Saturday, February 28, 2009

Don't Miss These Amazing Huggies Coupons

If you have little ones in diapers you'll want to head over to and print out the new Huggies coupons. I've never seen a Huggies coupon over $2.00, these are for $3 and $5! Remember you can usually find great deals on Huggies at Dillons, Walgreens & CVS. I also found out through the blogging world that there will be a great Register Reward coming up in March if you purchase $30 worth of Huggies you'll get $10 in RR. You'll want these coupons to sweeten the deal! Hurry before supplies run out. You can print two of each coupon, simply close the browser after you print and open it up again, or hit your back button. allows you to print two of every coupon from one computer. If you want more you'll have to print from another computer, or beg a friend to print some for you.

As if these coupons combined with a sale aren't a great deal already, you can also recieve $1 rebate per package of Huggies from Caregiver's Marketplace. As soon as you buy 5 packages of Huggies you can submit for a rebate for $1 per package at Caregiver's Marketplace.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How'd I do in February

This past week I spent $47.11 on groceries. I found several great deals on fruits and vegetables at Aldi. :) I try to use as many fresh fruits and veggies as I can, which can be tricky when working with a small budget.

Asparagus for 1.99
Strawberries 1.29
Grapes 1.78
Gala Apples 1.19
On the Vine Tomatoes 1.19

So how did I do for the month? (Remember my grocery budget is $50/week.) I spent $202.36 this month so I was over a couple of bucks, not bad. I'm certainly satisfied! How did you do this February?

You can't go wrong with BBQ Meatballs

This is a favorite meal in our house. It cost our family $1.19 to make the meatballs, but if you buy the meat it will run you around $4.19 (I like to stock up on ground beef when it is 1.99/lb., which you can get this week at Dillons!)

1 ½ lb. Ground beef (free from grandparent's cattle-usually this would be around 3.00)
½ large can Evaporated Milk (free with coupon, stocked up at Christmas time)
1 c. oatmeal (.10)
½ c. chopped onion ( .20)
¼ t. garlic powder (.01)
½ t. pepper (.01)
1 t. salt (.01)
½ t. chili powder (.01)
Mix above ingredients and form into balls, makes approximately 15 meatballs. Place in 9x13 baking dish.

1 c. ketchup (.50)
½ c. brown sugar (.20)
1 t. Liquid smoke (.05)
¼ t. garlic powder (.01)

Pour over meatballs and bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350. Serves 5 (3 meatballs=serving)

We served this with Salad (.25) and Valley Fresh Steamers (free). Bringing our meal to $1.44!
Want to make it cheaper?
I usually only use 1 lb. ground beef and increase the oatmeal to 1 1/2 c. The meatballs have a softer texture but they still taste great. I usually can only get 12 meatballs when I do this.

Mexican Sweet Potato Stew

This was pretty tasty, I loved the combination of cumin, cinnamon and sweet potatoes, but a bit on the spicy side, the next time I make this I might add bell peppers instead of jalapenos.

1 T. olive oil (.01)
1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin, cubed (2.66, I used 1 1/3 lb.)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (1.19)
Fresh or Canned Jalapeno Peppers to your liking. I only added 5 and was dying (.10)
1 c. chopped onion (.25)
1 T. chopped garlic (around 5 cloves) (.10)
1/2 t. ground cumin (.01)
1/4 t. ground cinnamon (.01)
14 oz. chicken broth ( approx. 1 1/2 c.) (.10)
1/2 c. water (free)
1 c. frozen corn kernels (.25)
1 1/2 c. salsa (.25 purchased with coupon)

Heat skillet with 2 t. of oil and add pork, cook on medium high heat until browned, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 t. oil in large pot. Add potatoes, peppers (if using fresh), and onion. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring until peppers and onion are soften.

Stir in garlic, cumin and cinnamon cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. Add corn, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.Stir in salsa and pork; heat through.

Serves 6268 calories, 23 g. protein, 4 g. fiber, 5 g. fat

I served this with cornbread (.75) and grapes (.25) making our meal $5.93

3 Day Sale at Dillons

You don't want to miss Dillon's 3 Day Sale, there are some good buys to be had. The sale is good Friday 2/27- Sunday 3/01

  • 3 lb. boneless, skinless frozen chicken breast 1.67lb. or 4.97/bag!
  • Cantelope 1.98 each
  • Strawberries 1.98 each (Aldi has Strawberries cheaper this week, but the quality is much better at Dillons)
  • Kroger 2 liter Bottles of Soda 2/$1

Don't forget to bring your bags with you to get an extra .05 off per bag you bring in. These can be reusable or plastic.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dillons Savings This Week

This week looks much better than last week, and it looks like a great week to stock up on some meat. Here are the deals I see this week, I will only post items I'd be likely to buy which tend to be on the healthier, unprocessed side:

There are quite a few coupons that match up with the 10/$10 deal this week.
(Remember you do not have to purchase 10 items, they will scan $1 each.)
  • Kroger Frozen Vegetables (Aldi carries corn, broccoli & peas usually cheaper than this. I try to stock up on other frozen produce at this price.)
  • Kroger Cottage Cheese, Dips & Sour Cream (cheaper than Aldi)
  • Pillbury Biscuits and Rolls (Several Q's out there .25/1 or .50/2)
  • Tortilla Chips & Pretzels (same as Aldi)
  • Apples $1/lb good price for Dillons but Aldi tends to run sales, I bought 3 lb. of Gala apples for 1.19 this week.
  • Aquafresh Toothpaste (use .75/1 making this FREE)
  • Colgate Plus Toothbrushes (use .75/1 making these FREE)
  • Starkist Chunk Light Tuna Pouch $1 (use $1/1 Q from Vocal Point to makes these FREE)
  • Extra Large Red Bell Peppers
  • Avocado (Aldi usually has these for less, but Dillons usually have ones that don't need as much ripening.)
  • Mentos Gum (use .55/1 Q making these FREE)

Other Deals Worth Noting:

  • 1.99lb. Sterling Silver Ground Chuck (Stock Up at this price)
  • B1G1 Pork Loin in Bag or Boneless Pork Chops (usually scans 1/2 price)
  • BIGI USDA Select Boneless Top Bottom Round Roast or Steak (usually scans 1/2 price)
  • 10lb. Kroger Value Russet Potatoes 2.99
  • General Mills Cereal still $1.67 (use .50/1 Q to make these .67)
  • Kroger 6-8 oz. Bar or Shredded Cheese 1.88 (Aldi had cheese still priced at 1.29 for 8 oz. cheese blocks on Sunday.)
  • Kroger Pasta Sauce .99 (same as Aldi)
  • Pacific Salmon Fillets 50% off
  • Campbell's Tomato Soup .80 (use .40/2 making these .40/can)
  • Pork Shoulder Roast 1.79/lb
  • Asparagus 1.77lb.
  • Organic Apples 2.50/3lbs

Did you see anything else this week? Let me know.

Trimming Your Budget

Lately it seems like every time I turn on the TV there is a depressing news story about our country’s economy. It seems like everyone is looking for ways to trim their budgets, slashing your grocery budget is one way to do that.

Last year I was introduced to a world of couponing. It literally has been such a blessing to our family. We have a $50/week grocery budget that is made possible due to clipping coupons, watching for store sales (advertised and unadvertised), and utilizing the web for coupons I can load to my Dillon’s card or print out at home.

But the single most important aspect of trimming our family’s grocery budget is planning. By nature I am not a planner, it’s something I’ve had to learn, but since it saves our family money I have grown to love it. I get a great thrill out of trying to make great meals at low cost.

If you haven’t already started planning your menu each week I encourage you to sit down right now and make a list of meals you can make. There are a variety of different ways to plan your meals. (You’ll find my system in the post below)
1. Weekly Meal planning
2. Monthly Meal planning.
3. Meals Montage planning (making a list of all the meals you have ingredients for and plan as you go, every few days reevaluate what will work for the next few meals.)

By no means is meal planning restrictive. In fact by the end of the month my monthly menu has arrows in all sorts of crazy direction. It is only meant to be a guide to help you focus and being a little more prepared. It’s amazing how freeing meal planning can be. So go ahead I dare you, start saving today.

My Meal Planning Strategy

I thought I would share my meal planning process. February is about over, so it's time for me to get busy once again.

Brainstorm.....A while back I noticed I was making the same things over and over again. This prompted me to make a list of meals I knew could make. So I got out a piece of paper one day and started jotting down ideas. It developed into a list with several categories CHICKEN, BEEF, MEATLESS, SOUPS, SALADS. Under every category I wrote down all the recipes I knew how to make. Next I highlighted all the recipes that were quick recipes, ready in 30 minutes or less. I also noted recipes that took some time to make. I eventually typed up the list and it was hanging on my fridge, when meal planning time came I grabbed it and was ready to plan. If you are new to meal planning, I suggest you start with this step.

Once a month planning....I plan my meals a month in advance. I am not a natural planner, in fact I hate to be tied down by schedules. So this is very flexible, in fact most of the time my menu has lots of arrows by the end of the month because I switch things up quite a bit and sometimes I don't end up making all of it, which usually gets put on the next month's plan.

Getting ready to plan.....The month before, I brainstorm ideas. If I think of something that would be good to make, or see a new recipes (usually on a blog) I write it in my notebook that sitting by the computer. This is nice because when I start planning the menu I have something to start with. I love blogs that participate in Meal Plan Mondays because they give me new ideas, particularly for meatless meals, which often stump me.

Inventory.....Before meal planning I take inventory of my freezer. I try to stock up on meat when I see good sales, or buy meat that has been marked down. I write down a list of all the things I have in my freezer and this is the basis for my meat I use the next month. This way I don't have to run out to buy any meat for a specific recipe. (So the meat this month I won't use until the next month.) Typically I try to have 1 or 2 meatless meals a week for health of our bodies and wallets.
Search for recipes....Once I complete my inventory I dive into cookbooks or search online to find recipes for the meat I have as well as meatless options. I usually make a list of about 20-24 main dishes for the month, this may be more or less depending on your family size and how many times you eat out in a week. We have a family who loves leftovers so this isn't an issue for us. If you can't stand leftovers, plan more meals and freeze the leftovers for future meals, or make smaller portions. Make sure you know if things freeze well or not, there are some great lists out there of things that freeze well and things that don't.

Special Notes....Once I have my 20-24 meals I note on the left side of the number if it is a Crockpot recipe (CP), fast recipe(*) or meatless (ML). When I'm looking at a recipe and I notice there is something I don't usually have I make note of that ingredient on the right side so that I make sure I add it to my grocery list for the week. There is nothing worse when you are half way through a recipe and you don't have an ingredient. It's so annoying.

Fill in the Date....Next I write down all the dates of the month with spaces in between the weeks. If I know we have a commitment or plans I write that in first, so that I know I'll have to have a fast meal that night, extra for company, etc. etc. I look at my meal ideas and try to get a balance for the week. One red meat, chicken and a few meatless options. This gives us a little diversity and variety, two things I love.

Now it's your turn....So that's my method. There are plenty more out there, it just works for me. It's funny because I usually think of schedules as a constricting thing but it really takes the stress out of what to make for dinner. Before I would plan by what I felt like having and I always felt rushed to get dinner on the table. Now it takes that stress away and by posting my week's menu it helps remind me of the game plan for the week. Happy Meal Planning!

What we're eating this week

Sneak a glance into our kitchen this week!

Banana Muffins & Sliced Strawberries
Happy Toast (Eggs in the middle) & Pears
Waffles, Sausage links & Sliced Strawberries
French Toast & GrapesBiscuits and Gravy, Bananas
Blueberry Muffins & Bananas

Lunches: leftovers

DinnersMonday-BBQ Meatballs (recipe to come), Broccoli & Cauliflower, Tossed Salad
Tuesday-NEW RECIPE Mexican Pork & Sweet Potato Stew with Cornbread
Wednesday-NEW RECIPE Pasta Fagioli with Homemade French Bread & Salad
Friday-NEW RECIPE Basil Cheese Polenta, w/ Meat Sauce mixed veggies, fruit
Saturday-Mac & Cheese w. leftover Polenta