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Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Recap

Well it's the end of the month. How did I do? Since I didn't start until the middle of the second week, I guess I did OK. Grocery and Household are combined in my savings tracker. I might just separate them out for February. My savings for both categories combined was 39%, almost made my goal of 40%. I will do better in February!!

However, I did get some screamin' deals this month! Here are just some of them:


I got 43.27 worth of items FREE at Staples. I buy XL 01 ink cartridges for less at Costco, Doug usually can get expense money back on them, and then I recycle them at Staples and earn $3 for each one (limit of 10 per month). I had $18 in rewards checks and took advantage of Staples $1 item coupons. Here's what I got for my $18 in rewards checks:
16 glue sticks, 1 pkg dry erase markers (donated to classroom), 2 boxes (50 ct.) envelopes, and 1 pkg (20 ct.) LighScribe DVDs.


FREE 8 x 10 photo collage
Thermacare moneymaker: bought 1 pkg on sale for $2.49. Used $1 coupon. Receive $2.50 register rewards. Made a dollar on that deal. Then I used the RR and coupons to get $12. 45 in products for $1.05.
I got 2 Sure deodorants for $1 ea., 2 Pert Plus for men .50 ea. and FREE box of 24 Valentines for Sophia's classroom exchange.


2 FREE Crest Whitening toothpaste
Christmas wrap for .25 a roll


Maybelline Full and Soft Mascara for $1.43
Tom's Deodorant (over $5 at most stores..but my preferred) for $1
2 Tom's Sensitive Toothpaste $1.50 ea. Doug currently uses a sensitive toothpaste from the dentist that costs $15 a tube! He's gonna try this one and hopefully it works for him.


Stocked up on Banquet fully cooked turkey breakfast sausage links for $1 a box.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal, lower sugar .88/box. That's under .09/packet!
Sophia eats a lot of oatmeal, and a lot of breakfast sausage and frozen pancakes/waffles. I made a big batch of blueberry pancakes with Bisquick and froze them myself instead of buying packages of pancakes.


I had my most fun with this deal. I got something I usually don't buy often, but what a deal. Vons had Betty Crocker fruit snacks (Rollups, Stickers, Gushers, Shapes, and Stickers) on sale for $1 ea if you buy 4. I had a bunch of $1/2 Qs that I printed online. What made the deal awesome was that if you bought 4 you also got a Catalina for $2.50 off your next visit. So I paid $2 for the first 4 boxes. I got $2.50 back. I returned and bought 4 more boxes, and added a box of Annie's Shells & Cheddar (not usually an affordable mac & cheese, but Sophia's favorite) which was on sale for .99 and I had a .50 Q. So my total was $2.50. I paid with the $2.50 Catalina and got another one! I rolled that deal 4 times, until I ran out of coupons. In total I got 16 boxes of various fruit snacks and 3 boxes of Annies. Each box of fruit snacks had Box Tops for Education, some had 2 bonus Boxtops! So not only does Sophia have treats stashed away for months, but she turned in 3 sheets of Box Tops to the school last week and got to pick a prize from the office!
And all that for only $2.


I signed up online for Big Lots rewards program and got to print a 20% coupon. I needed a new rug for my patio door entrance and found one for $10 ($8 w/coupon). I bought bubble bath, cotton rounds, tealight candles, and various other household items, which are already very cheap there and got 20% off my entire bill.


Kashi Go Lean cereal $2/box.
Weight Watchers Smart Ones meals $1.25 ea


I discovered that some items just can't be found for less than Costco, even with coupons, but others can. Even most produce is less, and is much better quality. I've been known to call Melissa before a trip and see if she'll split a tray of peaches, or tomatoes before. Romaine lettuce is .50 for a large head at Costco but you have to buy a package of 6. No problem for us, as we have a hungry guinea pig, but for others, sharing with a neighbor could be a good plan.

I splurged on a new Griddler from Costco. It was $69.99 after a $20 instant rebate. I am so happy I bought it. The finish on the griddle for my range got ruined, and it's impossible to cook on it without food sticking very badly. I can no longer make pancakes on it. A replacement part is $189! I had a small electric grill (similar to George Foreman) but it was hard to clean. The Griddler has removeable grill plates and griddle plates that are easy to take off and clean, and nothing sticks to them, and I can make twice as many pancakes at once. I used it 5 times this week! I made the stock-up pancakes, I cooked chicken breasts, pork chops, steaks and made a grilled cheese sandwich in about a minute. So even though it put me over my household budget, I think it was a good investment, especially since I have vowed to cook more and eat out much less.

I have quite a bit of food stocked up. I plan to shop Feb. 1 at Vons for some good sale prices on "crock pot" meats like pot roast & country style ribs, and Costco for ground beef, bread and produce. I don't expect to grocery shop for 2 weeks after that, and probably only for produce.

My biggest challenge for February is going to be the pets. The dogs have a grooming appointment (ouch) and they and the guinea pig need food. The guinea pig also needs hay and bedding. I have some PALS coupons, but none can be combined, so I'm going to spread my pet shopping over 4 days. A pain in the butt, but it will save me the most. I am also going to try using paper from my shredder for guinea pig bedding, and hopefully it will work out OK. Oh, and Tuvok has a vet appointment this month, too. I was happy to see that Costco has Advantage for less than Petco.
So the plan is: use the 10% off purchase for the grooming.
Use the 2 $5 Science Diet coupons for dogfood. I'll have to calculate if it's cheaper to buy smaller bags w/coupons.
Use the 2 $5/30 coupons in combination with manufacturer coupons for dog biscuits, guinea pig food (on sale) and hay (on sale) and bedding if the shreds don't work out. The coupons are good until sometime in March, so I can go once per week and be stocked up for a couple of months.

The pets are so expensive. Especially since we have dogs that need grooming, and one is getting older. If you want to help your budget, just say no to pets, unless it's a goldfish!

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