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Grocery Totals for this Week 2/4

I went to Sam’s Club this week to stock up on cheese. We were completely out of string cheese and down to our last bit of mozzarella and cheddar/jack. I got a total of 13 lbs of cheese and spent $28.92. Gotta have cheese for pizza!

I then hit up Fresh and Easy for




clearance blueberries and tangerines

3 bags of chocolate chips (I have been baking for the boys to take on the King of the Hammers trip next week)

Basil (since I used all mine making tomato soup!)

Tortilla chips


I spent a total of $22.02 there.

I also spent $5.34 Method dishwasher tabs on clearance at lowes.

Adding this to my Rite Aid Trip I have spent a total of $66.23 with $16 left to spend at Rite Aid. I have set a budget for myself of $150 for the month. With the cheese stock up I shouldn’t have to buy any for a few months. I should be good.

Homemade Protein Bars

I have begun a rigorous exercise routine….P90X. It’s hard and requires more calories and protein than I am used to eating. Of course the P90X people sell protein bars for you to eat, but I do not want to pay $15.95 + $5.95 shipping for 12 bars! That’s almost $2 a piece. OUCH! No way! I searched the web and modified a recipe to make my own. They are so good to0. I have been eating one everyday to up my calorie and protein intake. Dallas likes them as well and has been taking them in his lunches. I haven’t calculated out the cost, but I know it’s not $2 each!

Homemade Protein Bars

4 cups oatmeal

3/4 c unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade applesauce from the freezer)

7 scoops protein powder (I use EAS Vanilla, since they sell it in huge bags at Sam’s Club)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup chia seeds (I got mine from amazon, great source of omega 3, and fiber)

1 cup chunky peanut butter

3 tsp cinnamon

1 cup craisins

Mix everything together. It will be thick. Spread in 9 x 13 pan and press down. Refrigerate for 30 min or so. Cut into 16 bars. Wrap in wax paper. I store mine in the freezer for freshness and pull one out as I need it.

In case you want it:

301 calories

13 g fat

6.5 g fiber

33.5 g carbs

12.4 g sugar

17.6 g protein

Homemade “Sun Dried” Tomatoes

Last week I bought 12 lbs of tomatoes. I was planning on making a whole lot of tomato soup, but silly me forgot to check how much basil I had. I didn’t have enough to make 12 lbs of tomatoes into soup! So I decided to make sun dried tomatoes in the oven with the left overs! I just quartered my tomatoes and removed the seeds by scraping the tomato with my nail. I then placed them on one of my pizza racks that is not solid. I sprinkled them with salt, pepper and italian seasoning and dried (baked) them on the oven at 175° for about 4 hours. Take them out when they are leathery but not brittle. I had to take out a few before the others were done. They are so good and sweet. They taste like a little piece of pizza! A great low calorie, on the go healthy snack that can also be frozen. Use them on salads, pizza or pasta. Check out the before and after photos:

How I use Rite Aid to Keep My Grocery Bill Low

If you haven’t heard, in the frugal world there is a phenomenon called “The Drug Store Game”. I have been playing for nearly 3 years now. It is where you use all of their savings programs in conjunction with sales and coupons to get great deals on personal care items as well as groceries. My favorite of the three major drug stores is Rite Aid (CVS and Walgreens have programs too). Rite Aid has several ways you can save money with them including single check rebates, video values, wellness +, and +UP rewards. Since there are a few Rite Aids close to home and my son’s school, I tend to just play the “game” there. If your really ambitious, you can try all three at once, though I don’t recommend that! I could go into detail on how to use all these programs, but I am a bit lazy and it is all explained right over HERE. It can be a bit complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it all it’s a piece of cake! For example, I very rarely pay over $1 (many times it’s free after coupons) for deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bodywash or razors (and I mean the good gillette proglide ones). Most people get lotions for little or nothing too, I just don’t like commercial lotions and only use coconut oil. Make sure you have their wellness savings card to get the sale prices! I don’t scour the ads and come up with my deals on my own. NO WAY, too much work. I let the people over HERE do all that work for me and I just pick the deals I want.

Rite Aid regularly has sales on their food items as well. I will show you what I have done for this week. These deals are good through 2/3/11 here in sunny So Cal.

I had $8 in +UP rewards from some purchases I made about a month ago that I needed to use before they expired. These are the ones that print on the bottom of your receipt.

This week I stocked up on ice cream and potato chips….yes I know not the healthiest, but the chips are good through November. That means they can go in Dallas’ lunches and be ready for our summer camping trips. Yes, I am thinking of summer in February!

Lays Stax Chips are on sale 2/$2. They also produce a $1 +UP reward for each item when you purchase. Plus there is a $5 +UP reward when you purchase $15 dollars worth (limit 1 per household).

Dreyers Ice Cream is on sale for $2.99 and is producing a $2 +UP and is also included in the $5/$15 stated above.

This was spread out over 3 Rite Aid stores:

4 Dreyers Ice Cream @ $2.99

4 Lays Stax @ $1


– $8 +UP (from my purchases last month)

New total=$7.96 which I paid with debit card

THEN I got back on my receipt 4 $2 +UP (ice cream), 4 $1 +UP (chips), $5 +UP ($5/$15 promotion). That $17 to use again without using any coupons! So then I “rolled” that to the next store.

6 lays stax @ $1 each

Total= $6

-$6 in +UPs from last store

Paid $0, yes I walked out of the store without paying a cent.

Plus I got back 6 $1 +UP rewards.

I went to another store and did it yet again…

4 Lays Stax @ $1 each

1 doz. eggs @$1.99 (not the best price, but I was out and I used my +up to pay for them)


-$5 +UP

Paid $0.99

Got back 4 $1 +UP

So, out of my pocket today I paid $8.95 and still have $16 +UP to use in the next few weeks. Essentially it did not cost me anything for this stuff.

I came out with 4 tubs of ice cream, 14 cans of chips (like pringles) and eggs. Now the trick is to keep it going. I have had rolling rite aid +UPs since last summer! Other food items I have purchased at rite aid with my +UPs and sales are things like, pasta, cereal, nuts, beef jerky, velveeta shells and cheese, milk and probably other things I can’t think of off the top of my head. I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes work and a little patience as you learn, but well worth it in the end. Good thing I have a big pantry!

Oh…and to get started, the easiest is to transfer a prescription. There are coupons for a $25 gift card regularly in their ads for transferring a prescription there. You can do up to 4, but only 2 times a year. I did this last summer and got $50 for $10 in co-pays. It’s a great way to get started stretching your money there!

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/31/11

Simple menu this week….most everything is from the freezer. All I need for this menu is some tortilla chips and salad fixings.

Monday: Sloppy Joes on Sandwich thins (low carb tortilla for me) with mashed cauliflower

Tuesday: Shredded Chicken tacos with homemade tortillas, beans, chips and salsa

Wednesday: Chicken and Biscuits, broccoli

Thursday: Pizza

Friday: Oatmeal Pancakes, fruit

Saturday: Spaghetti, crazy bread, salad (spaghetti squash for me)

Sunday: BBQ Shredded pork sandwiches, mashed potatoes or squash

The Pantry Challenge is Done!

I spent the month of January on a Pantry Challenge. Challenging myself to limit my grocery spending and using up what we had in the freezer and the pantry. I set a limit of $100 for my family of 3 and I only wanted to purchase produce and dairy for the month. I also ended up changing my rules allowing myself to spend money on items I needed for my doctor ordered diet change as well as any super deals I couldn’t pass up if my funds allowed. Last year I was able to swing it for $50 for the month. Not so much this year, but we had some changes. My diet restrictions placed on me by my doctor right as the challenge started as well as the fact that both Dallas and Lance are taking their lunches this year.

As of last week my total spending for the month was $94.06

I did go and get a few things later this past week:

over 12 lbs tomatoes (Mmmmmm Tomato Soup!)

a container of grape tomatoes



DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………My total for the month $98.78!!! Technically it’s not over until Monday, but our weekend is full and I won’t be shopping!

Can you see me dancing?! So, we still have lots of food. I know I stock up a lot, but if we really needed to we could live off our supply for 3 months easy! I like that peace of mind….or maybe just all the good deals, doesn’t matter I guess! The only thing we completely ran out of was eggs. And that was just yesterday. I will be limiting my spending again in February. I am challenging myself to keep it it $150. We are getting really low on a few essentials like cheese, which I stock up on at Sam’s club. I am increasing my budget a bit to allow for those few stock up items. Let’s see how February goes!

Princess Themed Birthday Cake


Recently, my niece was here visiting and her 6th birthday was a few weeks away. We decided to throw her a spontaneous birthday party while she was in town. So, off I went to the internet for ideas and made this masterpiece out of chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream filling and whipped buttercream frosting. Oh, so good. Too bad I can’t eat it! I love to make cakes for my favorite little people!

Frugal Tip of the Week: Update on Homemade Laundry Detergent

I started making my own laundry soup about a year ago. I wanted to post an update on that topic. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my homemade laundry soap. I have made one change over the course of the year and that was just in what soap I grate to put in it. I did not like the smell of the Zote soap. I know they make a fragrance free version, but I wanted to go a more natural route. I have switched to using Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. I like this much better than the Zote and feel that my clothes are cleaner as well. And there is no smell. This girl absolutely loves that….if you haven’t noticed, I am not a fan of smelly things, unless it’s food cooking! Making my laundry detergent with this soap has raised the cost per load a bit since this soap is more expensive than Zote. I had previously calculated it out to be $0.02 per load. With the new soap it comes out to about $0.06 per load. That is still great in my book for a less chemical filled, no smelling laundry soap. No Tide for me….noway!


As far as dryer sheets or fabric softeners…I don’t use those either. If my clothes are static-y I put vinegar in my rinse cycle and use dryer balls.

Grocery Totals….Almost to the End of the Month! Can I Make it Under $100?

We are almost done with the Pantry challenge! Monday will be the end, but I think I may continue to just shop how I have been and only stock up if there is a screamin’ deal and I have the funds! Although, I may increase my budget to $150 to allow for that, I haven’t decided yet…

I made a few short trips the end of last week to the store. I had to go to the Hispanic Market for some good produce deals and I came home with over 7lbs of apples (made homemade applesauce!), 7 nectarines, 3 avocados and a can of peas. My total for this trip was $6.03.

I had to go to target to pick up my new glasses and while I was wondering around the store I grabbed a couple things I needed for my altered diet like all natural peanut butter, whole fruit jam (no sugar) and salad dressing. Since I have been eating so many salads, I ran out of my favorite and all we had left was ranch and I only like ranch from a restaurant, not out of the bottle! I tried to make a few dressings, but I just didn’t like them! My total for Target was $6.23.

Then yesterday I made a quick trip to Food 4 Less to get a few items, both produce and dairy, but also a couple things for my diet. I purchased:

3.5 lbs apples

1 spaghetti squash

4 tomatoes



6 cans of tuna


ricotta cheese



Foil (I had run out. I was going to wait to buy this, but I really could have used some the other day, so I broke down and bought it.)

Can of green beans on clearance.

My total for here was $30.50

I spent $42.76 all together. Add that to my previous weeks and I am at $94.06. Just squeaking under my $100 budget! I may need another head of lettuce later in the week, but other than that we should make it!

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