Chicagolandia
Assalted: when salt falls out of the cabinet, spice rack, pantry, etc. and hits you - typically right between the eyes. Often times this is preempted by someone that was in a hurry, but has come walking into the room right as the salt falls. "I was assalted when I was looking for the taco seasoning mix."
Assalt, Assalting (has no relation to insulting, that comes later)

Has this happened to any of you? The variety of salt doesn't matter, such as season salt, onion salt, garlic salt, etc.
Chicagolandia
For all my fellow Chicagolandians, the deals this week couldn’t be sweeter. And to help sweeten the pot, here is a breakdown of the deals, the steals, - but most importantly – the meals.
Once you’ve looked through a dozen flyers, it’s hard to remember which store had what item on sale. Your next challenge - coming up with a recipe or a meal out of it. That’s where I come in – I’m listing a menu plan using basic spices/condiments and the items on sale this week. I’ll break it down for a family of four – portion wise. My challenge? Getting you the deals for around $40 a week. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Click on the titles to see recipes!

Breakfast ideas: cheese omelets, Georgia-style French toast, cereal/yogurt, and handy breakfast sammies.

Lunch: Tangy Turkey Sammies, taco salad, grilled cheese sammies with tomato soup, and Italian-style chicken salad over toast, Kickin’ Chicken paninis

Dinner: Ground Beef (or turkey) tacos, roasted chicken stuffed with rice, enchiladas, Mile High Burgers, Cheesy Beef & Rice Casserole

Snacks: Adam’s Salsa & guacamole with tortilla chips, keebler cookies, apples & peanut butter, cheese ‘n’ crackers, and baby carrots.

Your shopping List:
2.5 lbs. Ground chuck = $4.20 ground turkey $3.57 (3 lbs. @ Aldi)
1 whole chicken = $4.50
1.5 lbs. Deli turkey = $2.97
2 dozen extra large eggs = $1.16
3 pkgs. (8 oz.) cheese = $2.97
1 bunch cilantro = $.33
2 lbs. Georgia peaches $1.58
8 yogurt = $3.36 (look for coupons near display or at other stores)
2 loaves bread = $1.96
1 pkg. (36 ct. tortillas) $.89 (Aldi)
1 avocado = $.50
3 lbs. Golden Delicious apples = $1.77
4 boxes Rice-A-Roni/Pasta-Roni = $.3.96
2 medium onions = $.65
2 lbs. tomatoes = $.78
1 pkg. burger buns = $.98
8 lbs. potatoes = $.98
3 limes = $.15
2 boxes crackers - $1 printable Q’s = $1.33
2 lbs. Romaine lettuce = $1.56
1 box Quaker cereal = $2.00 (check online for coupons)
1 gallon milk = $1.89
1 jalapeno $.20
1.25 lbs. green grapes = $1.24
1 bag tortilla/corn chips = $1.29 (Aldi)
1 lb. Baby carrots $.99 (Aldi)

Your total (before tax) = $41.54 – slightly over budget, I know – but that was the cheapest way I could calculate this. Though if you print the coupons I’ve suggested, you’ll come in right under the $40 dollar marker!
Chicagolandia
I love popping in there for a simple, sweet, cherry pick. While coupons weren’t scanning right, they never questioned my quadruple-stack on the A-1 steak sauce, which was a freebie! I walked out of there with the greatest savings I’ve ever racked up in a single transaction!

Here’s the tally:

16 bottles of A-1 steak sauce - $2 MQ’s each -$1/2 mealbox = free
8 bottles Kraft salad dressing -$1 mealbox Q’s = $.54 each
2 Wishbone salad dressing - $1/2 MQ, -$1/2 mealbox = $.67 each
12 pkgs. Knorr’s side dishes - $1/4 Q’s = $.75 each
1 bag of baby carrots - $1 produce WYB 2 kraft salad dressings = $.25
5.01 lbs. bananas - $1 produce WYB 2 kraft salad dressings = $.95
.94 lbs. apples - - $1 produce WYB 2 kraft salad dressings = $.40
20 pkts. KoolAid - $.50/10 packets = $1.00 for 20
3 Sweet Baby Rays Mariandes - $1 Q = FREE
3 OM deli meats - $1/2 Q, -$.75/1 Q - $2 meat/poultry WYB 2 participating Kraft products (2) = $1.75
1 lb. powdered sugar - $.89
4.9 lbs. Chuck steak - $10.79 - $1 Q off beef WYB 1 bottles A-1 (10) = $.79
12.75 lbs. ribs = $12.77 - $2 meat/poultry WYB 2 participating Kraft products (6) = $.77

For buying all that KoolAid, I got a cat for a free 5 lb. bag of sugar. Love it!

Now for the totals: $154.51 – before coupons and after tax
Coupons savings of $88.72
Savings of $41.7
Totals savings = 132.42
OOP = $22.09! - $1.61 was tax.
Chicagolandia
Meijer –
$.98 large dozen eggs
$.98 – Meijer brand split top wheat or white bread (22 oz.)
4/$5 Oscar Meyer bologna – use printable Kraft coupons
5/$5 Chichi’s salsa –$.55 Q - Sunday insert
50% off Keebler cookies - $.55 Q – Sunday insert
Lawry’s Seasonings BOGOF
5/$5 Meijer applesauce – great for baking with!
3/$5 Nabisco Snack Crackers - $1 Q Kraft printable
$.99 Meijer brand sour cream 16 oz.

Butera - starred items require in-flyrer Q & a $10 minimum purchase (before coupons)
• $.99 4 lb. bag Country Delight sugar
• $.99 1 lb. Food Club Butter
• $1.99 16 oz. frozen Tilapia fillet
$1.49 8 oz. grated Country Delight parmesan cheese
$.89 lb. green seedless grapes
$.99 Rice/Pasta-Roni

10/$10 Sale:
Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, Sunkist 2L.
Lipton Teas 1.5 L.
Sobe Water
Kraft Easy Mac
Assorted other store brand items

10/$5 Yoplait Yogurt – select varieties
$1.89 Country Delight gallon milk
$1.98 lb. oven roasted Willowbrook turkey breast – deli sliced
$.78 lb. Romaine lettuce
3/$1 bunches of cilantro
$.88 lb. Fuji apples

Caputos:
$.99 Dutch Farms cheese (8 oz.) assorted varieties
$.59 Extra large dozen eggs
$.89 lb. Tyson whole chicken fryers
$.98 Wonder hotdog/hamburger buns
$.39 lb. beefsteak tomatoes
2/$1 Haas avocados
20/$1 Limes
$.79 lb. Georgia peaches

Ultra-Foods:
$.49 lb. Sweet Vidalia onions
$.98 8 lb. bag Idaho potatoes
$.58 dozen eggs- limit 2
12/$5 Dannon yogurt – select varieties
$1.68 lb. fresh ground chuck (3 lbs. or more)
5/$10 Quaker cereals & granola bars – select varieties

What I'm seeing in this weeks lineup - salsa & guacamole. Looks like a fiesta to me. We've got nearly all the taco fixin's on sale, too. Also, I'm seeing some great breakfast options - like french toast topped with some yummy peaches, or an omelet to please even the pickies of palates. Some yummy turkey sammies topped with thin sliced onion, some hearty Romaine, and cheddar - delish! it's not that often that the meal-planning can be this easy, but I'm sure glad it is.
Chicagolandia
I've been thinking long-term about how to keep saving money - ideas that I can put in place once and basically forget about it. Here's what DH & I have done:

1. I've signed up with recyclebank.com - it's free money! They send you a I.D. tag for your recycle bin, when it's weighed, they calculate the weight into points, which can be redeemed for a free giftcard, coupons, etc. And it's a greater incentive to recycle. What's not to love?

2. I've filled 1/2 gallon jugs (like from milk) with water and placed one into each of our toilet tanks. This will require less water to be use to fill the tank, saving $$ on our water bill and helping the environment.

3. Replaced all the standard lightbulbs with energy efficient ones. Took the standard ones over to the old house, put them in any place I had removed the energy efficient ones.

4. DH called the cable company, asking for a lower rate. He got a few bucks knocked off our bill, plus they threw in some premium channels. Every little bit helps.

5. One date night a month is fun on a budget. We have $20 to spend for our entire date - and we'll take turns planning it. This will force us to be creative - which is a good thing!

6. Making a list on the calendar of free entertainment options in/around the area. There are plenty of concerts in the park, free museum/zoo days, festivals, etc. that are affordable. Even if we splurge on some popcorn or a hotdog.

7. I'm looking at shopping for non-perishables in a seasonal basis. This season is all about the meat and condiments. I noticed from last year when/where the greatest savings were by product type, and right now is the time! I'm carefully checking expiration dates, and stocking up with some of the fabulous rock-bottom prices!

8. I have 3 shelves on raincheck that I'm waiting to come in. I can set-up my market and get started on evaluating my stockpile. I know somethings I'm low on, but am waiting for a list to build before going after them. Most of them are items I don't find coupons/sales on much, so I only go out shopping for those once a month. It also makes me re-evaluate how badly I want to keep those items on hand. This has helped me pare down some of the excess fluff that isn't necessary and make me look for better deals on the stuff I think is necessary.

Any ideas, tips you'd like to share? I'm always open to a new way to keep my wallet full, the environment clean, and maybe salvage a small piece of my sanity. Maybe...
Chicagolandia
This has been the most frugal holiday weekend DH & I have ever had. That’s amazing considering what we did!

Friday – DH went to the old house and cut the grass one last time. No need getting a citation from the village when we’re just one week from our old lease being up. I went with DaMama to look at furniture (she bought, I did not!). Dinner was grilled chicken strips, grilled beef stew meat, marinated in teriyaki, and some bread & salad. Delish! Cost OOP = $0!

Saturday – We went to a BBQ at D-inlaws. We brought chicken and DH manned the grill. Cost of chicken OOP = $7.81. We raided our freezer for the rest. We brought 15-17 lbs. of chicken. Nearly 30 people were at the BBQ. I did stop at Ultra – rocking the freebies and grabbed (in 2 transactions) 8 jars of peanut butter, 17 jars of sweet relish (moneymaker!), 4 lbs. hot dogs, 4 lbs. bologna, 2 bottles steak sauce(freebie), 2 bottles BBQ sauce, and 18 cans of pork ‘n’ beans. Total cost = $7.76. Our Ultra takes expired Q’s so I used all the Vlasic ones I had left from their pdf-style coupons. Though I did share 3 with others shoppers.

Sunday – DH & I went out for lunch, went furniture shopping ourselves, and made another stop by Meijer’s to grab some freebies/cheapies. Lunch was a small pizza & appetizers - $25.xx (includes tip), Meijer was $12.14 – for tons of stuff. We also swung in to La Fiesta Market and grabbed some gerat deals on meat. 2 lbs./$1 for pork chops and chicken leg quarters. $1.00 for pastore (a preseason, pre-chopped pork mixture often found on tacos at authentic (usually hole-in-the-wall) taco places. We splurged on some aranchera (beef steak – similar to strip, cut a bit thinner, and they tenderize it for you), our total for 27 lbs. of meat was only $31.81. Plenty to share with DaMama, too!

Monday – DH grilled again, this time using some of the pastore, aranchera, some more ham, and a pound chicken breast tenderloin. Other than that, DH washed both cars and grabbed some season salt while I updated my shopping totals in my Xcel spreadsheet. Kind of a quiet day overall – it started raining, so we decided to stay in and watch Kung Fu Panda & Get Smart – from our free on-demand movies. Cost for the day = $8.31. - $3 per car for washing, and $2.xx for some season salt.

Total Spent = $93.24 - I think this is the first time we got through a holiday weekend spending under $100!

Other things we’re doing to save money:

We’ve kept off the A/C.

We are eating at home more than we did the last few weeks.

Lunches were pre-planned with all that grilling – we should get 5-6 meals out of the leftovers.

Breakfast is covered too with the grilled ham and some English muffins I have on hand.

No clothes shopping, electronics shopping, etc. I’ve found with redbox codes, and getting on-demand for free – we haven’t bought a DVD for a few months. We only buy if we’ve seen it before and we both like it. That’s saving space and $$. As for clothes shopping, I am trying to get better at waiting for a coupon, but I will be grabbing a new pair or two of jeans next month. Some things I can’t live without and I can wear jeans to work, which is an added bonus. But, I'm still waiting for a good coupon before I buy!

What have you been doing to save $$ lately?
Chicagolandia
I've been loading up on all the sauces, dressings, and condiments that help make a BBQ complete. With stackable deals like these - the meat/produce will be free or darn close to it!

8 bottles A-1 Steak Sauce @ 2/$5
4 canisters of Country Time Lemonade @ 3/$5
4 pkgs. Oscar Meyer deli meat @ 2/$5 each
8 bottles Sweet Baby Rays Marinade @ $.99 each
3.22 lbs. Beef Chuck Steak $6.57
2.1 lbs. ground beef $2.09
4 pkgs. Knorr Side Dishes @ $1 each

- $2 Q's off each A-1 (10)
- $1/2 Q's for A-1 (2)
$1.50/2 Country Time Lemonade (2)
$1 Q off any beef purchase WYB A-1 (8)
$2 meat/poultry purchase WYB 2 participating Kraft products (4)
$1/4 Knorr Side dishes (1)

# of items = 30
Total Savings = $84.91
Coupon Savings = $45.92
Tax = $.81
OOP = $12.14
Chicagolandia
I've been going condiment crazy! The sales are fabulous, the coupon stacking has never been better. Here's a overview of my trip to Meijer last night - not bad for a hounding on the fly:

4 bottles A-1 steak sauce/marniade 2/$5
6 bottles Kraft salad dressing $1.58 each
5 pkgs. John Morell deli meat $2.19 each
4 pkgs. buns @ $.79 each
3 pkgs. Wonder English Muffins @ $1.00 each
2 loaves Meijer bread @ $.98 each
2 pkgs. marked down ground beef @ $2.51 & $2.47
3 dozen eggs @ $.98 each
1 24 oz. Hunt's Ketchup

-$1 Q A-1 (1)
-$2 Q A-1 (3)
-$1.50 Kraft salad dressing Q (6)
-$1 off beef WYB A-1 steak sauce or marinade(4) (tearpad on A-1 display at Meijer)
-$2 meat purchase WYB 2 Participating Kraft items (condiments pictured) (5) (tearpad at Jewel on Kraft Salad Dressing display)
-FREE Hunt's ketchup coupon from home mailer from ConAgra $1.49!
Total before sales & coupons = $69.75
-sales prices = $19.55
-coupon values = $31.47
OOP = $17.32 - includes tax
I saved $52.43
Savings percentage of 75%

Not only do I have more of the tearpad Q's to spend, but I discovered $1/2 A-1 Q's at Meijer's mealbox = free A-1 for me, and more free meat. I'm stocking up on chicken and deli meat....when it's free, it's hard to beat. Though next time, I'm going after the nicey deli meats... after all, they'll still be free!
Chicagolandia
Finally, I was able to go out hounding/shopping. Not only were the deals good, I walked out with a MM! I don’t get those often, so when I do, I’m usually ecstatic about ‘em.

Here’s how the pennies fell on my trip last night to Jewel:

$1.67 each - 5 bottles Kraft Salad Dressing -$1.50 Q (2) -$1 Q (3)
$1.50 each - 4 bottles French’s Mustard -$.75 (2) -$.50 (2)
$1.67 each – 4 bottles Ken’s Salad Dressing/Spritzers -$1 Q (4)
$1.49 each – 2 bottles French’s Worcestshire Sauce -$.50 Q (2)
$.89 each – 6 bottles Kraft BBQ sauce 18 oz. -$1 Q (5) -$.75 Q (1) = MM $.41!!
$1 each – 2 Hunt’s Ketchup -$.20 Q (2)
2/$1 - 2 McCormick Grill Mates seasoning packets -$.50 Q (2) = FREE
$1.25 each – 2 jars Vlasic sweet relish
5 bread rolls $.49 each
$1.50 - 2 bags Wild Harvest tortilla chips - $1 Q (2)
2 bags Kingsford Matchlite Charcoal $8.99
7.41 lbs. Pork ribs @ $1.49 lb. = $11.05
4.76 lbs. whole chicken @ $.99 lb. = $4.71
$3.00 each - 3 pkgs. Oscar Meyer Fresh Deli Meats - $1/2 Q (1) -$.75 Q (1)
$2.29 each - 2 Jewel shaved honey ham/turkey
$.99 – 2 Philadelphia Cream Cheese -$1/2 Q
$.99 – 3 Jewel Shredded Cheese
1/8 Sheet Cake (carrot cake – celebrating DH completing his next 2 courses in his schooling program)
1 Triple Chocolate Cake $4.29 (never let me see cake when I’m shopping)

I didn’t intend to load up on meat, but I found a lovely tearpad of coupons by the salad dressing. Buy any 2 of the Kraft products listed below, receive $2 off any meat/poultry purchase. So, I promptly went back and grabbed more meat! With my listing of qualifying condiments, I used 6 of those coupons! Since deli meat is at a premium until the kitchen is set up and it’s too darned pricey any other way to buy it, I went for those first. I filled in with a roasting chicken and some ribs. Hey, it’s summer – you’ve got to love ribs. Especially with all that free BBQ sauce. I did stack coupons on the meat (whenever I could) to bring down the overall total.
I also rolled a $4 cat and used 2 $6 off any pork purchase WYB Kingsford Matchlite (13.5 lb. or larger) and some mildly overpriced condiments (naturally the Kraft BBQ sauce didn’t qualify, so I went for the Vlasic – it was the cheapest qualifier).

Total (before coupons) $162.77
Savings $102.09
Coupons $49.15
OOP = $51.24
Tax = $2.81
# of items = 51

The OOP was higher than I wanted it to be, but when you consider that the cakes and charcoal accounted for $31.26, I feel much better about that. Besides, we were out of charcoal and that’s a no-no for Memorial Day weekend.

And I got a $3 cat for buying 6 bottles of Kraft BBQ sauce!
Chicagolandia
Great printable for a new product! Receive a $1 coupon for Lea & Perrins new Thick Classic Worcestershire Sauce, click HERE! You have to sign up to get the coupon. The print limit is 2 per computer.
Chicagolandia
We have moved! We went from a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house in a nice, typically suburban neighborhood, to a cute 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhouse a few miles away. It's a huge space adjustment - my kitchen has shrunk by half. And my linen closet is larger than my pantry. I'm really going to whine about that pitiful pantry. For months. Maybe even years....

I have done no shopping for days, so I've definitely been saving money. My first move was to open up the windows, get some fresh air in the new place, since it's been shut-up for so long, it's got that musty-house smell. Not a favorite of mine, I will admit. Unfortunately, it's been a little chilly at night here (some grumblings about frost warnings), so DH asked if he could "close the windows a bit" last night. Reluctantly, I obliged. (My years in MN conditioned me to with stand the cold. But if the temp. reaches 80 degrees, it feels like a heat wave.)

We've got a lot of stuff to unpack - right now we're still trying to place furniture, sort boxes, find stuff. The only things that are unpacked and organized would be the chest freezer and my half of the closet. Everything else is crazy! I'm just talking it one stack of boxes at a time. Otherwise, I'd go completely insane and need a good massage, some heavy-duty pampering, and a chick flick. Normally I'd add shopping to the list, but I'm generally too tired to move right now.

I'd give more details, but I'm still in a kind of haze - and as far as meal planning - I'm still trying to get the fridge sorted out. I did thaw chicken, ham, and some beef stew meat for the week - looks like a chicken cordon bleu will be a possibility, I've got some ideas brewing! But, I'll post the meal plan tomorrow. That way I can feel justified going out shopping/hounding again.
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Chicagolandia
With the big move to happen this weekend, I haven't focused much on saving money, but are a few things I've done:

1. Eating of out the freezer - who knew I had 6-8 lbs. of brats? I didn't until I started trying to eat more stuff from the freezer. With some buns bought cheap from the bread outlet (2/$1) and tortillas (36 ct. for $.89), that's been a basis for meals, both lunch and dinner in my house this week. Too bad I packed the catsup.

2. Free Target apples = free lunch snack. I've been pairing these with granola bars/bites from Target - on the free or cheap, to round breakfast/lunch selections. I just finished 2 apples for my lunch....yummy. Pairs well with free peanut butter.

3. Got the moving truck free from our realtor. The company we're using owns a small moving truck, which is free to their clients! Yippee!! And a huge savings, too!

4. Rounded up family/friends to help with the move. Movers here cost $250-$600, so we're saving another fortune. Our helpers will work for pizza. Which I have coupons for. And soda, which Jewel generously paid me to take home last month. They're so thoughtful.

5. Since the cable's been acting up, we'll get our bill reduced for this month (can't watch any of the major networks for 2 weeks), and I've been watching TV over at DaMama's house. Saving electricity, too.

6. Have been washing dishes/clothes during off peak hours. If only I had the energy to vacuum then too. Yeah, that's not gonna happen.

7. I'll buy some more free apples as snacks for our moving helpers. It'll keep them moving, and keep my wallet full! Another apple idea for the soft ones? French Apple Cheese Cake. Top a baked cheesecake with apple pie filling and whipped cream. Elegant, tasty dessert which I can con myself into thinking is healthy. Delish! And this will use up some of the creawm cheese in my freezer. And a pie crust out of the pantry. I've just talked myself into baking a cheese. After the move is over.
Chicagolandia
I've been going crazy trying to print off all the Kraft Q's a girl could ever use and I know how to use them! I think I've managed to print off 4 sets, and now I'm perusing all the frugal/coupon blogs I love to find out which stores to hit once I'm settled into the new townhouse. I may even try to print of another set at DMIL's place. I love my coupons!

I have to remind myself - no more shopping/hounding until I've moved in....and then I buy more free apples at Target. Or an extra roll of ground turkey (or 3). Or grab some other small cheawpie/freebie that, inevitably, takes up another box of "stuff" that we have to move.

So now that we have the keys, we'll be moving some of the kitchen/bathroom stuff tonight, with the big move planned for Sunday - and I'll figure out where to set up the market - because the upstairs pantry is a joke - apparently Chicago suburbs are the new New York. People store clothing in their ovens and don't require a pantry.

Yes, the pantry is virtually non-existent - I've never seen such a small pantry in all my days. And the funniest part - the pantry has shelves on one side of it. The other half - a big, empty space. DH suggested that we use that space for mop, brooms, etc. I suggested that somebody help me set up a real pantry - and quickly!

The cool thing about the new place is it's within walking distance of a CVS & a Wags! Unfortunately, it's also within walking distance of a burrito place, McD's, a tiny Chinese place, 2 pizza places, and a hotdog place. It's never good to have fast-food that close. It's like asking for trouble. Maybe that's why the pantry is so small..... See, I'm slow, but I get there just the same. It all makes more sense to me know. I love a good conspiracy theory - even if it just involves my pantry! Or lack thereof.

I've been reading other blogs organizational ideas, stockpiling before and after pic's - and I can't wait to get my own stockpile, Annie's Market, open for business again. So far, DH has accused me of packing all the body wash (guilty), not leaving him a spare lemonade canister (guilty again), and of having packed the ketchup (like I care - I don't even eat it.....that often). With the Market packed, it's making me more excited/anxious/eager-as-hell to get into the new place and get back to a more normal life. Wishful thinking....
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Chicagolandia
It’s been a bit tough to stick to this past weekend, but we’ve managed to stick to our budget. We allotted $75 for Mothers Day spending for DaMama & DMIL, and here’s how the pennies fell:

1. Saturday dinner for 5 at Rosati’s - $44.27 (that does include tip, dinner buffet, and drinks).

2. Gifts were necklaces I had created for them. Cost $5 for both. I also made cakes – 1 for each mother. Cost $2.41.

3. We attended Sunday Mass with DMIL – cost $2 donation to the church.

4. Dinner for DaMama on Sunday, cost $2.69 РI made Cheesy Chicken Alfredo over small shells topped with saut̩ed garlic mushrooms, stuffed mushrooms, and garlic cheese bread. Most of the items were in my Market, so very low OOP.

5. Bought some cute gag gifts (like a giant fly swatter) for DaMama – cost $4.22.

For the weekend, we spent $60.59.


For saving money this week, here’s what I’ve done:

1. Lights off until after 8 p.m. – New household rule.

2. Turned off outside lights once everyone is home. Not expecting anyone, no need for them to be on, wasting money and electricity. Besides, there’s a streetlight right on the corner.

3. Charge cellphones in car only and unplugged all household chargers.

4. Use computer at work, less computer time at home.

5. Bundle all errands, personal and work – every other week, bring DaMama along for the ride.

6. Made breakfast for the week of scrambled eggs, 2 sausage links, and 1 English muffin – curbing the temptation to grab fast-food breakfast (my biggest weakness).

7. Eating generously out of the freezer. My goal is to use 1 freezer item a day, until the freezer is half empty, or we get tired of eating chicken – whichever comes first. (I grabbed tons of chicken last year for free at Meijers and vacuum-sealed it.)

8. Run dishwasher after 11 p.m. only – capitalize on off-peak hours.

9. Noted all people who have the same cellphone provider in my contact list on my cell – will call family/friends in network earlier, and will call others on weekends or in the evenings.

10. Peeled, cored, and thin sliced some free apples (from Target) for apple pie filling. Used up the generic cinnamon, tossed in some of the Saigon & Makara cinnamon with nutmeg and a pinch of ginger and flour. This will give the apples flavor and the flour will help create all that wonder syrup-y goodness that makes the pies great. I’ve never bought canned apple pie filling – I just wait for the apples to go soft and make my own.

11. Borrowed the idea from Precious to chop those Hersheys Bliss bars for chocolate chunks. Will come in handy when cookie baking season comes back around. I like to have everything pre-prepped because I never know how much time I will have for any given project.

12. Took some old bread and ran it through the food processor. Instant bread crumbs. Popped those in the freezer, too!

13. Took leftover strawberries, finely chopped them, tossed in a few tablespoons of sugar, and popped them in the freezer. This will make a nice glaze for a Strawberry Vanilla Cream Cake. This is DFIL's favorite, so will make this for his birthday in July.

Have you done anything interesting to save lately? I’d love some fresh ideas!
Chicagolandia


Since my recipe yields 2 cakes, I made this for Mothers Day, a gift to MIL & DaMama. I didn't have the camera on hand for during pictures, but this is my brain-child, Orange Coconut Cream Cake.

The base layer is coconut cake, topped with tangy mandarin oranges, a rich cream cheese-coconut pudding layers, topped with lots of whipped topping, and dusted with either chopped pecans (shown above) or mountains of fluffy coconut (already eaten).

Since I'm lousy at frosting cakes, this is completely ideal for me. I never have to worry about taking it out of the pan, not until serving at least. This is a great summertime treat, and it looks far more elaborate/expensive/time-consuming than it actually is.

The part I didn't share until the cakes had been tasted was how lowfat it is. With each pan yield 12 generous portions, there is only 2.25 grams of fat per serving. I don't know what's more enticing: having your cake or eating it, too!
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Chicagolandia
With 2 trips to SuperTarget under my belt and a few more to go this weekend, here's how I've done:

Transaction #1
8 Hershey's Bliis candy bars $.99 each -$1 ST Q
7 Quaker Granola Bites $1.00 each -$1 STQ
5 lbs. apples ($.99-$1.19 lb.) -$1 ST Q -$.21
1 bag salad mix $.99
2 bottles Target body wash $2.14 -$.75 ST Q
Total OOP = $5.58 Savings of $16.50

Transaction #2
25 Hersheys Bliss candy bars $.99 -$1 ST Q
10 Quaker granola bites $1.00 -$1 ST Q
2.1 lbs. apples @ $.99/lb. -$1 ST Q = $.13
Total = $.85 ($.71 was tax) Savings of $36.42

Total Spent = $6.43 on 60 items, average cost per item = $.10. Any leftover apples I have will be turned into apple crisp, apple pie filling (which you can freeze), apple dumplings, or applesauce. Yum!
Chicagolandia
I am an avid beader, during my downtime from shopping/hounding. While it can be an expensive hobby, when I priced out what it took to create the Mothers Day gifts for DM & DMIL, it was far less expensive, and more personal for me to create something for them, using some of the beads I had on hand.

For DM, I used glass-based pearls in amethyst and wood beads in bleached beige, separated by some copper spacers. It's simple - but I like the look of the wood and the pearls. Fresh, simple, and classic.



For DMIL, she's an earth-tones fan through and through, and with her coloring - the effect is stunning. Here I paired some dark wood beads, the same copper spacers, and some lampwork glass beads in dark brown.



I'll finish off this gift by creating some matching earrings and voila - simpel easy gift, under $5! What I didn't take a picture of is the necklace I liked too much to give away. That one will go in my personal collection....

Since I'm not a mom, tell me what you think: would you like this gift for Mothers Day?
Chicagolandia
I’ve been working on reducing the stockpile and buying things that are only $.50 or less (depending on the regular price of the item). For more expensive items I enjoy, I find a cheaper way to get them, or find better substitutions. I’ve found a way to cut a few costs this week.

1. Watched TV at DM’s house. That means electricity hasn’t been turned on until after 9 p.m.!

2. I print tons of coupons, so I’ve started an in-tray next to the fax machine at work to put those little fax report things in. Since the report only uses 2-3 lines, I simply flip them over and use them to print my coupons on. Frugal and eco-friendly!

3. I hunt the reduced meat bin regularly and found some cracked pepper thin sliced turkey breast for $.99. I also had a $.35 Q for that brand. It tastes as good as turkey pastrami – which I love!

4. Went to Target for a few freebies and walked out with: 8 Hershey’s Bliss candy bars, 7 Quaker bites snack packs, 5 lbs. apples, 1 bag of salad mix, and 2 bottles of Target brand body wash. Total cost before coupons $22.08 – total cost after coupons - $5.58 – and $.71 of that was tax! I can’t resist cheap body wash. I really can’t.

5. I’ve been doing my beading (making Mother’s Day gifts) at work on my lunch break, that way I don’t need to use electricity at home. I need really good lighting to work in.

6. Started the dishwasher after 11 p.m., to maximize on the off-peak hours. (I’m getting addicted to that!!)

7. Carpool with DM on errands or I bundle them with my drive to/from work. DM & I even do some hounding for each other - depending on who's near which stores. Saves time and money.
Chicagolandia
There are some great deals at SuperTarget right now – the SuperTarget Q’s (ST Q) paired with some savvy shopping = tons of stuff for very little cash. Need to round out lunches for the week – why spend more than $1 for a week’s worth of goodies! Here’s the scenario:

3 lbs. Golden Delicious apples at $.99/lb. – use 3 $1 ST Qs = FREE

1 lb. Red Delicious apples at $1.19/lb. – use $1 ST Q = $.19

6 Quaker granola bites (by the registers) for $.99 – use 6 $1 Quaker ST Qs = FREE

6 Chex mix bags, small size found by registers $.99 – use 6 $1 ST Qs = FREE

10 Hersheys Bliss bars at register for $.99 -$1 ST Q for each = FREE


With this scenario, all you pay is $.19 plus tax on all these goodies! If they have more of any given item in stock and I have the Q’s for it, I’ll grab more than the amount listed above. If you’re wondering what to do with all those apples, apple pie filling, apple dumplings, and apple cake/bread/muffins/cookies all come to mind. Here's a great recipe, made especially for all those leftover, slightly soft apples - try my Target Apple Crisp!
Chicagolandia
I've been crazy busy, but that's actually been a benefit to my spending! Here are the highlights:

1. No lights on Saturday-Monday until after 9p.m. - I've been over at DM's place, so less electricity used for me.

2. I've run the dishwasher once in 3 days - conserving water, dish soap, and electricity. I also start the dish washer after 11 p.m. - off peak hours (thanks Amiyrah!)

3. Went to SuperTarget, grabbed 6 packs of Quaker granola bites ($.99 each) used a printable $1 Q from Target's website for each item - paid only tax! Also grabbed some bulk apples ($.99/lb. Golden Delicious & $1.19 lb. Red Delicious) for DM & I, used $1 printable Q's from Target's website again and the entire order came to $.21. That was a fair price.

4. DH called and reduced the number of days we receive the newspaper. Now it only gets delivered on Sundays, for $.99! Cheaper by far than buying it and the coupons are right there waiting for me. Also saves gas for me to go and get it.

5. This month, we reduced our cable package and are relying on free redbox codes to help fill the gap. Savings of $27 a month, have paid $0 to redbox so far!

6. Grocery spending this week has consisted of bread and sour cream. Total OOP = $1.62. For household, we've spent $2.16 on 5 bottles of dish soap - split between DM. Rolled an ECB to cut down the OOP.

7. Lunches are leftover spaghetti from last week - so $0 OOP there.

8. Thawed some English muffins I picked up for $.25 a package a month ago, will scramble some eggs to go with it for breakfast on the go this week. No McD's stops for us!!

9. Brought some beads to work with me, so I will be designing Mother's Day gifts for the mothers and Gramma. I'll take pictures of the necklaces when they are done. If they've been really good (and I have the time) earrings will be part of the gift, too!

I haven't had the energy to go for more savings, but being lazy has its perks. I'm too tired to shop, to drive, or to turn on too many lights in the house. I guess laziness has its own rewards.
Chicagolandia
Thank you so much to Jaycie over at Coupon Geek, who I can most confidently reassure you is not a geek, but an amazingly brilliant lady. Who comes up with fantastic freebies and deals. Honestly, what’s not to love?!

Hmmm, the 7 things that help make me the Queen of Awe-Summ:

1. I wouldn’t be as Awe-Summ without the help and encouragement of my DH, DM, sister and family, inlaws, and friends. I love being able to help, and couponing affords me that luxury.
2. I am a natural born giver. I’ve always preferred to give than receive. Couldn’t imagine being any other way.
3. I’m wickedly creative. While driving to pick up DH, I came up with a great new cake recipe, and just in time for Mother’s Day.
4. I wholeheartedly support any woman on a mission, with the only exception being the evil checkout ladies that are coupon hatin’.
5. I love cooking for people. I once complained to a friend of mine that I wished I had more people to feed. Her jaw dropped, she promptly told me I was crazy, and that she never heard someone say something as off-the-wall in her life.
6. I love the eco-friendly movement, especially how it relates to saving. I use reusable bags, take them everywhere with me, and I even prompted, prodded, begged DM into making them – I wanted some that were sturdy enough, and the ones she made can hold more than 28 lbs. each! (I have ripped two of the store-bought reusable bags. I take my shopping very seriously.)
7. I love the little, tasty luxuries in life. For me growing up, fresh fruit and cheese were luxuries, so I always have at least 2-3 kinds of each on hand, along with dark chocolate. Lay out some crackers or some nice bread, and you have a light, but filling repast.


Next, 6 Un-Important Favorite Things. Okay, I think I can do this….

1. I love listening to the sounds of a good thunderstorm. I love the sounds of the wind and the rain, so soothing, so calming. When the skies turn green, I’m not loving it so much. Last time that happened, we had no power for 10 days!
2. I adore board games, card games, I just love playing games, especially when you have family over. Nothing says bonding like teaching your nephews how to play poker. Yep, I’ve done that!
3. A really good cookie. I love sweets, but nothing quite makes me smile like a good, soft cookie – hot out of the oven.
4. The scent of coconut. I love coconut-scented candles, bath & body stuff, aromatics. It’s such an inspiring scent.
5. I love being near the water. We live a few miles from a river, which when I have the time, I love to sit along the banks and watch the waters flow. I think this feeds my inner fish.
6. I love going “out on the hound”. What that means is I’m going out (sniffing like a bloodhound) for the deals. If need be, I’ll stop at as many local stores as possible (multiples of the same chain even!) to get the freebies/moneymakers. I often call my sister when I’m heading out on the hound to tell her what the latest deal is and see if she wants some of the goodies. Usually the answer is yes. Followed by an obnoxious nickname.

Here's how you pay these forward:

Queen of Awe-Summ Award - The Rules Are:
*List 7 Things That Make You Awe-Summm!
*Pass It On To 7 Bloggers Who Are Awe-Summm!
*Be Sure To Tag Your Awe-Summm Bloggers To Let Them Know!
*Then Link Back To The Queen That Tagged You!

6 Un-Important Favorite Things - The Rules Are:
1. Mention the person who nominated you. Be sure to check out her blog.
2. List six unimportant things that make you happy.
3. Tag six blogs, state the rules and notify them with a small comment on their blog.

Thanks a bunch, Jaycie over at coupongeek.net. She tagged me with some fabulousl awards, that I just had to pass along!

1. Suzanne at http://frugalsuz.blogspot.com /. This girl is completely, wickedly brilliant. Her deals are fabulous, her pictures, especially of lolcats are hilarious, and she has a knack for eye-catching titles for her posts. Some of those still have me chuckling.
2. My friend, Amanda, over at http://themarthainitiative.blogspot.com/. I love how polished, pretty, and playful she is on her blog. The best part: she’s an even better friend!
3. Jamie at http://jamieisamoneymagnet.blogspot.com/. I love popping over there to see what deals and steals are hanging around. And the layout is too cute for words.
4. http://www.fantabulouslyfrugal.com/. Think trendy and sleek don’t meld with saving a dime? This blog will prove you wrong. So, so wrong.
5. SonyaAnn at http://amommoneyandmore.blogspot.com/. She clever, witty, sure to make you laugh – at help save you $$. You can never know too many gals like her. Never!
6. Tiffany at http://livingonabudgettheeasyway.blogspot.com/. Her fresh ideas to save, reduce, reuse, and recycle are inspirational. She’s inspired me to do a container garden this summer.
7. My hound-friend, Pubbler over at http://lovesavingwithcoupons.blogspot.com/. I often live off the deals she posts for Meijer – I’m always blown away by the deals she finds there.
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Chicagolandia
For the next two weeks, meal plans will be a bit different than usual. Not only will I not have as much time to devote to batch cooking because I'm busy packing, we also have no microwave. During DM's move, I sent the microwave with her seeing that we will have one in the place we move into, and I thought that she would need it more than we do. I didn't realize how much we depend on a microwave until it was gone - and that was last Friday!

Monday - Cracked Pepper Turkey & Colby Jack sammies with a garden salad
Tuesday - Ground turkey & veggies tacos with all the fixin's
Wednesday - Minidate
Thursday - Chicken salad paninis, tomato basil soup
Friday - Garlic chicken, mushroom, Canadian bacon pizza, garden salad
Saturday - Mother's Day late brunch at Rosati's
Sunday - Grilled Teriyaki chicken, bowtie pasta Alfredo, garden salad

For Mother's Day, DH & I will each be giving a gorgeous, homemade Coconut Orange Cream Cake, along with gifts to our mothers. Since we're in the middle of packing for a move, I'm not going to attempt to hostess a BBQ, though I really wish I could.
Chicagolandia
1. While DM has to set up her kitchen from scratch, I've been able to shop the stockpile, and so far spent $0 OOP.

2. I have helped my sister and her family build their own stockpile.

3. The stockpile my sister has is enough to feed her family, and she passes along what she has learned. She even helps a few families back in MN. How cool is that?

4. I eat a better variety of foods/meals.

5. Even though we are cutting back our spending, it sure doesn't feel that way every time I cook. Or snack. Or wander past my pantry/Market.

6. I save gas $$. I haven't run to the store because we were out of something in nearly 2 years! I love it. And, less time is wasted.

7. I donate to the local food pantry and food bank. Every month, I gather up the donations and drop them off. I love that feel-good feeling of helping others.

8. I entertain more than ever before. I seldom worry about the cost of having people over for a meal, BBQ, cookie bake/swap, etc. I offer to host all major holidays, and many other events in between.

9. With all the high-quality ingredients in my Market, I find that DH & I eat out less than before. It wasn't so much a conscious decision, but more of a natural progression. If we can make stuffed Chicken Marsala (and we have), why go to Olive Garden? We saved over $20 on that one "restaurant-at-home" meal alone.

10. At work, I've now been nicknamed the Queen of Free. My co-workers are helping me work through all that free popcorn. So far, The Great Popcorn Caper has helped feed over than 7 families!!
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