Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • Matt has been working on cleaning out the building and I ordered a new stand up freezer today. I went ahead and purchased the largest one available. It is suppose to be delivered next Thursday which gives us a week before the chicken arrives.  We are also planning on getting some wireless thermostats to use to monitor the temperature in the building and both freezers.
  • I received my first Disney gift card today. I need to earn another $150 not from our budget in order to book our next trip.
  • The kids have 2 and half weeks of school left. Thankfully I was able to take a couple of days off in order to attend most of the special events at the end of the year.
  • We have a swim team meeting on Thursday and Zach is planning to swim. I am so excited!!! I LOVE watching swim team meets!
  • Amanda is hosting a yard sale on Saturday and I am hoping to make $100. I have already made $45 this weekend on furniture. This is a much needed boost in income to help cover summer expenses like swim team.
  • We have now not used heat or air for 6 weeks with only 2 days used in the four weeks before that. Our electric bill was $161 for last month!  This is the lowest it has been in around 18 months!  Huge win!
  • I have started a new diet/ work out program this week so I am hopefully for good results even by the end of the month.
  • We have been able to harvest basil and dill. Yesterday I got a squash that is small but it is a start!

Growing Garden

I am super excited about the way our garden is growing this year. We have actually already started to harvest and freeze basil and dill. Today, I found four of the smallest squash ever, the size of my hands. I am hoping that with the expected sunshine in the next week, things will start to grow bigger quickly. So here are some pictures I took on Saturday.

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Corn almost knee high!

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cucumbers are starting to grow.

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beans that we planted seeds for.

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Sweet potatoes like warm and sun, hopefully they will start to perk up .

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The tallest plants are the tomato plants… we are seeing some yellow flowers but these also need some sun to grow!

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5 Things Friday- A Day Late

  1. We decided to go strawberry picking with the kids this morning. The local nursery offered BOGO on pick your own strawberries. We picked 4 gallons of strawberries for $18.  I did share some of these with both my mom and Amanda.
  2. After getting home and trying to decide where to put the strawberries, we discovered that our stand up freezer had stopped working. I was able to save milk and about a fourth of what was in the freezer.
  3. I found 3 gallons of half thawed strawberries so I decided to cook with these instead of the fresh one. I did end up flash freezing at least 2 gallons for future use.
  4. I made strawberry lemonade muffins, strawberry cream cheese coffee cake, and a double batch of strawberry jam. They all turned out awesome but my favorite is the strawberry jam.
  5. We will be having a yard sale hopefully next Saturday so this coming week is incredibly busy.

Gift Cards- Spending Money The Fun Way!

I had some extra time on my hands as I waited in a doctor’s office today so I decided to clean out my purse.  I was so excited to find a five dollar bill and a Walmart gift card that I had totally forgotten about.  I knew we needed a bag of frozen veggies to go in the chicken pie I was planning for Friday night, so after the appointment I headed to Walmart. I was able to grab 2 bags of frozen vegetables, a bag of Twizzlers for Matt and a pack of Kool-Aid drinks for the kids.  I still have 57 cent left on my gift card.

My other use of gift cards today is a little bit confusing but even more exciting. During the past month I have been using an app called “Swagbucks”  I can be use for shopping but I am using it to watch videos, random and not so random search of the internet and answering survey questions. So far in two months I have gained enough point and cashed in for 2-$25 gift cards to Target.  This afternoon, I decided to place an order at Target. I had already linked by Red Debit card to my account. This gives me 5% off and free shipping. I placed in my cart a $50 Disney card and a box of baking soda. Total cost was $49.43 which I enter both gift cards as payment. I have 53 cent left on one.

Total spent today ZERO and I was able to grab a couple of grocery items we are out of. I call that success!

Savings With Only 2 Coupons

I apologize upfront because I had ever intention of getting this post up last week but life happens.  I do use coupons as much as possible but it is not just the coupon that makes a great deal. A great deal is sometimes finding the right sale.

This week we were able to find the right sale at Harris Teeter. I will continue to wish that another grocery store moves in our area but until then I will plan and drive 30 minutes each way for sales like this.

Harris Teeter is having a “stock up sale” The one big catch to this sale is that you must Buy 2 and get 3 Free.  This week we spent $170.60 and saved 228.75 which is 57%.  All the items we purchased are things we normally use so this is a good deal for us. I did use 2 $1.00 off coupons for Ken’s Salad dressing. Unfortunately these did not double. I was also able to grab a raincheck for 10 additional packs of cheese which I will use when needed. Things we purchased included 10 12 packs of soda, 6 bottles of Salad Dressing, 7 small containers of yogurt. 10 pounds of potatoes, 5 packs of Provolone cheese, 3 blocks of cheese for Matt and the kids, 10 containers of ice cream, 7 bags of chips and 5 bags of frozen shrimp. As you can tell this was a huge trip but it is likely that this will last us through the summer.

5 Things Friday-5/13/2016

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  1.  The garden is doing the best EVER!  We have corn growing, cucumber and squash with huge blooms and we are already picking dill and basil to use! I am hoping this continues and we get to enjoy the benefits for the entire year.
  2. In checking the freezers, I realized that we were out of beef stock. Between yesterday and today, we have made and frozen 3 gallon that should last for a while.
  3. The air conditioning in the house is still off. I am so excited as this is definitely the longest time in May we have been able to keep it off. I have already checked the forecast for the next week and with temperatures in the 60s till Wednesday, May 20th is now my goal date!
  4. I am going to head out tomorrow night with some friend from work to Dinner and a Movie. I am excited as this is the first time in years, I have been able to do something like this.
  5. I am planning to add a goal to my financial side to earn a $25 gift card each month from Swagbucks. This will help to boost my saving significantly.

Grocery Shopping- My Way

I have been getting a couple of questions about the way I shop, so I am going to try and explain it along with the example of my shopping today.

Meat- My first choice is Zaycon food. Typically we buy chicken breast once every six months and other items usually about once a year. We currently have pork roast and pork chops in the freezer. The purchases of the other foods depend heavily on our need and ability to pick up when things are offered.  My second choice which is also more convenient is the “meat store” which is in the next town. Over the past three years we typically go and purchase meat about once every 5-6 months. We always buy ground beef in bulk and process by making several items but a lot of packages of pre-cooked meat. Other meat is typically purchased at Costco on an as needed bases.  Today I purchased 5 bags of shrimp at Harris Teeter, this should last a minimum of 6 months if not longer.

Health and Beauty Items, including toilet paper, I purchase on sale cycles at CVS or Harris Teeter. CVS is my only “weekly” trip because it is in town. I try and spent $1 or less on most items.  Toothpaste is always free and I currently have around 20 tubes in the stockpile. I always watch sales and try to keep things pretty well stocked up. For the first couple month of the year, we were able to reduce spending significantly and just use what we had. My goal is to try this again this summer.

Drinks- I am addicted to Diet Coke and I fully admit it. I usually purchase most of my drinks both can and bottles at CVS.  I try always to combine an ECB deal with free 12 pack coupons from Coke. Today however was the exception, we purchased 10 cases of soda at Harris Teeter on a Buy 2 Get 3 free sale. I also currently have 3 rain checks for cokes. Typically price for 2L is less than $1 and cans- 25cent each or less.

I purchase the majority of the rest of my groceries at Costco. Just like regular grocery stores they run sales and I tended to stock up on good deals. Today we purchased 3 boxes of Cheez-its and 2 boxes of gummies. These should last through the summer. I do also keep a watch on sales. I typically go to Harris Teeter every other month depending on when Super Doubles or great sales occur like today.  Food Lion is the only grocery store beside Walmart in my town so I will shop there for great deals and for their annual sale which is typically an additional 25 cent off house brand purchases. Aldi is also local and we grab our vegetables, canned foods and snack items there. I usually go to Aldi every two weeks.

Our Costco trip today ended up totaling close to $500 but this was a stock up trip because I honestly don’t plan or want to go back till at least the first of August if not the week before the kids return to school.  I enjoying shopping at Costco but tend to spend more than I should. Today’s trip included 8 gallons of milk, 7 dozen eggs and 4 packs of shells.

How different are your shopping trips than mine?