Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kroger Shakedown!

shakedown graphic.indd

Yes, it's a day early. Kroger is having a three-day sale, so our Listmaker at The Grocery Game put up a list today. There will be another tomorrow with the Sunday inserts, but it was worth it to me to go today.

Also, I don't normally make a special trip because the nearest Kroger is 14 miles away, but Jason needed a part for the Jeep from an auto parts store up there so we went. (We also took my mom, so she helped keep Anna Marie occupied. Grammas FTW!)

This was one of the best weeks I'd had in a LONG time. I now am officially out of space in my cabinets - which isn't saying much. I'll have to take a picture some time, so y'all know how truly limited my space is!

One of the great things about this week was the Mega Event, where you buy 10 of a certain group of items and get an extra $5 off. Usually they let you do that three times (getting a total of $15 off) and for the first time, I did the limit!

Here's how my trip went:

1 bottle of Kroger brand cleaner with bleach
1 box of Capri Sun Roaring Waters
2 cans of evaporated milk
1 box of Krusteaz muffin mix (low fat cranberry orange - yum!)
3 boxes of Fiber One Bars (I had three paper coupons, plus one Cell Fire and one Shortcuts coupon loaded on my Kroger card)
2 bottles of French's yellow mustard
2 bottles of French's honey mustard dip
1 bottle of Frank's Red Hot
4 boxes of Kraft mac and cheese (Sponge Bob edition - Anna Marie hasn't realized that yet!)
2 cans of Hormel Turkey Chili
3 cans of Hunts Diced Tomatoes (I had a paper coupon and a Shortcuts coupon on my card)
2 packages of Kraft shredded 2% milk cheese
1 package of Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cream cheese (for my mom, who was only getting a couple of things and not doing the Mega Event)
1 Cadbury caramel egg (for Jason, natch)
1 20 oz. Coke Zero (also, of course, for Jason)
1 dozen eggs (the kind from chickens, not bunnies this time)
5 six packs of half-liter Coke products (for Jason to sell at the auction, so I'll get this $10 back)
1 2-liter caffeine free Diet Pepsi
2.65 lbs of bananas
1 four-pound bag of navel oranges
1 red onion
2 bell peppers
1 box of Ritz crackers
2 boxes of Cheeze-its
1 box of whole wheat saltines
1 bag of Quaker Quakes (which I realized I DIDN'T use a coupon for, so I could have saved another 75 cents! Ugh!)
1 package Johnsonville turkey sausages
1 package light hot dog buns
2 boxes of Toaster Strudel (I had a paper coupons plus a Shortcuts loaded on my card)
1 box of Success boil-in-bag rice (for free, thanks to an email from someone at their PR firm who saw my post about buying the Kroger brand on THIS BLOG and sent me a coupon! Score!)

Total before coupons/sale: $116.75
Total after coupons/sale: $49.56
Total savings: $67.19 (59%)

As Stacy London says (because I've been watching a What Not to Wear marathon today):
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Who pays over $100 for that many groceries? (If that's YOU, then we need to do an intervention, hon.) The $15 Mega Event savings isn't taken off until the cashier hits the total button, and before she did it was $94! That plus the coupons brought the total down to less than half.

I do still need some cereal for myself, and Walmart has their pizzas on sale for less than Kroger this week (thanks to the Super Bowl) so I'll get one there for Jason and Anna Marie to have while I work Tuesday night. I'd also like to stop by Aldi tomorrow after church to pick up some turkey meatballs so I can make some Hawaiian meatballs this week. I have several bottles of barbeque sauce in the cabinet that I got for next-to-nothing a few months ago, plus those pineapples I got for 24 cents a can last week and the (FREE) Success Rice. Just add some bell peppers, and we've got ourselves an inexpensive, healthy meal.

But still - I will come out having spent about $50 of my own money, and have really enough food to last two weeks if I needed (or more.)

I love stockpiling!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book review: The Gospel According to LOST

How stoked am I about this book, and next week's premier?


So, thankfully, I finished this book in the nick of time. And I have some free time, since there's a terrible winter storm outside, our bosses are all off at a conference, and we got out of work early because of the weather. I sit here on my bed, typing on the laptop my mom so graciously loaned us because Jason's is in the shop, in my VELOUR JUMPSUIT!

As soon as I get myself a cup of hot tea, my life will be perfect.

I am so glad I read The Gospel According to LOST by Chris Seay before the new season started. I just started watching LOST last year, just before the end of the fifth season (and I caught up all five seasons in just a couple of months) so I needed something to help tie the show's rather convoluted plots together.

This book filled that bill quite nicely.

Seay analyzes several of the main characters, showing us how each one shows us something from the Gospel. Although I'm quite sure the creators of the show aren't particularly religious, there are many influences from Christianity throughout the series. Seay helps dissect the characters and their motivations, and tie in all of the symbolism woven into the plot. Seay is a fan of the show, and it shows in the care and respect he takes with the material

He uses the stories in LOST much like Jesus did - as parables to teach us precepts in a practical way.

If you are looking for a way to get even more out of your viewing of LOST and talk to other LOSTIES about it in a faith-centered way, you can pick up your copy
here or here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kroger shakedown!

Two weeks worth, that is.

Yes, I went grocery shopping last week, but "life" got in the way of me posting this. But don't fear! I'm making it up to you this week.

You're welcome!

Last week, I stopped at Aldi and picked up a couple of things I knew I could get cheaper there - like a couple of cans of black beans, and some canned diced tomatoes - because they weren't on sale at Kroger.

That being said, here is my list from January 17:

2 boxes of Swiss Miss cocoa
3 cans of Hunts tomatoes (I thought I had a Shortcuts coupon, but a check of my receipt revealed it didn't work!)
2 packages of Dole diced peaches
4 cans of Campbell soup
1 package of Fleishman's margarine
1/2 gallon of milk
2 packages of Danimals smoothies
1 package of Danimals crush cups
3 lbs. of bananas
1 Kroger brand pizza (for Jason and Anna Marie when I worked late)
1 bag of Birdseye peas
2 bunches of green onions
1 box of Nabisco 100 Calorie chocolate covered pretzels
4 Armour lunchables
1 loaf Natures Own light bread
2 bags of some new snacks called Riceworks, which are a little like a cross between a Dorito and a Wheat Thin. (I had two coupons, but they weren't on sale, and I realized later that they were cheaper at Walmart. Boo!)

Total before coupons/sales: $65.05
Total after coupons/sales: $37.26
Total savings: $27.79 (44%)

Now, for yesterday's rundown:

2 bottles of Heinz Ketchup
4 (8 oz) cans of Dole pineapple
2 cans of Rosarita refried beans
2 packages of Ortega taco seasoning
1 package Folgers Gourmet Selections Hazelnut coffee
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans
1 Hersheys bar (for Anna Marie)
1 Reeses big cup (for Jason - I've got to stop going shopping with those two in tow!)
1 20 oz. Coke Zero (you guessed it - for Jason)
2.57 lbs. bananas
3.11 lbs. Granny Smith apples
1 bag of Clementines
2 DiGiorno 200-calorie pizzas
1 full-sized DiGiorno pizza (for The Redheads, because I have to work tonight)
2 boxes of popcorn
2 packages of Hillshire Farms meat

Total before coupons/savings: $67
Total after coupons/savings: $38.59
Total savings: $28.41 (44%)

Since Jason and I ended our meat fast yesterday, I will probably hit up our local supermarket for a Boston Butt and some chicken breasts that are on sale this week.

My cabinet is getting full again, and my freezer will be that way soon - yay for stockpiling!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

True story!

(Man, every time I hear those words, I think of the Los Angeles season of The Real World and that guy from Kentucky named Jon, who said "True story" in a sing-song, twangy voice in the intro each week. True story!)

Anna Marie her-own-self requested, nay, insisted that I put this on the web.

And because she's an only child, of course, I am. Because I can't buy her that Wii she's wanting (darn you, speeding tickets and car tires and faltering economy that ate up our savings!) but I can put her stories on my blog.

Sunday night as she was getting ready for bed, we were in the living room, where one whole wall is taken up almost completely by three large windows looking out onto the front lawn. She looked out the window and kept saying, "What is that red thing, that's metal, with a cushion, outside?" She was acting pretty alarmed, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what she was talking about.

"Mom! Red, cushion, metal! Outside!"

I was pretty perplexed, and getting a little worried. All I saw was snow and the occasional cat walking through.

I made my way closer to where she was, and realized it was the reflection of her little red folding chair in the window. She thought it was HILARIOUS, and started to do the same thing with her blue chair.

And then - "Mom, PLEASE put this on the internet. You HAVE to put this on the internet! PLEASE!"

Oh, Anna Marie!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Know what this blog has been missing?

Yeah, that should just about cover it.

Oh, and a little smidge of these guys too -

Happy Thursday, y'all!

Book review: Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World

(Yay! Another book review from me! I know you must be really excited.)

Over the past couple of months, I've been reading Dr. David Jeremiah's book Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World. It's a very topical book, which references many of the dramatic events which took place over the past year.

It's easy to let our hearts be troubled when we see record unemployment; the collapse of the housing market, financial sector, and automotive industry; and people sneaking onto airplanes with explosives in their pants.

But that's just what Jesus commanded us not to do - and Dr. Jeremiah outlines several ideas for keeping our hearts and minds calm: stay calm, stay compassionate, stay constructive, stay consistent, and so on.

Ultimately, he says, the chaos in our world points to Jesus' second coming - but if our hearts are prepared, we have nothing to fear.

You can pick up your copy here or here.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Years Shop-stravaganza!

Happy New Year, y'all! I got (just about all) my grocery shopping done today! HOLLA!

Jason and I drove separate cars to church this morning, something I don't enjoy doing (since the church is 20 miles away), but I also don't enjoy having to have myself and Anna Marie ready to be there by 8:15 (when he had to be there) when we don't have to be there until about 10:15.

Catch my drift?

Well, today afforded me a great opportunity, because Anna Marie rode home with her dad and I got to shop alone! Oh happy day!

Since there were so many coupons in this week's paper, we bought both a Commercial Appeal (the Memphis paper) and a Clarion-Ledger (the Jackson, MS paper) so I wouldn't miss any. Red Plum no longer inserts in the Memphis paper, but mails their coupons directly. Except, they don't mail down here where I live - so the only way I get their inserts is if my sister, who lives in Memphis, remembers to save them and then get them to me in a timely manner. I discovered a few weeks ago, though, that they DO still insert in the Jackson paper. So today I got both!

(I got the Memphis paper also, because it has circulars for stores that are local, and Jackson doesn't.)

Two of the inserts had coupons for $2.50 off Electrasol tabs. And what do you know? Target's circular said they had those very same items for $3.49! And what else do you know, but I had a $5 Target card from buying dog food there last week!

So - I stopped at Target, which was next to the Kroger I was shopping at. And found the regular Electrasol tabs (not those high-falutin Quantam things) for $3.23. I got two boxes for $0.63 each!

Here is the total rundown of my Target trip:

2 boxes of Electrasol tabs
1 bag Baked Doritos
1 pks. Act II 94% Fat Free Popcorn
1 box of Target brand juice pouches
1 package of Folgers Caramel Drizzle coffee (my one splurge!)

Total before coupons/sales/gift card: $19.53
Total after coupons/sales/gift card: $8.97

I saved $10.55 - over 50%!

Next, I went to Kroger. Three things happened that threw off my mojo: my mother called, and I left my list somewhere (later discovered to be the van). I already had my coupons laid out in my folder, so I used those as a guide to what I needed.

The third thing was that our church is starting 21 days of fasting and prayer tomorrow, and Jason and I have decided to fast meat, so I had to buy some staple-type things to make meatless meals - potatoes, beans, rice, etc. Last year he also fasted meat, so in consideration of him I didn't cook any at home anyway.

(Lest you thing that giving up meat isn't much of a sacrifice, remember we're talking about the Chicken King and the Hamburger Queen. And our local grocery store has Boston Butts on sale this week, and I won't be buying one. The sacrifice starts already!)

I'm not real impressed with my performance at Kroger, but I think the Target trip (and my trip to Walgreens, which I'll explain later) kind of make up for it.

Kroger rundown:

2 cans of Progresso soup (they were on clearance, and I had a paper coupon and a Shortcuts coupon loaded on my card, so these were only $0.25 each!)
1 box Kroger boil-in-bag brown rice
1 box Kellogs Corn Flakes with Honey (on clearance, plus my coupon, means it cost me $0.09!)
2 cans of black-eyed peas
3 cans of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 packages of Betty Crocker Cornbread Mix (I wanted the Jiffy Mix that was 3/$1 but they were all sold out and I didn't want to mess with rain checks.)
1 can of Chili Magic
1 package of Kroger 2% milk shredded cheddar
1/2 gallon milk
1 box Hershey's 100 Calorie chocolate-covered pretzel bars
1 dozen eggs
1 20-oz Coke Zero (Hey, I was thirsty, OK?)
3 lbs. Clementines
2.91 lbs. bananas
1.67 lbs. Granny Smith apples
1 Kroger cheese pizza (for Jason and Anna Marie when I work late Tuesday)
10 lbs. potatoes
2 Lunchmakers (on sale, but not by much)
1 loaf Natures Own light bread

Total before coupons/sales: $49.56
Total coupons/sales: $10.49
Total after: $37.07 (only 23%)

In my defense, that total does not take into account the soup or the Corn Flakes, both of which were on clearance (only the clearance price is listed on the receipt, not the regular price).

Now, for Walgreens. I did this before dinner tonight, because I wanted to get all of my shopping over with for the week. I have to work late several nights, and they're calling for a significant amount of snow mid-week, so I didn't want to have to get back into the store if I didn't have to.

I may end up going back later, though, because they have their Progresso soup 4/$5, and I have two coupons for 50 cents off two, so they'd be $1 a can. Also, if you spend $10 on this group of products, you get $3 in Register Rewards, so that helps.

Anyway - I had $6 in RR from last week. And their Smuckers Jelly and Jif Peanut Butter were on 2/$4. And I had two coupons for $1 when you bought both the PB and the J.

And I left that store with two jars of Jif and two squeeze bottles of Smuckers for $0.56!

(And I had to bum 6 cents off the cashier, because I'd miscalculated how much tax I'd need and only brought two quarters!)

So there you have it - I spent $46.60, and saved $35.09 - nearly 50%. I'm a little down about that Kroger trip, but I know I got a lot of groceries. I'm not used to doing all of my shopping in one day, and I kind of like getting a more complete picture of what I've gotten and what I've spent.

Hopefully, we won't get snowed in around here!