Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Publix: $62 worth for $5.21+tax

I procrastinated this week once again and waited until the very last minute to go to Publix (Literally!). I did, however, have a great trip! tee hee! I love Publix! This week and last week I had a $5/$30 Viva Italia Sale which is a huge help. Five dollars doesn't sound like a lot but when you coupon and buy items that are on sale, five dollars could buy quite a few items. For example, I could say that this week, the five dollars helped me buy  4 Honey Bunches of Oats cereals, 1 Silk Milk, 2 Dannon Light & Fit 4 packs, 1 Knorr Homestyle Stock 4 pk, and and a Voskos Greek yogurt AND I still had 20 cents left over. Pretty cool, eh!? I actually messed up because I thought this was the week in which the Voskos were $10/10 and so I sent the hubby to get them and didn't check the price until afterwards. I bought them at $1.50 each- oh well! This is how my trip went this week:
(TQ= Target Coupon, MQ= Manufacturer Coupon, PQ= Publix Coupon)

I forgot to add the gallon of Publix Milk. The hubby put it in the fridge so fast that it totally slipped my mind.

4 Honey Bunches of Oats Fruit Blends BOGO at $3.29
Used: 4- $1/1 HBO Fruit Blends MQ
Used:1- $2/2 Post dry cereal or and Silk beverage TQ
Final Price: $2.60 for all four (or $0.65 each)

4 Kraft Fresh Takes at 2 for $4
Used: 4- $1/1 Kraft Fresh Takes MQ
Used: 2- $2/2 Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Philadelphia Indulgence, Fresh Takes, or Oscar Mayer Select Beef Franks PQ (Yellow Advantage Flyer)
Final Price: FREE!

1 Knorr Homestyle Stock at $2.99
Used: $1.35/1 Knorr Homestyle Stock MQ
Used: 1- $1.25/1 Knorr Homestyle Product PQ
Final Price: $0.39

6 Voskos Greek Yogurt at 2 for $3
Used: 2- $1/3 Voskos Greek Yogurts PQ (Yellow Advntage Flyer)
Used: 1- $1/ 3 Voskos Yogurts MQ
Final Price: $6.00 ($1 each) 
^This is where I messed up but the hubby loves greek yogurt so it's all good.

2 Dannon Light & Fit 4 pks at $2.19 each
Used: 1-$2/2 Dannon Light & Fit 4 pks PQ (Yellow Advantage Flyer)
2- $1/1 Dannon Light & Fit 4 pk MQ
Final Price: $0.38 for both ($0.19 per 4 pk)

4 Progresso Soups BOGO at $2.29
Used: $0.50/4 Progresso soups MQ
Used: $1/4 Progresso Items PQ
Final Price: $2.58 for all four ($0.65 each)

1 Publix Milk Gallon at $3.39
Used: 1- Free Milk wyb 3 Breakfast Items MQ
Final Price: FREE!

1 Silk Milk at $3.39
Used: 1- $1/1 Silk Product MQ
Used: 1- $2/2 Post dry cereals and or Silk beverage TQ
Final Price: $0.39

1 Beechnut Cookies at $2.09
Used: 1- Try any Stage 4 Products free MQ (received in the mail today!)
Final Price: FREE!

1 Purell at $2.99
Used: $1/1 Purell 8oz or larger MQ
Used: $1/1 Purell 8oz or larger TQ
Final Price: $0.99

Also used 1- $5/30 PQ

Total Value: $61.97

Total Saved: $56.76

Total Paid: $5.21 + tax

My favorite buys this week were the Dannon yogurt, Kraft Fresh Takes, and the Silk! My husband is lactose intolerant and goes through his lactose-free milk super fast! It is way more expensive than regular milk and so anytime I can get cheap milk for him, I take advantage of it! 39 cents is awesome! I was actually hoping to get Silk's new Fruit and Protein milk but my Publix didn't have them yet so I got white milk. He uses most of it to do his post work-out shakes (raw eggs, raw oatmeal, banana, strawberries, milk) anyway so I figured the fruit and protein would be awesome! Oh well, maybe next time! 

Fun Weekend

This past "weekend" was as fun as I thought it'd be! I ended up getting an up-do Tuesday. Wednesday, we went to the gym and I ran 2.5 miles again. I didn't get any reading done, though. I finally took my book but the ladies at the sauna kept talking to me (which is ok, I like talking to new people). We went out to eat, as usual. Later that night, we went to my uhmuhnee's (mother-in-law) house. Volunteering was awesome! Family time was very interesting! At my in-laws, we had plenty of laughs. The girls (my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law's girlfriend, and I) all armed wrestled. The boys (my husband, my two brother-in-laws, and my father-in-law) had a push-up competition as well as arm wrestling each other. It was a very fun night! I made Mexican chicken soup for the whole family that night and we all ate together (minus one of  my brother-in-law who was working out). I always cherish moments like these! These are a few pics of what we did.
Relaxing on Wednesday night at my in-law's house. Haha, Justin looks so little!

 Eating at Swirll, our favorite froyo place! Justin loves it and requests it weekly. They had a deal on half off depot a few months ago, $5 for $10 worth. We took advantage of it and bought 8!

Me leaving El Patron's headquarters in Midtown. I did some volunteering for St.Judes Research Hospital. we raised (during the two days) $225,137 for this cause! Georgia has some good-hearted people!

Thursday's weather was absolutely fabulous! I took this pic while we waited for our car to be washed at this place called Sky. 

I am planning to go to Publix tonight so I will put that up asap.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yay, The weekend is here! .....or atleast for us it is!

Tacky Toddler is happy that the weekend is here!

The weekend is here, the weekend is here! Well, not technically but it is for our family. We aren't your typical American family. We actually are very atypical, lol! Well, we have a weird schedule and so our weekends aren't Saturday and Sunday as it is for everyone else. Our weekends are Wednesday and Thursday. This week I am super excited, though! 
Well, tonight I'm getting a haircut (that's something to be excited about, right? Na...). Then tomorrow, I want to go to the gym and run another 2.5 miles. I am so weird and get bored of activities so fast; I have to keep reinventing it or finding new motivations! Right now, my motivation to go to the gym is my book (which I have not remembered to take with me these past 2 times! Bummer!) and my wanting to get a really defined 6 pack. Right now... it seems that I am stuck on a kind-of noticeable four pack. My book motivates me cause it makes me want to read it and so I take it to the gym, and read it while I sweat my butt off in the sauna. Reading a book makes time go by faster and gives me something to do ( I got tired of staring at people's sweaty feet lol).
Another reason why I am super excited about this "weekend"  is cause I am volunteering for a radio-marathon on Thursday morning to benefit children with cancer at St. Judes Research Hospital! I can't wait! My grandmother passed away a few months ago- November 14, 2011. That day I will never forget and it is the worst thing I've ever had to experience. She passed away after struggling with colon cancer for about a year- a very, very long year for her and an incredibly short year for us. I have always wanted to do some volunteering but I got married so young. Formed a family. And well, you know how that goes. Most people don't have time to do it, I have time but don't have a babysitter! Well, so Thursday I will be a part of the two-day long radio-marathon. The radio station that will be sponsoring it is a Hispanic radio station and is called El Patron. I am beyond excited! I love helping people and especially children. 
Another thing I am looking forward to is spending time with the in-laws. We go at least once a week to their house and my little one always has a blast playing with his "halmonee" or his grandmother in Korean. She is wonderful with him and spoils him like crazy! He is the only grandchild AND great-grandchild! So he gets all  of the attention at my in-law's house! I also enjoy myself very much there! Lately, I've been trying to practice my Korean much more than before. I try to express myself in Korean when speaking to my "shi uhmuhnee" or mother-in-law. I am learning more and more! Any time spent at my in-laws is time well spent :) .
The last thing that I am elated about is grocery shopping. Yep, plain ol' grocery shopping! While most people dread it, I adore it! Just cause I love saving and getting fresh produce and meats and what not. I get meats once every....three weeks or so. I stock up, freeze them, and plan meals as I go. So I get excited at the beginning of each three weeks. The possibilities are endless!! Bahaha, yeah right! No, they aren't as I am shopping on a budget. Who needs filet mignion anyway? Lol, good ol' chicken will have to do the job! I'm just kiddin'!
Well, I hope you have a great week, or what remains of it!  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Miriam's Mole de Pollo ("Chicken Mole")

Mole ( pronounced mow-leh; mow as in "mow the lawn")  is a very popular Mexican dish and a staple at my house! Mole refers to the sauce made with peppers, spices, garlic and even chocolate. Of course, there are different types of moles and even varies by states and regions of my native Mexico. I read that there are over 300 types of mole of different colors. Growing up my mother only made two (and we were greatly satisfied with both of these because they were absolutely delicious!) of these 300 moles. She made a green one, and a red one. Sounds simple, eh? Green and Red, how hard could that be? Well, you'd be surprised to know that many Mexican woman (atleast the ones here in the States) do not know how to make mole and do not dare to try (for fear of failure). I am here to tell you that it should not be that way. When it comes to Mexican food, I have to have it authentic! No tex-mex for me when it comes to dishes like mole but that doesn't mean it has to be hard!
Like I mentioned before, I grew up eating two very tasty moles. Red or brown mole is known to have chocolate in it but my mother was never a big fan of it. I, however, do add some when I have some in my pantry. If not, it's no biggie for me as I prefer mine spicy! We enjoy this delicious dish with Mexican rice, handmade tortillas, and black or pinto beans. I, personally prefer beans that we call frijoles de la olla as opposed to frijoles refritos. Frijoles de la olla literally translated means "beans of a pot" and is basically the beans cooked in water. They are soaked and then cooked with onion, salt and garlic (optional). Once they are tender (and still in it's own soup), we eat it along with a main dish. Frijoles refritos, on the other hand, are refried beans. Basically, fried frijoles de la olla. My mother used to fry them with vegetable oil and onion and/ or a bit of pork lard. Of course, the pork lard gives it so much flavor but is less figure and health friendly tee hee! 
 Now, for the rice, my mother used to always make "red rice"  or "tomato rice" (used interchangeably) to accompany her award-winning mole. She made this with jasmine rice, vegetable oil, onions, tomatoes, plenty of garlic, chicken broth, and a vegetable medley. Are you getting hungry yet? I, however, did a different type of rice this time. I was out of jasmine rice and decided to use brown rice. I just cooked it in chicken broth, pepper, salt, garlic, corn, and peas. One last thing before I give up my mole recipe- you must use a whole chicken! No taking shortcuts! You can't make this with just chicken breast! If you do not know how to cut a whole chicken, get your butcher to cut it for you.Whole chicken, please! Got it, okay, let's get on with the mole!!
Starting with garlic and going clockwise: garlic, onion slices, pepitas, cumin, black peppercorns. And in the center: cloves!

Tasty, yummy chicken mole, brown rice, and frijoles negros de la olla.

For this recipe, you will need:
1 WHOLE chicken (about 3 lbs)
1/4 small onion-medium-sized slices (yellow or white is up to you)
4 cups of water, plus 1/4 cup
salt & pepper to taste
6 cloves of garlic
4 whole cloves
2 pinches of whole cumin
5 black peppercorns
1/4 cup "pepitas" (dried, toasted pumpkin seeds (no shell)) 
1 tostada (fried tortilla) or a few tortilla chips (e.g: tostitos) 
1/4 Hershey's milk chocolate bar
5 dried chiles pasilla 
4 dried chiles guajillo 
5 dried chiles de arbol (omit these if you do not like yours too spicy)

(Note: if you don't cook Mexican often, you might not have some of these ingredients already but they are all inexpensive, can be found in almost all farmers market or Walmart, and last a long time. Plus, after trying this recipe, you are going to use them quite frequently! tee hee)

1. In a skillet (or comal  if you own one), toast all the dried chiles on both sides on low heat. toast both sides and set aside to cool down.
2. While the chiles cool down,  put the 4 cups of water into a large pot and put it on the stove on medium high heat until it boils.
3. Meanwhile, wash and cut your whole chicken into parts. The breasts into 4 pieces, two wings, two thighs, two legs, and the ribs. Do not throw any of these pieces, they are full of flavor. *Skip this step if you have it cut already*
4. Once the chiles are cooled down, remove and discard the stem. Then, break them in half. Shake them to remove all the seeds. Do not devein them. Place them all in a container with 1/4 cup of water to soak. Sink them down occasionally to make sure all the chiles are being soaked. 
5. Once the water has boiled, add the chicken carefully. Add to the pot almost all of the onion slices, leaving a few (about 5) for the sauce. Also add about 1 tbsp of salt. Lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes.
6. While the chicken cooks, make the sauce by putting the garlic, cloves, cumin, peppercorns, pepitas, tostada, chocolate, and the now soaked peppers (water and all) in a blender. Blend until well blended. Note: If your blender is having difficulty blending the sauce due to lack of enough liquids, use some of the chicken broth in the pot.
7. Once the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from heat. pour the broth into a container. You can use most of  this for rice and some will be used for the sauce.
8. Add the sauce into the pot with the chicken in it and return to the stove. Add some broth (little-by-little) to make sauce less thick. Stop when it is medium consistency. Note: This part is kind of easy to mess up if you pour too much chicken broth into the pot. That would make it watery and not too yummy. That is why I say little-by-little.
9. Add salt to taste and let the mole de pollo cook for about 20 more minutes or until fully cooked. This is bone-in so it takes a bit longer. This should be done over medium-low heat.
10. Serve with beans, rice, and tortillas and enjoy!

^ Yummy!! Handmade tortillas!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Publix Trip- $172 worth for $95.18+ tax (Including 2- $50 gas cards)

I love to procrastinate and that is what I do! I headed to Publix on Wednesday (the last day before new weekly specials are implemented). This was a family trip for us, since my hubby was off. I like it when we shop at Publix as a family because 1) it is of tremendous help for me when I can shop while my husband watches our 3-year-old and 2) because I love it when my husband gets to actually be present when I get good deals! So we headed to Publix and as usual, I had my coupons ready and a list of things we would purchase. Wednesday was a busy day for us so I did not get a chance to snap a picture-booo! By the time I was able to get a picture, a portion of the things were missing/ had been eaten or given away. So you're going to have to take my word for it this week! It was a great trip for me because I got things I needed and yes, gas cards! I love the gas card deal (If you have not yet noticed!)! Once again, the gas card deal goes something like this (and can be found in the weekly ad for that week): buy $25 worth of groceries [this is before coupons] and get $10 off any $50 gas card. Yes, that easy!!! Not only is it easy peasy, but we all need gas anyway so why not get $50 worth of gas for $10 less? So this is how my trip went:

10 Yoplait Yogurts at 10 for $6
Used 1- $0.40/ 6 Yoplait MQ
Used: $1/ 10 Yoplait yogurts Publix Q (running out run in flyer)
Final Price: $4.20 for 10 (or $0.42 each)

3 Liberte Greek Yogurt at $1 each
No coupons- hubby really wanted greek yogurt.
Final Price: $3 for 3

2 Lysol All Purpose Cleaners BOGO at  $2.69
Used 1- $1/2 Lysol Cleaners MQ
Final Price: $1.69 for both (or $0.85 each)

2 Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake BOGO at $2.79
Used: $1/2 Krusteaz cake mixes peel tag MQ
Final Price: $1.79 for both (or $0.90 each) 

2 Kelloggs Krave Cereal BOGO at $3.99
Used 1-$1/2 Kellogg's  cereal Target Q
Used 2- $0.70/ 1 Krave Printable Q
Final Price: $1.40 for both (or $0.70 each)

2 Kellogg's  Crunchy Nut BOGO @ $3.99
Used 1-$1/2 Kellogg's cereal Target Q
Used 2- $0.70/1 Crunchy Nut cereal Printable Q
Final Price: $1.40 for both (or $0.70 each)

1 Duncan Hines Cake Mix BOGO at $1.83
Used 1-$0.35/1 Duncan Hines MQ
Final Price: $0.22 

3 Oscar Meyer Lunchables at $10/10
No coupons
Final Price: $3

1 Resolve Spray & Wash 50% off at $1.50 (reg: $2.99)
Used 1-$0.50/1 Resolve Pre-wash treatment
Final Price: $0.50

2 Mentos UP2U Gum at $1.49 each 
Used 2-$1/1 UP2U Gum MQ
Used 2- $0.55/1 UP2U Gum
Final Price: Free + $0.12 overage

And now...my favorite buy:

1 Centrum Probiotics 25% off at $9.74 (reg: 12.99)
1 Centrum Silver 25% off at $5.99 (reg:$7.99)
Used 1- $5/2 Centrum Products Publix Q (found in the pharmacy booklet)
Used $10/1 Centrum Probiotics MQ (I was mailed this coupon)
Used 1-$3/1 Any Centrum Multivitamin MQ
Final Price: Free + $2.27 overage!

2 $50 Gas Cards
Used 2- $10/1 Gas Card Publix Q
Final Price: $80 for both (or $40 each)

Total Value: $171.98

Total Saved: $76.80

Paid: $95.18 + tax (or $97.35)

I bought the Centrum Silver Multivitamins (for adults 50+) for my mother-in-law and father-in-law and the Probiotics for myself. The lady behind me in line said she was shocked that I had saved so much and congratulated us. That always makes me smile and feel good! I, of course, suggested iheartpublix.com to her! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mexican-Style Turkey [Jumbo] Meatball Soup

Last night, here in Georgia, we witnessed very frigid temperatures! Georgia's weather has been pretty insane lately. We've been having very warm, Spring-like weather for a few weeks so when temperatures dropped last night, I knew I had to make some sort of soup. I decided to make turkey meatball soup since I had ground turkey thawing. This was my first time making turkey meatball soup and second time ever working with ground turkey (first time was chili- yum!). The soup turned out pretty scrumptious! This is a very hearty soup and leaves you feeling very satisfied. Not to mention, it is figure friendly! The meatballs came out to be pretty big, hence the name. I did not have corn at home so I left it out (usually I add corn on the cob to soups). You can also add chayote which is Mexican squash which I'm not crazy about but many add this as well. If you asked me to describe it, I'd say it looks very similar to a Guava (growing up, my mother would always stop me from biting into a chayote thinking it was a delicious guava). Anyhow, so why is it "Mexican-style" you might ask? Well, for a very simple reason, I infused the broth with Mexican flavors. I can not make a soup without adding whole cloves, garlic (and plenty of it!), whole cumin, whole peppercorns, and oregano. My family and I LOVE garlic! My husband is Korean and they eat garlic like it's candy! I always liked garlic growing up, but I must admit that since my husband and I got married, I eat about twice as much garlic! So if you aren't crazy about garlic, I suggest you put less of it and not omit it, as it is the source of  so much flavor! This is what you will need:

For the meatballs:
2 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice (you can use white, I just use brown to boost up the fiber)
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I make this myself with whole grain bread)
2 medium eggs or 1 jumbo egg
1/2 cup of finely diced onions
1/2 roma tomato finely diced
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
2 pinches of dried oregano

For the soup:
1/4 cup of thickly sliced onions
3, 1/2 roma tomatoes (diced but not too small)
5 potatoes
5 medium sized carrots
5 cloves of garlic (I told you I loved garlic!)
3 whole cloves
1 pinch of whole cumin
3 whole black peppercorns
1 chicken bouillon 
1 tsp of salt or more, depending on your taste (just remember that the bouillon has salt too)
9 cups of water, plus 1/4 for the blender
a bunch of cilantro

You will need two pots, a smaller one for the vegetables, and a larger one for the meatballs.

1.In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well to thoroughly combine every ingredient.

2.In the larger pot, add 7 cups of water and set on medium heat until it comes to a boil.

3.Meanwhile, start making the meatballs with your palms and make sure they are all about the same size so they can cook uniformly. 

4. Once the water has come to a boil, add half of the bouillon, the sliced onions, 2 largely diced tomatoes, and the salt and lower the heat a bit. Stir to dissolve the bouillon.

5. Start adding the meatballs one by one very carefully. Make sure you don't take too long, as they will not cook uniformly. Cover and leave on medium heat.

6. Add the other 2 cups of water to the smaller pot and set on medium heat.

7. While the water warms up, wash, peel and cube the carrots and potatoes into 1 inch pieces.

8. Once the water is hot, add the other half of the bouillon and a pinch of salt. 

9. Add the carrots and the 1, 1/2 diced tomato to the smaller pot and cover. Let it cook for about 4 minutes.

10. In a blender, add the 5 cloves of garlic, pinch of cumin, 3 peppercorns, 3 cloves and 1/4 cup of water.

11. Add 1/3 of the blended mixture into the vegetable pot, 2/3 in the meatball pot. 

12. Add the potatoes to the vegetable pot (the reason why: potatoes cook faster than carrots so you want to let the carrots cook a bit before integrating the potatoes so they're both cooked perfectly at the end). Cover and cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables are cooked perfectly, about 15 minutes. Then remove from heat.

13.Once the meatballs are cooked thoroughly, taste and add salt if needed. Remove from stove. 

14. Wash the bunch of cilantro, chop it finely, stems and leaves, and add to the meatball pot. 

15. Serve in a bowl, veggies and meatballs together. Enjoy with lime, cilantro and diced onion, and diced raw jalapeƱos for a little kick! I also serve it with tortillas. Store bought is fine, just pick a yummy brand. My husband and I both prefer La Providencia. 

If you feel like making your own, homemade tortillas, that is even better! I usually do homemade for stews but I was too lazy (and cold!) to do them so we ate store bought. The hubby actually really likes this brand so that makes me feel better about not making homemade this time around. 

  The final product: A yummy, aromatic, and hearty soup!

Lime, plenty of diced onions and cilantro to go around, and diced raw jalapeƱo (for the bold).

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Publix Trip: 02-04-2012

This week, I was wanting to take advantage of Publix's [in ad] deal. The deal is that if you spend $100 (this is before coupons so it's very easy to do), you get a $10 Publix gift card. I made a list, did the math, and headed to Publix. Once there, my now-three-year old (oh my goodness, he's grown so fast!) had the biggest meltdown! Now, of course Publix employees (being awesome, and caring people ) offered him balloons, books, and crayons. Justin, however, was not having any of it. Long story short, we made three trips that day to Publix before finally getting all this! By the time I was finally able to grocery shop in peace, I was exhausted! Driving to and from Publix while dealing with 2 big meltdowns could wear even  Superwoman out. As a result, I ended up getting a frustrated to the point that I was no longer interested in the gift card. Later on I ended up regretting not getting it since I bought almost $90 worth. Maybe next time! This is all I bought (Note: Luckily, my Publix doubles MQ up to $0.50 AND accepts Target as a competitor):

7  Birdseye Steamfresh Vegetables @ $1.00 each (reg price: $1.99)
1 Birdseye Steamfresh Vegetables @ $1.24 (reg price: $2.47)
Used: 1- $1/3 Birdseye Steamfresh Veggies (printable MQ from birdseye.com) 
Used: 5- $0.50/1 Birdseye Steamfresh veggies (01/08/2012 SS)
Used: 4- $1/2  Birdseye Steamfresh Veggies Publix Coupon (Find Yourself in Good Health booklet)
Final Price: Free + $1.76 Moneymaker 

2 Tropicana Trop50 orange juices BOGO @ $3.99
Used: 2- $1/1 Trop50 juices (Facebook coupon)
Final Price: $1.99 (or $1.00 each)

4 Planters Peanuts BOGO @ $4.29
Used: 2- $1.50/ 2 Planters Peanuts (01/29/2012 SS)
Used: 2- $1/2 Planters Snacks Target coupon
Final Price: $3.58 (or about $0.90 each)

4 Barilla Whole Grain Pastas BOGO @ $1.23
Used: 2- $1/2 Barilla Whole Grain Pastas (Facebook coupon)
Final Price: $0.46 (or about $0.12 each)

2 Pepperidge Farm Three Layer Cakes BOGO @ $4.49
No coupons, just being a fatty teehee
Final Price: $4.49 (or $2.25 each)

6 Beech-Nut Baby Food Jars BOGO @ $0.55
Used: 2- $1/3 Beech-Nut products (SmarSource Printable coupon) 
Final Price: Free + $0.45 Moneymaker

2 Alexia Frozen Potato Products @ $3.79 each
Used: 2- $1/1 Alexia product (Facebook coupon)
Used: 2- $1/1 Alexia potato products Target Coupon
Final Price: $3.58 ($1.79 each)

2 Campbell's Slow Kettle Soups @ 2 for $6.00
Used: 2- $1/1 Kettle Style Soup (01/08/2012 SS)
Used: 2- $1/1 Publix coupon (found in store)
Final Price: $2.00 (or $1.00 each)

1 Aleve 40ct @ $4.99 (reg price: $6.99)
Used: 1- $2/1 Aleve 40 ct or higher Target coupon) 
Used: 1- $2/1 Aleve Product 20ct+ (01/01/2012 SS)
Final Price: $0.99

1 Smart Balance Milk @ $3.95
Used 1- $1.50/1 Smart Balance Milk (01/08/2012 SS)
Final Price: $2.45
(not a great deal but the hubby needed lactose free milk)

Total Saved: $69.63
Total Paid: $17.38 + tax

Didn't get my gift card but I did have a great trip!

Friday, February 3, 2012

10 tips for those wanting to coupon

First and most importantly, I must say that I am not, and I do not claim to be, a coupon guru. I can, however, give you all some tips that I have learned up to this date and these will be very helpful if you are a beginner. I really want you have the necessary tools to start couponing so I am going to be as clear and as specific as possible. This is what I have learned and wish to share with you all:

1. Let go of excuses and take the initiative to start couponing if that is what you really want to do! You can find a million excuses as to why couponing is not a feasible option for you and your family to save money. Couponing is just like any other task, job, or hobby that you could take on- you must have some patience because nobody starts out as an expert. It does take some time, I don't know why people say it doesn't. That doesn't mean you can't break it up and do a bit today and a bit tomorrow. How much time it takes depends on many things, if you follow a blog to help you in the stores you shop at, how many Sunday papers you are buying a week, etc. You must be patient and persistent! In couponing, patience is definitely a virtue! (see the following tip) 

2. Patience is indeed a virtue (as you will find out)!  One thing you must know before you start to coupon is that you shouldn't expect to get 50 dollars worth in groceries for 3 dollars after just clipping one Sunday paper's inserts! This is a big misconception. It is probable that you might be able to use those coupons and get items at a fraction of the original cost, but that is not how you find the great deals. Really good deals are usually (but not always) sales on items that have matching coupons from past inserts. Some of them might be from inserts 2 months prior to this! You must start a binder and keep your coupons; these items might be on sale down the road. Patience! Another reason why one needs to be patient is because sometimes, you might have a coupon for an item and it sounds like an alright deal. Well, you could just go ahead and use it...or, you can hold on to it and you might be able to get it for free with an upcoming sale!

3. Do not get discouraged! We've all experienced a trip that didn't go as planned, that embarrassing trip where everyone gave you evil looks, and the time you left your coupon book/binder at a store and was never able to get it back. At first, you might get so hyped up about sales and have your coupons ready only to find out that the sizes don't match or the products the coupons are for aren't in the sale. Bummer! This, I'm pretty sure, happens to every beginner. You just have to take it as a lesson. Maybe that means you have to take 5 extra minutes to check that coupons and sales match up (or check a blog for match-ups!). With, and only with, experience comes knowledge. And as your knowledge increases, you'll find that your check-outs are more easy flowing (which would mean less dirty looks!). A few months ago, I lost my coupon mini binder and was devastated, as lame as that sounds. So many good coupons gone....forever! One day I just realized how dumb I was to not be as resilient as I should have been and decided to start another one. Now, I'm much more careful and ALWAYS check the shopping cart to make sure I do not leave it there again.

4. Follow a couponing blog or website!  This, I find, is a must to see better results in a shorter amount of time! Following couponing blogs/websites will make it much more easier for you as it provides real life examples and scenarios! Not to mention, they make it "easy peasy lemon squeezy" for you because they do coupon match-ups!! I, for example, shop primarily at Publix. I follow Michelle's website at www.iheartpublix.com and then I check how my fellow couponers do by clicking on their links when they share their weekly trip. There are literally thousands of websites and blogs to follow- there is no reason why not to! Of course, I'm not saying that if you want to coupon, you won't make it without doing this but your outcome will be better. It just makes sense.

5. Take advantage of BOGO sales! Bogo (Buy One, Get One) sales are the best! These are already savings of 50%, so if you purchase bogo items and use coupons for these, it makes for stellar savings! Stores like Kroger & Publix have great bogo items but my absolute favorite is Publix, as I had previously mentioned. The reasons? They have GREAT bogos weekly! Yes, weekly! On top of that, you can use Manufacturer Coupons and (this part is crazy!) on top of that, you can stack store coupons on these items as well! Is that crazy or what!? Now, let me blow your mind, these "store coupons" don't even have to be Publix coupons! They can be from whichever store your Publix considers a competitor! For example, my Publix considers Target as a competitor (you can find out yours by asking an employee or checking for the store's sign in the entrance) so I can use either Publix or Target coupons on top of my manufacturer coupons. You just can't t use both, Publix and Target, in one same item. Let me give you an example/scenario for all of this info you just read:
** Suppose Ritz crackers are on bogo- $3.09. This price would usually be per box but since it's bogo, it's the price for two of them. And suppose you have a manufacturer coupon of  $1 off 2 Ritz boxes (and the sizes match). Also, suppose that your Publix accepts Target coupons and you found a Target coupon online that is $2 off 2 Ritz boxes. This would mean that you would get 2 boxes of Ritz for only 9 CENTS! 
                                           Ritz bogo at $3.09
                                                   minus $1.00 MQ
                                                   minus $2.00 TQ
                                            Final Price: $0.09 for two!

6. Organize your coupons and have them ready before you go shopping. The reason why is very clear. This makes for a faster trip and a trip in which you actually get all the things you were supposed to get! It keeps you from wasting time at the store and holding up lines. Many people think that couponers hold up lines. With this, you can prove this wrong and help yourself at the same time. 

7. Get to know your stores' coupon policy and how their sales work. Not only are their differences between different stores (i.e Kroger and Publix), but there are also differences between the same stores (i.e a Publix in Savannah, Ga. and a Publix in Rome, Ga.). Actually, there could be differences in two Publix's only a mile away! So you must always get to know your store and follow their policy! One of these differences might be their bogo sales. Some stores' bogo sales might mean that you have to buy one item at full price and get the other one absolutely free (this is referred to as "true bogo") while others might interpret bogo as buy any 1 item at half price. My Publix, for example, doesn't have true bogo which means that I don't have to buy 2 of the items to get the deal. I can just buy 1 and I get that at half price. This is great because sometimes, you have an uneven amount of coupons or your coupon requires you to buy an odd amount of products. 

8. Make sure you buy the Sunday paper with the P&G inserts! These P&G (Proctor & Gamble) inserts, only come out once a month. The first Sunday of the month or the first Sunday before the month starts. These are really good coupons and expire after the month ends. People tend to buy more Sunday papers when the P&G are in it because they are great coupons and also cause it has an extra insert for the same price.

9.Take advantage of the weekly ads for various stores that can be found in your Sunday paper. They are already in your paper, might as well use them. Use them to compare prices, examine the deals, and now, you can use them to price match at Walmart. Even if you don't regularly shop at that store, with the new implemented Walmart match it policy, you can use it solely to get that low price at Walmart. 

10. Organize your coupons. There are so many ways to do this. Some people organize them by expiration dates. I organize mine by putting them in categories: "food & snacks", "health & beauty", "household items", "pet items", etc. I also organize them by stores. I have a folder for Walmart, Publix, Kroger, CVS and Target. I place the coupons in the folder of the store I plan to use them at. This way, I am always ready for whichever store I have to run to. Some people have a different binder for each store and within that binder, divide it into categories. You find a way that works for you because every person is different.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Free Target Trip & Great Publix Trip

This week I decided to skip Kroger and go to Target and Publix instead. I was so bummed out because I was so excited about getting a free transformers toy for my little one with the Hasbro coupon that I had printed out a few weeks ago and I ended up losing it! This ended up being my Target Trip (oh, did I mention this is my first time shopping at Target ever?):

2 Iams Trial Size Dog Food: $3.00 each
2- $3.00/ 1 (any) Iams dog food  Manufacturer Coupons (February's P&G insert)
Final Price: Free

Up&Up Paper Towels: $0.99
1- $1.00 / 1Up&Up Target Coupon from their website
Final Price: Free

Bic pens: $0.97
1-$1.00/1 Bic Stationary Product Manufacturer Coupon 1/08/2012 SS insert
Final Price: Free+ $0.03 overage

Total Value: $7.96 +tax
Total Saved: $8.00

Amount Paid Out-of-Pocket: $0.47

This (right above) is my Publix trip, which I was super excited about! I'm always anxious to see the weekly ad's sneak peek every Monday and when I saw that the cereal was going to be a good buy, I couldn't wait to go shopping! I love Fiber One and my husband's favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The great thing about this week's ad was that the ad contained a Publix coupon for $2 off ANY General Mills cereal 15.6 oz to 18.25 oz.  This paired very nicely with some printable coupons I had printed a few weeks ago as well as a two coupons from the Sunday inserts.  I was able to get free Fiber One plus an overage that went towards the rest of the stuff I bought and very cheap Cinnamon Toast Crunch (59 cents). I gave my mother-in-law 3 boxes of cereal and half a dozen of the drinks. I love giving! Oh, and spaghetti sauce is an awesome item to buy when on sale because it's perfect for busy days when you don't have much time to prepare a homemade meal.  Needless to say, this was a great week for my family and I! This is how I did at Publix this week:

6  Fiber One Cereals:  2 for $5.00 (regularly 4.49 each)
Used 6- $2.00/1 General Mills Publix Coupon (in ad)
Used: 2- $1.75/ 2 General Mills cereal Printable Maunfacturer Coupons
Used: 2- $0.50/1 Fiber One Cereal 01/29/2012  SS insert
Final Price: Free + $2.50 overage

2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereals: $3.59 each
Used: 2- $2.00/1 General Mills Publix Coupon (in ad)
Used: 2- $0.50/1 Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal Printable Manufacturer Coupons
Final Price: $1.18 for both ($0.59 each)

4 Ragu Sauces:  Bogo at 2.19
Used:  2- $0.60/2 Ragu Sauces Manufacturer Coupons 01/29/2012 RP insert
Final Price: $3.18  for all 4 ($0.80 per jar)

1 Solo Square Plastic Cups: Bogo at $5.29
Used 1- $0.75/ 1 Solo Item Manufacturer Coupon (from a Sunday insert.  I forgot which one, couldn't find it in the database either- sorry! Check your binders!)
Final Price: $1.90

2 La Croix 12 packs Sparkling Water: Bogo at $4.49
Used: 2- $1.00/1 La Croix Natural Sparkling Water Printable Manufacturer Coupons
Final Price: $2.50 ($1.25 per 12 pack)

Total Value: $56.88 plus tax
Total Saved: $50.63

Amount Paid Out-of-Pocket: $6.25 plus tax ($7.31)