Just wanted everyone to know that this blog is now located at the domain: FamilyonaFoodStampBudget.com! There are lots of new articles with great tips and tricks to read! I hope everyone joins me there!
WooHoo! A new high value Clorox coupon just popped up on Coupons.com! Hurry on over there and use zip code 53027 (if needed), then click on the “Household” category to quickly locate a $1.50/1 ANY Clorox 2 product (except pen) coupon! Note that you’ll need to watch a short video that will pop up in order to clip the coupon. Print this coupon now, as I am guessing it won’t be available for long. You can also use this coupon to score a very sweet deal at Target…
Clorox 2 Laundry Stain Remover with Foaming Action, 30 oz on sale for $1.99
Use the new $1.50/1 coupon found here
Final cost only $0.49! What a *HOT* price!!
IMPORTANT NOTE: As you can see from the picture above, the Clorox 2 may not be marked on sale so make sure to take the time to price check.
Chili should be a staple for any family on a budget. The ingredients go on sale all the time–and the leftovers can be frozen for future meals.
This is a basic chili recipe I’ve made up over the years. I’ve won many church chili contest with this recipe–and it’s really nothing fancy. People try to add expensive meats, fancy peppers and all sorts of spices to chili. But in the end, sticking to a basic, home-style chili always wins!
I never measure the spices, just shake in the ingredients using the “sift” side of your spices. I give a suggested number of shakes–but make your chili to taste. If you put too much heat in, have an extra can of chili beans and chili-ready diced tomatoes ready to add in. You can’t mess up chili!
Makes 8-12 servings!
Add all ingredients to crockpot (or use dutch oven for faster cooking–peppers/onions should be soft):
1 lb of lean ground beef or lean ground turkey (you won’t notice the difference using turkey).
2 cans of chili beans
1/2 can of seasoned pinto beans (do not drain)
2 cans of chili-ready diced tomatoes
1 chopped green pepper
1/2 to 1/3 chopped large onion or 1 small onion (yellow or white)
1 chopped fresh jalapeno (take seeds out if you don’t like a little heat)
2 tablespoons of chili powder–then add to taste
2 shakes of hot sauce (optional)
2-3 shakes of black pepper
1 shake of cinnamon (optional–something I added after living in Cincy for a while)
2-3 good shakes of garlic powder
1-2 shakes of oregano
1-2 shakes of cumin (careful with this–makes it hot!)
1-2 shakes of cayenne (optional)
For a more beany chili, toss in some drained black or northern beans
For a more watery chili, add half bottle/can of your favorite beer.
For a sweeter chili, add tablespoon of dark brown sugar
For meat-lovers, add in 1-2 pre-cooked polish or italian sausages–sliced
Note: I like to check the Chili after an hour in the crockpot and see if more seasoning is needed.
I’m getting excited to begin my year on a food stamp budget in just under a week! In preparation, I’ve begun looking at the Jan 1 sales in my area. As you can see in this photo, I like to go through each store ad (mailed to me) and circle items I know to be at a good price. Then I see if I can tie them all into meals.
As you can see in the photo, pasta, hamburger meat, cottage cheese, quality pasta sauce (I splurge the extra dollars for good sauce) are all on sale. I thought this was a great start to Lasagna! My husband and children prefer a recipe that uses cottage cheese rather than ricotta. And what’s healthier than red pasta sauce, eggs and cottage cheese! The pasta and mozzarella are okay in moderation.
I also found shrimp at a yearly low of $3.99 a pound! You can’t get any healthier than shrimp! Since lemons are also on sale, I’m hoping to find a great lemon shrimp recipe–and I’ll probably make a Cajun shrimp and rice dish, too.
Finally, I saw Planters Trail Mix, Pace and several other good snack items were on sale. I’m gathering coupons now for these items. I use the coupon database at SoutherSavers.com to search for available coupons. To view upcoming coupons, I use SundayCouponPreview.com. Finally, you can usually find coupons on Ebay–though you have to buy them in bulk to be worthwhile. If it’s an item you use a lot of and has a long shelf life–this could be a good option.
Note: you are not actually buying the coupons, as that is illegal. You are paying the person for their time to collect and sort the free coupons. It’s a loophole I guess.
So that’s three dinners already planned for the first week–and all three will come out under $12 total after coupons and sales.
CVS, Walgreens and Target are the three stores I shop for non-food items. Sometimes food items make it into the sale–but my focus is usually on toiletries. Out of all of them, CVS is my favorite!
I use cloth diapers most of the time, but at night and when traveling, we use paper. So I never pass up a good diaper deal. Today I headed out for a deal on diapers that will keep us stocked for several months.
Here’s the deal that started today: If you spend $30 on Huggies or Pampers diapers or wipes (free to mix/match brands), you receive $10 back in Extrabucks! The diapers were sale priced $10/pack with an Extracare card (aka: the CVS member card you must have to shop there). So three packs ads up to $30 even.
We were also out of foam bathroom cleaner. It wasn’t on sale–but other coupons made CVS the best option for purchasing this needed item.
Finally, quality contact solution happened to be on sale–and last week I noticed we are running low. All together, this brought my total spending to $52.77–right where I wanted to be!
This is my final store receipt.
The amount I paid with my debit card–was $4.77 + tax. I used a $20 CVS gift card that I purchased last week for $10. The $10 purchase amount would also be a part of my out of pocket costs for a total of $14.77 + tax coming out of my monthly budget.
Plus! Because of the promotions, I received $14 in CVS ExtraCare coupons back from my purchase. $10 for the diapers, and $4 for the contact lens solution. In my world–that’s as good as cash back.
Let’s take a look at how I manged to do this using coupons.
This is a photo of all of the coupons I used in my transaction.
In total, I used 8 coupons on 6 products by way of “stacking”. This means, I stacked store coupons on top of manufacture coupons. (Note: I took a back-up Pamper’s coupon in case the size I needed in Huggies was sold out–I ended up using it instead of the $2 Huggies coupon shown here).
Let’s go through each coupon and talk about how they work.
This is the first coupon I handed the cashier.
I received it about two weeks ago post-purchase. I saved it in my wallet like cash. This coupon is one of my favorites–because it can be used on sale items. You can use it on almost anything, food or non-food. Gift cards, stamps, prescriptions money orders and a few other things are not allowed.
My pre-tax total before applying this CVS store coupon was $52.77. This knocked me down to $42.77 + tax
Next, I gave the cashier my five manufacturer coupons. I had three for the diapers, one for the contact lens solution, and one for the scrubbing bubbles (it was a $1 off 2).
This brought the $42.77 down to $30.77+ tax
Next, I redeemed at $6.00 Extrabuck that I had from a prior purchase.
Note: While this brings my out of pocket costs down for the transaction–I have to back it out later for my “bragging figure”. To calculate the final value of your products–you only count the Extrabucks earned for the current transaction–not those redeemed from prior transactions
This brought my OOP total down to $24.77 + tax
Luckily, I follow blogs and get great tip-offs. A few weeks ago, I purchased a $20 CVS Gift Card for $10 from Living Social. I applied this toward the final amount for an out of pocket total of $14.77+ tax (gift card amount included). That’s the amount I deduct from my monthly budget
Now for my bragging figure, I just did the following math:
+ $6.00 (amount of previously earned Extrabuck)
– $14.00 (amount of Extrabucks earned from this transaction)
= $6.77 + tax is my “bragging figure” or final value for what I purchased (as long as I don’t let my earned Extrabucks expire)!
Coupon bloggers help save me time each week by doing the “match-up” work for me. They go through the store ads and find any available coupons that match the advertised sales. The good ones let their readers know which deals are the best, based on their knowledge of price points.
I cannot stress enough that frugal shopping cannot be done with out learning price points. A sale tag and a coupon doesn’t always equal a good deal.
Coupon bloggers also get tips on unadvertised deals from their readers. Sometimes it’s these strange finds by readers that are the best deals of all.
But beware— I’ve wasted a lot of time and money in the beginning after falling for the “hurry! This won’t last!” traps of the coupon bloggers. They’re not doing all this work for sheer fun—they make money on the coupons printed by readers, as well as affiliate sales.
Here are some tips on how to follow coupon bloggers and not be duped:
Prioritize. Bloggers post some really hot deals, but not every one is worth a trip to the store. Let your demand for the product guide your decision to buy it. As I mentioned above, they get paid for coupons you print from their site and other purchases you make from online store links they post. Once in a while, they post really great deals—but some of it’s just junk. Don’t end up spending more in an effort to spend less! You might be able to get 100 packs of gum for $0.25 each, but did you really have $25 to spend on gum this week?
Don’t print every coupon. Many times what’s available online is also available in the newspapers. So check your existing coupons and the upcoming coupons before printing more of the same. Also, just because it’s a “rare!” or “hot” coupon doesn’t mean you need it. If it’s not a product you like or need…save your ink.
Use Social Media. I follow my favorite blogs on Facebook—I find it’s the best way to keep up on any good deal tip-offs. I’m considering switching to Twitter though, as Facebook does not show all of the posts—only those it thinks you want to see. If you never like, comment or click through on a bloggers posts…it stops showing them on your wall. It’s all based on some crazy algorithm they think is helpful to the user experience. Urg.
Timing is everything. I’ve mentioned before that for the drug store match-ups (Walgreens; CVS; Rite Aid), I follow Hip2save.com. The most important day to check Collin’s blog is on Saturdays (after about 4 pm). That’s when she posts her store match-ups and when I start pulling and printing coupons in preparation to hit the store.
Now if you really want to get extreme, and you have the time, there are a few more things you can do using blogs and forums. I typically don’t have the time.
Search in google for ad scans of upcoming store ads. You’ll need to search by date. For instance, “Walgreens ad scan 8/26”. As long as you put the right publish date in (always a Sunday for the drug stores), you should be able to look at ads 2-3 weeks in advance. And often times, there are coupons online that disappear by the time the new week begins, so looking ahead increases your chance of getting certain coupons in advance of the sale.
Along the same lines, there are coupon forums that have threads dedicated to matching up upcoming ads. Users collaboratively post the best upcoming deals they see. Afullcup.com is one such website. Slickdeals.net also has forums. Just beware–slickdeals attracts a lot of shady characters.
Read the facebook walls of the larger coupon blogs. I can’t stand couponmom.com (her website makes you log in and it’s a hot mess database that’s not at all helpful), BUT she does have a large following. That means her facebook wall is full of folks sharing deals they’ve found. If you peruse the wall once a day–you’ll find some good deals. The disadvantage is that not all of the folks that share are all that ethical–so it’s up to you to sort out the coupon abuse from the legit deals.