Monthly Archives: August 2009

Free for August

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. Here is my list for August:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
6-pack bottled water
frozen pizza
bottled iced tea
big roll paper towels

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:
Softsoap Nutri Serums
Blink eye drops
4 pkg sticky notes
2 10-pk pencils
2 book covers
2 pr scissors
2 spiral notebooks
2 pencil cases
2 pkg filler paper
memo book
1″ binder
Irish Spring body wash
2 travel 1st aid kits
Glade soy candle
lip moisturizer
3 bottles Nivea body wash
Reach floss
Sensodyne iso-active foaming tooth gel
Aquafresh iso-active foaming tooth gel
Similasan Sleeplessness Relief

Rolling Walgreen’s Register Rewards:
Purell sanitizer wipes
Anti diarrhea medication

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons Makes Free:
Publix canned chicken
2 lb bacon
Kotex lightdays
Honey Bunches of Oats
2 3-packs Scotch Magic Tape
2 boxes Barilla pasta
2 pkg Jenny-O ground turkey
fresh pineapple
8 lb fresh peaches
4 bananas
3 bags frozen fries
3 bags frozen broccoli
4-pack Danactive yogurt
2 small cans chicken
soy sauce
sour cream
3 Weber Grill Creations
9 lb charcoal

Full Rebates:
Scotch Pop-Up tape

Free Deals:
2 candy bars
3 Einstein’s bagels
grilled hot dog
2 Glade soy candles
one pint Starbucks ice cream
dozen eggs
16 oz Oscar Mayer lunch meat

Given to Me:
fresh pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, and carrots
lots of homegrown peppers
4 homegrown cantaloupes
4 lb grapes and diced melon
2 1/2 lb sliced ham
6 1/2 lb coleslaw
frozen pizza


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I decided it’s high time to commit the time to making Heather and Jared’s wedding album ~ three and a half years after the fact. It’s been my week’s work and I have about one third of it finished. I was worried that 20-month-old fingers would find their way into all the fun goodies but so far that hasn’t been a problem. Here’s hoping I get it all finished before September is over.


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All You Grocery Challenge Week 4

See previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Week 4 Menus

Monday: chicken tortilla casserole; broccoli; chocolate-cherry pie. A friend of Greta’s stayed for dinner.
Tuesday: marinated chicken; green beans; biscuits leftover from Sunday; watermelon slices

Wednesday: spaghetti; whole grain French bread; romaine salad

Thursday: lemon chicken with snow peas over rice; Caesar salad. Heather and Jared were at his parents’ house; we went over after dinner for birthday cake and snacks. I took crackers and cream cheese spread.
Friday: Chuck, David, and I had taco salad with tortilla chips. Heather and Jared ate at his parents’ house again; Greta made a picnic supper for her boyfriend. She made stroganoff over noodles; fresh cherries; and key lime pie.
Saturday: tarragon chicken salad; watermelon slices. Greta went out to eat with her boyfriend.
Sunday: noon meal-taco salad with homemade tortilla chips. Greta’s boyfriend joined us. Evening meal-baked potato bar with toppings: broccoli, Hollandaise sauce, stroganoff, chili, cheese, sour cream, or gravy

Week 4 Notes
The Publix Mystery Coupon item (penny item) was a six-pack of bottled water.

I bought 2 whole chickens this week so I could pressure cook them and debone them to stock the freezer. I think this is the most cost-effective way to have chunks of chicken meat for recipes.

I made a double batch of our family’s favorite granola. Instead of the wheat germ I didn’t have, I crushed some mini shredded wheat in the blender and added it to the oats. The shredded wheat just was not moving well in this house and I wanted its pantry space for other things. This turned out to be a great way to use it and I plan to use more of it up this way in the future.

Monday’s pie was made from a chocolate crumb crust that has been rattling around in the pantry and generally getting in the way. It was high time I used it. I tried a new recipe using 2 boxes of chocolate pudding mix (also needed to be used), plain yogurt (in the refrigerator), Cool Whip (sitting in the freezer), and a little milk, with a topping of cherries (a single can of tart pie cherries in juice, also rattling around the pantry). I thickened the cherry juice with a little corn starch and sugar, added the cherries, then topped the pie with it. It got rave reviews.

David got another free sandwich and drink at Chick-Fila on Tuesday, using another coupon he got somewhere.

Greta had two friends spend the night Tuesday night. They got home late, so they fixed their own supper of waffles, scrambled eggs, and yogurt. At noon the next day they made grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit.

I found two partial bags of rather hard marshmallows in the pantry. I also spied a box of Rice Krispies I had gotten free at CVS in the spring. Combined, we have Rice Krispies Treats, of course. I made a half batch because I didn’t have enough Rice Krispies for a full batch. I did use up all of the hard marshmallows though. Jared especially loves them.

On Thursday, Greta and David got the most amazing free lunch. Their university had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new, state-of-the-art campus dining hall. As executive members of Student Government, they were both invited. Following the ceremony the dining hall was opened for tours and free food. This wasn’t free samples, but full-size portions, all you can eat, whatever you want, in all 10 dining venues. They came home raving about the new dining facilities and good food.

I made pumpkin muffins this week because I had a can of pumpkin puree that was nearing expiration. We ate some for breakfast and I froze some.

Our neighbor brought over a bag of fresh fruit that someone had given them, but that they couldn’t eat. We got a whole pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, and carrots.

On Friday I got another free bagel at Einstein’s. This time I froze it, and from now until the coupon expires on Aug 21 I will freeze the free bagels. Then we can enjoy them together at a later time.

For Sunday’s taco salad, we debated over going to the store for some tortilla chips and fresh tomatoes, or doing without those two items in our salad. In the spirit of “using what you have”, I pulled some tortillas from the freezer, cut them in wedges, and fried them in a little oil. Instead of fresh tomatoes, we added a can of drained corn to the salad. Both were very good.

On Sunday afternoon I made a homemade banana spice cake using up some over-ripe bananas and a dab of leftover applesauce.

I made a baked potato bar for Sunday supper to use up little bits of tomato-based sauces, Greta’s leftover stroganoff, and an aging Hollandaise sauce mix packet. It all worked out very well.

Week 4 Purchases
I spent $26.60 at Publix. I got the Mystery Coupon item, and then I purchased a beef roast (sale $2.19 lb), 4 cartons sour cream (BOGO made them 50 cents ea), 6 boxes pasta (BOGO and coupons made them 31 cents ea), vegetable oil (BOGO), 2 cans chicken (as part of the “Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free” deal; I got the Publix brand free), 2 brownie mixes (BOGO and coupon made them 85 cents ea), spaghetti sauce (BOGO), a whole watermelon (sale), grapes (sale), and frozen pea pods for a recipe this week (full price). They were out of the peaches on sale. I also used a $5 off $30 coupon I got in the mail.

I was sorry that I never got back to Publix for the 88 cent fresh peaches before the sale ended on Wednesday.

I spent $5.62 at Aldi, buying a frozen whole chicken ($3.93) and 2 pkgs hot dog buns (79 cents ea).

I shopped at Kroger twice. I spent $4.10 the first time, buying only a fresh whole chicken. The second time I spent nothing out of pocket because I had a $25 gift card from transferring a prescription. I spent only a portion of that, buying 5 4-packs of yogurt (sale $1.88 and $1 coupon made them 88 cents ea), French bread ($1.99), 2 pkg whole wheat tortillas ($1.19 ea), and fresh in-season produce. After the senior discount, it used $15.63 on my gift card.

Heather spent 89 cents on a loaf of marked down bread, but she forgot to save the receipt. So here is a photo instead.

Chuck spent $3.87 on a six-pack of romaine lettuce at Costco.

My week’s total spending was $41.08.

This was the last week for the challenge. I’m glad I participated in it because it was very fun for me to do. I learned that I need to really pay attention to what gets shoved to the back of the refrigerator and make sure it gets used up before it goes bad. I learned that it’s not the highly desirable leftovers that get shoved to the back of the refrigerator ~ those get eaten quickly! Instead, it’s the “little bits”: little bits of ingredients such as tomato sauce, or gravy, or shriveled fruits or veggies. If I pay attention to those, think of a way to turn them into something, and then prepare it promptly, I waste far less food. That’s what I want to do consistently from now on.

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All You Grocery Challenge Week 3

Week 3 Menus
Monday: tamale pie; Greek salad with tomatoes, cuke, and feta cheese
Tuesday: pork chops on the grill; potatoes; corn on the cob; romaine salad with parsley, cucumber and grated yellow squash
Wednesday: company casserole (like a lasagna casserole with a sour cream layer in it); biscuits; romaine salad with craisins, swiss cheese, almonds, and vinaigrette
Thursday: cheesy chicken and potatoes; fruit salad; fresh green beans. After dinner we divided up a leftover birthday cake that Jared brought home from work, which the birthday person didn’t want to take home. Greta’s boyfriend joined us for dinner.
Friday: homemade pizza; romaine salad with tomatoes and cucumbers
Saturday: hamburgers on the grill; condiments; hash browns; sliced tomatoes on lettuce; fruit salad. Greta was at a wedding; Heather and Jared went to Jared’s parents’ house for dinner.
Sunday: noon meal-roast beef with herb rub; mashed potatoes; cooked carrots; romaine salad with feta, parmesan, tomatoes, and cuke slices. Dessert-leftover doughnut halves with mango chunks. Evening meal-grazing the week’s leftovers.

Week 3 Notes
The Publix Mystery Coupon item (penny item) at Publix this week was hot dogs. The young men in the house sometimes like to take hot dogs for lunch.

At dinner on Monday the family all agreed that it would have been nice to have cornbread with the tamale pie. I’ll add that to the written menu plan. Instead, some of the family had ice cream or Italian ice later in the evening.

I baked a batch of chocolate peppermint cookies for lunch treats, and to use up some of our leftover candy canes from Christmas. It’s a favorite cookie in this house.

Heather bought some groceries at Publix this week, but they didn’t cost her anything because she spent some of a gift card. She had lost the card some time ago, and found it again last week. It was a wedding gift from three years ago! She bought the penny hot dogs, Silk milk (coupons made them $1.37 each), Yakisoba (coupons made them 19 cents each), ravioli (coupons made them free), Mac and cheese cups (coupons made them free), frozen Starkist dinners (BOGO and coupons made them free), yogurt cups (coupons made them free), juice boxes (coupons made them 50 cents each), graham crackers (BOGO and coupon made it $1), tomato sauce (free after coupon), cake mix (BOGO and coupon made it 15 cents). The little bit this cost was spent from her gift card; no out of pocket.

I got another CVS coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts. Again, I bought two packages of chocolate covered peanuts for 99 cents each. With the $2 coupon they were free. This time I popped them in the freezer.

David got another free sandwich on Tuesday. He had just finished his final exam for summer school, walked by some activities going on for new student orientation, and was invited to spin a wheel to win a prize. He won a “Five Guys” sandwich.

Greta’s art class had pizza for lunch, donated by the art club, to celebrate the last day of summer school on Tuesday.

When I made the cheesy mashed potatoes on Thursday I added a partial carton of flavored cream cheese that was lurking in the refrigerator. It made the potatoes very tasty.

Friday morning I got another free bagel at Einstein’s, using the same coupon from the newspaper that I used last week.

There was a potluck brunch during fellowship hour at church on Sunday. Several people didn’t want to take their leftover food home, so Heather brought it home. We had a bag of doughnut halves (we ate for Sunday’s noon meal dessert), a large bag of bagels, some cream cheese, grapes, grits, and two different egg casseroles. Good eating for the beginning of the week!

Week 3 Purchases
I spent $20.34 at Publix. I bought the penny hot dogs, Hebrew National franks (BOGO and coupon made it $1.75), Lawry’s marinade (BOGO and coupon made it 43 cents), Lawry’s salt (BOGO and coupon made it 85 cents), five in-season fresh fruits, three fresh veggies, four cake mixes (BOGO and coupons made them 15 cents each; we have three birthdays in August), and six boxes of Italian Ices (raincheck on BOGO plus coupons made them 50 cents each. I expect these six boxes to last the rest of the summer). I also used a Publix $3 off $30 coupon.

Chuck spent $3.87 at Costco on a 6-pack of romaine lettuce.

I spent $38.24 at Kroger this week. I stocked up on 13 bags of frozen veggies since they were on sale for 99 cents. I also got 2 quarts of Dannon plain yogurt (sale $1.88 ea), a 6-pk of Danactive (sale and Q made it 88 cents), 6 cups Yoplait yogurt (Q made them 38 cents ea), sour cream (sale $1), chicken breasts (sale 99 cents lb), 5-lb chub ground beef (sale $1.68 lb), 4 dz eggs (sale 99 cents), and the only item I paid full price for was a bottle of peppermint extract ($2.69). I also got the senior discount ($2.08).

Heather had the same coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts that I had. She bought three packages of nuts for 99 cents each, minus 90 cents for Jared’s employee discount, minus the $2 coupon made the total 6 cents before tax.

Heather also got 2 bags of peppermint candies at CVS. After coupon and employee discount, she spent 40 cents. She likes to make our favorite chocolate peppermint cookies with these.

David did the Wednesday deal at Arby’s. He spent approx $2.50 for a sandwich and got a free “fruit-thingy” (his words) and no receipt. He said it wasn’t a good deal this week.

I spent $17.97 at Aldi and bought 2 gallons milk ($1.49 ea), 4 8-oz pkgs cheese ($1.29 ea), 6 big cans tomatoes (89 cents ea), can corn (49 cents), 2 cans cream soup (59 cents ea), oregano ($1.09), and 2 dz eggs (69 cents ea).

Our total spending for week #3 was $83.38. That comes out to less than $12 per person, and just under half my weekly allotment. And we ate very well!

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