Saving while spending - it's possible

My obsession with shopping ......


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Continuing discount shopping quest

…. It really is fun finding the discounts. Even having returned to work and having less time, I LOVE going to different grocery stores to claim deals.

My biggest change that has really led me to enjoy “Grocery2Grocery” (that’s what I like I call it) is that I’ve learned to plan: I’m usually up on Sunday mornings before the family so I spend that hour planning meals for the week and finding coupons - that hour saves money and, ironically, time overall.

The process:
1. What does the week bring? Kids games, practices, working late ….
2. Write down easy meals to make (recipes are 4-5 ingredients or less)
3. Grocery list for the week (this is the fun part)
4. Compare list to local deals and coupons available - the Grocery2Grocery excursion usually includes:
— J & J farmers market
— Walmart (app)
— Winn Dixie and/publix (apps)
— Kmart (app)
(Once a month it’s Costco for meats)

I know what I need, so I don’t dilly-daly …

Saving about $50 a week on groceries plus reduced eating out by $100 a week …. Not bad …. “Saving while spending”, I always says ….

Superbowl Discounts and Deals … Yep, they’re everywhere

Are you having the party? or going? either way, you’re spending money: you can’t go to the party empty handed - in one hand is the beer and in the other is the potluck food item …. and if you’re hosting, well, it’s more like a bon voyage party for your money - but alas, you know you’ll have fun because you know there are coupons and discounts abound this weekend. Let’s begin: 

How will you watch the game? KMart has a great deal on a 50: LCD HGTV - http://kmrt.us/XsKLwp

Target’s alreadyg got great deals - check out some some grocery coupons: http://coupons.target.com/grocery-coupons

Hot dogs and pulled pork from Oscar Meyer: -http://coupons.target.com/grocery-coupons

Family Dollar NEVER disappoints - Great for plates, plastic utensils, etc:    -http://www.familydollar.com/pages/printable-coupons.aspx

Kraft coupons for your dips and apps: http://bit.ly/TnR9XT

This should do it for awhile - HOpe the parties go well ….. Don’t forget to Save While Spending …. 

A discount diet worth sticking to

Over the holidays, I came across a great blog about saving money: http://andthenwesaved.com. She shares her “Spending diet” - no spreadsheets, no budget, no formulas …. just a short list of how to stop spending money unnecessarily (hopefully). 

Anyway, as I read the list (will leave you to read on your own time), I realized I can do this - I really can do this!! 

So, I will miss you Nordstorm - I will miss you favorite restaurants - I will miss you KMart (yes, KMART!!) ….. not forever, just a little while …… 

However, one thing I will not give up, but somehow need to do more economically is Date Night with B. We believe these are what keeps us strong: a special night everyone month we look forward to, just us.

BUT we do need to cut costs and save where we can. So here are my thoughts on continuing the romance without breaking the bank:

- Change the time of the date: How about Breakfast or lunch when the prices are cheaper? or check out a matinee instead?  Right now Restaurant.com is having some pretty good deals for gift certificates - great discounts that you actually use: http://specials.restaurant.com/deal/default. Hurry though, there’s a end date for this deal;

- Play tourist for the day: go to your local museum - even if there’s a cost to enter, it’s still cheaper than dinner and drinks. Grab lunch at home, then head down to your favorite museum for a few hours - it’ll be more memorable than can imagine. Here’s a list of museums around you: http://www.museumlink.com

- Bring back your team spirit: going to pro team sport may set you back … WAAAYYY back, but what about your high school hockey team? or baseball team? There’s usually no entrance fee (again, if so, negligible, I’m sure). Might even still have $ for a snack from the concession stand. Check out your local high school athletic department for sports schedules

- Still in the giving spirit: How about choosing a local charity, and doing some service there? The idea of giving back to the community will warm your heart and maybe rekindle the spark (ooo lalala). Check out this list of top rated charities in the US: http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html

I’ve already planned the next Date with B: Spinning Ninja Sushi Bar had a GREAT deal through LivingSocial.com. 

Okay …. feeling good that the Spending Diet could be a good thing … here’s to hoping …..  Don’t forget to save while spending ….. 

This week’s menu … and discounts

I stayed as close to the menu as I could last week … with only 1 snag: Had to see about a little jerk spice at our favorite local Jamaican restaurant (AMAZING!!). 

This week, I’m sticking to it, again. I even took advantage of the coupons I found: 

MONDAY: 

- Lunch: Mom/Dad: Chinese food leftovers from Sunday dinner
- Dinner: Venezuelan Sausage and Rice (thank you John F.!)  - need veggies: 
** Bird’s Eye frozen veggies has coupons: just sign up - http://www.birdseye.com/users/coupon-landing

TUESDAY: 
- Lunch: Mom/Dad: BLT’s; Kids: Mac and cheese 
- Dinner: Slow cook Chix Parm and Caesar Salad
** Rebate with Annie Mac and Cheese: http://bit.ly/NlxPCQ
** Target’s got coupons for frozen chix and cheeses: http://coupons.target.com/               
 
WEDNESDAY: 
- Lunch: Mom/Dad: Edamame Bean salad; Kids: leftover chix parm 
- Dinner: Crispy Baked Cod and Broccoli fritters
** Bulk stores (Cosco, Sam’s, etc) has GREAT deals on frozen, indvl wrapped fish

THURSDAY: 
- Lunch: Mom/dad: Black bean soup; Kids: Roast beef 
- Dinner: Shrimp stir fry and brown rice
** Brown rice $1 off: http://www.unclebens.com/Coupon/Index

FRIDAY: 
- Lunch: Mom/Dad: Friday lunch out; Kids: Pizza a school
- Dinner: 
Slow Cooker Creamy Mushroom Chix and roasted asparagus
** Condensed Cream of mushroom soup discount:http://bit.ly/UzeeXo
 
Now that i’ve got food taken care of for the week (hungry, actually), now it’s time to think about my next project: MOVING …. boxes, tape, packing: UGH!! Is it even possible to save while I spend when it comes to moving?? I’m on a mission!!
Keep saving while spending … HAPPY SHOPPING!

My latest obsession (after shopping deals, of course)

I’ve recently discovered “pinning”: adding to my board, repining to my board, favorite-ing pins and so on (http://pinterest.com/lnmae/). It’s an amazing new hobby ….. seriously!

Love looking for new recipes that are easy, healthy, and quick. It’s CRAZY the hours I could spend on Pinterest. My husband swears this is what I do all day long … if only …. Anyway, while a fun new hobby, the real (expensive) world still exists. That means: what’s for dinner, for lunch, for breakfast this week??? CHEAP?? Okay, here are some recipes I pulled from my “board” with discounts and/or coupons to go with:
 
BREAKFAST: Banana Flax Bread - http://pinterest.com/pin/398639004485986767/
- flour discounts @retailmenot: http://bit.ly/bRHzr9
- baking soda @armandhammer: http://bit.ly/cuKWcA (quick reg process but worth it!)
 
LUNCH: Yummy, Healthy, Easy Sammies - http://pinterest.com/pin/398639004486000370/
- Too many great ideas to list coupons, BUT pick a couple of fav’s for the week, and head to your local @costco
 
DINNER: Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast - http://pinterest.com/pin/398639004485999774/. 
- For ingredients discounts: Add to your shopping list and it tells you WHERE what grocery store has the best deal - CRAZY!
 
So, this should do for now …. enjoy the yummy suggestions above and ….. Save While You Spend (and pin)!!
Happy Shopping!

Health + discounts = happy heart and wallet

Not going to lecture, but think about this: 1 out of 3 kids is obese (http://1.usa.gov/hVOtKh) …. ‘nuff said. So, some things for you to share with your household: 

1. List of 12 things that help lower cholesterol (lower cholesterol, lower weight):
http://www.prevention.com/node/29848

  • Oats: Eat oatmeal, or buy granola bars and add to your bfast and snacks
  • Red Winefor the over 21 crowd … a glass here, a glass there - 
  • Salmon & Fatty Fish: “Chicken of the Sea” is also good - Tuna sandwich, salmon cakes (canned salmon packs the same healthy punch) or baked salmon filet.  
  • Nuts: Buy them bulk, divide into indvl small plastic bags, eat for snack
  • Beans: Bean soup, Bean burrito, Beans and brown rice
  • Tea: Have a cup as you wind down from the busy day
  • Chocolate: Please .. this is like a freebie - DARK, though
  • Margarine: Smart Balance is good - a little more pricey, but you should’t be using 3-4 TB for each slice of toast anyway
  • Spinach: I use in my sandwiches instead of lettuce; sauté and add to dinner, put in soups
  • Avocado: guacamole is great, or slice in half, add a little parmesan and broil (even add little hot sauce)
  • Garlic: Just add to everything … always so good
  • Olive Oil: when baking/broiling/pan cooking meals (not desserts)

2. I have some recipes (“Good to eat”) on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lnmae/  …… very, very, very delicious and easy :) 

3.Some discounts and coupons I’ve found to help add goodness to your meals:

- Cereal (with oats and fiber) discounts and deals from @Kellog: http://bit.ly/yYwAyq

- LOTS of coupon goodies here - it’s like coupon heaven: http://bit.ly/Q78GlG

So spend while you save ….. and Happy (HEALTHY) Shopping!!!

Good snacks …. good discounts??

School is in full swing and I struggle when shopping to find deals that are “good snacks, healthy lunches”, but here’s what I’ve got:

  1. @Cheerios: Check out the website  - great snack ideas. Coupon: http://bit.ly/QyPueR
  2.  Hot foods: Soup and leftovers - Heating them up about same time as making sandwiches. Some discounts: 
  3. —-> @Thermos coupons: http://bit.ly/OqXgXX
  4. —-> Soups: http://bit.ly/SKYKwV
  5. Lunchables: They ARE getting healthier. Heard there’s a sticky coupon on the package till Sept: http://bit.ly/QeWPRZ
  6. Crustables: Can’t find a coupon, but a great bulk deal at Costco. 1 is only 290 calories - add an apple, Gold Fish or pretzels and water.
Also, check out @ReadySetEat.com - you choose your menu for the week, they create a grocery list WITH where you will find the deals and discounts. LOVE!
Even healthy eating will help you spend while you save …. Happy Shopping!!

Back to school deals & discounts …come and gone ….

Now let’s talk about Labor Day Weekend.  Are you staying in town? or going out of town for 1 last hurrah before the summer is officially over? Well …. 
   
WANT TO TRAVEL? 
- Southwest Airlines is having a pretty good sale: http://bit.ly/QCczJC
- Seriously, go check out the Living Social and Groupon travel deals …. ‘nuff said
- This week’s hotel discounts from Orbitz: http://bit.ly/KGXK5b
    
HOSTING A PARTY?
- You’re going to need decorations and paper products - Party City has a $10 off coupon: http://bit.ly/JJzbHC
- Cocktails anyone? Total wine has some good suggestions: http://bit.ly/QqZ7bf. Even suggests wine pairings with your favorite bbq food item
- Don’t forget dessert: Cheryl is having a great deal on some treats that are a great introduction to Football season: http://bit.ly/O6sCCT
   
  
Get started on your planning .. and enjoy the deals .. and keep saving while spending!
 
Happy Shopping!

Back to school = Back to busy ….

The school year is upon us …. so are the after school activities, sports games and practices, school events. This all means “When in the world am I going to have time make dinner??!” A trip through the drive-thru seems inevitable more nights than we care to admit, but if you add it all up between groceries for the week and the evenings “super sizing” the meals, you don’t save a thing.

Now, I have a system (yes, it DOES require about 1 hour on Sunday for planning the wk) that works for me: I save time, money and my sanity … and my family eats healthier: 

1. I choose recipes - i LOVE http://www.readyseteat.com/ - and create a menu for the week.  You can choose by prep time, cook time, # of ingredients. Choose the recipe and it creates a grocery list for you - it even highlights which item is on discount, BOGO, etc. at your favorite grocery stores (incl. Bulk stores). If you like certain recipes that much, add the ingredients to your bulk shopping list.  

2. Bulk shopping - Definitely need to make a list and stick with it.  I, for one, can go NUTS at all the “what a great deal, but do I need it? SURE” temptations. Costco send coupons in the mail - I”m sure the others do too. Register at your bulk store online. 

3. Vaccum food sealers (like “Food Saver”). Best Buy has some good deals: bit.ly/Pf2B25 and sometimes you can find coupons online for the FoodSaver.

I separate the bulk food into family portions, freeze. With my weekly menu posted on the fridge, I know what I need to defrost, and nothing goes to waste …. I”m working on my list now, so I can save while spending ….. 

Happy Shopping!

College life … “Mom/Dad, send discounts and deals, please.”

In the spirit of my “Back to School” list, I’m recalling life as a college student: BROKE! somehow the care package and “allowance” was depleted 1 week after received. How I survived the other 3 weeks before the next package is a mystery to me ….. If only I’d had easy access to discount and coupons, right???? 

So, thinking (waaaayyy) back, here’s what I would have wanted: 

- Restaurants.com: these coupons can really come in handy; student cannot live by Ramen Noodles alone

- Bed, Bath and Beyond Coupons: http://bit.ly/NeyYfO - I heard they always take ‘em, even if they’ve expired. 

- BoxTops for Education: seems odd, but choose your favorite school to support and get some really good coupons (http://www.boxtops4education.com/), while helping a school

- ValPak: sometimes …. you never know what you might find: http://www.valpak.com/coupons/home. 

Happy Shopping …. and save while you spend :)