Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year

Something about coming home from a trip and unpacking gets me into cleaning mode. I had to wash the towels that I got for Christmas, and that was fabulous. Something about new towels just made my whole morning. Something about saying something about makes me feel whimsical and nostalgic. I'm strange, I know.

I began putting away decorations this morning. That was fabulous. I think it's the coming new year. New beginnings, newly cleaned house, new goals. I don't really do resolutions, because I never keep them. I do, however, have ideas of what I want to do, but don't say them too loudly just in case I don't follow through. Good intentions and all that. But this year feels different. I don't know why, it just does. This year I'm going to do what I intend to do.

My first good intention? Start tomato plants from seed. I have always wanted to. This year I will! That begins around Valentine's Day, so be looking for me to say I did begin that project.

Second good intention- dry at least 1 load a week. Not only does it save money, it saves clothes!

Third good intention- run a half marathon. I decided before Thanksgiving that I was going to do this before I turned 30. SO far, I have kept up my running schedule!!!

Fourth good intention- give away an IPAD!!! How cool would that be? Once I hit 200 followers, I will give one away!

Fifth good intention- NOT GO OVER BUDGET ON GROCERIES!!!!! Huge, epic, and my biggest challenge. Yes, even I go over budget. I hate doing it but I always seem to justify it. This year, I won't. I'm going to keep track of my spending too.

Do you have any good intentions for the new year?

Monday, December 13, 2010

She Speaks Blog

I was attempting to satisfy my sweet tooth with almond bark when I went to get the mail. I was delighted to find in the mailbox an envelope from This is a website for women to be able to try new products and voice their opinion. I receive e-mails from them periodically telling me to sign up for this, or try out for that. It usually takes less than 10 minutes and viola, the rest comes to you.

Inside my envelope I found 6 coupons for FREE Campbell's Select Harvest Soup. 3 for myself, 3 to share. This is amazing! FREE SOUP!!!! We love soup around here. Although we usually eat homemade soup I am not above serving free soup to my family! So now I'll 'buy' the soup, eat it, then log onto my account to tell them what I think. It really is that easy.

Go join if you're a woman who enjoys the chance at free products and doesn't mind spending a little time posting about it.

Hamburger Buns

Really? Yep, really.

Totally off subject, I notice that I talk to myself a lot when I blog. Back to the buns.

After my post on Friday I had a hankering for hamburgers. I'm pretty sure my husband did too. We bought a quarter of a cow this past autumn, so we have plenty of ground beef to make this happen! I don't like to spend money if I don't have to, so I looked in my freezer to figure out if I had something that could work for the buns. I was in luck! Frozen rolls.

Rhode's frozen rolls and breads are fabulous. My grandma makes the best rolls every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day...pretty much occasion the family gets together for. She uses Rhode's frozen bread dough. Maybe I'll share the recipe with you one day.

So I did the fast thaw method for a dozen rolls. I love leftovers. Back to the buns. Again. So I made the rolls as hamburger buns. My mom asked me why. I said because I had them. Simple enough! They were amazing!!!! Literally, the best tasting hamburger buns ever.

And the best part? They were extremely cheap!!!!! I paid $.99 for a bag of 36. That means each dozen cost $.33. Amazing! And they were delicious! My husband's new favorite. We will never go back to store bought hamburger buns. Unless we have a massive group of people over.

How did I get them for a dollar? Well, pretty simple. The rolls were on sale for $2.99, after my coupon they were less than $1. Here in Tulsa there is a store that doubles coupons up to and including $1. That means a $1 coupon turns into $2 off the product! Their policy can get a bit tricky, so if you're a coupon newbie, keep it simple.

Educate yourself on your local grocery stores' coupon policies. Coupons stretch your budget dollars!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Healthy Eating On A Budget

Normally, the two words 'healthy' and 'budget' to not mesh in a sentence. I am not normal, however. So in this post I will make them mesh!

So let's take a look at a 'normal' meal. That usually includes a meat, starch & vegetable (please tell me you include vegetables, I think they're becoming a mythical creature). Great! The cheapest meat is probably ground beef, so we'll make hamburgers with potato fries and green beans. Our ingredients are listed below:

Beef $1.29 for 1 pound
Buns $.49 (.99/2 because it's 2 meals worth in the package)
2 large baking potatoes $1.28
2 cans green beans $1.34

Meal total: $4.41

Not bad at all. Of course that's assuming you have all the condiments in your house. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, oil for the potato fries, butter for the green beans. If not, that can add up.

Let's take a look at the cost of a salad. Don't groan. I can hear your cells crying out for live nutrients from fresh vegetables. Even if those vegetables are covered in a smothering of dressing. Below are the ingredients that I buy for our family when we eat salad:

Lettuce $.90 (Artisan lettuce costs $2.69/ really makes 3 meals)
Carrots $.39 ($.79 for a pound we use half)
2 large roma tomatoes $.75
Eggs $.68 (2 eggs each)
Cheese $.50 (half ounce each is great)

Grand total $2.47

Again, if you have to buy dressing, that's another $1 for a cheap bottle on sale. I realize that you can't buy a third of a package of lettuce, a half bag of carrots and a quarter bag of cheese. But we're looking at actual cost here. Triple that and it's $7.50 for 3 meals. That is still a steal!!! And a healthy one at that.

Your intestines are thanking me already ;)

Be creative with your meals. Buy more fresh ingredients. It's not going to hurt the grocery budget as much as you think. Really.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To the tune of...

O Christmas Tree

O dishes please
O dishes please
You are so unforgiving.

O dishes please
O dishes please
You are so unforgiving.

I was you morning, noon and night
Until no dishes are in sight.

O dishes please
O dishes please
You are so unforgiving.

Just a little Christmas tune going through my head while I did the dishes. I knew you'd enjoy it!

Two Things

There are two things on my mind today. First and most important, I'm in the mood to bake all things yummy! Of course healthy too. By healthy I really mean full of fat but too delish to really care =) So I'll start with a small batch of Peppermint Bark, followed by Whole Wheat Banana Bread. For lunch Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches (thank you Elvis!), and to top it off something that has frosting on it! I haven't decided what that something will be yet, but frosting is definitely on the menu! Maybe by itself.

Second thing on my mind, since I am somewhat of a budget-ista (like fashionista of budgeting) then I'm thinking of something budgety. This week at Walgreen's you can get some great deals. First off, if you spend $25 in store, you'll get $5 in Register Rewards or Jingle Cash as they're called for Christmas. JC or RR's (for short) can be used at a later date. Actually usually you can turn around and use it right then, but the $5 for $25 purchase is to be used at a later date.

Back to the deals. Ragu (2/$3) or Hellman's ($3) buy $15 worth and get $5 in RR's. Add to that 6 Hallmark cards for $.99 each- which will get you $5 in RR's. Add Revlon Top Speed nail polish for $5.99- get a $5 RR.

NOW!!! Go to the cosmetic's counter and get the "All Things Bright and Beautiful" Booklet inside is a $1 of any Revlon cosmetic. Here's what it should look like:

10 jars of Ragu- $15.00
6 Hallmark cards- $5.94
1 Revlon Top Speed Nail Polish- $5.99
TOTAL $26.93 + tax

Minus $1 coupon
$25.93 + tax

Get back (4) $5 RR= $20 in RR

If you already have Register Rewards, use them to make your expenses even less!!!