Archives for July 2010

Supermarket Strategies: Fear Not the Manager’s Special!

Looking for a great way to save on Organics? Looking for the Manager’s Special is the topic of this week’s:

I went into King Soopers looking for a pre-washed salad to bring to a dinner party.  I have no salad spinner. I have no sink. I have NO KITCHEN!

So pre-washed it was.

The organic salads were advertised at $2.99. Sure, I was willing to pay that. Have I ever mentioned I have no kitchen? I have? huh. However, I did better than the advertised price. I bought the Manager’s Special!

Check that out! It’s marked at 1/2 the advertised price!

I looked at the expiration date, and it still had 2 days to go. Certain that I was not going to give the dinner party guests salmonella poisoning, I scooped that bad boy up!

I’ve also found this to be a great strategy for saving on organic meats. I regularly cruise my local grocer’s for discounted meat. This means that just “popping in” to a store pick up a stray item is never as quick an endeavor as my girls would like. However, I have to see if there is something marked down that will save me my hard earned (oops. that’s right. I’m unemployed.) cash. Look at the treasure I found at Safeway!

Look at that! 30% savings! Again, I checked the expiration date, and this time it had one day to go before the Use by/Freeze by date. So, we just went straight home and seasoned and grilled them. I had picked up all four packages that were on special. We ate one package right after grilling, then froze the rest. With chicken, I didn’t want to risk freezing it raw, then having it thaw in my fridge and my not getting to it before it spoiled. Freezing it cooked helped with this.

How do you feel about almost expired food that is marked down? Great savings strategy or sure trip to food poisoning?

Supermarket Strategies: Receipts

Looking for ways to get the most out of your shopping dollars? Be sure to check your receipts!

Can I tell you how many times I get up to the cashier, I fumble through my gigantic purse for my wallet, I double check my coupons, I worry about how long it is taking and if the person behind me is getting cranky (and depending on the number of coupons…they usually are!), and I don’t pay a lick of attention to the cash register. I just assume that my purchases are ringing up correctly. But it doesn’t always get it right. For example, here’s my receipt from a Target run this week:

See the Bic Soleil Razor? It was marked as $3.99 on the shelf and I had a $3 off coupon. I was willing to pay .99 cents for razors we needed, but not $2.39!!!! And really? That can be the problem with coupons, right? It becomes agonizing to spend any more than you have to! *BTW – I don’t think that is cheap. I think it is just knowing the value of a dollar.* So at Target, I paid my $ and trotted off to the car and didn’t even look at the receipt and what I was charged.

$2.39 doesn’t seem like a lot. But, this happened to me THREE TIMES this week. I paid $1.14/glue when I should have paid only 25 cents! Then, I got home from Office Depot and needed the rebate form to get Expo markers FREE and it wasn’t in the stack of rebate forms they gave me.

The total amount that I should not have had to pay this week? $9.96! Um. Let’s see. In this week’s grocery ads, I could have bought a half gallon of Organic Milk for $2.49 PLUS one bag of organic baby carrots for $1.76 PLUS a pound of locally grown green beans for .99 PLUS a pound of locally grown hot house tomatoes for .99 PLUS a pound of locally grown squash for .99 PLUS a pound of organic peaches for $1.99 AND STILL HAD .75 cents left over!!!!

Checking your receipt really can save you a bundle WITHOUT EVEN USING A COUPON! Often times, we don’t check to see if we got the correct sales price. What if I was overcharged $9.96 each week? That would be $517.92 every year!

I plan to check my receipt at the store from this day forward ~ instead of on my next trip back. Cuz let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to get it done right the first time then it is to have to go back! The temptation is to  just let these errors slide. Or worse, we don’t even look at our receipts to see that errors were even made!

As far as that $9.96 goes? Target adjusted my receipt. The glue also got adjusted. And Office Depot couldn’t print the rebate form for me, so they just gave me the money right then and there! It ended up being very easy, and I now have $9.96 to spend on the groceries I need!

This post is linked up to Madame Deals.

This post is also linked up at Coupon Teacher’s Thrifty Thursday.

DIY Christmas Gift: Vodka Cherry Bounce

It’s July. It’s 90 degrees. It’s looking nothing like Christmas. But it’s never too early to start planning ahead to make some budget-friendly gifts that friends and family will appreciate.

This recipe is perfect to make at this time of year. Cherries are fresh and in season. But that’s not the best part. What is the best part? This recipe will take you 2 minutes to put together and then you just put it on a shelf until Thanksgiving week! In the meantime, start saving and washing cute bottles that you can strain the Cherry Bounce into and decorate to present as gifts. How easy is that?

Here’s how its done:

Vodka Cherry Bounce Recipe

4 Cups Washed, Stemmed and Pitted Cherries

2 teaspoons Vanilla (optional)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 quart Vodka

Put cherries in the bottom of a tightly sealing jar. Add sugar. Add vanilla. Pour vodka over the top. Place on a cool, dark shelf for at least 3 months. The longer it sits, the more potent it becomes. After 3 months, strain cherry bounce into tightly sealing containers, placing only a few of the cherries in the bottom of the container.

Menu Planning Monday: Freezer Turkey Meatballs

In my King Soopers weekly flier post, I highlighted the Jennie-O 1/2 off turkey as the feature of my Menu Planning Monday. Sometimes its hard to know from the flier what “1/2” off really means. However, when I got to Kings I found the price was good – but maybe not a stock up price. Still, it made for a really inexpensive batch of meatballs that we plan to eat both on pasta and in hoagies as meatball subs!

Cooking without a kitchen has meant a lot of prior planning. We’ve paired that problem with our lack of a washer and dryer. Last Thursday my in-laws let us invade their home for an entire day to fix meals for the freezer while we did load, after load, after load of laundry! They keep insisting that it is “no problem!” And I know they mean it. For now. I’m gonna guess that by February they are gonna be sick of our spending one day a week taking over their home ~ even if they would never, never ever, never ever EVER admit it! That’s why I always bring the girls. Grandchildren have a way of making everything all better!

On to the plan! I found these Light Turkey Meatballs in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. They are light and freezer-friendly. Two attributes I find particularly appealing in my food in my current situation. Plus, I could have the girls sit and roll them into balls while I proceeded to make burgers and meatloaf to freeze! Here’s the meatball recipe:

Makes 35 meatballs

  • 3 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 93 percent lean, dark meat
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  1. Place bread in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with milk; set aside at least 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, scallions, garlic, parsley, egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and breadcrumb mixture; mix gently with a fork.
  3. With hands, form mixture into balls, each equal to 2 level tablespoons; arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. To freeze, transfer baking sheet to freezer. Freeze for 1 hour to set shape; transfer frozen meatballs to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Here’s my weekly plan:
Monday: Grill burgers, green Salad and mixed fruit
Tuesday: Grill brats. Serve with pesto pasta salad given to me by a friend
Wednesday: Skewer meatballs to grill. Serve on subs and smother in pasta sauce. Top with cheese. Yum.
Thursday: Cook potatoes in foil in crockpot. Top potatoes with all the fixin’s and call it dinner!
Friday: Please let Pete take us out. Please, please!

Newspaper Subscriptions

Do you get home delivery of the paper for the coupon inserts? I subscribe to two papers: The Denver Post and The Colorado Springs Gazette. The Post serves a larger metropolitan area, so the coupons can be better. However, since the Gazette is my hometown paper, I know the store fliers are accurate for my area. I love a lazy Sunday reading the paper with a cup of coffee!

How do you find the best deal on the paper?

  • Check the newspaper site. I got a $5 gift card to Starbucks by signing up on the newspaper site. The rate was the same as the discounted newspaper site, but the gift card made going through the newspaper site a better deal. With the gift card amount, I actually made money over the first month’s subscription price!
  • Sites like Discounted Newspaper can sometimes have a great deal. Be sure to check the paper’s website first to compare prices and know if you are getting a discount!
  • Grocery stores can be a good source. Sometimes you’ll see a table set-up with free papers and subscription deals. Be on the lookout!
  • When you want extra papers for extra coupons, check coffee shops on Sunday morning. Sometimes you can pick up a few inserts for free. If that is not an option, dollar stores often offer the paper for only a dollar – a savings over most newspaper stands.

How about you? Do you get the Sunday paper? Do you enjoy reading it as well as getting the coupons?