Monday, May 24, 2010

Frugalista Shopping, Week of May 23

Today, I made my typical stops at CVS and Walgreens.  I was spoiled the last two weekends since I got to do my shopping with my big sis Gal.  This week, however, my HHBL was along for the ride.  In many ways, my HHBL is worse than taking a child shopping.  I always feel rushed when he is with me, and his questions were starting to get on my nerves.  "Do we REALLY need another thing of toothpaste?"  "I'm thirsty, I need a Coke." "If we hurry, we can be home by 3:15."  Anyways, I made it through it and came out with a few good deals.

Here is the breakdown:


Total Spent: $1.19
Total Saved: $10.98
Total Care Bucks Earned: $8.00

***Note: Not pictured is the $1.59 Coke that I also had to purchase for my HHBL.

Best Buys:
Old Spice Body Wash: On sale for $4.00 + coupon for Buy 1, Get 1 Free= $2.00 each plus earned $8.00 ECB= Better than FREE


Total Spent: $3.88
Total Saved: $17.30
Total RR Earned: $13.00

Best Buys:
Reynolds Wrap: On sale for $.89 with coupon from ad minus $1.00 coupon= Better than FREE
Carefree liners: On sale for $.99 with coupon from ad minus $1.00 coupon= FREE
Colgate toothpaste: On sale for $2.99 minus $1.00 coupon= $1.99 + earned $2.00 RR= FREE
Goody Hair Clip: On sale for $2.99 + earn $3.00 RR= FREE
Complete Contact Solution: $7.99 + earn $8.00 RR= FREE

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tips on How to Maximize Savings at Meijers

Typically, I am able to save the most money by grocery shopping at Meijer.  Now don't get me wrong, if you take time to scour the ads and clip coupons, you will be able to save a great deal no matter where you shop.  Today, however, I am going to highlight the best ways to save at Meijer. These general ideas can be used at other stores as well. 

Here is a picture of my loot from today's trip to Meijer.

Total Spent: $36.34
Total Manufacturers Coupons: $26.73
Total Meijer Coupons: $5.00
Total In-Store Savings: $28.11
Grand Total Saved: $59.84

It is hard to tell from this picture, but my loot includes 3 bags dog food (1 large, 2 small), 4 quarts ice cream, 5 gallons apple juice (for my adorable nephew), 4 boxes pasta salad, 3 frozen meals, 1 bag Pampers, dog bones, butter, salad dressing, Ginger Ale (been craving this), 2 packages hot dogs, 4 packages bologna (for the freezer), 2 Tic Tacs, and some barbecue sauce.  That is a lot of groceries for only $36.00.

Now, I bet you are wondering how I worked my magic! 

1. Manufacturers coupons:  I used a coupon on every item that I purchased except for the Ginger Ale.  At Meijer, they will double any coupon $.50 or lower.  This is great info to know.  Make sure you check out the coupon guidelines at the grocery store of your choice.

2. In-store coupons: Meijer has a great website called Meijer Mealbox that has in-store coupons.  These coupons can be combined with manufacturers coupons for a double whammy of savings.  Many times, they will post coupons for items that are on sale that week. 

3. Sale Items: Check the weekly ads for items that are on sale and stock up!  Most items have a long shelf life or can be frozen for several months.  On Saturdays at Meijer, they usually have even better one day deals. 

4. Catalinas: These are the coupons that print out with your receipt at each transaction.  Most store have advertised catalinas such as Buy 2 Kraft Pasta Salads, Get a coupon for $1 off your next visit.  These can be money makers if combined with coupons. 

Hope this inspires your inner Frugalista!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Got Leftover Sloppy Joes?

Got leftovers?  I know my ice box fridge certainly has them.  I really don't mind eating leftovers; I usually take them in my lunch the following day.  My HHBL is a leftover HATER.  It is really annoying.  I blame his mother (Sorry Karen) for not force feeding them to him.  We would have starved at my house growing up if it weren't for leftovers.

I have become quite good at "tricking" my husband into eating leftovers.  Here is one of my favorite leftover recipes.  All it takes is three simple ingredients: leftover sloppy joes, a can of biscuits, and shredded cheese.

Step 1: Press the biscuits into the wells of a muffin pan. 

Step 2: Put a scoop of sloppy joes into the biscuits.

Step 3: Add a pinch of shredded cheese.

Step 4: Bake in the oven according to the directions on the back of the can of biscuits.

Bon Appetite!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Frugalista Shopping: Week of May 16

This weekend can be summed up in one word...tears.  As you have read, I had my first breakdown after Baby McFarland decided to be stubborn and not show Mommy it's special anatomical parts at the ultrasound.  Well as it turns out, this was minor compared to the next news that I was about to receive. 

My Grandma, 94 years young, made her journey up to heaven to be with my Grandpa on Friday night. This, of course, has caused many more tears to fall.  So after all this blubbering, I really needed a kick-ass shopping trip to cheer me up.  No fear, I really outdid myself this week at CVS and Walgreens.  I may even become the next Internet sensation!  My HHBL disagrees, but one can always dream!


Total Spent: $1.67
Total Saved: $37.61
Total Earned: $7.00
Best Buys:
Digiorno Frozen Pizza: Buy 1 @ $6.99, get one for $.01 = 2/ $7.00 minus (2) $1.00 coupons= $2.50 each
Maxwell House Coffee: Buy 1 @ $4.79, get one for $.01= 2/ $4.80 minus (1) $1.00 coupon= $1.90 each
Aussie Hair product: $2.99 minus (1) $1.00 coupon= $1.99 plus earned $2.00 ECB= FREE
Colgate Pro Toothpaste: $3.99 minus (1) $1.00 coupon= $2.99 plus earned $2.00 ECB
Lady Speedstick Deodorant: $2.99 minus $.50 coupon= $2.50 plus earned $2.00 ECB
3 Musketeers candy bar: $.49 minus $.25 coupon= $.24


Total Spent: $1.86
Total Saved: $21.00
Total Earned: $4.50

Best Buys:
Old Spice Body Wash: On sale for $4.49 + (1) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupon= $2.25 each + earned $4.50 RR= FREE
Oscar Meyer Deli Creations: On sale for $1.99 with Coupon from ad minus $1.00 coupon= $1.00 each
Post Honeycombs: On sale for $1.00 minus $1.00 coupon off 2= $.50 each

These deals coupled with the Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards I earned last week= Total Domination

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Stubborn Baby

Today was supposed to be THE day.  After my ultrasound today, I was going to start picking out nursery colors, bedding, clothes, etc.  I have been thinking about today for the past four and a half months.  This would be the day when we found out whether Baby McFarland is a girl or a boy.  I was all hyped up!  I even had a list of people that I was supposed to text to let them know the sex of the baby.  And then...the inevitable happened.

The ultrasound technician started off the appointment by reminding us that she isn't always able to tell the sex of the baby.  Of course, I disregarded this comment.  I mean really how often does that happen?  Don't get me wrong, it was amazing seeing our little one on the screen.  The baby definitely has a lot of energy.  The technician was getting slightly annoyed by how much the baby was squirming around. 

All the measurements came out normal.  We counted the toes and fingers, saw the kidneys, and even watched the heart beating.  It turns out that Baby McFarland is currently 8 ounces...the size of a glass of milk my beautician pointed out.  Today, the baby's heartbeat measured 145 bpm. The 4D pictures that the technician took are fascinating.  You can actually see what the baby's face looks like.  Obviously, I think the baby looks like me (even if my HHBL disagrees). 

So it was almost over and I was expecting the technician to tell us which parts she spotted.  And the IT happened!  Since the baby was curled up with its legs crossed up by it's head, she was never able to determine the sex of the baby.  WHAT?  How could this be?  What about all the shopping that I was prepared to do?  And first baby momma hormonal breakdown started.  Before I even left the office, the tears started rolling.  Tears always dry and life always goes on.

In the end, I am happy that my baby is healthy and growing as expected, and I'm sure this won't be my last tearful day during this pregnancy.  I did learn one thing today...this is one stubborn baby, just like it's father.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Stop at the Farmer's Market with a Side of Roasted Asparagus

I finally did it!  I have been wanting to check out the local Farmer's Market here in West Lafayette for quite some time (a couple years actually...yes years).  With my previous work schedule of working nights, I never felt like heading into town before work.  Lucky for me that I am a day shifter these days.  I took a detour off Interstate 65 on my way home from work and made my way through all the lovely booths.

There were plants, pastries, and people, oh my!  I loved it.  I made sure to check out every individual booth before making a second round to make my purchases.  I settled on a bag of asparagus and a bottle of REAL Maple Syrup.  Now the prices of these purchases really didn't fit my frugalista style, but I am willing to take one for the team in order to support the local community!

It didn't take long to figure out what we were having for supper tonight!  If you have never tried roasted asparagus, you are missing out.  Just follow these simple steps: wash, break, drizzle, season, and roast.

Step 1: Give your little green friends a good wash down in the sink.
Step 2:  Break the woody ends off.
Step 3: Drizzle with olive oil.
Step 4: Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Step 5: Roast in a 425 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

Bon appetite!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie


If you checked out my Mother's Day post, you would know that I learned how to perfect the chocolate chip cookie from my mother.  It really is just a basic recipe that you find on the back of any package of chocolate chips except for one minor substitution.  Instead of using butter or margarine, you have to use butter-flavored Crisco.  It is the magic ingredient!  These are so good that my HHBL eats an entire pan right out of the oven every time!

For those of you who haven't mastered this cookie yet, follow these simple steps.

The star of this show is Katrina, my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  She really loves to mix it up. Nothing I love more than to let her do all the work! Meet Katrina:

Cream together 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup butter flavored Crisco.

After it is nice and creamy, add 2 eggs; it is best to incorporate 1 egg at a time. Also add 1 tsp. vanilla!

Looks good already!

Meanwhile, sift together 2 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda.

Slowly add the dry mixture into the creaminess!

My favorite part...mix in 1/2- 3/4 of a bag of chocolate chips (butterscotch or peanut butter chips work well too).

Scoop into yummy little balls and put onto a cookie sheet.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8 1/2 to 9 minutes or until the top is crackly and golden brown.

Place onto cooling racks until you absolutely can't resist one!

Bon appetite!

Blessed with Grace

Monday, May 10, 2010

Frugalista Style Shopping

This week I had even more fun gathering my freebies than usual.  I spent Sunday morning with my sister who also happens to be an ultimate frugalista.   Hence the fact that I love shopping with her.  She always has extra coupons, and she is always willing to share them with me!   (Check out her blog at

Here is the breakdown of my super savings:


Total Spent: $4.16
Total Saved: $18.49
Total Register Rewards Earned: $8.00

Best Buys:
Infusium Conditioner: On sale for 3.99 min $3.00 coupon= $.99
Shave Cream: On sale for $2.99 + earned $3.00 Register rewards= FREE
Schick Razor: On sale for $7.99 minus $5.00 coupon= $2.99 + earned $5.00 Register rewards= BETTER THAN FREE


Total Spent: $21.03
Total Saved: $27.03
Total Earned: $17.50

Best Buys:
Carefree liners: On sale for $1.00 minus $1.00 coupon= FREE
Crest Pro Health Toothpaste: On sale for $3.50 minus $.75 coupon= $2.75 + earned $3.50 Extra Care Bucks= BETTER THAN FREE
Huggies Diapers: On sale for $8.49 minus $1.50 coupon= $6.99 + earned $2.00 Extra Care Bucks
Kotex Tampons: On sale for $4.99 minus $1.00= $3.99 + earned $4.99 Extra Care Bucks= BETTER THAN FREE
Zyrtec: $18.99 minus $4.00 coupon= $14.99 + Earned $7.00 Extra Care Bucks

NOTE: Be sure to scan your CVS at the Coupon Center at the store because it prints out extra coupons to use.  For example, I scanned my card on Sunday, and it printed out a $4.00 off a $20.00 purchase.  SWEET!

If you want to become a frugalista like yours truly then you need to have a game plan BEFORE you enter the store.  Just a few quick steps each week will get you started onto the path of frugalness.

Step 1:  Cut out coupons and buy an organizer to make them easier to find.  I organize my coupons by sections of the grocery store such as frozen foods, breakfast foods, refrigerated items, etc. 

Step 2: Browse the weekly ads to look for good deals that match up with the manufacturers and/or store coupons that you have.

Step 3: Make a list of the sale items and put it with the coupons you have for these items.  That way you don't forget which items are on sale and you already have the coupons out and ready. 

Good luck and happy shopping!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Momma Kuhn! Thank you for teaching me the following lessons: knowing right from wrong, how to respect my elders, the importance of an education, how to navigate in a foreign country, and most importantly how to bake a perfect chocolate chip cookie!  I really could go on and on....

Happy Mother's Day Mom McFarland!  Thank you for teaching your son the following lessons: an emphasis on a strong family life, the importance of a good sense of humor, a strong work ethic, and most importantly how to treat a lady!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And yet another way to save some dime!

This weekend was actually quite eventful for my HHBL and me, more eventful than most weekends.  Sunday night, we reunited with a long lost friend.  He invited us over for supper, and grilled us a fantastic meal of steak, rice and an array of many different veggies. 

Meet the Grillmaster...

Not only did the Grillmaster fill my belly with a delicious meal, he also passed on another great money-saving tip.  He discovered an Aunt Millie's Bakery outlet right here in Lafayette!  YAY! 

If you haven't tried any of Aunt Millie's bread items, I highly recommend them.  They have several varieties of whole grain bread, many of which are fat free.  At the regular grocery store, these breads can be quite pricey.  The only reason I have tried them in the past is that they do offer coupons in the local paper every once in a while. 

I decided that I must make a trip over to Creasy Lane in Lafayette to check it out.  Boy, am I glad I did!  I got 4 regular loaves of bread, 1 loaf of Cranberry Apple Specialty Bread, and a package of English Muffins for a grand total of $6.14.  What a great deal!  Of course, we won't eat all that bread immediately, I just throw most of the loaves in the freezer for later. 

Thank you Grillmaster for yet another way to save some dime!

Got any money-saving tips of your own?  Be sure to pass them along!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grocery Shopping...Frugalista Style

This week I was slightly disappointed with the lack of amazing deals available.  Since I really was not in dire need of anything in particular from the grocery store, I decided to take the week off.  (GASP!)  Yes, it really kills me to pass up any deals at all but sometimes, it really isn't worth my time.  I did, however, stop at Walgreens for some great deals!  Here is the run down:


Total Spent: $9.81
Total Saved: $37.29
Total Register Rewards Earned: $12.00

Best Buys:
(2) Kellogg's Little Bites- On sale for 2/ $5.00 minus $2.00 coupon= 2/ $3.00= $1.50 each  + Earned $2.00 Register Rewards for next purchase
(3) Nivea Body Wash for Women- On sale for $5.59 each = $16.77 minus (1) 4.00 coupon and (1) Buy 1 Get 1 coupon = $7.18 or $2.39 each
(1) Nivea Body Wash for Men- On sale for $3.99 minus $3.00 coupon= .99 + earned $5.00 Register Rewards for spending $15 on Nivea products
(8) Hallmark cards- $10.92 + earned $5.00 Register Rewards

Basically, I earned $2.19 to go shopping today at Walgreens! You gotta love it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yum, Italian Inspired Pasta Salad

I don't know if this can be considered a craving from the baby or if I just had a hankering.  Sometime last week, I started creating a new pasta salad in my mind.  The beautiful thing is that I had almost all the ingredients already at home in my stocked up pantry and fridge; all that came from my great grocery shopping deals no doubt. 

I love the versatility of pasta salad, especially in the summer.  It makes a great side dish for any cookout or regular weeknight meal.  This recipe could be modified in a hundred different ways. It is a very quick dish to make as well which makes it that much better.  I actually whipped this recipe up in about 15 minutes on Saturday night, right before we headed over to the campfire. 

1 box tri-colored rotini or any other pasta that you have handy
1 bottle of Italian dressing
2 diced tomatoes
1 package salami (pepperoni would be wonderful too)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbs dried Italian herb blend

Boil pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile, chop up tomatoes and salami into bite size pieces.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Note; you probably won't need the entire bottle of dressing, use only as much as you prefer!  Chill until ready to serve.

Bon appetite!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Visit with our Hillbilly White Trash Neighbors

Anyone that really knows me well has heard me complain about something or another.  Yes I admit it, I am a whiner.  I think it must have something to do with the birth-order theory.  I am the baby of a family of four girls, and I guess I never really outgrew my whininess from childhood. 

Since I graduated from Purdue three years ago this month, one of my most common complaints is that I really haven't made any new friends around Brookston.  Not that I don't love my HHBL, but sometimes a woman needs a close girl friend to do girly things.  I have three sisters and a bunch of close bosom buddies but none that live within a hundred mile radius.  Now some of this can be contributed to the fact that I worked third shift for the first two and a half years since I graduated college.  Most normal people don't keep these kind of hours and the times that I was awake with the rest of the universe, I was still tired, whiny and crabby.  The good news is that I have been on a normal schedule since the beginning of the year.

With a rejuvenated spirit, I have been on the lookout for new friends.  Corny, I know.  I mean how are you supposed to meet friends after college.  You can understand then why I was so excited when we were invited to a campfire at a neighbor's house.  This neighbor just happens to be a co-worker of my HHBL who I have gotten to know that last few weeks. 

The invitation came with the following warning: It might get crazy because our relatives are here from Tennessee, and they brought moonshine.  We were not deterred; so we took our chances! 

It was a lovely night for a campfire, and everyone was super friendly. It was nice to get out of the house and meet new people.  They even convinced my HHBL to try his first swig of moonshine.  No worries, I was just a spectator for this event.  To commemorate this first, I even got these lovely pictures of my HHBL and our hostess!  And yes, moonshine really does come in a mason jar. 

You might be wondering where the title of this blog came from.  Well our hostess was quite concerned that we would leave the party thinking that they were hillbilly white trash neighbors.  So I titled this blog in her honor; however, the truth is that I am quite happy to have such down to earth neighbors that can be called my friends. 
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