“Free Stuff” Archive
I’ve managed to shave about $25 a week so far off of the weekly total. I’m happy to report we did last week with just one gallon of milk…that’s right….ONE. Granted we only had the 3 younger kids but they were home all week for Spring Break! So, yes…this is a major! I made a big pot of pinto beans and we did all sorts of cost cutting meals with beans (chalupas, soup, quesadillas…)
I just returned from this week’s grocery store trip and found some HUGE deals! I’ve determined that the best time to shop our local grocery store is Saturday night. Around 8 pm they shut down the butcher department and often you can find the fresh meats from there packaged and marked down in the regular meat section. If I am lucky, I might find a package or 2 at a good price. Well, tonight I hit the butcher closing time AND a “reduced for quick sale” jackpot and got lean ground sirloin (93/7) for 99 cents a pound!!!! I bought 13 lbs and will cook some tomorrow, then freeze for later use. There were also some great deals on chicken tenders and ground turkey that can be used for all sorts of options! Tonight’s grocery bill was $74 so that’s coming down slow but sure. We only have one major, family owned grocer in San Antonio (HEB? perhaps some of you have heard of it…) and while they are certainly a monster in the market that not even Walmart can begin to touch…and that has its drawbacks for sure, they do have these great meal deals offered on a weekly basis. They usually require the purchase of the main dish and then you get a TON of sides for free. Last week it was a package of beef or chicken fajitas for about $8-$10 and then you get the tortillas, lettuce in a bag, shredded cheese, refried or whole pinto beans in a can, sour cream for free. Tonight was a bag of fish fillets ($4.32) and I got a can of corn, a good size box of Uncle Ben’s brown rice and a large, family size box of mac and cheese for free. I stretch these items out to at least two, usually 3 meals.
Anyway, just wanted to share my grocery store success! Thank you for helping me “stop and think” in the grocery store. Honestly, when I found all of that meat on such great sale…my immediate thought was to take a picture of the price tag to share with all of you! I DO want to make you proud! LOL! In the past I would not have thought about the best time to go to the store as I just went when I absolutely had to and without a great plan. I also wouldn’t have taken the time to figure out the timing to increase my odds of getting these great deals. That’s changed thinking and that’s a very good thing!
Oh! And that $74 included my $11 John Frieda hair color. I’m going for the foam on the first try since I had a nightmare last night that I got streaks of hair color down my face that I could not get off. It was pretty funny as I sat in a work meeting trying to play off the black streaks all OVER my face. So I guess that means the grocery bill was actually only $63!!!
I know I brought this up last year but I love it so much, I think it’s important to mention again.
More than 15 years ago, my parents decided to dedicate Christmas Eve to spending time with the family. Just after the sun came up that Christmas Eve morning, we all piled into the family Suburban, went out to breakfast (a rare treat), walked around the big Christmas decorated mall in downtown San Diego, saw a movie (another rare treat), and went to dinner at a family friendly Chinese restaurant (yet another rare treat). Even though there were seven of us kids, I don’t remember fighting that day. That night, I crawled into bed and stared out my window at the Christmas lights, feeling as though life couldn’t get any better. For years afterward, I couldn’t sleep on the night of the 23rd because I was so excited about Christmas Eve.
Over the years, not much has changed. We shift around the plan a little on the lean years, skipping meals or picking cheap spots. Marriages and kids added to the happy crowd. Christmas slowly turned from a holiday where we looked forward to the gifts to one where we looked forward to spending that day together.
I encourage you to find that ‘sweet spot’ with your kids this holiday. The one that makes them forget they want the latest iPad or PlayStation. The one that makes them remember that when the day is over, it’s the people not the things that make you happy. When I say I’m not buying gifts this year, it’s because that’s not what Christmas is to me. It’s not about spending money – it’s about spending time.
This Christmas, if you see a massive hoard of folks young and old with smiles that would make the Cleaver family jealous, it’s probably us.
Start planning your day now, and have a Merry Christmas.
I’m starting to see an accidental theme on my posts this week – looks like it’s family week!
E-mealz notified me that this week is their family week. You can get a free recipe and download a game each night to play with the family. I checked out the activities and recipes and let’s just say Monday’s ‘Cake Batter Chocolate Truffles’ look awfully delicious! Hmmm… I’m wondering if it’s too early to run to the grocery store and have them for breakfast.
Check out the fun at: http://www.e-mealz.com/family-week
E-mealz is also offering discounts on their meal plans if you enter the code FAMWEEK
Click the photo below if you’d like to sign up
Tonight is National Family Game Night according to the folks at Hasbro. They encourage families to turn off the electronics and spend quality time together.
My parents have always been huge proponents of family time without electronics. Growing up, we were VERY limited on TV and gaming console time. Weekends were intended for family and that meant playing card games and outdoor sports together. Nearly 40 years later, not much has changed. Most of the time at my parents’ home is spent in the kitchen cooking together or in the dining room around the family table playing a hand of Skip-Bo.
Sure, there were disagreements and yes, dad may have once thrown the Monopoly game into the air and lost half the pieces… but that’s where the folks at Hasbro come to save the day! Hasbro is offering to recycle those old games with missing pieces. In exchange, you can get coupons for savings on new games (you can get coupons without recycling as well). Worried about paying postage? Hasbro has that covered too! Pre-paid shipping labels can be printed directly from their website.
For more info, check out: http://www.hasbro.com/games/en_US/familygamenight_promo.cfm
Every so often, my husband’s health insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, mails us a magazine called Healthy Solutions. Admittedly, I only browse this magazine in the short trip from the mailbox to the recycling bin, but an article caught my eye. The article was titled, ‘Wondering how to stay healthy in an economy that’s not?’
The article shared ways Anthem is working to save you money by helping you stay healthy. Sure, healthier members save Anthem money, but there’s nothing wrong with a little win-win right?!?
I browsed the website was surprised at the free offerings from his insurance provider including free workout plans by Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser, health tips, ways to save on prescriptions, free health assessments, members only discounts on vitamins/eyeglasses/hearing aids/gym memberships/etc., doctor ratings, and lifestyle improvement programs.
I checked into my health insurance provider and they offered tons of freebees as well. Save a little cash and check with your health insurance company. You may very well be paying for something you could get for less!
I’ve forgotten a birthday or two. I have 11 nieces and nephews, 11 siblings and their spouses, 9 immediate family members on my husband’s side, 3 grandparents, 2 parents, and a husband. I’m not going to even remotely try to add up aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Sooo, yes. I forget birthdays here and there.
Add on the stress of day job work, night job work, baby classes at the hospital, doctor’s appointments, graduations, my grandmother’s 90th birthday/family reunion, and weeklong work training trips, and I was a bit surprised to receive an e-mail this morning from Rubio’s Baja Grill…
‘In celebration of your birthday, enjoy a meal on us!’ with an attached coupon.
Huh? Whose birthday?!?
I frantically glanced at the calendar. ‘What month is it?!?!’ I wondered aloud. And there it was, scribbled in bright pink on the department calendar by one of my co-workers, ‘Beks Birthday!’
I’m giving my husband a pass this year. No gifts, cards, or birthday acknowledgement required. If I can’t remember my birthday, I don’t expect him to remember it. He can put the cash into our savings account and we’ll call it a wash.
But thanks for the $7.00 burrito with no strings attached Rubio’s Baja Grill. You guys rock!
My husband grinds his teeth in his sleep. If you’ve ever had the ‘joy’ of sharing a bed with a grinder, you know the noise can keep you up just as easily as snoring.
We purchased a $5 mouth guard from Walmart… which worked for about 2 days before it fell apart.
We purchased a custom mouth guard from the dentist at a whopping $350… which works a little, but still keeps me awake since it the sound he makes while wearing it resembles a dog chewing an annoying squeaky toy.
Since my husband is an aggressive teeth grinder, his mouth guard needs replacement every six months. I’m not looking forward to squeezing another $700 annually out of my budget.
I was watching Dr. Oz while getting ready for work a few mornings ago and he was discussing the dangers of teeth grinding and cheap solutions to fix it.
All he had to do was say ‘cheap’ and he had my attention. Since a few of my family members and friends are also teeth grinders, I figured maybe some of you might save a few bucks with his tips.
One of the tips is to relax your jaw by using a wine cork to stretch the muscles. Jazzed about the idea of preventing painful head and tooth aches, my husband carries a wine cork everywhere now.
This is what I found in the shower this morning…
I may have trouble convincing folks he doesn’t have a drinking problem when there are wine corks on the patio set, on his bedside table, near the television, in his truck, in his office, and in the shower. But hey, it has helped a little so I’ll just have to deal with the questions about my husband’s apparent ‘alcoholism’.
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $27,305
- Paid: $70,796
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1500
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $8,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,735 ($20,000)
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