Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lovin' Super Doubles

Did anyone else get some major deals at the good ol' HT over Super Doubles this past weekend? (For those not in the know, Harris Teeter occasionally does super double coupons, which means that those $1 and $1.50 off coupons actually end up being $2 and $3 off.)

We did our major shopping run on Saturday morning bright and early to miss the crowds and hopefully get most of what was on our list. It would have been great to go on Wednesday when the promo started, but that just wasn't in the cards with Benny being out of town and a crazy school schedule for me last week. (Love seeing my students play basketball, but it makes for crazy long days.) Of course, we used our Grocery Game list, which we printed and prepped on Friday night. Such a romantic date night, I know...

Here are a few of the deals we scored:

Free Items-- salad dressing, boxed potatoes (for the local food pantry), cough drops, 16 cups of yogurt, canned biscuits (they make a great quick pot pie)

Less than $1-- bacon bits, pizza sauce (two cents!), pasta, juice, crackers, muffin mix, toothpaste, crescent rolls, frozen veggies (ten cents per box--we got six)

Most other items on our list were somewhere between $1 and $2. There were a few things we bought without coupons, like produce, but there we shopped specials.

Our total.... drum roll please.... for over $110 worth of groceries, we paid just $39.90, a savings of almost $78.00! Recently, we discovered the eVIC coupons, which you can find online when you sign into your eVIC account. These are electronic coupons, so they aren't doubled, but they're tied to your VIC card, which means you don't have to clip them. They will allow you to compound these with regular printed manufacturer's coupons, so we did this with a few items, like the veggies, yogurt, and granola bars.

There are all sorts of coupon/savings sites out there, but most of my favs are in my list here. You can also check out my previous posts on couponing, if you've got questions, or feel free to leave a comment. By shopping coupons, sales, and planning our meals for the month, we've drastically cut our grocery budget beyond what I had thought was possible, even with sticking to our values of buying organic and local when possible. I hope that this is some encouragement for you to do the same, while not compromising your family's health or values.

Happy savings! I'd love to hear from you! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Menu Plan

First, an update on our January quest to "rock whatcha got" and use our pantry and freezer goods to their best. We ended up spending around $50, instead of the estimated $30, for groceries for the month, due to some necessary dairy products (milk for the homemade yogurt and I gotta have my cheese) and produce being a bit more than anticipated. We did stick to the menu for the month, with a few extras thrown in, such as stir-fry and fried rice.

This month we're still trying to use as much from our stockpile as possible, and use coupons and gift cards to purchase the rest. Hopefully, we can stick to the $50 grocery budget this month as well. (We did splurge and go out to eat in downtown Raleigh with a friend this past weekend, but the visit was well worth--always so good to catch up with you, Paul-- it and the food was fabulous. If you're in the area and haven't checked out The Raleigh Times, it's a great bar with fantastic food. I had the Frech Country Salad, and it was to die for with roasted beats and slices of pear.) So, without further ado, here's the menu for the month...

Week 1:
spinach lasagna, supper club meal, acorn squash chili (leftover from what we made for the local campus ministry)
Groceries to purchase: peppers for chili, ricotta cheese, sour cream, acorn squash

Week 2:
chili cheese oven fries, shepherd's pie, stir fry with shrimp, Valentine's dinner
Groceries to purchase: baking potatoes, organic baby spinach, onions, heavy cream, wild caught seafood (whatever's on sale and looks good)

Week 3:
quiche/breakfast casserole (with eggs from my student), black bean burgers (using leftover beans that have been frozen), hot dogs with warm cabbage slaw/kraut, supper club meal
Groceries to purchase: organic milk, organic cabbage, bacon

Week 4:
breakfast for dinner (blueberry or pumpkin pancakes, eggs, grits), vegetable beef soup, pizza
Groceries to purchase: flavored tea for hot breakfast teas, coupon items focusing on dairy and frozen veggies, citrus fruit if available and reasonable

As usual, our breakfasts will consist of one of the following: cereal from the stockpile, muffins (the sunny morning ones were very good, btw), or homemade bread turned toast with homemade jam. Weekend breakfasts will be more along the lines of coffee, eggs, and grits/fresh muffins.

Here's what we'll be using from the pantry/freezer this month: frozen pasta sauce, frozen summer berries, frozen ground turkey, canned chili, canned veggies for soup and shepherd's pie, dried black beans, grits, pancake mix, basic baking supplies

The homemade breads this month will be: pumpkin spice bread, whole wheat hamburger/hotdog buns, sunny morning muffins/lemon poppy seed muffins, beer bread, pizza dough

And, if you're wondering what we'll have for Valentine's dinner (all ingredients will be purchased from EarthFare thanks to a certain Santa's giftcard we stashed away... thanks, Mom), here's that specific menu (maybe you'll like it so much you'll steal it... be my guest)

Valentine's Dinner:

Steamed/sauted seafood seasoned with lemon, sea salt, parsley, and pepper
Warm spinach salad with caramelized onions and a butter sauce
Baked potatoes with butter and sour cream
Homemade cream brulee (using the recipe from The Joy of Cooking served with a warm berry compote

I'm hoping you're finding your meal planning, budget cooking, and couponing as helpful as we are in these lean times. Let me know if you've got any fabulous budget cooking ideas or cookbooks to share. I'd love to hear from you, so leave some love in the comments for me!