discovered a few things at Aldi:
  • Chicken is cheaper there than Sams! $5.49/3lbs vs $11.89/6lbs at Sams
  • Produce isn't really cheaper there (nor is it that great). A head of lettuce is $1.19 and I can get romaine or a head of lettuce at Hy-Vee for .99. Grapes at Aldi are REALLY good, but they are more expensive.
  • You can't pick just a few potatoes or a few onions at Aldi. So although it might be slightly cheaper or the same amount to buy a 3 lb bag of onions at Aldi, I wouldn't do it because I know I won't use all of those before they go bad and I only need 1 or 2 anyways. I'll keep getting my produce at Hy-Vee so I can pick exactly how many of each thing I want.
  • Canned items are hands down way cheaper at Aldi. Trust me.
  • I got a dozen of large eggs for .77 at Aldi!! That's a deal!
  • My hot dog purchase at Hy-Vee was a great deal . . . until I saw that I could have bought the same amount for less at Aldi. This is a prime example of how even after using a store discount combined with a coupon, sometimes Aldi is just cheaper!
After I was done at Aldi (where I only spent about $22.00 for almost everything else on my list!) I stopped back at Hy-Vee to grab some ham because I wasn't sure if it was cheaper at Aldi or not. There I realized I'd forgotten some things from my Aldi list and my time was running short so I had to grab the cheapest thing I could (Hy-Vee brand) for each item. Guess what happens when you go to the store with no plan and no coupons? You spend almost $18.00 for about 5 items!

Although I made a few mistakes and spent way too much at Hy-Vee that 2nd time, I'm glad I was able to see the drastic difference between shopping with a plan and coupons, and NOT. Plus, I was able to add more items to my list of each store. Like I mentioned before, I take my trusty iPod with me and I have a running list of prices for the things I regularly buy. This will help as I do future planning because I can figure out ahead of time if the coupon deal will be cheaper or not.

Stick with me-I hope to keep saving more money!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recipe-Coupon Match Up-June 23-June 30

Here's my first week of making meals based on what I have in my cupboards and fridge, plus items on sale combined with coupons. Remember, I'll be shopping at Hy-Vee and Aldi for these items. You can follow along and make these meals using the same coupons, or just make the recipes without! Let's see how little I can spend!

Tuesday-Broccoli Ham Ring served with lettuce salad
Wednesday-Lasagna served with lettuce salad and garlic crescent rolls
Thursday-Broccoli and Chicken in Noodles, side of Fruit
Friday-Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with baked beans and chips
Saturday-I'm out of town with the kids so Hubby will enjoy the lasagna leftovers!
Sunday-Still out of town for lunch, but I'll probably do homemade pizza for supper.
Monday-Scalloped potatoes and Ham with frozen veggies



Hy-Vee(Only using Sunday paper coupons or printable coupons. If the bottom line price is still more expensive then Aldi's, I will NOT buy the item at Hy-Vee. I'll wait until I head to Aldi)
  • 2 cans refridgerated crescent rolls-$1 off 3 Pillsbury (use 3rd as side dish on lasagna day)
  • Cottage cheese-.50 off 24 oz. Roberts dairy(will use in broccoli ham ring and lasagna)
  • Cooked ham-$1 off 2 packages of cubed turkey or ham (Farmland), or $1 off Farmland select ham
  • 1 lb sausage- $1 off Odom's Tennesse Pride sausage plus ground beef (You'll use that ground beef on Friday!)
  • Hot dogs-$1 off Oscar Meyer package
  • Yogurt-I have a bunch of printable coupons. This is just for our general snack food.
  • Sugar-$2 off when you buy 10 Kool-aid packets. I've been wanting lemonaid and now I'll have it!
  • Pepperoni slices


  • 2 Broccoli crowns(use in Tuesday's and Thursday's meal)
  • Onions (Broccoli Ham ring, and I'm out and usually have these on hand)
  • Lasagna noodles
  • Tomato paste(Lasagna)
  • Parmesan cheese(Lasagna and Alfredo Sauce)
  • Eggs(Lasagna and general use)
  • Lettuce(I love serving salads with my meals if you can't tell!)
  • Cream cheese(Alfredo sauce)
  • Hot Dog buns
  • Cheese(mozzarella for lasagna as I used my last on Broccoli Ham Ring-I'll shred it myself!)
  • Potatoes(Monday's meal and general use-I'm out!)
  • Butter(General use)
  • Grapes(General use)
  • Chips and snack items we're out of



Broccoli Ham Ring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix the following:

  • 1 cup cooked meat (ham, turkey or chicken)

  • 1 cup chopped broccoli

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese

  • 8 oz shredded cheese (I'm using mozzarella this time)

  • 1 tsp of dry mustard or just squirt in some regular mustard like I usually do

  • Squirt of lemon juice or squeeze some out of a lemon

  • 1 tsp parsley
Open 2 cans of refridgerated crescent rolls. Roll out triangles in a circle so the widest end faces the middle of the baking stone. They will overlap each other. Using scoop or 2 spoons, carefully place the ham/broccoli mix evenly around ring. Fold over pointy ends of the triangles and tuck under the wide ends. Sprinkle a bit of dill weed on top and put in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Serves 2-4 adults.

Recipe from my mother-in-law via Pampered Chef.

Lasagna with salad and garlic bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown meat, drain. Add onion, garlic and cook a few minutes more. Stir in tomatoes and paste, water, salt and oregano. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir occasionaly. In other dish, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley. Grease 9x13 pan. Put noodles on bottom layer. Spread 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 of mozzarella, and 1/2 of meat sauce. Repeat. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Recipe from my mother-in-law, tweeked by me.

Broccoli and Chicken in Noodles

  • Boil water for noodles and follow package directions.

  • Cut chicken breasts in bite size pieces then place in skillet with oil. Sprinkle your favorite herbs (I'll be using thyme, rosemary and basil) on chicken as they cook.

  • Steam broccoli.

  • Make alfredo sauce last: 1 stick butter, 1 8 oz. cream cheese, 1/4 c. milk, 2/3 Parmesan cheese. Melt butter and cream cheese. Wisk until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and milk and whisk til smooth. Serve immediately. Thickens quickly!

  • You can either leave the broccoli as a side dish, or mix it in with the chicken and noodles.

Alfredo recipe from Jenny Kuphal.

Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with baked beans

I think you know what to do with burgers and hot dogs! Make your favorite baked beans recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

5 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 quart heavy cream (I always use milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the potatoes, onion, garlic, Cheddar cheese, and ham in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Gently stir until well combined. Pour the cream over the potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven until the potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.


I'll let you know if I can do all of this for under 50$! If anyone tries this same menu, let me know how much you spent. I'll shoot for another coupon/recipe match up next week too and try and cut my grocery bill even slimmer!