Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Summer Lasagne, found in Everyday Food magazine
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken into thirds, cooked and drained
1 minced garlic clove
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 30 tomatoes)
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high and add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
3. Add zucchini to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Transfer to another bowl.
4. Scatter a few tomatoes over four plates. Top with one noodle, a spoonful of ricotta mixture, zucchini and more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice, ending with noodle and tomatoes. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Garnish with basil and serve.
This recipe cost me approximately $3 to make and it made 4 generous servings. I used tomatoes, zucchini, and basil from my garden and I bought almost everything else with a coupon for a reduced price or at Aldi. Yes my Aldi has ricotta cheese :)
Saturday, July 9, 2011
1. At the gym: Yes I am trying to lose weight. So far...7 lbs gone. I wish it was substantially more considering that I spend almost 2 hours at the gym everyday. Unfortunately, I like beer so I guess that has come back to bite me in the butt...no probably the tummy.
2. Gardening: I had a major flop last year with my first year of gardening. Maybe it was the fact that it didn't rain for 28 days and the temperatures were so hot they made my tomatoes cry, but this year things (knock on wood) are going substantially better. I have 8 tomato plants of various kinds, 2 peppers, 1 eggplant, 1 onion, 6 cucumbers, a big patch of various types of lettuce, peas, and green beans. Lets hope things continue on the right track so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.
3. Enjoying time with friends: Not everyday, but at least 4 days a week I make an effort to spend time with friends and at least 1 day a week is all about family. I love the summer because every night is like a weekend so I don't feel bad if I'm tired on a Friday and don't want to go out because I could go out on Monday night and not even worry about it.
4. Watching the Women's World Cup: Not quite as many games as last summer's men's world cup, but I'm enjoying every minute of getting to watch the sport I love. I need to soak up as much sports time as possible because it looks like football and basketball will be out this next year...
5. Coaching: The one thing I feel like succeed at when all else fails. World Cup is making me set unrealistic standards for my girls, but what can you do? I love being a head coach and we've got some great plans for this season.
It is my hope that in the coming year I can balance my "cups" much more effectively. Last year, I did a great job filling my "work cup," but I severely lacked in my "personal cup" and "wellness cup." I've found that I am happiest when all of my cups are filled and balanced. This does not mean that I have to balance time between all things evenly, but I need to do so in a way that makes me happiest. For me, the "work cup" was such a huge focus due to (pardon my french) all the shit that hit the fan last year, that I need to set some serious limits this year. I've always felt that I was a fairly effective time manager so hopefully my 4th year will be much better than my 3rd. As much as I hate to say it....I'm not sure it could get worse so the only way to go is up :)
Friday, May 27, 2011
With that, I set my plan in action. I've been watching this Extreme Couponing show on TLC since it started and I've found it interesting that most of the people only have 10-20 actual items they buy, but the quantity is so out of control it's ridiculous. I am a single girl and I have no need for more than 5-10 of most items (yes I bought a couple hundred boxes of pasta for free, but I donated them so I don't count that!) so I don't consider any of my shopping trips to be extreme or over the top in the least.
I headed to Bargain Briana (my favorite for Marsh match ups) and looked up the best deals for the week. I printed and clipped what I needed to then headed to Marsh after work! This is my first transaction with about 20 minutes of planning and "winging it" at the store with the coupons I already had clipped in my coupon organizer.
This transaction includes 8 packages of hot dogs, 2 packages of breakfast burritos, 2 bottles of BBQ sauce, 2 bottles of salad dressing, 3 pasta sauces, 2 jamba smoothies, 2 pasta sides, 4 packages of gum, 2 tubs of lunch meat, 2 candybars, 2 dog treats, 2 packages of cheese, a lunchable, bacon, deoderant, sour cream, Helluva good dip, Mrs. Dash, 6 pack of popcorn, snack crackers, Franks red hot sauce, tortillas, chips, and Seventh Generation cleaner.
Total retail cost: $129.92
MFR Coupons Savings: $32.40
Bonus coupon savings: $62.85
Fresh idea savings: $24.49
Total savings of $119.74 (93%)
Total paid out of pocket: $10.18
I came home and went through all my coupons then decided to go back tonight because my mom had heard a cashier talking at another location about how they might end the promotion early because they were going broke! Duhhhh you gave me $62.85 in my first transaction...of course you're going broke! So I clipped from my newspaper coupons and back I went. Here is a picture of my 2nd trip.
MFR coupon savings: $33.25
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Here is what I got in April for free or less than $0.25!
6 pouches of Starkist Tuna-$1.00 each- (6) $.50 coupons (double)=6 free
Seventh Generation paper towels- $.89 on clearance-$1 coupon= FREE + .11 overage
Suave deodorant $1.06-.50 coupon (doubles)=$.06
2 tubes of Crest toothpaste-$1.00 each-(2) .50 coupons=2 FREE
2 Reach toothbrushes $1.00 each- $2/2 coupon=2 FREE
3 Reach floss-$1.00 each- (3) $1/1 coupons=3 FREE
Vasaline Sheer Infusion lotion-$1 on clearance-$1/1 coupon=FREE
Head and shoulders trial size shampoo $.97-$1/1 coupon=FREE
Degree deodorant $.97-$1/1 coupon=FREE
Heinz ketchup $1.99-$2/1 coupon=FREE
Grey Poupon $1.12 on clearance-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)=$.12
Well that's it for now. I promise I will get back to posting a lot more once school gets out in 10 days!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
There are 30 boxes of free pasta and 8 cans of Red Gold tomatoes. All were completely and utterly free. They are on sale yet again this coming week so I plan to return to Kroger to get about 30 more. You are probably thinking I am sounding like those INSANE people off the "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC because I plan to buy 60 boxes of pasta (but they're free right...)
I promise you that as absolutely extreme as it sounds, I have a plan for all that al dente goodness. Here it goes:
20 boxes of various pasta saved for me in my Ikea containers in the pantry-check out a pic of my pantry with the containers here
10 boxes of various pasta for my sister who is a poor college student at Butler (GO DAWGS!!!)
10 boxes of various pasta given to my best friend and her husband
20 boxes to the food shelter at another friend's church
One thing I have discovered about myself lately is how powerful this tool of couponing can be. I have taught co-workers about it and I feel blessed that I am sharing my knowledge with others. I told one of my co-workers today about the free pasta deal at Kroger. She is a struggling single mother of two teenagers who works 2 jobs to support them because she does not want to take federal assistance. She got insanely excited to find out about a deal like this and thanked me multiple times for telling her all about it. I told her where to find the coupons and explained the details of the deal. Now not only is this knowledge feeding me, my sister, my best friend's family, and some people who will receive the food at the food bank, it is benefiting a single mother and her family. She will more than likely share the deal with her friends as well. It is our own little version of pay it forward. I love the power of people, ideas, and frugality on our society. I am truly blessed to have found this way of life and how much it has taught me about being a wise steward of what we're given! In what ways do you feel blessed to have the knowledge and power of frugality?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
This was the first time in my teaching career that I had ever been genuinely scared. Not for the new classroom or the new kids, but for what I knew would happen when I left my kids in the alternative program. I got donuts for the kids on Friday, cried when I told them, and spent the rest of the day playing basketball in the gym with them. I was not ok with this at first...I was upset...I mean like didn't-sleep-for-days-cried-through-two-boxes-of-tissue-could-hardly-eat upset. I made a plan of action, like the responsible girl I am should do, yet in my heart I knew only time could make my heart stop hurting. I was both excited about the new challenge and scared for my alternative kids to feel abandoned by yet another teacher. I didn't want them to feel like that and certainly not because of me. I spent last weekend buying up supplies and getting the classroom ready. By Sunday night, I was physically and emotionally drained. I walked into school on Monday ready to face this new challenge. The first week was pretty good. I missed my old kids for sure yet I also knew I couldn't focus on that or I'd be a mess. I am loving how well the students listen and how receptive they've been to the change. I'm blessed to be presented with this opportunity, yet its the first time I haven't been calm, cool, and collected about change. I'm almost there...and until I am fully there....God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
So until things slow down, I probably won't post much because things are a tad bit crazy. I hope to be back to it asap. Thanks for your prayers lately. I've definitely needed all the help I can get.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I am in need of some serious prayers right now. I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity and will not know for several weeks if it will actually happen. I can't share many details now, but this is something that would give me the opportunity to impact some young people in a very positive way. I am praying that God will allow this to happen as I can imagine it and I am hoping that your prayers will help too. You all have taught me so much over the past year about myself and the power of the Lord. Please keep me in your prayers as I take these new steps toward a great experience. Pray that the Lord moves the heart of others to allow me to positively impact the lives of some amazing young women.
Love and thanks,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
All of these were part of the Mega Event Sale that gave you $5 off instantly when you bought 10 items (You must by in sets of 10....I bought 20)
(9) Honest Tea $.75 each- (9) $.50/1 coupons (my store doubles)=9 free +$2.25 overage
(2) Birdseye Steamfresh veggies -$1.49 each-$.50/2 coupon (doubled)=$.99 each
(1) Lean Pockets $1.60-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)=$.60 each
Silk Pure Almond Milk $1.99-$1/1 coupon=$.99
(3) Kraft 2% Milk Singles $1.49 each- (3) $1/1 coupons=$.49 each
Wholey Guacamole $1.99-$1/1 coupon=$.99
(2) Helper products (chicken and hamburger) $1 each - (2) $.50/1 coupons (double)=2 FREE
(3) Tyson Anytizers $5.99 each -(3) $1/1 coupons=$4.99 each (Thats a $5 savings each off regular price!)
(9) Yoplait yogurts $.50 each -(2) $.50/4 coupons (double) and (1) Free cup coupon=about $.22 a cup
Plus: Free chocolate milk WYB Gallon of white milk
Ok now for a savings tip from the single girl. In order to maximize my budget at the grocery, I only buy marked down meat or poultry (or extremely good sales). In August, I found ground beef on markdown for about $.50/lb. What a great price! So I bought 20 lbs of it....$10. I came home and broke it up into 3 different size packages (1/2 lb, 3/4 lb, and 1 lb). I just finished my last package last week. I do the same with chicken and pork too. A few weeks ago I found boneless chicken thighs marked down to $.75/lb. I bought 5 packages for about $10. Just think of the stews, soups, and baked chicken dishes I can make with these. Yes I can't always predict what meat is going to be marked down, but I can plan all my meals around it. I might go a couple dollars over my grocery budget, but like the ground beef, I won't have to buy it again for several months. That kind of savings really adds up for me over the long run! It has allowed me to cut my grocery budget down to $10 or less some weeks. I am also planning on trying to spend $40 for the month of March by using stockpile stuff up and only buying fresh produce and dairy products. Hopefully I'll be able to do it!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Fazolis-free desert coupon
O'Charley's- free app for joining, special offer on your birthday
Houlihan's-free app for joining, free entree on your birthday
Macaroni Grill-free chocolate cake
Dunkin Donuts-free medium coffee on your birthday
Starbucks- free drink on your birthday when you register a giftcard
Papa Murphy's-free cookie dough for the month of your birthday
Red Robin-free burger
BD's Mongolian BBQ-not sure what this will be this year but it was free dinner last year
Ruby Tuesdays-free handcrafted burger
Red Lobster-special offer for your birthday
Quiznos-free cookie on your birthday
Arby's-free offer on your birthday
Chilis-free dessert on your birthday
I hope you get to sign up and enjoy some of these freebies when your birthday comes around. Let me know if you've found any other great freebies for birthdays lately!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I will be sharing the organization takeover of my laundry room sometime in the next week because it is not going to be an easy project! I hate...despise...loath...dread...have some deep animosity for laundry. Mostly the folding part of laundry and the fact that I feel like I can NEVER stay up with it. It is the one chore that I (even though there is no one here to actually vouch for this) stomp my feet and pout about having to do. This will be interesting and will probably take me a lot of time to complete, but once it is done, it will be a goal of mine to keep up.
Ok enough negative talk. I've shared that I am insanely organized....now to prove it. I will now be sharing some of the areas that they have covered in the challenge that I have in my house. In these pictures contain my 3 favorite organizational tools (mini crates, stackable color crates, and fabric cubes). Hopefully you'll find them as useful as I do!
This is my pantry. A couple tips here: organize like items together, have a basket for snacks, and invest in some great pasta containers. Mine are the the 365 ones from Ikea. I absolutely love how organized it makes everything and that they are see through! I'm currently using one small shelf cabinet in my garage for my soup stockpile because it doesn't all fit! I guess that's what getting 50 cans of soup for free will do to you though!
The other side under my master bathroom sink. Curlers and the same mini crates that I use to hold my spices. These are also stackable. The bottom crate holds plug in and cone air fresheners and the top one holds extra soaps, Frebreeze, and Glade spray (all for FREE with coupons)
Movies in my entertainment center. Notice the fabric cubes that I use to organize movies. They are so convenient! Another one of my favorite organizational tools. They fold up and are easy to store if you aren't needing them at that moment too.
This is the cart the TV in my bedroom is on. Its an awkward space so I put the cubes there to dress it up a bit because I already have a bookshelf in another room. I love how much extra hidden storage it adds. The top one has odds and ends in it (those things you don't really have a place for???), the bottom right one has thank you notes, the bottom left one has after Christmas clearance candy in it (so I can't see it....) and the middle one is currently empty. That normally has tea light candles in it.
I hope you have enjoyed my mini home organization tour. What tools do you love to use to keep your home organized and tidy?
Sunday, January 9, 2011
4 Kashi Go Lean Cereals-$2.99 each
-(4) $3/1 coupon (2 from Vocalpoint in the mail, 2 from Recyclebank account rewards)
-$4 off total order for buying 4 Kroger deal
=Free +$4 overage
Febreeze Air Effects-$2.79
-$1/1 Kroger eCoupon (loaded to plus card)
-$1/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert
-$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
=Free + $.21 overage
2 Dawn plus Olay hand renewal Soap-$2.79
-$.50/1 Kroger eCoupon
-(2) $.50/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert (doubles)
-(2)$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
3 Secret deodorant-$2.29 each
-(3) $.50/1 coupon from 12/27 P&G insert (doubles)
-(3)$1 off 4 P&G Kroger promotion
Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs-marked down to $1.29
-$1/1 wholly Guacamole coupon (no longer available)
10 Horizon Milk Singles-$1.00 each
-(10) $1/1 Horizon coupons
-$.35/1 coupon from 1/2 inserts (doubles)
Hormel All Natural Roast Beef-marked down to $1.99
-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)
-$.50/1 coupon (doubles)
Tyson whole chicken-marked down to $3.29
Hoagies-marked down to $.79
Fresh salad-marked down to $1.49
1/2 gallon of milk-marked down to $.25 (scored the GREATEST DEAL on this! They mismarked milk that someone must have thought said Jan 8 because mine doesn't expire until 1/18!!!!)
Saved 89% off regular price (not that I would EVER pay regular price for all that!)
I then got the BEST deal EVER on meds at CVS. So much so that I will not have to buy any sort of pain reliever for the next couple years...would be my guess! Back in December there were all kinds of coupons around the blogging world for free Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Migraine. I've gotten 5 of them in the mail so far (used one back in December at Walgreens). Here is the deal:
Excedrin (Buy $20 worth and get $10 ECB)
3 Excedrin Extra Strength-$5.79 (all mine had a bonus 8 pack of Excedrin PM attached at that price)
1 Excedrin Migraine-$4.79
-(3) Free Excedrin Extra Strength
-(1) Free Excedrin Migraine
=Free + $10 ECB
I have 5 bottles for free which is more than enough to suffice for quite sometime around here since I'm not too medicine happy. I am also happy to report that my migraines have all but disappeared with my new classroom (and its MASSIVE window this year). Get yourself out of florescent and into sunlight to become independent from medicine!
Tip from my sister the pharmacist: Check the active ingredients in your meds because both of these have the EXACT same(Extra Strength and Migraine)! Buy the cheapest ones with the same active ingredients and don't get caught up in the label with it :)
I hope you can capitalize on some of these great deals! I'll also be heading to Meijer afterwork tomorrow because I have some great coupons to go with their 10/10 sale that will make about 10-15 items completely free. Can't really beat that!
What great deals have you found this week?
Friday, January 7, 2011
1. Pay cash for a reliable car with under 50,000
2. Pay cash for a patio to replace the paver one
3. Pay cash for a fence to enclose my backyard
4. Save $250 per paycheck automatically
5. Start investing in my retirement plan
6. Save 6 months of living expenses
7. Build an emergency fund (Baby step #1---Thanks Dave Ramsey!)
8. Pay off all debt except my house and student loans (they are being forgiven bc of my teaching service so I am not paying anything on them currently)
9. Cut grocery budget to $20 weekly utilizing coupons
I actually achieved all of these goals without much extra effort! In July, I bought a new to me VW Jetta and traded in SuzieQ. Read about how I picked out the car here. In May, I added a new patio to the backyard and despite some lessons learned, it is wonderful after the repairs. In June, I added a fence to the backyard to make my lovely Sophie happy. The fence is literally the best thing I've done since moving into my house. Read about how I got great deals on both of these things here. I have also set my bank account to automatically save $250 per paycheck. Plus all of my extra money (from odd jobs, selling on eBay, and reffing) goes straight into my savings. Because of this, I have been able to save enough for 7 months of living expenses and have a $3,000 emergency fund. I love the idea from Dave Ramsey that there are no emergencies if you have a fund! I have also started investing 10% of my income for my retirement. My grocery budget is about $60-75 per month since I sometimes don't go to the store every week. I am proud to say I am completely debt free except for my mortgage and what is being forgiven on my student loans. I am a DEBT FREE 24 year old! THAT IS SO EXCITING FOR ME!!! What a year it has been!
My goals for 2011 will hopefully push me to feel a little more uncomfortable financially. I know I am capable of saving even more than I currently do and I know that this might mean some sacrifice, but I also know that I will continue to have fun despite this. I know it might be bad to use the word uncomfortable, but I think that is the best way to describe it. I think if I am more creative in the way I do things, I can cut corners even more. There is a quote in one of my favorite movies, "If you want big rewards, you've got to take big risks." How fitting is it that I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone for the upcoming year? My goals are the following:
1. Cut my monthly budget by additional $100-150 each month to go directly into savings
2. Bump up my retirement savings to 15% of my income
3. Pay cash for a new dishwasher
4. Pay cash for a new flat screen TV
5. Pay cash for a new sliding glass door or french doors
6. Fully fund my college fund for my masters program (approx $2,000)
7. Continue to follow my monthly budget strictly
8. Save for annual vacation to Gatlinburg with friends
9. Double my emergency fund so I have 12 months of living expenses in savings
10. Save 10% of the cost for a new car via automatic withdraw from my paycheck
So as I said I have some LOFTY goals this year...all of which I think are more than capable of happening. I have used my referee money to pay for many of my "pay cash for..." goals in the past. I think this year will continue the same trend. I also will begin to save for another car because I plan to buy used cars with cash for the rest of my life! If I can save $1,000 this year for a new car, I'll be well on my way to replacing Jetta in about 8-9 years!
Hopefully you are taking the time to put your goals into writing and being intentional with your money this year. Thank you all for your inspiration and support during this last year of transformation in my life! I am truly blessed!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Horizon Organic Milk Single (8 oz) – $1
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon
(I printed off 10 of these which means for 10 days I will be enjoying organic milk with my lunch!)
2 pack of Coast Bar Soap – $1
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon
Plus if you have enough of these coupons, it will definitely be worth your while:
Secret Deodorant-$2.29 **Buy 4**
Use (4) $.50/1 coupons from 12/26/2010 P&G Insert (my store doubles each to $1)
Get $4 off instantly through P&G rebate
$.29 each after coupons and instant rebate
(The only catch is that you have to buy $4 in additional merchandise because it won't take it off the P&G items...shouldn't be a big deal if you are buying other things too)