Friday, December 30, 2011

Just Started ~ $250.00 Challenge

The challenge is only spend $250.00 a month during 2012 for food, toiletries and paper goods.  I started this week.  A little early...but so was my paycheck.

It has been fun going to the mailbox this week!  I received my Ebates check for $27.45.  Yesterday I received a $10.00 rebate from the Bon...I mean Macy's and today I received a rebate check for $6.00 from Rite!  This money is going into my grocery fund.

Here is what we have been up to the past couple of days around here (I should have a picture of me sitting on the couch watching tv because that is what I have been doing most of all ~ a decadent waste of time.):

My hubby smoked up the last of the pink/humpy salmon that he and my favorite son-in-law caught in the fall.  They taste primo like this!  Now they are both getting ready for steelhead fishing.

Rite Aid ~ paid 99 cents plus got a $2.00 UP reward.  Full price was $7.49!  I like that I am well stocked with cold remedies...because I feel one coming on :(.

Every once in a while Haggens has a sale worth participating in.  I always have to use my best level of patience...because most of the checkers there are coupon snobs.  I just repeat to more debt, no more debt...and I ignore the checkers.  I paid $22.60 for this...full retail would have been $76.84!  The savings were SO worth the snobby checkers!

Dollar Tree Store in Lake is the place to get tall kitchen bags.  Each box of 18 bags cost a $1.00.  I am going to try their sandwich bags (which cost...take a guess...a $1.00).  Ziploc bags may be better but man they are pricy and are not on sale very often.

Safeway had a "Friday Only" sale.  3 pounds of ground turkey for $5.00.  Normally each pack cost $11.99....I paid $5.00 each.  Love a good deal on meat.  My freezer looks pretty well stocked right now. 

Best deal ever!  I used a $5.00 gift card (which I earned for free from Swagbucks) and paid a total of 4 cents for ALL of these bottles of stain remover.  Just love and Swagbucks.   Normally one of these cost $4.99 per bottle at Rite Aid. 

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shopping, Freebies & Using Leftovers for Dinner

Today was two daughter's and I headed down to the Northgate Mall in Seattle.  It has been years since I have been there.  We were loaded up with gift cards and were intent on finding the best deals possible.  I did pretty good.  At the Bon er Macy's I bought a sweater and a pair of pants that originally cost $64.00 each but by taking advantage of sales and coupons...I paid $11.00 each. Oh yeah!  I also bought a t-shirt at Kohl's for 69 cents by utilizing sales and coupons.  It is really hard to pay full price for clothing and shoes now.

When I got home...I had freebies and money in the mailbox.

I got a sample of Seattles Best a $2.00 coupon.  I received a $1.00 off coupon for some All Laundry detergent and I received a check!

...from Ebates for $27.45!  I only started using Ebates about a month ago and I already earned my first check.  Checks come quarterly.  Ebates is free to use.  I just go through Ebates when I plan on purchasing something online.  If the vendor is associated with Ebates...they give me a percentage of the purchase price back.  It is soooo easy.  Check it out:

Also...I had a $1.00 Safeway catalina in my wallet that was expiring.  I didn't waste that dollar...hahaha.  I found a box of pumpkin bread mix on sale for $1.89 (normally $3.79) and with the catalina ~ I paid 89 cents. 


It's all about using up leftovers and what's in the freezer.  Tonight was eggnog french toast made with some wonderful cinnamon swirl bread that our wonderful aunt brought to Christmas Eve brunch.  I mixed the eggs with leftover eggnog...and yum.  Also served was the turkey bacon that I bought on clearance for 99 cents.  I am getting back into my frugal mindset now that the holiday of spending is over for now!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fab Brownie Pops, Progressive Snack Bar...and I have been Published!

Today is Christmas Eve, Eve!  My favorite youngest daughter says it is her favorite day of the season.  We order in pizza, pop popcorn and watch Christmas movies.  However...I do not buy that it is really her favorite day...Christmas morning for sure is her favorite.

Last night I had my family over for a bit...for our yearly Progressive Dinner.  Over the years it has gotten less sister participates, we have gone from a progressive dinner to serving snacks at the two houses involved.  It is still fun.  At our house we played 4 games of Bingo...and that is a keeper!  A good time was had by that will become part of the tradition.

I must admit, sadly, that I did not get any pictures of my family participating in the progressive snack fest...but I did take some of the food.  My favorite oldest daughter has often accused me of not taking pictures of my family New Years Resolution is to take more family pics.

First good deal of the day:

I received 24 rolls fo Bounty paper towels from
for $2.79...just over 10 cents a roll!
How? had them on sale for $22.80 but I was able to use a $3.00 coupon plus I got a saving of $3.42 for using their "subscribe and save" option.  This brought the cost down to $17.79 (including tax).  I then used (3) $5.00 gift cards that I earned for free using Swagbucks (see previous post for more information about Swagbucks).  I then paid $2.79 out of my own pocket.  I now have enough paper towels to get me through the next year most likely.  Yahoo!

Now on to my Progressive Snack Fest:

I made some very yummy brownie pops.  Some I left just dipped in white chocolate, some I rolled in crushed candy canes...and some where dipped in sprinkles.  I used some cream cheese to bind the brownie mix together and it really tasted good.  They looked pretty good too!

We had some veggies with ranch dressing, mexican layer dip with chips, german cured meats and cheeses w/ crackers, lil smokies wrapped in crescent dough (not shown) and stuffed potato skins with bacon, ham and cheese (also not shown).  For the sweet tooth we had a variety of chocolates, brownie pops and homemade cookies.  No one left hungry!

Last but not least...I was published in a couponing blog called: CouponConnections.  Her website is:

I was pretty excited to see that she published the great deal I found at Safeway.

Safeway match ups are coming soon, but here is a deal you will not want to miss!
Fun Da Middles on Sale $0.99
$0.75/1 Fun Da-Middles Cupcake Mix, exp. 1/7/12 (GM 11/13/11)
Final Price: $0.24!
Thanks Lynn for sharing the deal!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Safeway, Cracking Crab and Gingerbread Houses

I found a great deal at Safeway:

Fun da-middles cupcake mixes are yummy but normally are expensive.  Safeway had them on sale for 99 cents each (normally $3.99 each).  I had (5) 75 cent coupons.

With coupons I paid $1.20 for all 5 boxes ~ or 24 cents each.  94% Savings!

     Next up...Winco.  I love Winco but they are not the greatest store to use coupons at.
I love going there to stock up on items that I don't have coupons for...I buy lots of
fruits and veggies there.  However, everytime I try to use a coupon...I usually encounter a problem.  Today I used a coupon for $1.00/2 of any King's Hawaiian Rolls.  The coupon beeped and the cashier said sorry and threw my coupon away.  I nicely asked for my coupon back and to talk to the manager (very nicely requested, I promise.)  I try really hard to make sure my coupons are being used appropriately and I could not figure out why this coupon was being rejected.  The manager very casually told the cashier to just override and enter the coupon.  I do not think they train their
cashiers as fully as they should in terms of coupons...but it won't stop me
from shopping there.
Next up?  Cracking crab!  I was very lucky to get freshly caught crab from by brother-in-law who has a commercial crabbing boat.  My absolutely favorite thing is fresh caught/boiled crab.  I got enough to freeze 5 cups worth of crab.  It's a messy job...but well worth it!

                                            Such a pretty, pretty little guy! 

                                        Work station all set up and ready to go.

                                        No crab meat left on these crab shells.

                                        Pure sweet goodness!  Dungeness Crab

And finally...a little holiday cheer:

My favorite youngest daughter decided to create a gingerbread masterpiece!  She thoroughly enjoyed creating this masterpiece even though she got a bit short tempered when her mom tried out all the different candies and frostings.  I am not sure why she was so upset with me...I was just initiating some quality control techniques!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Albertsons & Swag Bucks

Today I headed to Albertson's to take care of the last 9 double coupons that I had since it ends tonight.  I prayed that I would not see anyone I know since I have declared today a grunge day...meaning, I brushed my teeth and that was about it.  Sometimes I get sick of taking that weird?  Anyway, back to Albertson''s what I got today:

2 bags of chips ~ normally $3.99 each (pd 50 cents each)
1 gallon of milk ~ paid $2.89
3 pounds of butter ~ normally $3.49 each (pd 89 cents each)
5 packages of turkey bacon ~ normally $3.99 each (pd 99 cents each)

3 pounds butter ~ normally $3.49 each (paid 89 cents each)

By using coupons and 3 Albertson's double coupons ...
I paid $2.67...a 74% savings!

I have quite a stock pile of butter; I just wrap it up in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer.  Works great!

WhoNu? Cookies ~ normally $3.19 (pd $1.00 each)

By using coupons and 3 Albertson's double coupons ...
I paid $3.00...a 69% savings!

Overall, on this shopping trip I saved 79%!

Note: Albertsons allows 3 of their double coupons per transaction for a max of 3 transactions per day. for some Swagbucks information.  So far, in about 9 months time,
 I have earned $100.00 in free gift cards just for using 

I search daily to earn free Swagbucks points, I participate in the "Daily Polls" and utilize their "Daily Deals" when they have something I want.  For doing all these things, I earn points.  Points then can be redeemed for gift cards and merchandise; there is a huge assortment of freebies you can earn.  I personally love to purchae the $5.00 gift cards that are 450 points. 

Today I was able to earn 415 Swagbucks by buying a "Daily Deal".  I was able to make a personalized calendar for my dad's birthday.  This was something I was going to give him anyway and by utilizing Swagbucks I saved quite a bit of money and earned almost enough points to get a new $5.00 gift card.  Give it a try...there's hardly any work involved.  Click on the link below:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poor Man's Mocha

So...remember all that hot cocoa I got super cheap last week?  I use it to make my daily mocha ~ aka a "Poor Man's Mocha".

My favorite weekend coffee cup:

Pour the cocoa packet into the cup:

Pour in some plain ol' our case some Folgers that I paid much less than retail for:


Add a little bit of milk:

Now grab the newspaper, sit on the couch, reflect for the moment that it's the weekend and sip a lucious mocha that cost about 15 cents!  (The going rate for a Starbucks Mocha is about four bucks)!

And...what happens on a work day? My hubby makes me my daily "Poor Man's Mocha" and has my lovely Starbucks reusable cup all ready and waiting for me as we walk out the door to work...just love that man!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Shopping is Done...Now Back to Couponing!!

If I may brag a Christmas shopping is done!  Our Christmas season hits hard and fast around here.  The first week in December starts off with my favorite youngest daughter's birthday.  We took her and a few friends over to Leavenworth, WA to enjoy the Christmas Lighting Ceremony.  I have never been there for this event (though I have been to Leavenworth many, many times).  The streets were FILLED with was crowded but the weather was beautiful and it was a great way to start off the Christmas season.  The next day was dinner out at Red Lobster with my family...there were 15 of us enjoying a wonderful meal together.  Jump to the next weekend, we celebrated my sister's 40th birthday by enjoying happy hour at Scuttlebutt Brewing in Everett on Friday night.  Saturday we hosted the Johnson Christmas party ~ my house was filled with 45 people.  It was the first time, in three years, that we have gotten together for Christmas.  My house was crowded but I think a good time was had by all...I certainly enjoyed myself.  The next day was a cookie fest hosted by my favorite oldest daughter in her own home.  We got to munch on all kinds of yummy was a great way to end a very busy weekend. has slowed down and I am enjoying myself by reading a great book about the Amish.  I have always been a bit fascinated by the Amish and this book is just a treat to read.  If you have some time...check out this book.  There are two other books as well that I am going to read:  "The Amish Cook at Home" and "The Amish Cook's Baking Book. 

I have been able to get some good buys this week...take a look below:

I was in desperate need of stain remover.  For some reason every clothing item I own is spotted up.  Thankfully Rite Aid had a sale on the Shout and I had a couple of coupons.  Retail price for the items above would have been $29.89.  I paid $9.82 PLUS I got a $2.00 UP coupon to use on my next purchase...just like getting free money.  Basically ~ I paid $7.82 for all these items.

I love a good deal on butter and this week Albertson's was the place to get a good deal!  I purchases 10 boxes of hot cocoa, 6 boxes of butter and 8 cans of soup (tomato and chicken noodle).  Retail would have been $67.86...I paid $4.74...oh yeah!!!  How?  Well, with coupons, I got the price down to $21.20 plus I had $6.46 left on one Albertson's free gift card that I earned from my gift card purchases a few weeks ago.  Plus, I used another free $10.00 gift card (a Catalina I earned for purchasing $30.00 worth of product a couple of weeks ago)...bringing my cost down to $4.74.  I put all that butter into a freezer bag and will store it in the freezer until needed.  Wait for a future blog...about how I plan to use all that hot cocoa and tomato soup.

Today I took a little trip to Safeway, on my lunch break, and picked up some rice.  Full retail would have been $10.76.  I paid $2.00 PLUS I got a $1.00 Catalina to use on a future purchase...just like free money!  Normally this rice cost $2.69 each.  They were on sale for $1.50.  I had (4) $1.00 coupons basically bringing the cost down to 50 cents each.  If you take the Catalina into account...these cost me 25 cents a piece.  How much did I make on that lunch break?

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Officially Christmas Season!

My sister Diane made this cute turkey cupcake was yummy!
Today is the day after Thanksgiving and now it is on to the Christmas season.  I love this time of year!  Our lights are up, I am making a list for things I need for cookie baking, every weekend until Christmas is filled with activities and I am just about done with my Christmas shopping.  My favorite youngest daughter and I were one of the idiots that went out shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving.  We started at Target in Lake Stevens where the line wrapped down the front, down the side and down the back of the building.  We were able to get everything we wanted even though we were far from being first into the store.  We waited in line for 58 minutes to check out...but we had a good time chatting with the folks around us.  After Target it was on to the Everett Mall to visit Macy's.  I only needed one thing...even though I ended up buying two things.  We got home just after 3:00 am and by that time my husband and son-in-law had already left to run to a farm and garden store in Burlington.  Both my hubby and I feel like we are recovering from a bad hangover...even though not one drop of liquor touched our lips.  I guess sleep deprivation at our age is not a good thing.  It was a fun time being with Cassidy but we both really missed having Kelsea and Jenna girl with us!  That's what happens when those darn kids get a life of their own.  Here is a recap of my week...

Albertson's was having a great deal on gift cards.  Buy $100.00 worth of gift cards and get a $20.00 coupon to use towards your next Albertson's grocery trip.  There was limited information on which cards this applied to so I talked to the manager.  The manager was also unsure if there were any limitations so she told me if any of my cards did not create a coupon...she would issue me an Albertson's gift card.  I bought $500.00 worth of cards and walked out with (2) $20.00 coupons and (1) $60.00 Albertson's gift card.  I do not believe that all the cards I purchases were part of the promotion but Albertsons did honor their word. 
Albertson's...last day of using my double coupons.  Retail would have been
$59.60 ~ I paid $11.09.  An 81% savings!
We took advantage of a beautiful Sunday last weekend and got the lights up.  They officially were turned on tonight for the first time ~ the day after Thanksgiving!  This was the first time in years that I had to help with the lights...usually the girls' helped their dad...but this year one daughter is married and the other was at a slumber party. 

My hubby smoked two big pork butts for about 10 hours this last weekend.  We shredded it up and put in the freezer for a party that we are having in a couple of weeks.  Part of our menu includes bbq pork sandwiches...yum!

Now for some pictures of my family enjoying Thanksgiving together.  I have recently been accused, by my favorite oldest daughter, of taking more pictures of food than I am trying to make up for that right now:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Coupon High!

Today was a GREAT couponing day.  Albertson's had double coupons...for the third week in a row.  This week the doubles will last for 5 days instead of the normal 3 days.  Albertson's was out of the 20 boxes of potatoes I plan on buying...but I was told they will be back in stock tomorrow.  Here are the deals I got today:!  Only paid SST.
Albertsons ~ 2 boxes of juice, 2 packs of gum and 2 cans of cranberry sauce.
How much did I pay?  Only a $1.00! ~ a 90% savings!
Rite Aid.  4 dishwasher tabs and 3 boxes of Kleenex.  Full retail would have been $24.53 but I paid $1.08 and one dollar of that was SST.  Score!
Fred Meyers ~ Farmland Bacon was on sale for $3.99 each but using a Fred Meyers coupon and manufacturer coupons...each pack cost $2.25!  I got the tater tots for a buck and then got quite a bit of veggies.  Number wise, this didn't seem like my best deal.  However, basically it was like paying full price for the bacon and getting everything else for free so that is not too bad!

Wahlgreens...full price would have been about $19.00...I paid $2.98!

Albertsons ~ 6 bags of chocolate chips...$4.45 total!  These normally cost $3.79 a bag and I paid just 74 cents each!  Yahoo.  BTW ~ one bag was donated to the Lake Stevens Food Bank (along with a few other things) so that is why only 5 bags are in the picture.