Friday, April 3, 2009

Mama knows best- adding to your savings

Every Friday I will be featuring Mama Knows Best series. We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Somehow we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!

This weeks tip comes from my friend Denise. Denise is a hard working single mother who makes being a good mama look easy. She gave me this tip and it was such a good idea I thought that I had to share!!

When I get done shopping at the grocery store I always look at the box that shows how much I saved. Whatever the amount that I saved, I immediately transfer that amount into my savings account.

So for example, yesterday I went to Meijer, and my receipt said I had a total savings of $18.61. I'm now transferring $18.61 directly from my checking to savings. (Having everything online makes it easier to do.) Its a small enough amount that it doesn't make a big impact and those small amounts really add up!!

I am taking Denise's suggestion. I often save more than I spend however. I always add the money that I stayed under budget to the savings account. That way we are still under grocery budget, putting money in the savings account and motivating me to save alot at the store!

Got a great idea? Send me yours at .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Easter Deal for you!

Are you planning Easter dinner in your home, like I am? If so you are probably going with a ham. ( I like it because its easy... easy is good. Especially when you are dealing with multiple relatives but that's another post)

If you are going to the Honeybaked store you can get a great coupon by visiting Sign up for their newsletter and enter the code CHOOSEHBH to get a $7 off coupon! You will also get money saving coupons throughout the year.

Happy Easter!

Giant Eagle Bargain recipe of the week- Lemon Broccoli Pasta

Bargain Meal of the Week

This week I am trying a meatless dish. It sounds so good to me (and was so simple) that I thought I would try it. I have to say, however that I think some chicken added in would be stellar! Happy Eating!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Giant Eagle. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Lemon Broccoli Pasta

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth (On sale Swanson 4 for $3) $1.50
1 teaspoon lemon juice (Lemons on sale 2 for $1) .50
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta (On sale San Giorgio 10 for $10) $1
3 cups broccoli florets (On sale .99) .99
3/4 cup sour cream (On sale Break stone sour cream 1.25 w/c .15) .5
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, combine the broth, lemon juice and peel, garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and broccoli. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until pasta is tender. Drain; stir in sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese.

Total cost of meal: $4.04
Add 1/2 lb of chicken to this meal (On sale $1.99 a lb ) Total cost of this meal: $5.04

Add some Garlic bread ( New York brand on sale 2 for $6) Total cost of meal: $6.04

Click on the image to go find more Bargain Meal of the Week!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How I keep my coupons organized....

I have gotten several e-mails wondering how I keep my coupons organized. I have to tell you that I have just now gotten a system that I feel works.

What I used to do is have a coupon "wallet". You know the accordion style. It worked for quite a while. What I found however, is that I was wasting alot of time shuffling through my coupons each week at the store trying to see if I had a corresponding coupon! All of us mamas know that time is limited with kidlets and a hungry hubby at home!

I needed a way to be able to see all my coupons fast and easy. (I take all my coupons with me everytime I shop because many times I will find deals at the store that are manager markdowns or on sale. The last thing you want to do is make another trip back to the store!!)

This is what I came up with.......

I use a 3 ring binder. (I liked pink.... pink makes me happy.) I then got some nifty tabs that are erasable. This way when I want to use them in another way I can re-use instead of re-buy.

I then organize my tabs by grocery isles. Most stores are set up the same. Produce is first then personal items, etc. I almost always grocery shop the same store so I set it up by that. No more flipping through tabs.... they are all in order!

I found some baseball card holders which has large slots-9 to a page. They work perfect for coupons. I can see whole coupon, expiration date and value. (No more shuffling through coupons to see which ones need to be thrown away as well. woohoo!! ) I organize the coupons by brand withing the tab.

Example: In the hair tab I have all the Dove shampoos together, then Pantene etc. This also saves me alot of flipping and time!

This may seem like alot of extra trouble but I assure you that it saves you a ton of time and money in the end. It may take some extra time to set it up initially but once its set up, it takes less time to maintain then a "pile".

So yes I look like a freak at the grocery store with my binder. I realize. I am a money saving freak, however and I can live with that !!

New printable coupons are out!!!

The coupons in the widget in my left toolbar has been re-set! Don't miss out on some great deals!

Free food today!!

Enjoy a FREE Chicken Wrap Snacker at Tim Hortons today (April 1st) from 11:30 -2 at participating locations. They have two different wraps available - Chicken Ranch or BBQ Chicken. (Thanks Marcy!!)

Who can beat free food?!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday- One hour dinner rolls

An old boyfriends mother gave me this recipe. (Its the best thing I took from the "relationship" :) ) Sitting at the dinner table, I wanted to grab the whole basket and stuff it into my purse. I promptly asked for the recipe thinking I would never probably make it. I do however, and my family loves it! It makes me think of this very sweet lady... thanks Gail!

One Hour Dinner Rolls

3 1/2 - 4 cups flour 2 packages yeast 2 Tbl sugar 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1 cup milk 1/2 cup water 2 Tbl butter or margarine 1 egg 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 2 Tbl butter melted 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Combine 1 1/2 cup flour, yeast sugar, salt- mix well.

Heat- milk, water, butter (warm 120 degrees-130 degrees)

Add to first mixture. Then add egg

Blend at low speed then beat 3 minutes on medium speed.

By hand-fold in 1/2 cup cheese and enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead till smooth. (3-5 minutes)

Place in greased bowl, turn to grease the top, cover and let rise in warm location for 15 minutes. Punch down.

Divide into 16 pieces and form into balls. Dip tops into melted butter then cheese. Put in a well greased 13x9 inch pan. Cover and let rise 10 additional minutes.

Bake at 375 20 - 25 minutes till browned.

For more tempting recipes visit Blessed with Grace!

Meijer Bargain recipe of the week-

Bargain Meal of the Week

Pork Loin is on sale this week for $1.79 a lb which is an outstanding value!! Many people have raved about this simple recipe so I am anxious to try it. They swear it just falls off the bone! Enjoy!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Meijer. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Tender Pork Roast

1 (3 pound) boneless pork roast (On sale $1.79 a lb) $5.37 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (On sale Hunts 4 for $5) .32
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard

Cut roast in half; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F-170 degrees F. Remove roast to a serving platter and keep warm. If desired, skim fat from pan juices and thicken for gravy.

Total cost of Meal: $5.69

Add Asparagus (On sale $ 1.69 a lb) Total cost of Meal: $6.53

Add Asparagus and Vienna bread ( On sale $1.49) Total cost of Meal: $ 7.03

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kids Easter Baskets

Are you tired of the same chocolate bunny appearing every year in the same ol' basket? Here are some basket ideas your kiddo's are sure to love!!


My little guy is very into helping me in the garden or with flowers. So this Easter I am including his own Diego gloves, digger, rake, and seed packets. You can also include starter grow kids, sun hats, watering cans and water boots.

Fun in the sun-
Beach towels in favorite character, sand tools, molds, sunglasses, swim shoes, swim suits, colored funky sunscreen (remember zinc?), sun hat. Put it all in a beach bag or sand pail !

Little Cooks-
My baby loves to cook. He takes every opportunity to help me with whatever I am fixin in the kitchen!! I found a real life chef hat and apron at GFS for cheap and he loves it ! Add some cooking tools ( made in their little sizes), cookie cutters, easy bake oven, personalised dishtowels(go to craft store and get iron on letters or some fun decals). There are so many things that can add!

Sports theme-
Your little guy or gal may be into a certain sport or team. Use it to your advantage and make their basket themed. Get a basket in the teams color and then fill with the team colored candy(in sports eggs) balls, Jerseys, sports passes.

Barbie basket-
You know.... pink basket, barbie, barbie clothes, shoes, purses. Find candy lipstick, glittery candy. If its pink, glittery and girly put it in there sister!

Movie lovers-
Do you have a child that is crazy about movies? Fill their baskets with bargain movies that you can find at Target, Wal-mart etc. Little boxes of candies. popcorn packets, seasonings, assorted candy.

Music lovers-
I-tunes cards, cd's, headphones, microphones. If you have a daughter who is into Hannah Montanna you have a thousand thing you can put in there!

Tool man-
My son has always liked working out in the garage with his dad. Fill a basket with a tool belt, carpenter pencils, "play" real looking tools, Hard hat, tape measure, flashlight.

Your artist-
Colored pencils, coloring books, paper pads, markers, paints, brushes, stencils, molds, stamps. The choices are limitless!!

There are like a thousand colors of playdough out there. Tools, mats, cutters, molds. Many times you can find that Toy's R us and other stores run playdough sales.

Game on -
Uno cards, old maid, travel games, domino's. Many times the dollar store will have a great variety of card games.

Little reader-
Books, magazines, comics. (I also like to put in some puzzles.) Bookmarks, highlighters etc.

Princess Baskets-
Dress up outfits, play shoes(heels of course!), Play jewelry, purses, pink, purple or sparkly and its a sure win!

Happy Easter!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kroger Bargain recipe of the week- Chicken and potato soup

Bargain Meal of the Week

This soup is perfect for getting in protein, veggies and some dairy into little tummy's. This is such a simple and quick recipe. Feel free to add your own substitutions such as cream instead of milk or cheddar cheese. With some warm bread from the oven you are all set for a cozy meal! Happy Eating!

Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Kroger. I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Chicken and Potato Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - diced (On sale $1.79 a lb) $3.58
1 large onion, diced ( On sale 3 lb bag $1.69) .25
6 medium potatoes, diced (On sale 5 lb bag $1.97) $1
1 bag mixed veggies (On sale Kroger veggies 10 for $10) $1
1 cup milk (On sale 10 for $10) .50
2 cups water, or as needed
hot pepper sauce to taste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Total cost of the meal: $6.33 ( Freeze the leftovers and reduce the cost!)

Add bread (Pillsbury bread on sale 4 for $4) Total cost of meal: $7.33

Menu Plan Monday- all recipe edition!

This week I am using all meat in my freezer.. woohoo!! I am using recipes I have shared in the past but haven't made for quite a while. Hope you enjoy!!

Monday: Beefaroni, salad, green beans, rolls

Tuesday: Black Bean soup, grilled cheese

Wednesday: Grilled marinated chicken, grilled veggies, baked potatoes

Thursday: Angel hair pasta with shrimp, salad, garlic bread

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Herbed grilled chicken, bacon and cheese potatoes, asparagus

Sunday: Italian pot roast with noodles, broccoli, bread

For more great menu ideas visit I'm an organizing junkie!