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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Another week of emergency "I have no time menus"

The last several weeks have been severe time crunches for me.  Every waking moment has been crammed with activity, and this coming week is going to be no better.

The good news is this... Target has some AWESOME deals this week, along with some FABULOUS coupons.


This was my spectacular $23.49 purchases this week.

There is currently a $10 off of $50 grocery purchase  mobile coupon (text FOOD to 827438) (or in your Target ad)
MAKE SURE YOU USE THIS COUPON FIRST WHEN CHECKING OUT.

I also used the mobile coupon for $2 off a $5 fruit and veggie purchase by texting RECIPE to 827439.

I also used coupons from Targets website:

$1 off two packages of bagels
$1 off a half gallon simply balanced organic milk
50¢ off two cans of market pantry fruits and veggies
55¢ off two cans of Bushes Best Beans
$1 off 4 packages frozen market pantry veggies
$1 off market pantry lunch meat



Target also allows you to "stack" a manufacturer coupon with a target coupon

Jennie O turkey... $1 off 2 Jennie O turkey products (coupons.com) and two 55¢ off target coupons
Hormel Chili (hormel.com) 55¢ off two cans, and target coupon 55¢ off two cans

I went to the gold n plum website for a $1 off chicken coupon and used a coupons.com coupon for the hormel completes.

By purchasing items on sale, using mobile coupons, target coupons, web coupons, target cartwheel, and my 5% Target CC discount, this was well under half the original cost.

Many of the convenience items are going to get consumed this week as I race to finish my literature review.   This is not the way I want to eat permanently, but this is what I can actually do right now with my very limited time.


Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast
oatmeal with milk, 35¢
bagel with peanut butter 45¢
yogurt w/ pineapple tidbits, 40¢¢
egg and toast, 20¢
oatmeal with milk, 35¢
banana smoothie, 35¢
Homemade Latte70¢







Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning
Mid-Morning













Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
baked potato 15¢
Ham lunch meat sandwhich 55¢
baked potato 15¢
Ham lunch meat sandwhich 55¢
baked potato 15¢
Scrounge for leftovers
Baked Ham $1
Canned Chili 62¢
carrots 10¢
Canned Chili 62¢
carrots 10¢
Canned Chili 62¢

candied sweet potatoes (from freezer)
carrots 10¢
banana 12¢
carrots 10¢
banana 12¢
carrots 10¢

pineapple stuffing (from Freezer)
banana 12¢

banana 12¢

banana 12¢

broccoli 25 ¢
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Hormel Beef Stew Completes $1.29
Frozen dinner bought on sale with coupons $2.50
Hormel Chicken and Mashed Completes $1.29
Frozen dinner bought on sale with coupons $2.50
Cranberry Chicken (from Freezer) $1.69
Egg sandwich 50¢
Ham and Green Beans (price to be calculated)
Mixed veggies 14¢
Frozen veggies 15¢
Mixed veggies 14¢
Frozen veggies 15¢
baked potato with butter 25¢
pineapple 16¢

pineapple 16¢
pineapple 16¢
pineapple 16¢
pineapple 16¢
frozen mixed veggies 15¢
veggies 15¢



pineapple 16¢








Snack
Snack
Snack
Snack
Snack
Snack
Snack














Cost
Cost
Cost
Cost
Cost
Cost
Cost
2.91
$4.03
$2.96
3.78
3.57
$1.16
$1.95
Total cost per week:
$20.37

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Great way to meet financial goals.... find a career that makes you happy!

I did!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Paying cash for groceries

In a world where it is so easy to swipe a card and pay for everything, I really like using cash. I will admit, this is a suggestion I've taken from my Financial Peace University class, and it serves me well. In my wallet, I have an envelope for groceries, clothing, gifts, hair/cosmetics (I know, everyone who knows me is laughing... I rarely indulge), and my personal blow money.   Every pay period, I write myself a check, go through the bank drive through, and ask for it in ones, fives, and tens.  That way I have change to divide it up the way it is supposed to go.

And since I really don't want to go to the cash register and not be able to pay, I walk through the grocery store with a calculator in hand. It is a GREAT way to not spend money I don't have for groceries.  Some weeks I go under, some I am over.  The excess stays in there until weeks when I am stocking up.

The other great thing about using cash... it actually bolsters my savings by about $1000 a year.  I use a tip I heard from Suze Orman.  When I get change, I keep it. I don't spend it. Yes... if my bills is $2.01, I fork over $3, not 2 ones and a penny.  I put it in the zipper compartment of my wallet, and at the end of the day I put it in a piggy bank.  My "savings" are typically about $250 a quarter this way.  Typically, I go to a coin star and get a free card (no charge if you get a gift card) to use at Lowe's.  I've replaced many of the 40 year old light fixtures in my house this way.  If I don't want a card from a free vendor offered at a coinstar kiosk, I take them to my local bank for counting.

I also am a "Georger"... meaning I often mark my bills with a Where's George stamp so I can track how my money travels. It is an inexpensive hobby I really enjoy. You can learn more about it at www.wheresgeorge.com

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"It's only two dollars..."

If I hear people make one HUGE financial mistake frequently, it is the making the above statement.  I hear this all the time, from people all over the place. After all... it's only 1 or 2 dollars.

I don't think people understand a simple concept.  During the course of a year, you may have a few opportunities to save a few hundred dollars at one shot.  If you are lucky, maybe once a year you might have a shot at saving thousands.

But we have many, if not hundreds, of opportunities to save small amounts of money over the course of the year.  A $1 a day McDonald's coffee habit costs you $365 a year, plus the gas you paid to drive out of your way to get there.  A $4 fancy schmancy latte at Starbucks three times a week adds up to $624 over a year. The $5 cafeteria lunch is $1250 a year.  When you add all of your "small" spending habits up over the year, it can save you thousands of dollars every year consistently.

The little stuff adds up.

This is why one of the areas that can make a significant impact on our budgets is being mindful of what we spend at the grocery store.  Saving 25¢ on this item, $1 on that one.... it can save you many dollars a week... and that adds up to thousands a year.  By trimming my food budget back to $25 a person a week from $75, I save $2600 annually.  That is a lot of money!

Monday, May 12, 2014

From Dave Ramsey's site "The most important financial principle is contentment.  It brings peace and the freedom to be generous."

I absolutely love this.

I have been accused of being overly stringent, and  "so cheap" it makes others want to pull their hair out. Now, I am not sure WHY anyone feels that way, as nothing I have done has affected the actions of anyone else.   I give away a hefty portion of my salary each and every pay period. When I go out to eat, the waitress gets a 20% tip.  I've traveled to well over half the US.... on a shoestring budget. One of the best meals I had in Hawaii was on the Big Island and cost under $12... and my travel companion agreed it was one of our best.  In no way at all does me cutting corners negatively impact anyone who comes into contact with me.

I personally believe the reason behind the desire to label me as being "so cheap" it is that most people can't fathom going without anything they want for any length of time in this culture.  And they either feel some degree of guilt that they don't want to make a sacrifice for financial gain, or are terribly jealous that I seem to have the resolve to meet my financial goals and they keep spending themselves further away from theirs. . So, they want to attach a negative connotation to what I am doing instead of reflecting on the huge positives this is bringing to my life.. and lives of others.

What I am is content. I am content to buy second hand clothing, and feel no need to have new, off the rack clothing.  I am content to wait for a year to get the Chamilia charm I want for my Pandora bracelet so that I can purchase it 40% off instead of full price. I don't HAVE to see the movie first run, and am happy to wait two weeks to see it when I use a discounted coupon, or better yet, wait until I can see it in the cheap theater at a matinee for $2.50, or even BETTER... wait until it hits redbox for $1.29.

And I would so much rather take the extra $8-$9 I didn't spend having to go to a first run movie by waiting until it hit's redbox and spend $8 in the grocery store to drop off a bag full of bargain purchased groceries at the local food bank.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Deal Alert: Ham 99¢ a pound, and green beans for 52¢ a bag!


Target has some great deals on frozen veggies this week... 5 for $4, or 80¢ each.  In addition, they have a printable coupon on target.com for $1 off  of 4 bags AND a cartwheel deal for an extra 5% off.  This works out to 52¢ each. (when you only buy 4 bags... you don't need to get 5)

They also have their bags of cheese on sale for $2 each, 79¢ off the regular price. Paired with the $1 off 2 bags by texting "recipe" to 827438.  Combine this with an addition 5% off using target cartwheel.. and it brings it to $1.42 a bag.

Market Pantry lunch meat tubs are also $2.50... with a printable $1 off coupon on target.com... combined with target cartwheel 5% off and it brings it to $1.42 per tub.

As always, if you use a target debit or credit card, you get yet another 5% off.  If you are using the CC, remember to pay your balance off each month or the interest will negate you getting 5% off.  Since I like to do my grocery shopping with cash, I have found I can immediately walk over the customer service desk and put the amount I just spent on my target cc.  This always get them to tell me I could use a target debit card... but I like my money envelopes.

Giant... hams at 99¢ a pound.

Their brand paper plates are on sale for $1.89.  I get their weekly email, and from there I was able to load a $1 off their brand paper plates coupon to my store card, which brought this down to 89¢


Next weeks menu WILL have PA dutch ham and green beans on it based on this weeks great deals on the two items.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Time Saving Baked Potatoes

This will not be the time saver you think.... I personally HATE microwave baked potatoes, and it truly would be an emergency of epic scale for me to decide to eat them that way.

But what I will do it bake a huge amount of them... this week, 5 at a time.   Then, a quick trip to the microwave to heat them is completely acceptable for warm ups.

Baked potatoes can be the backbone of a full weeks time emergency menus.

Besides "just" a side dish, here are some other great ways to use that baked potato:

Baked potato topped with chili... homemade is the cheapest alternative (and it freezes great), but in a severe time pinch, with no chili in the fridge, canned chili is a reasonable cost effective solution.

Baked potato topped with steamed broccoli (from the freezer) and topped with cheese sauce (see the recipe for cheese sauce with my cheese steak recipe) http://25aweek.blogspot.com/2014/05/cheese-steak-sandwiches-on-cheap-this.html

Leftover diced baked potatoes sauteed with diced onions in a skillet are a nice way to mix it up as a side.

Or... add leftover diced meat to the diced baked potatoes and onion mixture to make a "hash".

Or.. make a country style breakfast by adding a few beaten eggs to the pan with your sauteed potatoes and onions.