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Archive for May, 2008

Last year, in the rosy glow of anticipated vegetables and flowers, I spent a good chunk of cash on organic soil, seeds, seedlings, rose bushes, annuals, perennials and herbs. My garden was large, and it was beautiful–tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, lettuce and much, more more. Things were growing, starting to sprout, and I was counting the days until I could pick my babies.

And then, my landlord decided to mow. I mourned.

So this year, I weeded the whole lot, planted areas and non. There is no way this is getting mowed this year. I also scaled back just in case he decides to go at it again, but now I’m wondering if we’ll have enough to eat. I planted two tomato plants (for sauce only–I hate raw tomatoes), 2 eggplant plants, 3 hills of cucumbers, 2 zucchini hills, 5 rows of lettuce and 3 rows of green onions. My Lowes (I had a 10$/50$ coupon) was all out of peppers, so I hope to get some of those later.

I also planted all my herbs in pots, since I found the weeding was not worth it. And pots are cute and double for decorations.

Having grown up with a very garden-intensive father and a plant-killing mother, I’m hoping Things Live. I have a fifty-fifty chance, so I figure I have a shot at it if I can just make it through one growing season…please!

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So, I thought there’d be tons of deals for Memorial Day Barbecues…apparently, not so much. In fact, it seemed like the logic went “people are buying food, so let’s raise the prices!” Really…not so good.

Best Deal: The $3.00/ 5 Kraft Items coupon, just for the variety offered. I know I could use a lot of things on that list…
Best Store to Shop At: Hannafords or Market Basket

Shaws:

Corn $0.25 cents each
Edy’s Ice Cream B1G1 Free
Arm & Hammer B1G1 Free; use with two $1.00/1 coupons. (Though last time, Shaw’s wouldn’t let me use two coupons for a B1G1 offer…but that was with a store coupon, so who knows. Worth trying!)

In-flyer coupon: Save $3.00 instantly when you buy 5 participating Kraft items:

Barbecue sauce, mayo, miracle whip, dressing, dip, A1 sauces & marinade, Jell-o pudding & gelatin (boxes), Taco Bell, Starbucks Coffee, Post cereals, planters nuts, kraft singles cheese, shredded cheese, Crystal light, Kool-aid, country time, Breakstone sour cream, Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs & bologna, bagel-ful bagels, Boca, digorno and california kitchen pizza, South Beach Living stuff, Cool whip, chips ahoy!, Ritz, Honey-Maid, Nabisco cheese nips and toasted chips and stoned wheat thin crackers.

(I’m personally going with the Post cereals at 5/$10.00-$3.00 coupon =$1.40 each! Then, I can send it in for the free box of Honey Bunches of Oats rebate in the past few papers)

There’s also a $1.00/1 Bagel-ful coupon.

Lay’s Chips B1G2 free with in-ad coupon.

Sirloin Tips $3.99/lb.; Use with $1.00 off meat coupon in the Shaw’s Taste of Summer (TOS) booklet

Stop & Shop:
Really, really bad prices this week. Really.

Corn is 10/$1.99 ($0.20/each)

Market Basket:

Hood is on sale again–this seems to happen about every 3 weeks:
Hood Sour Cream $0.99
Hood Cottage cheese 2/$3.00
Hood Country Creamer $0.99; Use with $1.00/2 coupon for 2/$0.98
Hood Whipped Cream 2/$3.00
Hood Smart Start Half&Half 2/$3.00; Use with $1.00/2 coupon for 2/$2.00

McCormick Sea Salt Grinders $1.99

Hunt 4-pk Snack Pack Puddings 5/$4.00

Keebler Fudge Cookies 2/$4.00; use with $1.00/2 coupon for 2/$3.00

Eggplant $0.99/lb.

Hannafords:
There’s a 5$/$50.00 coupon out

Vidalia Onions $0.59/lb.

Cape Cod Potato Chips 2/$4.00
use with $1.00/2 coupon for 2/$3.00

Land ‘o’ Lakes Yellow or White American Cheese $3.49/lb. Use with $1.00/1 lb or two packages coupon for
$2.49/lb.

Boneless NY Sirloin Steak $2.99/lb.

Lemons 3/$1.00

Pillsbury Brownie Mix 5/$5.00

Deli Sorrento Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese $3.99/lb.

Lunchables Cracker Stackers $1.69 each. Buy 2 and use with $0.75/2 coupon for 2/$2.63

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Before I was really trying to be frugal I thought my husband and I weren’t name-brand people. Sure, we gravitated towards the same things, but I didn’t think there were many brands we were picky about. Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines? Pshaw, both please! But when I started looking at coupons and deals, I discovered, like most newly-frugal homies I’m sure, that I really did subconsciously buy the same brands. Advertising works!

So now, I buy any sort of cleaner (not just Lysol or Fantastic), I don’t buy Dixie plates if they’re not free, and I buy non-Solo plastic cups, among other things. I’m pretty sure this is a good thing. However, there have been some times when this has gone disastrously wrong, and I’m starting to think that some of my first inclinations were good ones. Here are some things I’m sticking with “my” brand on.

1. Skintimate Shaving Cream. After trying the Gillette, store-brand, and other branded ones, they all leave–permanent–rust rings in my tub. Cannot remove. Skintimate is the only one that I can leave anywhere, and never makes a mark. I also like their smells, added aloes, and latherability. So, when it goes on sale at CVS and Walgreens, I stock up!

2.) Stonyfield or Cabot Plain Yogurt. I’ve since tried all the store-brands and a few other ‘big brand’ ones, and they are disgusting. Like vanilla yogurt, but then they tried to remove the vanilla, only partially succeeding. Plus, as an Iranian (yes, I’m half Pure New England, half Pure Iranian–best of everything in me!) I eat a lot of yogurt. Now, this might sound odd, but Persians often put yogurt on everything. Cheez-its and American Chop Suey are two of the oddest combos that come to mind, nevermind the normal Iskender or mast o khiar that I make nearly every week. So, it’s pretty important to me that it be the best tasting stuff. Trader Joes is the only store-brand that I buy, and it’s often just as expensive.

3.) Dawn/Palmolive. Um, it really does cut through grease. And confession-time: for a homeschooling project when I was probably in 5th grade or something I had to write a business letter. So I wrote it to P&G, telling them that their product “cut through grease and decreased my dish-washing time in half!” Or something bizarrely fan-like. But after testing out some others…they really don’t do it like Dawn. I can deal with Palmolive too, but Sun and the other brands…yuck. I really do stand at my sink twice as long.

4.) Rice. Again, probably due to the fact that I eat rice with everything. I’ve found that most all higher-end brands work, such as Della, Rice Select, or the kind that comes in the Burlap Bag, but the lower-end stuff and store-brand just does.not.cook right. So I splurge on my high-end rice that never seems to ever be on sale. Sad.

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Ups & Downs

I was excited all day long to get my soon-to-be-free Lysol Toilet Cleaner with the 5$/20 Walgreens coupon…but alas, it was not to be. Not only was Walgreens totally out of the Lysol, they were also out of the Softsoap and the regular tin foil. Then, though we needed garbage bags, I didn’t think that spending 15$/2 boxes would be any better than the normal grocery store prices. I don’t know though, because my price book isn’t telling me. I do know I can definitely get them for about 3$ at Big Lots though!

However, I had a very successful CVS run. I got:. (The picture is small because it’s horrible, and flash-y, and I didn’t want to take another one because I want to clean the kitchen before my husband wakes up and I didn’t want the huge one staring me in the face. Meh!)

2 360 Colgate Toothbrushes for $7.98- 2 $1.00/2 coupons for:
$5.98 OOP
$7.98 ECB

Almay i-Color Shadow for $6.99- $1.00 coupon from insert – $1.00 CVS coupon I serendipitously found in the store.
$4.99 OOP
$5.00 ECB

Garnier Fructis Shine Burst for $1.99-$1.00/1 insert coupon
$0.99 OOP
$1.00 ECB

Skintimate Shaving Cream $1.88 – $1.00 insert coupon
$0.88 OOP
No ECB.

I had $11.99 in ECB’s, so my total was:

$1.94 OOP
$13.98 ECB

Yeah! So happy I’ve had 2 successful runs in a row at CVS…I’m starting to get my confidence back!

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Here we are! Deals are average, so if we hadn’t spent all our budget on deliciously grill-worthy red meat, I would have gone shopping. But, alas, looks like that won’t be an option, so!

Best Store to Shop: Market Basket
Best Deal: Porterhouse Steaks at Shaws

Stop & Shop:

Pepsi 12-pack 5/$11.00.
Use with 2.00 off any Pepsi Feb. Rebate coupon
for 5/$9.00

Dannon Yogurt 20/10$

Quilted Northern 24-pack $5.99 (normal price at MB)

Shaws:

They’re handing out “Taste of Summer in New England” booklets with over $130 worth of Shaws coupons inside! On page 8, there’s a $1.00/off any Shaw’s Choice Beef coupon to be used, before the rest of the coupon pages.

Rib Steak (Semi-boneless)
New York Strip Steak (Bone-In) and
Porterhouse or T-Bone Steak
all for $5.99/lb.

Bottom Round Steak $1.99/lb.

Bottom Round Rump Roast $2.29/lb

Boneless Rib-Eye Steak $7.99/lb

Cube Steak $1.99/lb

Tenderloin Steak for Filet Mignon $9.99/lb

Boneless NY Strip Steak $7.99/lb.

Buy 1 Friendly’s Ice Cream for $4.99, Get 1 Free
Buy 2 of the Fruit Swirls and get $1.00 off for 2/$3.99

Yoplait 10/$5.00
Use with 2 B5G1 free Coupons for 12/$5.00

Blueberries, Strawberries or Blackberries 2/$4.00

Corn on the Cob 6/$2.88

Coke & Sprite 12-packs 5/$11.00

Pizza Rolls 10/$10.00
Use with $1.00/2 coupons

Perdue Perfect Portions $6.99
Use with $2.00/1 coupon for $4.99 each

Laughing Cow Cheese 2/$5.00
Use with 2 $1.00/1 coupons for 2/$3.00

Eggs (unadvertised) $1.69/dozen

Market Basket:

Pilgrim’s Pride 3-lb bags of ready-to-cook frozen chicken breasts $4.99 (2$ savings)

Bananas $0.39/lb ($0.29/lb @ Trader Joes this week)

Foxy Romaine Hearts $1.79

Cabot Butter $1.99 (selling for $4.99 @ Shaws this week!)

Cabot Cottage Cheese 2/$3.00

Cabot Whipped Cream 2/$3.00

Ragu 24-oz. 3/$5.00

Duncan Hines Brownie Mix 2/$3.00

Tangy Lime Bag (2-lb) $1.49

General Mills Cereal 2/$4.00
Use with $1.00/2 coupons for 2/$3.00
Buy 2 Chex as well, and use two $1.00/1 coupons for 2/$2.00

Jello Instant Pudding 5/$3.00

Cabot Shredded Cheese 2/$4.00

Howards 32oz jar minced garlic $2.99 (at S&S the 4.5 oz jar is $2.49!!)

Hannafords:

Top Round $1.69/lb.

Hannaford Yogurt 5/$2.00

Eggplant $1.29/lb.

Boneless Strip Steak $7.99/lb.

Various Hannaford Brand items seem to be a bit cheaper, but not by much.

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Back from Math

See, this is what I was afraid of. I had a math placement exam that I needed to study for, so everything went. Every-thing. Blogs, coupons, CVS, deals, dishes, meals and water. Only algebra study guides. I failed the first time, which led to a second week of drought. I passed then. Apparently I’d forgotten that area = lxw, not l+w, ahh, the stresses of testing under pressure! Finally, though, I can register for my last four classes at the community college, and start my admissions process for UMASS Boston in the upcoming months. That plus the wonderful, magical year of awesomeness at Ithaca (that I left to get married to an even awesom-er man), and I should be done by 2010. 7 years isn’t bad for a one-year Bible school thing & an associates & an undergrad degree (same major throughout), right? And yes, schooling is now Hard, but love is more than worth it.

But I jumped back into it, with a (finally) successful CVS run! I got 20$ worth of Garnier Nutritioniste stuff for 6$ (I was low on ECBs from my previously disastrous trips) in my first transaction, and in my second, got a free 360 toothbrush, Colgate toothpaste and Schick Intuition Plus razor. Both CVS’ didn’t have any more of the Hawaii Tropicana (sp?) lipbalms, so I was out of luck there. Plus I came away with $11.99 in ECBs! Yeeaah!

This was also the Shaws meat sale, so my carnivorous husband came with me to scoop up the next few months worth of grilling material. We got 2 packages of ground beef at $0.99 each, and 11 Porterhouse & grilling steaks at only $5.99/lb and $7.99/lb respectively, a three dollar -per-pound savings on each. This was a pretty good deal we felt (though I’m very worried that there will be lower prices next week–*bites nails*) but we also used up our entire rest of the month budget. I think we can do it with what we have, but this might turn into a very creative two weeks worth of food!

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I’m pretty proud. Not ecstatic, not as if I’d had the.best. shopping trip ever, but pretty darn happy. The catch:
The cost? Now, if you’re from New England you’ll probably harumph and say “eh, now, not so bad there.” If you’re from anywhere else but the West Coast you’ll probably think me daft for posting anything so ghastly.

The total was $97.65.

For me, for the Northshore of Massachusetts, I’m happy. And this will feed us for probably about 3 weeks, maybe three and a half if I get super-creative. I only got to use $5.00 in applicable coupons (my others expired yesterday. Sadness!) but the store deals were so good this week that it didn’t really even matter. I got some standard deals (2 Sargento – $1.00 coupon), but also found some really good bread prices (most $0.99), and cheap dairy ($1.50 and under). Plus, chicken was on sale, so I got 4.5 lbs for only $12-something.

In fact, looking at my…56 items, 47 of them are under $2.00. The deli meat & cheese, (2) chicken, Romaine, (2) pepperoni, and (2) Eggos were over, but I had coupons for the latter two. I also had the satisfaction of going to Shaws afterwards and seeing most of these same items for anywhere from $0.50-$3.00 more expensive. I know–after many lazy trips–that this amount of food at Shaws would have easily been in the $175.00 range. But, I was good and only went for the loss-leaders at Shaws, where I got…

Healthy stuff! Or not.

This was also exciting. Post $1.99 each (too lazy to save $0.20 by going to S&S), Doritos B1G2 free (they wouldn’t take my $2.00/2 coupon since the two were free. Bah!) and Breyers B1G1.

The total here…$9.47

Without sales & coupons, this would be $29.33, for a total savings of $19.86. And this is the shtuff we looove. Good week, and hopefully this month we won’t be at all over-budget eating out.

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