Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bento gear

We've been doing Bento lunches and snacks a lot, and I finally found some silicone cupcake molds on sale at Target. I shouldn't have waited for a sale - they're so helpful for making the Bentos!

Here's just a snack Bento Nate ate at home. You can see why the silicone cups really help - we eat a lot of "finger food" so it helps keep everything in it's place (a nod to Mama's anal side!) Raw almonds, dried cranberries, and hummus for dipping.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Entertainment Book rocks!

I got my two free Entertainment Books today and I'm thrilled. They paid for themselves on the front cover - $20 off at Safeway! The savings comes in the form of four $5 off $50 coupons, which I'll absolutely use (several times over).

Even if I end up having to pay $5 for each book when I opt out of automatic renewal next year, they'll still have MORE than paid for themselves. I got a chance to skim through them today and there are at least 4 restaurants that we like in there, including $5 off of a $15 at Baja Fresh. There are also coupons for rental cars and movie tickets. Since we're very good at limiting ourselves to places we already would have gone, and not letting the coupon persuade us to spend more than we'd planned, we'll really take advantage of these deals this year.

I'm so happy with how things went that I'm going back to Cashbaq tonight to buy another 2 books!

My best helper

I spent some time last week making up a batch of homemade cleaners from the Clean House, Clean Planet book. My favorite is the daily cleaner; can't remember which one. It uses Borax, liquid soap, water, and distilled white vinegar.

It really works! Scrubbed out the fridge yesterday and it's almost as effective as the caustic stuff. The best part is that since it's in a nondescript bottle, I was able to fill an identical bottle with water and have my favorite helper "help" me clean.

Nate would help me with every task, every day, all day if he could. I'm getting better about swallowing my need to cross things off of my list and slowing down and letting Nate help with as much as I can manage. Today he helped me by putting the laundry in the washing machine

Anyway, he doesn't know cleaner from water and I don't worry about what he sprays water on. So he helped me clean the spots off of the floor, clean the front of the dishwasher and the stove, and mostly he felt good about helping and I actually got some cleaning done. And honestly in 6 months or so, he's actually going to be quite helpful around here!

Could he be any cuter?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Super-cute snack

Saw this in a magazine at the doctor's office; I have no idea which magazine or when it came out. It's got both of my son's favorite foods and was easy to pull off. Nate asks me to make him a flower every day now!

Outer layer is grape tomatoes cut in half, inner layer is whole grapes, and I used hard-boiled egg for the center (the magazine used fresh mozzarella). The magazine used a cute sprig of fresh basil on the stem for the flower stem, but I don't usually have that laying around - I just used green gel food coloring.

I love getting to make something pretty during the day, I love feeding the boys healthy snacks, and I love making my Natey smile.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free Entertainment Book?

Want a free Entertainment Book?

There's a lot of buzz going around about a free Entertainment Guide book, so I took a swing at it. I think it'll work. At worst case, I'll pay $5 for each book ordered.

Wanna give it a shot? Do this:

1) Sign up for Cashbaq. It's free, so no problem there. You'll earn $5 for sighing up.

2) Click through their site to the Entertainment book in the upper right-hand corner. You'll get $10 off of each book by ordering through Cashbaq. You'll also get a $5 discount when you order a second book. When you're checking out, sign up for the auto-renew program which will give you another $5 discount on each book. They'll give you a warning next year before they ship out the next one, giving you a chance to cancel. They may charge you a $5 fee at that point, but the word on the street is that they won't.

3) In a few weeks, Cashbaq will credit you $10 for each book you order. The money's yours to use however you like - you can transfer it out to a Paypal account or ask them to send you a check.

Seems pretty simple to me. The prices vary depending on where you live, but here's how it worked for me:

Cost of first book: $30
Cost of second book: $25 (net cost of $55)

Less discount for signing up for Cashbaq: $5 (net cost of $50)
Less $10 off of each book through Cashbaq: $20 (net cost of $30)
Less $5 off of each book for auto-renew: $10 (net cost of $20)
Less $10 off of each book from Cashbaq): $20 (net cost: Free!)

I ordered 2, and may well go back for more.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CVS week of December 7th

So very rarely does a trip to CVS go perfectly. No hitches at all, everything worked exactly the way it was supposed to. Happy sigh.

As always, I used two accounts: one for me and one for DH.

The big score:

Net cost before coupons and ECBS: $126.87
Cost to me after sales, coupons and ECBS: $1.22 (savings of 99% off sales price!)

The breakdown:

Maybelline lip colors are on sale BOGO. I had 6 coupons for $4 off any lip product from the December 7th inserts. Each lip gloss was $5.79, so I knew I needed some filler items. The Pepsi was on a sale equal to our grocery store and I was completely out. A match made in heaven.

Each transaction was 2 Maybelline lip glosses and 2 Pepsis.

2 Pepsis = $2.50
2 Maybellines = $11.58. After BOGO = $5.79 for a total of $8.29 with the Pepsis.
Used 2 $4/Maybellines = $.29 plus sales tax for a total of $.62!

So the total for 6 lip glosses and 6 Pepsi 2-liters was $1.86.

The Duracell was on sale again with an added ECB offer of 5 on a purchase of $15. I had 6 CVS coupons left for $5 off any 2 Duracell purchases. PLUS I had manufacturer coupons for $1.50 off each pack of Duracells. Sweet deal! Definitely needed some filler, and since we're gearing up for our holiday Oreo Truffles I went with Oreos.

I did 3 transactions on each account.

1 package Oreos = $3
2 package Duracells = $6
Total = $9

Minus $5 CVS coupon on Duracells = $4
Minus 2 $1.50/manufacturer Duracell coupons = $1 ($1.06 after sales tax!)
After doing that 3 times, I got 5 ECBS!

So the total for 6 packages of Oreos and 12 packages of Duracells was MAKING $3.64!

Hershey's Bliss was on sale for $3/bag, and part of a buy $20 get 10 ECBs offer. I had a lot of coupons for $2.50 off 2 bags. These will be great filler with the Oreo Truffles, and I'll melt down a bunch for the truffle coatings.

8 bags Hershey's Bliss = $24
Used 5 coupons (not sure why the register took 5 instead of 4) = $11.50
Got 10 ECBs

So my net cost for 16 bags of Hershey's Bliss was $3.00!

Have I mentioned that I love CVS?

Walgreens week of December 7th

Just two fun things for me at Walgreens this week:

Retail cost before sales and coupons: $20.90
Cost to me after sales and coupons: FREE! (paid about $1.20 in sales tax)
  • Reynolds Wrap 20 feet was on sale from $1.79 to $.99 with the insert coupon. I had 10 coupons for $1 off Reynolds wrap, making each of them free.
  • The Scotch Tape was on sale 2/$2 with a rebate this month of $2, making them both free.
Thanks to the helpful cashier today who was friendly for a change! :)

Harris Teeter last week

I just did not have the energy to post this in time for folks to take advantage and I'm sorry about that. But it was also too good to not post about, so here it is!

For a few days last week, HT was doing some fun Buy X Get Y Free sales. Combined with coupons, they were great deals! Heck, even with no coupons they were great deals.

Retail cost before sales and coupons: $161.98
My cost after sales and coupons: $47.79 (savings of 70%)
  • The Fresh Express lettuce was on sale Buy 1 Get 2 Free, and I had 6 coupons for $.75 off each bag, which double. In this case, they only doubled to the amount of each bag, which was about $1.10 after the sale. I actually bought 6 bags but we've already eaten three. Retail value - $3.75 per bag, $22.50 for 6 bags. Total cost - FREE!
  • The Smart Start was on sale Buy One Get One Free. I had 10 coupons for $1.00 off each box. The boxes sold for $4.29, so the sale price was $4.29 for 2, making the cost for each box $1.15! I bought 10 boxes.
  • The Betty Crocker cookie mix was on sale Buy One Get One Free. I had 2 internet coupons for $.75 off each bag, which double. The bags sold for $3.29, so the sale price was $3.29 for two. The coupons took off $3, making the cost for each bag fifteen cents!
  • I hadn't originally paid any attention to the Buy 2 Get 3 Free sale on the Palermo pizza, but when I was there I saw the great vegetarian varieties they had and did some math in my head. The pizzas retail for $6 each, so the cost to buy five pizzas on sale was only $2.40 per pizza! Fantastic deal for those nights where I just don't want to cook, so I bought 15 pizzas. We've already eaten 2 and they're wonderful.
This was the first HT deal I did without referring to anyone elses blog for guidance, and it felt great. I feel like I've finally got the hang of this, and I've figured out which deals are worth the time to go after and which aren't worth it even if I'm saving a few bucks. In this case, the savings were well worth it, especially since I picked up their great HT-brand gallons of organic milk and their reasonably priced organic bananas.

I still don't plan to be there every week, but for sales like this I'm definitely driving the 10 minutes to get there!